From buried temples to forgotten castles, from rock-hewn towns to regal monuments, many astounding sites in this world have been a part of our history and culture for centuries. They are a treasure trove of places especially for history and architecture enthusiasts, speaking of a time from the bygone era. Many of these places have been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and preserved just as they were when they were discovered. Let’s unearth some of these famous sites of ancient times like Hadrian’s Wall that have been hidden from the world since time immemorial and take a peek into the many ancient wonders of the world.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Tucked away from the world for centuries in the slopes of the Andes, the well-preserved ruins of Machu Picchu continue to unmask the mystery of the Inca Empire. This awe-inspiring ancient city was forgotten till the early part of the 20th century, but today, the incredible ruins have been restored and well-maintained for people to know about the mysterious past of this ghost town. Often, people come to Peru solely to visit this hidden capital to which the Inca had escaped when the Spanish crusaders came in 1532. With time it became the famous Lost city of the Inca.
People travel to this ancient fortress to admire the engineering genius of the Incas, who mastered the technique of ashlar that makes blocks of stones fit tightly without using any mortar. Some come here to simply take in the magnificent view of the ruins surrounding by towering peaks and the valleys around. So relish a beautiful introduction to the largest empire in pre-Columbian America.
Hadrian’s Wall, England
Stretching about 80 miles from the Wallsend near Newcastle Upon Tyne to the Solway Coast in Cumbria, the Hadrian Wall makes for a fabulous Roman coast-to-coast walk. This UNESCO World Heritage Site spans about 110 miles. It showcases the grand defensive techniques of ancient Rome. Built-in AD 122, on the orders of Emperor Hadrian at the northernmost limit of Britannia province in Rome, it showed the strength of power the Romans had and their forward-thinking and tenacity. This massive feat of engineering crossing rivers, creeping over the verdant countryside, has stood the test of time. Even today, it stands tall and tough as a robust barrier.
Today, there are many walking tours spanning over a few days for adventure enthusiasts, taking them across the country from coast to coast- starting from Wallsend, through the beautiful countryside of Northumberland, into the historic town of Carlisle and finally to the plains of Solway coast. It is a great way to enjoy the countryside, soak in the natural beauty, and relish the historical past of the Roman Empire.
Angor Wat, Cambodia
An ancient city in Cambodia, Angor Wat, is the world’s largest religious monument complex. Built-in the 12th century by the Khmers, this speculator monument complex is renowned for its stunning architecture. When built, it extended more than 400 kilometers, making it the biggest pre-industrial town in history. It was a fully functional city that worked as any modern-day city, and the temples were only a part of this burgeoning town. Over time, the city collapsed, and the monuments were rendered to a state of dilapidation. But with it gaining the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site, temples and other parts were maintained.
Today, it has an intriguing blend of unexcavated and excavated temples in different shapes and sizes. In fact, some of them have a mystical appeal to them, found amongst roots and trees. Large intricate bas-reliefs dot the walls and doors while massive stone-faced carved face peek out in all directions. Steep stone stairways and crumbling passages add to the air of mystery, attracting tourists from all over the world.
Great Wall of China
Adding to the grandeur of China’s ancient history is the awe-inspiring monument- The Great Wall of China. Stretching to about 6,000 kilometers, it meanders its way through barren deserts, grasslands, mountains, and forests, connecting watchtowers and battlements built over time. The oldest sections of the wall date back to the 7th Century BC. The entire wall stretches along 15 provinces, but the main gateway to this brilliant work of art is from Beijing.
Badaling is the best-preserved and the most famous route to visit the Great Wall from Beijing. One can hike from Balding to Watch Tower 1 or take the cable car. It also houses the Great Wall Museum that depicts the relics from the past. Another point of entry is Mutianyu with the option of a cable car and a Toboggan ride. So get ready to assault the most iconic of bastions!
Borobudur is one of Indonesia’s most popular tourist destinations and is regarded as one of the most significant Buddhist sites globally. People come from all over the world to this place of worship to admire the archaeological beauty and also seek a sense of serenity and calm. Set amidst the lush green tropical surroundings of Indonesia with tall mountains and active volcanoes forming a magnificent backdrop, this UNESCO heritage site is one of its kind. Located near Yogyakarta, on the island of Java, this huge temple complex was built in the 700s, but it was abandoned after 2-3 centuries due to volcanic eruptions.
The British unearthed it in the 1800s, and later it was restored to become a world cultural site. Today, it is thronged by tourists all year around, making it a must-visit place on your travel bucket list.
The Colosseum, Italy
One of the most iconic structures in the world, the Roman Colosseum, has an imposing appeal, unparalleled to any other monument. Located in the city center, it is a testament to the rich history of Rome and the grand achievements of the Roman empire. The largest structure from ancient Rome, the construction of the Colosseum was started in AD 72 by Vespasian and his son enlarged eight years later, adding the fourth story of the monument. Its name finds its relevance from the statue of Nero that was called the Colossus. This magnificent work of architecture was created for entertainment and love for sports by the Flavian emperors. It had gladiatorial shows and fights between animals that provided barbaric entertainment to the masses. So visit this UNESCO World Heritage site that attracts over 5 million visitors annually and get a whiff of the grand Roman era!
So, Its time you plan your next holiday destination soon and explore these beautiful heritage magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Soak in the history, architecture and grandeur that they offer; you will surely not be disappointed. Afterall, what better way to travel back in time and experience the bygone era! So, have you packed your bags and made your bookings yet?…