Show Us the World's Most Incredible Historic Ruins!

Some of my absolute favorite ancient sites that I have visited:

  • Hierapolis - Climb up the Pamukkale terraces to Hierapolis. There, you’ll find a gate to hell, amazing ampitheatre, a necropolis, and the possible tomb of Apostle Philip. It is stunning.

  • Cappadocia - There are amazing rock formations throughout the area. People have been carving homes and churches into them for a very long time. If you hike through the area, you’ll come across caves with ancient and modern paintings. There are also the nearby underground cities, as well as the stunning Goreme Open Air Museum.

  • Dun Beag Broch - It’s the only broch I’ve visited, but it is amazing to think of what this building could have looked like thousands of years ago. It’s a circular structure that may have been used for defense.

  • Hadrian’s Wall and Vindolanda - Lumping these together even though Vindolanda predates the wall. Vindolanda itself turns up amazing Roman finds, like boxing gloves, a toilet seat, and, of course, the Vindolanda Tablets. The site is still being excavated, and they always post amazing finds on social media.

The scale and organization of the wall is staggering. What’s even more mindblowing is that the vast majority (I think over 90%) of the wall remains unexcavated.

  • Mesa Verde - Absolutely staggering to visit and see where some Pueblo peoples lived. I am always in awe of how settlements like this were built. Like a lot of the ruins from indigenous settlements, they are fragile and haven’t been treated with the respect that they deserve.

Some that I still want to visit:

  • Çatalhöyük - a huge Neolithic compound in Turkey. I don’t believe there were doors, and all of the rooms in this huge city were interconnected.

  • Skara Brae - another Neolithic complex, this time in Orkney. The units even have built in shelves, where things like jewelry have been found.

  • Canyon of the Ancients - This area seems to contain such a diverse assortment of ruins, it must be spectacular.

  • Chogha Zanbil - The best preserved, most outstanding ziggurats in the world. A stunning remnant of the religious life of the Elamite empire, and a place I dream of visiting.

  • Behistun - A trilingual rock inscription that helped us to understand Old Persian, Babylonian, and Elamite.

I ended up listing way too many places, sorry. But I will add the visiting ruins in the UK is so easy thanks to the Ordnance Survey maps. Possible ruins are marked on their maps. If I saw something that looked interesting, I’d just open the map and it would tell me if it was something already noted, or if maybe I had been watching way too much Time Team.

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Thanks for all of these! This is a great source of information for people to easily access. Thanks for sharing, truly appreciated :beers:

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I go to some events that feature a moment of silence at the start to acknowledge the local Ohlone tribe and its history in the area. Rare moments like those highlight the erasure of history and culture and people that’s occurred here in the U.S. and how their neglect continues.

To add a comment on the topic at hand, I just added several sites from this article to my bucket list:

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Seeing all these amazing posts, I can’t help but think of what we’ve lost with the demise of these ancient civilizations. @penelopeashe mentioned Hagar Qim on the island of Malta but Gozo, the neighboring island, has a number of temples and ancient structures all over the island as well. What I found most striking, though, was not a structure at all, but rather the cart ruts engraved in the stone on the edge of the island. It’s said that the ruts extend in the stone below the water. Gozo's ancient Ggantija temples are older than the Pyramids | Maltaeasy

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Same! That was some of the thought that went behind this post, a collection of what the world once looked like and what was lost. :fist:

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When wandering the Italian countryside, we randomly came upon the ruins of the Latin town of Norba, which was destroyed in 82 BCE by Lucius Cornelius Sulla when he marched on Rome.

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Temple%20of%20Kalabsha
Kalabsha Temple is one of the wonderful attractions in Aswan which considered the most delightful city on the banks of the Nile River, as it is the most favorite winter resort for all people since the nineteenth century. plan Egypt tours gives you the chance to visit Kalabsha Temple it is magnificent attraction.

Kalabsha Temple returned to the roman times and was dedicated to the Nubian god Mandoulis, and go back to the time of roman emperor Augustus, later emperor have contributed for the construction, for example, kaligula and Trjan.It originally was built on much early site that dates back to the 18th dynasty and most probably go back to king Thothmosis and Amenhotep II.The temple is considered among the most complete temples in all of Nubia.

The design of Kalabsha Temple is classical for the Ptolemaic period with pylons, courtyard, hypostyle hall and three room, However the Pylon is offset, which creates a trapezoid in the courtyard beyond, It was based on the site of an earlier structure built by Ptolemy IX as evidenced by a chapel There is also a small chapel and gate on Elephantine Island from Kalabsha, and a gate built by Augustus was given to the Agyptisches Museum in West Berlin.

The courtyard just inside the pylon once had columns on three sides, At either end is a staircase that leads to the upper stories of the pylon and a good view of Lake Nassar, On the right screened wall separating the courtyard from the hypostyle hall is an engraving from Aurelius Besarion (around 249 AD), the governor of Ombos and Elephantine decreeing the expulsion of swine from the town for religious purposes, On a column here is the text of King Kharamadoye and is one of the longest Meroitic inscriptions found to date.

On an end wall is thought to be an inscription of the 5th century Nubian King, Silko, who conquered the fierce Nubian Blemmyes, Different seances on the screen walls including the King with Horus and Thoth, On the rear of the vestibule are scenes depicting a Ptolemaic king making offerings to Isis and Mandulis, Also Amenhotep II who founded the original temple (1450 to 1425 BC) upon which this one is built, is making offers of wine to Min and Mandulis, once you are in Aswan do not miss the chance to visit Kalabsha Temple.

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Some of the oldest cities currently known are from the Harrapan culture. It’s one place I’d like to visit but probably will never get there. Quite an impressive culture, they had a lot of advanced engineering and yet it was hardly known until recent times. Some of the ruins were used to build a railway bed. :frowning: At the time they were just considered “old” but not known to be some of the oldest buildings on the planet.

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I love ruins! I have visited sites all over - Asia, Middle East, Central/South America, Africa - my favorites are in Israel; but I have a great fondness for the ruins I visited earliest in my life, in New Mexico; especially Gran Quivira: 117909-004-751A589F

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Hey Jordan
Thanks for such an amazing list. Have been to a number of them. And now have more to plan for. The Orkney Islands are a wonderful place for exploring and Skara Brae one of the highlights.
Cheers
Allan

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An amazing collection of places. Totally agree with the brilliance of the sites throughout Mexico (my personal favourite is probably Palenque) and Tikal. But also with nominations for Jerash, Petra, Lalibela, Egypt and others. A couple of my favourites that haven’t come up:

The temples of Bagan in Myanmar

Leptis Magna, Roman ruins on the Libyan coast

Chiva, Uzbekistan
uzbekistan-chiva

Also really loved Palmyra in Syria, much of which has now sadly been destroyed.

Keep exploring

Allan

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These were awesome, thanks for sharing :fist:. It baffles me at times re-reading about the vastness of Rome’s empire.

Pompeii is amazing, but nearby Herculaneum is better preserved and just as impressive in its own right. You can still see paint colors in many homes, and tile is better preserved.

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I was there two years ago and so loved it - climbed to the walls at the top of the hill and only saw a couple of people. There is a tourist centre below, but the ruins there are not at all crowded.

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I was there last year
it was a dream for me and the museum was incredible.
I also Loved mt Nemrut
I am fortunate to have been to the very great ruins all over the world

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Can’t believe there are so many suggestions and India barely gets a look in. I’ll just throw in the rock cut temples of Ajanta and Ellora to start the ball rolling but you could spend a lifetime wandering through a mogul temple in your back garden, a city built to be a capital and abandoned a decade or so later, or tragic villages abandoned when their populations were slaughtered in the religious warfare that accompanied independence. Or if you want a cooler climate I live among the neolithic chamber tombs of the Boyne Valley where you’ll find a very high percentage of Europe’s neolithic rock art. I’ve got 11 chamber tombs within a 2 mile radius from my house. Try Newgrange on a winter morning

And can I also second the suggestion of visiting Malta and Gozo where the neolithic temples, above and below ground, will blow your mind.

And if Greek temples are to your taste, there’s Paestum in Italy. On a spring morning with the magical light off the sea it’s haunted.

Maes Howe on Orkney

Carnac, Brittany

Abandoned anti aircraft towers in Vienna

And not all ruins are still where they were found. The Pergamonmuseum on museum island in Berlin puts all other looting of the artefacts of other nations in the shade. Walk Nebuchadnezzar’s ceremonial way to the Ishtar gate, step though and your are in Pergamon, and on it goes. How many of the painstakingly reconstructed buildings of the ancient world would have survived if they hadn’t been removed to Berlin by the archaeologist/collectors of the past is a moot point of course - after all it may have been a British collector who removed the Elgin marbles from the Parthenon to the British museum but they might not have survived it’s subsequent use as an arsenal and explosion. Similarly the Ishtar gate was unearthed in pulverised fragments and not in the glory we see today. And a great deal of ancient Babylon was levelled to make life easier for tanks by the US troops in recent decades. Sometimes we have to be grateful to the looters.

No one has mentioned Stone Henge - or better Avesbury to my mind. Or the Uffington White Horse. An amazing collection of lost structures.

The world is an amazing place. As I’ve got older I’ve spent more time looking at what is under my nose instead of travelling because there’s so much close to home if you only look for it

We visited there in 1995 as I had read about Ostia. I was totally impressed. The wind blowing through the cedars, the silence and absence of tourists was breathtaking. It was like going back in time. For atmosphere it was more impressive than Pompeii. Jeffrey

I think it depends on where you grew up and what your interests were. I’m a 6th gen Coloradoan and we knew and learned about this place (both by family and in school) from a very early age.

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Something about the topic of historical ruins really fills me with joy and existential wonder. It also reminds me of the poem Ozymandias and the traveller who hears about the old statue from a traveller. I always read it while travelling to areas which are historical ruins. The last one was to Hampi in south India.