The ancient world is full of mystery, and that certainly includes its ruins. These 10 ancient ruins are some of the most amazing in the world, and they each have a story to tell. From the Roman Colosseum to the Great Pyramid of Giza, these ancient ruins are sure to amaze you. So read on, and learn a little bit about the history behind some of the world’s most incredible ancient ruins.
The Top 10 Most Amazing Ancient Ruins of the World
From the ancient Mayan ruins of Mexico to the Roman Colosseum in Italy, there are some truly amazing ancient ruins around the world. Here are our top 10 picks:
1. Chichen Itza – Mexico
2. The Great Pyramid of Giza – Egypt
3. Machu Picchu – Peru
4. Petra – Jordan
5. The Parthenon – Greece
6. The Colosseum – Italy
7. Angkor Wat – Cambodia
8. Stonehenge – England
9. Easter Island Statues – Chile
10. Tikal – Guatemala
Number 10: The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was built between 353 and 350 BCE on the orders of Mausolus, the satrap (governor) of Caria in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). The structure was designed by the Greek architects Satyros and Pythis, and was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The Mausoleum was a massive rectangular structure, with a base that measured approximately 135 m x 115 m. The walls were constructed from huge blocks of white marble, and the exterior was adorned with relief sculptures depicting scenes from the life of Mausolus. The roof was a pyramid-shaped structure that rose to a height of around 45 m.
The interior of the Mausoleum was even more impressive than the exterior. It was divided into three levels, each decorated with lavish sculptures and reliefs. The central chamber contained the marble sarcophagus of Mausolus and his wife Artemisia II.
Sadly, the Mausoleum was badly damaged by earthquakes in the Middle Ages, and today only a few ruins remain. However, it is still possible to get an idea of its former glory.
Number 9: Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex in Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact.
Built during the reign of the Pharaoh Khufu (2589-2566 BC), it was originally built as a tomb for him and his queen, but was later used as a tomb for other members of the royal family. The Great Pyramid is made up of over two million blocks of limestone, weighing an average of 2.5 tonnes each.
It stands at 146.5 metres (481 feet) high, making it the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years. The sides of the pyramid are slightly tilted inwards, which is thought to have been done deliberately to make it appear more imposing from below.
The great pyramid was covered in white limestone casing stones, which were cut to fit tightly together and give the pyramid a smooth outer surface. Most of these casing stones have now fallen off or been removed, but those that remain give a good idea of how impressive the pyramid would have looked when it was first built.
Number 8: Temple of Artemis
The Temple of Artemis, also known as the Artemision, was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was built in honor of the Greek goddess Artemis in the city of Ephesus (now in modern-day Turkey). The temple was destroyed and rebuilt several times over its lifetime; its last incarnation was completed around 550 BCE. The temple was one of the largest and most impressive structures of its time, with a massive colonnaded portico and an inner sanctuary that housed a statue of Artemis herself.
Despite its size and grandeur, the Temple of Artemis was eventually abandoned and fell into ruin. The temple’s destruction was hastened by a series of natural disasters, including earthquakes and floods. In 401 CE, a group of Christian monks set fire to the temple in an act of iconoclasm. Today, only a few columns and foundation stones remain of this once-majestic structure.
Number 7: Coliseum
The Coliseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is an elliptical amphitheatre in the center of the city of Rome, Italy. The Coliseum is the largest ancient monument still standing in Rome. It is one of the most recognizable symbols of the Roman Empire and has been featured in countless works of art and popular culture.
The Coliseum was built between 70 and 80 AD under the emperor Vespasian. Its original Latin name was Amphitheatrum Flavium, after Vespasian's family name (Flavius). The name “Coliseum” is derived from a colossal statue of Nero that once stood near the amphitheater.
The Coliseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. The last known gladiatorial contest took place in 435 AD. In 523 AD, Emperor Justinian I had the building converted into a church dedicated to Saint Paul. It remained a church until 1893 when it was again used for public events. Today it is one of Rome's major tourist attractions.
Number 6: The Parthenon
The Parthenon is an ancient temple that was built in honor of the Greek goddess Athena. It is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world and is considered to be one of the greatest architectural achievements of all time. The Parthenon was built between 447 and 438 BC and was originally constructed as a wooden structure. However, it was later rebuilt using marble after being destroyed by fire. The temple has been damaged over the years by earthquakes and looting, but it has been restored to its former glory and now stands as a symbol of Athens and Greece.
Number 5: Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is an ancient Incan city that is situated on a mountain ridge in southern Peru. The city was built in the 15th century and was later abandoned. It was rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham.
Machu Picchu is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It is known for its unique architecture and breathtaking views. The site has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Number 4: Petra
The ancient city of Petra is one of the most amazing archaeological sites in the world. The city was carved into the sandstone cliffs by the Nabataeans, an Arab people who settled in the area in the 6th century BC. Petra was an important trading center for the region and flourished until it was conquered by the Romans in AD 106. Thecity then fell into decline and was eventually abandoned.
The site of Petra was rediscovered in 1812 by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. Today, Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination. Visitors can explore the many rock-cut temples, tombs, and other structures that make up this ancient city.
Number 3: Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world, with the site measuring 162.6 hectares. The temple was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in dedication to the Hindu god Vishnu. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The temple complex is composed of three main temples, each with its own enclosed courtyard, as well as numerous smaller temples and shrines. The central temple, Angkor Wat, is the largest and most famous of the temples, with its five towers representing the five elements of Hindu cosmology. The other two main temples are Phnom Bakheng and Bayon.
Angkor Wat is renowned for its intricate carvings and bas-reliefs, which cover every surface of the buildings. These carvings depict scenes from Hindu mythology, as well as everyday life in 12th-century Cambodia. The temple complex also features an extensive system of canals and reservoirs, which were used to supply water to the city of Angkor during times of drought.
Today, Angkor Wat is one of Cambodia's most popular tourist destinations, with over two million visitors per year.