There are many holiday ideas travelers can choose from. While many are simply for pleasure, others are for education. One can visit libraries, museums, or zoos around the world but none of these experience are as unique and eye-opening as visiting ancient ruins. Besides being tangible evidence of the distant past of humans, many of these ruins are origins of some important knowledge known to humans today. Take a break from the beaches and the islands and visit these ancient ruins around the world for an unforgettable archaeological holiday.
9 Petra, Jordan
Petra stands out among the numerous archaeological sites in Jordan which is why it remains the most visited tourist attraction in the country. The site located in southern Jordan dates back to prehistory but became most popular during Nabataean rule as it became the empire’s capital city after which it became a booming trading center and a meeting point for Egyptians, Greeks, Chinese, and Indians. Its most appealing qualities are its rock-carved tombs, numerous passages, and other impressive structures carved into the red sandstone.
8 Ayutthaya, Thailand
Ayutthaya is an ancient city in Thailand founded in 1350. After being the capital of the Siamese Kingdom, the city flourished for several centuries and grew to become a bustling trading port until it was destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century. Today one can find the ruins of this ancient city approximately 81 km north of Bangkok. A visit to this city's ruins will have travelers exploring ancient temples and stone statues while also learning about the city's interesting history and culture.
7 Jerash, Jordan
The ruins of the ancient city of Gerasa at Jerash are some of the most profound Greco-Roman ruins one can find anywhere in the world. This ancient city was founded by Alexander the Great during his journey to Mesopotamia and it flourished for several centuries until it eventually fell to the hands of an earthquake. The ruins now cover a vast area in Jerash and feature some interesting structures some of which include - A large hippodrome, an ancient temple of Zeus, a theatre, and more. This vast amount of archaeological wealth has led many people to now refer to the city as the Pompeii of the east.
6 Colosseum, Rome
An archaeological adventure would not be complete without a visit to the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. It would take a lifetime to see all ruins spread out across Italy but one can start with the magnificent Colosseum - an ancient amphitheater founded around AD 70 - 80 or approximately 1942 years ago. The amphitheater is also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre and while some parts of it may have collapsed, much of the structure can still be seen standing to this day. Visitors are welcome to enter the amphitheater where they can imagine a crowd of 50,000 ancient Roman people getting entertained by gladiator fights and battle recreations more than a thousand years ago.
5 Caesarea, Israel
Israel is certainly not left out of places around the world with interesting ancient ruins as it is home to Caesarea - an ancient Roman port city built by Herod the Great. This ancient city is full of history that included the Romans, early Christians and Muslims, and later Christian crusaders. Caesarea was also the base of Pontus Pilate and one can visit to learn more about the history of this place while exploring the amphitheater, the Herodian Hippodrome, and the underwater museum at the site.
4 Acropolis of Athens, Greece
There are many monuments and recognized sites in Greece but the Acropolis of Athens is by far the most popular. The Acropolis is a group of ancient buildings situated at the top of a rocky hill within the city of Athens. Among the several buildings located in this citadel is the popular Parthenon also known as the temple of Athena, and several other temples dedicated to the goddess Athena who was considered the patroness of the city. The acropolis dates to the 5th century and much of the structures sitting on the citadel can still be seen standing in their original form even after more than a thousand years. Besides the striking architectural features of this complex, the fact that Democracy, Philosophy, Theatre, and Freedom of Speech were conceived from this iconic hilltop makes it a place of great significance.
3 Pompeii, Italy
If there’s an ancient ruin one should not miss out on, it is definitely Pompeii. This historic location and the surrounding story can never be forgotten. It was once a wealthy and vibrant ancient Roman city with people going about their daily lives, eating at their ancient restaurants, and enjoying their luxurious homes. But that changed after a raging volcano nearby buried the entire civilization under volcanic ash. It was a tragic day under the sun and one cannot help but wish they could quench the erupting Mount Vesuvius and save those people. But not even the gods which the Romans so devotedly worshipped could have kept the sky free from the burning ash or shielded the city from the shooting lava of such a fierce mountain. It was just meant to happen. Its outrageous nature even begs more questions; was the eruption natural or was it triggered by something unnatural?
2 Chichen Itza, Mexico
In North America, Chichen Itza is one of the most popular ancient ruins travelers can visit. This ancient city located in the Yucatan Peninsula was considered a sacred site to the ancient Maya civilization. While the appeal of Chichen Itza lies in the unique architecture of the pyramid-shaped temple of Kukulkan, there are more unique things one can enjoy at the site from the lesser-known structures to the area’s unusual sound.
1 Abu Simbel Temples, Egypt
The Abu Simbel Temples is one of Egypt's most popular attractions perhaps due to its connection to Ramesses II who is generally regarded as the greatest Pharoah in Egyptian history. The Pharoah built these twin temples to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh and also to serve as a monument for himself and his wife - Nefertari. The most striking features of this ancient site are the 20-m tall statues of the sitting Ramesses II at the entrance of the main temple and the smaller statues of his wife and children by his feet.