Humans have inhabited the earth for around 200,000 years, and we’ve left behind some amazing ruins. Below, we tour the world from Italy to China and showcase some of the most marvellous!
Roman Forum, Italy
While the Colosseum is one of the most popular sights in Rome, the Roman Forum is just as impressive. Once the focus of public life, its ruins now include the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Septimius Severus, the Regia, the Temple of Vesta and the Basilica Julia.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Breathtaking and beautiful, Angkor Wat is one of Cambodia’s most prominent ruins showcasing the Khmer Empire. Ruins here stem from the 9th to the 15th centuries and spread over approximately 500 acres. It also faces west, suggesting to historians that the temple was, in fact, built as a tomb.
Aberystwyth Castle, Wales
Head back to the 13th century with this impressive fortress, which was built on a hill overlooking the water by King Edward I during the First Welsh War. Today, ruins of its foundations and towers still stand and are an early example of concentric (or ‘walls within walls’) castle architecture.
Heading to Mexico? A visit to Palenque or Lakamha (its ancient name) is an incredible experience that will put you in touch with the ruins of Mayan civilisation. Surrounded by the jungles of the mountains of Chiapas, it is believed that Palenque was first constructed in 100BC and came to flourish in the 7th century.
One of the globe’s most famous ruins, the Rose City lays at the point that once connected Arabia, Egypt and Syria. Petra is famed for being carved into rock, for sporting a wonderfully advanced water system, and for resting in a valley that leads to the Dead Sea. It was abandoned in 106AD, though no one is sure why. It was only rediscovered in 1812.
Whitby Abbey, UK
If Benedictine history is your thing, make sure you head to Whitby Abbey in North Yorkshire. The ruins here date from the 13th century, though additions were made to the complex in the 17th century. Whitby was once a highly significant religious site and is now available to explore for a small fee.
Few of the world’s ruined towns are as remarkable as the volcano-destroyed Pompeii. Wiped out in 79AD by an erupting Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii originally came to be sometime in the 7th-6th centuries BC before being taken over by the Greeks and Romans.
A visit to Pompeii is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to walk through an ancient town and view establishments like shops, brothels, houses and temples.
Longmen Grottoes, China
The Chinese Buddhist carvings and artworks of the Longmen Grottoes (or Longmen Caves) will blow your mind away.
Spanning both sides of the Yi River near the ancient capital of Luoyang, the Grottoes encompass over 2,300 lime caves filled with statues, stupas and inscriptions. The carvings here date back to the 5th and 6th centuries, and represent the artistic talent of the Northern Wei and Tang Dynasties.