It is fair to say world history can be found as reflected in multiple ways. From the compelling arts to the intricate sciences, human civilizations have and continue to leave behind considerable traces of their existence. As such, ancient ruins can be considered one of many ways, albeit unintentional, in which we may revisit fragments of our history. Every year, tourists and history buffs travel the world to witness the mesmerizing ancient sites of the world. And every site evokes a precise moment in time, tells its own tale and takes our breath away for unique reasons.
If you are interested in getting a glimpse of these historical fragments of the world, here are 10 ancient sites you must make sure to visit.
10 Machu Picchu (Peru)
Considerably one of the world's greatest wonders, the Machu Picchu ruins should be the first on your checklist. The famous Inca ruins hang between two mountains which are covered by greenery. It can be seen from afar, in the Urubamba Valley, which is located below the ancient site. The Macchu Picchu reflects on the genius of early human civilizations, precisely the Inca, from their detailed design of the site. Currently, historians estimate that the ruins were once a religious sanctuary which was mysteriously deserted by the time the Spanish invaded. Nevertheless, the site's mysterious nature only adds to its uniqueness.
9 Hue (Vietnam)
The city of Hue is a recent ruin which was abandoned during the Vietnam war. Though most recently, in 2012, the city welcomed over 2.4 million visitors. A visit to the historic site allows for a peek into damage from modern warfare and antique remnants of imperial rule. Moreover, another major perk of visiting these ruins is the delicious foods which can be found in the thriving town next door. Enjoy a bit of history then follow it up all up with some pho noodle shops or local coffee in one of the several coffee houses.
8 Pompeii (Italy)
The breathtaking Roman city of Pompeii, located near modern Naples, is essential to this list. The city's history is core to its ability to captivate and bring forth millions of visitors every year. Ever since a volcanic eruption in AD 79, which led to a wide evacuation of the city, the site has stood still. Precisely, the historical ruins remained preserved under ash which since served to offer a thorough insight into the ancient Roman life. The remains are organic and include wooden objects along with human bodies, entombed in the ash. History outpours with ease in this city from the views and artifacts to the graffiti of lost languages on the wall.
The UNESCO-protected site is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy and so for a reason. Pompeii is an experience one must live at least once.
7 Angkor Wat (Cambodia)
This temple and complex is considered to be one of the largest religious monuments in the world. The Angkor Wat temple and ruins stem from the 12th century and easily spreads over a total of 402 acres. The historical site can be found near the Cambodian city of Siem Riep where knowledgeable guides can offer insight into the intricate complex. Herein, you may find a set of stone sculptures both split and sprouting with dense verdure. Although an array of sculptures were stolen by art thieves in the 1990s, the site remains an experience unlike any other.
6 The Roman Colosseum (Italy)
The Roman Colosseum indubitably embodies what many consider to be the greatest work of Roman architecture. The famous monument is known across the globe and reflects an artistic facet of world history. Precisely, the Colosseum previously served as an amphitheater in the center of Rome. The structure could accommodate a total of 50,000 spectators and frequently held gladiator contests amongst other public spectacles such as dramas or famous battles. Historians note that a total of nearly 500,000 people have died in this ancient site during its active years. Unfortunately, the wonder was damaged by a set of devastating earthquakes and stone-robbers along the years. Today, it is one of Rome's most popular attractions.
5 Chichen Itza Ruins (Mexico)
The Chichen Itza ruins can be found in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The beautiful ancient site, built by the Mayans, is protected by the UNESCO for a reason. It remains one of the most visited and photographed Mayan-built complexes in Latin America. Visitors dive into several aspects of the captivating site which includes the Great Ball Court, the Temple of the Warriors and the notable step pyramid, the Temple of Kukulkan.
Interestingly, the ruins also include an underground area which is believed to have been an area where human sacrifices were made to the Mayan gods.
4 Petra (Jordan)
In Petra, Jordan, you may find the remains of the Nabatean city of Raqmu. The ancient stone complex is stemmed from rose-tinted rocks, commonly known as the "Rose City," and is most notable for a mesmerizing structured named the Treasury. The sophisticated architecture is incredibly shallow and only allows visitors to walk through its entrance. Previously, tourists were allowed to ride through the monument while riding a horse's back, but the site has since grown fragile and thus the latter was stopped for preservation purposes.
3 Volubilis (Morocco)
Volubilis reflects the extensiveness of the famous Roman empire, which goes beyond Italy. Indeed, the Roman presence can be found across Europe such as in England and Romania. Surprisingly, North Africa also once found itself as part of the many places under Roman rulership. As such, hours away from the city of Fes, you may find the ruin complex of Volubilis. The historical remnants can be seen in plain and consist of untouched large arches. It is definitely a sight to see as the ancient complex also offers incredible desert views.
2 Saint Pierre (Martinique)
Much like Pompeii, the ruins of Saint Pierre are also the result of a volcanic eruption. The town of Saint Pierre consists of a commune belonging to the French Carribean overseas department of Martinique. Prior to being completely destroyed in 1902 by a volcanic eruption, the city of Saint Pierre was once Martinique's cultural and economic hub. People then named it "the Paris of the Carribean." Following the disaster, the economic center moved to the vibrant city of Fort-de-France. Despite this, numerous ruin sites can be found throughout the city. The latter can be further explored at a Volcanological Museum, Franck Perret Museum.
1 Babylon (Iraq)
Fans of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Babylon Revisited" may enjoy visiting these dazzling ancient ruins. The historical site of Babylon can be found approximately 90 kilometers south of modern Baghdad. The name Babylon translates into the word "the Gate of the Gods" and so for a reason. The ruins rank as one of the most famous antique cities around the world and so mainly for its history and sublimity. During classical times, Babylon was often spoken about due to the amazing "Hanging Gardens" which were considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World. A trip to the Babylon ruins is a trip through poignant, interesting and important history.