17 Amazing Ancient Ruins of the World

by adventure
Meteora Roussanou Monastery at sunset, Greece

I’ve seen a lot of ancient ruins of the world during my six years of traveling. We live in the modern world, where the modern structure is impressive, but on the other hand, there is something to know about the structures from the past.

Whenever I saw the royal palaces, sacred religious sites, mystical sculptures, fortifications, ports, and tombs, one thing I thought, how the people of that time built these massive buildings or completed these massive structures without any modern technology?

For their research, historians and archaeologists constantly consult the world’s numerous old ruins. Impressive ruins of the world help us to explore and observe the architectural ideas used by ancient civilizations.

You would be amazed when you’ll read further about meticulous city planning and incredible feats of engineering. Even though we can learn many things from these prehistoric folks, the most impressive and enchanting part is what we don’t know.

In my list, there are some of the most captivating ancient ruins that are packed with thousand-year-old mysteries that will boggle your mind; even you have the most curious mind.

Let’s explore the ancient civilizations…


1: Cappadocia – Turkey

Cappadocia is a beautiful region in the center of Turkey. If you are visiting Turkey, I’ll recommend not miss this fantastic and beautiful Cappadocia. This place was home to the Hittite Empire. In the middle of the unique and most beautiful landscape, you’ll encounter the premiere ancient ruins of Turkey.

 Cappadocia in Turkey ancient ruins

Cave town in Zelve Valley, Cappadocia in Turkey.

What Cappadocia is famous for?

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  • This ancient ruin is famous for its remarkable rock formation, fairytale sceneries, and hundreds of hot air balloons in the sky during the morning.
  • When you visit the Cappadocia, you’ll explore the underground cities. In Goreme National Park, you’ll see the Derinkuyu is the larger of two subterranean cities.
  • Twenty thousand people lived there on multiple levels, and you’ll see the 18 stories underground that completed with the shafts of ventilation and ways to obtain water.
  • I’ll suggest, be sure to take a ride on a hot air balloon over the landscape. It is one of the best things to do in Cappadocia.






2: Ephesus – Turkey

The ancient city of Ephesus was discovered in western Turkey, dating back over 2,000 years. You can touch, walk and stand on through every part of the city, unlike many other protected archaeological sites.

This city was formerly a significant commercial hub due to the fact that Ephesus was constructed as a port. Ephesus is revered by Christians even in modern times as a holy site due to its role as an important religious and commercial centre during the early days of Christianity. Ephesus, which is located in Turkey and is a historic city, is a very popular tourist attraction.

Ephesus ancient city in Izmir, Turkey.

Celsus Library at Ephesus ancient city in Izmir, Turkey.

Ephesus is famous for?

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  • This city is primarily known for the famous Temple of Artemis. This temple had a place in the seven wonders of the ancient world.
  • Suppose you are visiting this amazing ancient ruin.. In that case, I’ll recommend a visit, the temple of Hadrian, the theater Gymnasium, Church of St. Marry, Roman Harbor Baths, and the Library of Celsus.

Recommended: Visit this place in the summer, and it’s good to visit in early or late in the day. Because this time you’ll get the archeological site less crowded.



3: Pompeii – Italy

Pompeii is the city of sins. This city was destroyed due to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. 2,000 folks’ bodies turn into ash along with the eruption of the mountain.

Ancient walls in Pompeii with volcano Vesuvius in the background

Ancient walls in Pompeii with volcano Vesuvius in the background

What you’ll explore here?

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  • When you get to Pompeii, you’ll see remains of stone houses, bakeries, temples, meat and fish market, baths, Jupiter’s Temple, law courts, several villas, and even a brothel.
  • Every year-round, about 3 million people visit the city of sins.


4: Acropolis – Greece

Acropolis is one of the famous and universal symbols of civilization and classical spirit. The city of Athens is located on top; you can see the Parthenon from any city corner. The city of Athens was built in the 5th century and inhabited by Pericles; after that, Acropolis transformed into temples.

The Acropolis has been utilised throughout history as a fortress, a religious centre, and a popular tourist destination, as well as performing all of these functions simultaneously.

Acropolis Greece ancient ruins

What you’ll explore here?

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There are some most essential and spectacular monuments that you can explore,

  • The Parthenon: The Parthenon, a temple designed in the Doric style, is the primary reason people visit the Acropolis. You are going to be able to see the stunning statue of Athena.
  • The Temple of Athena Nike: The Athena Nike Temple is a little temple that was designed in the style of a well-known structure.
  • The Propylaea: The Propylaea is the most important gateway to the Acropolis.
  • The Statue of Athena Promachos: Athena Promachos was depicted as a bronze statue that was 30 feet in height and stood opposite the Propylaea.
  • The Erechtheion: The Erechtheion was an ionic temple that was devoted to the goddess Athena as well as other gods.

Best time to visit: The Acropolis is accessible to visitors at any time of the year as it is situated in the most tourist-heavy part of the city. Despite the fact that there is a delay, the front desk now has the tickets ready for purchase. If you want to avoid the crowds and the heat of the summer, you should arrive early in the morning or stay after 5 o’clock in the evening.


Remember to wear comfortable shoes and to bring some water with you., because exploring the city of Athens demands a lot of walking.



5: Terracotta Army – China

Time to meet some warriors, the Terracotta warriors. In Xi’an, China, there is a mind-blowing collection of thousands of lives – sized horses and soldiers. There are almost 6,000 terracotta soldiers and horses in pit 1, but you can see only 2,000 warriors on display. Pit 1 is the most impressive and largest airplane’s size hanger, where you’ll see the spectacular and impressive pictures of the Terracotta army.

Terracotta Army china ancient ruins

What you’ll explore here?

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  • There are three vaults and one Exhibition hall of the Bronze Chariots. In vault one, you’ll see the crowd of tourists; as I stated above, here you can see the statues of warriors and horses.
  • You’ll see every warrior statue is different from others. Every face, hairstyle, expression, and gesture is unique. Through these detailed artifacts, you can study the military, cultural and economic history of that time.


6: Karnak – Egypt

Due to its sheer size, this Karnak Temple is very impressive. It is covering more than 100 hectares; this area is more extensive than most ancient cities.

Egypt Karnak ancient ruins

What you’ll explore here?

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  • You’ll explore the sanctuaries, shrines, temples, and obelisks. This impressive temple took 2,000 years to build, and you’ll see, every Egyptian pharaoh left their architectural mark.

You’ll explore further;

  • Kanak’s ‘Pylons
  • Wadjet Hall
  • Hatshepsut and Thutmose III
  • The Great Hypostyle Hall (this is the most unique and fantastic building at Karnak, in this enormous room always filled with solid sandstone columns and towering pylons. Though, this hall is famous for photography.)
  • Khonsu Temple
  • Taharqa
  • Nectanebo I and the end


7: Colosseum – Italy

The Colosseum, it’s a prominent symbol of Rome. The imposing construction of this symbol stands for almost 2,000 years of history. When you see the Colosseum structure, you’ll learn about the life of the Roman Empire. It is considered to be the best and most remarkable achievement of Roman architecture. The construction of the Colosseum was completed in between A.D. 70 and A.D. 80.

The Colosseum spans 189 meters and is 156 meters broad. It was utilized for gladiatorial competitions and public displays. It was abandoned in the 10th century A.D. and severely destroyed by major earthquakes in A.D. 847 and A.D. 1231. The Colosseum is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.; each year, almost 6 million visitors visited it. Colosseum took place in the seven wonders of the modern world on 7 July 2007.

Colosseum ancient ruinA breathtaking shot of the Colosseum amphitheatre located in Rome, Italy

What you’ll explore here?

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  • It had eight entrances and four floors in total. On the second and third floors, you’ll explore the amphitheater decorated with statues. On the last floor, you’ll see a museum dedicated to the Greek god Eros.


8: Great Wall of China – China

In China, it is one of the most famous tourist attractions and one of the best ruins in the world I ever visited. I am glad I hit the way of this wall. Commonly this wall is considered the wonder of the world. This man-made ancient structure stretches3,000 km through various northern Chinese regions.

It was built over the course of six Chinese dynasties as a defense from Mongols or invaders. Approximately 2,000 years took place in constructing this wall, and some parts of this wall have fallen into ruin.

great-wall-of-china ancient ruins

The best sections to visit here;

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  • Between the 14th and 17th centuries, during the Ming dynasty, some well prepared parts of this wall were erected. Badaling, Mutianyu, Jinshanling, Juyongguan, Gubeikou, and Jiankou are the sections.
  • These all sections are near to Beijing, Badaling, which is the most famous place. Many tour groups or travelers like to choose Badaling destinations.

What you’ll explore through these sections:

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  • Mutianyu Great Wall: This wall section is close to the Badaling; through this feature, you’ll explore the mind-blowing and heart-touching views of the Great wall and the surrounding hills.
  • Jinshanling Great Wall: It is away 150km northeast to downtown; you’ll reach in two or three hours to drive there. This section stands in the most stunning sections of the wall. If you have one full day to see the Great Wall, I’ll recommend a tour to Jinshanling.
  • Gubeikou and Jiankou: These both sections are ideal choices for experienced hikers. Keep in mind, the feature of this section is very steep and dangerous climbs, and this is only recommended for adventurers and experienced hikers.

Though some other popular sections of the Great Wall outside Beijing, such as Simatai, Shanhaiguan, and Huanghuacheong, I’ll recommend what I stated above.

One more thing if you want to explore the entire length of the Great wall, that will take approximately 18 months. Best of luck 😊




9: Petra – Jorden

It’s like a dream come true to visit Petra; I heard a lot about this amazing ancient place but never thought I’ll visit one day. The other name of Petra is ‘Rose City. Rose City got its name from the red rose sandstone; you’ll see the hand-hewn caves, tombs, and temples carved from pink sandstone in the desert.

This ‘Rose City’ is located between the Dead and the Red Seas; you can’t believe that the city was packed with bustling markets, palatial houses, and lush green gardens. Now, this city is a part of the world’s amazing ancient ruins.

Petra-Jordan ancient ruins

What you’ll explore here?

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  • You’ll see the carved rock tombs and elaborate tunnels, diversion dams, and temples. The remaining ‘Rose City’ contains almost 800 mountains including, temples, tombs, and arched gateways.
  • The Urn Tomb is the first tomb you’ll visit, built in 70 A.D. in honor of King Malchus II. Silk Tomb, which is near Urn Tomb, is the second tomb. The third tomb is the Corinthian Tomb, of which only a small section remains today.

Recommended: If you think you can explore the whole of Petra in just a single day, you are wrong. Petra exists on hundred square miles. Some sites you’ll encounter on donkeys, camels, or horses, while some sites are steep and you have to hike these steep terrains. For seeing and exploring the secret tombs and hidden details of Petra, spend at least two days and one night in town and plan your sightseeing as a series of hikes.


10: Giza Pyramids – Egypt

The Pyramids of Giza are one of the most mysterious ancient sites on the globe. These monumental tombs were constructed some 4500 years ago. The pharaohs of Egypt were thought they would become god’s afterlife. For the next world, they prepare themselves; that’s why they erected the temples of gods and constructed the pyramids for themselves. They stuffed the pyramid tombs with everything a pharaoh would need to survive and guide himself in the afterlife.

The engineers of that time were pro, so talented, and the builders were well skilled, well-fed Egyptian workers who constructed these impressive pyramids and impressed the world. The scientists of this modern world can’t be sure how the pyramids were built.

Giza Pyramids Egypt ancient ruins

What you’ll explore here?

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  • I can say that these mysterious pyramids allow us to know and explore a long-vanished world. Folks think (I was included, but the views have been changed after visiting it) in the modern sense, these pyramids are just a cemetery, but these are a lot more than that.
  • You’ll explore the amazing scenes of life in ancient Egypt from every aspect. You’ll learn the thing here, not just how Egyptians died but how they lived.
  • If you want to learn something or study any subject about Pharaonic civilization, then you must visit this place.

I’ll recommend visiting this mysterious place because nothing could replicate the experience of a personal visit to Giza.


11: Valley of the Kings – Egypt

In Egypt, I visited almost all the ancient ruins; the valley of the kings is one of them. My tour guide said it is compulsory to take a trip to the King’s valley when visiting Egypt.Otherwise, I want to skip this tour, but when I took this adventure, I enjoyed learning some new things. This valley is famous for its royal tombs. It is one of the most magnificent burial grounds on earth, where the kings and queens of the kingdom are lying down for over a thousand years.

valley of kings Egypt the ancient ruins

What you’ll explore here?

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  • This valley was discovered in 1922 by Howards Carter. He discovered the essential tombs of the kings, and one of the essential tombs is Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb and all of his treasure. This discovery became the backbone of Kings Valley and drew visitors from all across the world.
  • You’ll explore the history and civilization of kings in the Valley of Kings. When you visit this place, you’ll see painted walls and sculpted with magnificent murals depicting views of daily life. The chambers in the Kings valley are full of treasures, everything from food to furniture, boat, jewels, and statues. Mean everything you’ll explore that sustains the life of eternity (according to the beliefs of that time kings).

Note: This beautiful valley is located on the west of River Nile near Luxor.


12: Luxor Temple – Egypt

A fantastic place to visit as it is located in the center of Luxor city. After vesting this I can say that this is one of the best open-air museums, there is no shortage of impressive ancient ruins to explore. It was built in 1400 BC.

Luxor temple

What you’ll explore here?

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  • The Luxor Temple is less complex than Karnak. But after visiting this temple, you walk back in time the deeper you go into it. It’s an ancient ruin city in a modern city, how amazing.


13: Roman Forum

Public life affairs and religious matters took place in Roman Forum in ancient times. It is along with the colosseum and the most excellent sign of the Roman Empire that can be seen today. Around 500 B.C. to 400 A.D. Roman Forum was the center of the Roman Empire.

When it was built, this place served as a marketplace. It became much more functional and versatile as all public life affairs were held in the area with time. In 500 B.C., the first public event took place in the Roman Forum, when the Roman Republic Started.


What type of Events happened here?

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This forum was used for multi-purpose; while there are several forums in ancient Rome, the Roman forum was the most essential.

Events happened here;

  • Religious Matter/Ceremonies
  • Public meetings
  • Public Speeches
  • Criminal Trials
  • Elections
  • Even the Gladiator matches have happened here (before the colosseum was built)
  • Education Seminars
  • Selling, Buying, and trading of items

What you’ll explore here?

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There are many statues, important buildings, and monuments; you’ll see them when you get to the Forum.

Some famous structures in the Roman Forum are;

  • Senate House
  • Arch of Titus
  • Temple of Saturn
  • Temple of Vesta
  • The Rostra
  • The Sacra Via
  • Temple of Castor and Pollux


14: Meteora – Greece

Meteora Monasteries are one of the most impressive regions in Greece. These monasteries are located on the northern side of Greece and included in the world heritage list. These doted rocks were formed around 60 million years ago.

Meteora Roussanou Monastery at sunset, Greece

Meteora Roussanou Monastery at sunset, Greece

What you’ll explore here?

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  • The colossal limestone rocks offer many extreme things to do in Meteora. The best and unique way to explore these magnificent monasteries is to hit the rocks from your feet and explore the heart-taking sites. Many ways lead to the monasteries, but I’ll suggest you avoid the crowd and select the pathways to explore the tremendous ancient monasteries and fantastic nature.
  • This place is also fabulous for rock climbing. Vertical rocks of Meteora provide a fantastic spot for climbing.


15: The Ayuthaya Ancient Ruin – Thailand

The ancient city of Ayuthaya was founded in 1350 by King Ramathinodi. It served as the Siamese Kingdom’s second capital. In the 18th century, the Burmese devastated this city.

Ayutthaya ancient city

What you’ll explore here?

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  • You’ll see, the central part of this ancient city was made of wood. On the site, you’ll explore the prominent place and many Buddhist places.
  • Some buildings have survived because many were destroyed in the 18th century. The remaining structures are a synthesis of architectural styles from China, Japan, India, Europe, and Persia. As you can see, these structures were also adorned with high-quality crafts and mural paintings.
  • You’ll explore the Lord Buddha sculptures, temples, and unusual water management techniques.


16: Palmyra – Syria

An oasis in Syria’s desert. Palmyra was a major cultural center in the ancient world, and it today houses the enormous ruins of a great metropolis. The ancients called this location “Bride of Desert” because it had long been a key caravan halt for travellers passing through the Syrian Desert.


What you’ll explore here?

Get this;

  • Like other ancient ruins, Palmyra represents the fusion of styles from different civilizations. You’ll explore one of the prominent temples in the remaining buildings, that is;

Ba’al – In the 1st century A.D., it is one of the significant religious monuments. Now just a tiny fraction of this monument exists today.

  • Great Colonnade is a significant remain in Palmyra; it’s a long sequence of free-standing columns. The length of this colonnade is 1 km, and several stages were constructed in the 2nd century and 3rd
  • You’ll explore the theater of ancient times here, Roman theater; this theater initially had twelve rows of seats made of wood. But now, you can see only nine rows of seats; others are not existing within the ruin of this theater.
  • You’ll see the 1 kilometer long funerary monuments when you visit the valley of tombs.
  • In the museum, you’ll explore many essential artifacts excavated from the site.

Great Colonnade is significant remains in Palmyra; it’s a long sequence of free-standing columns. The length of this colonnade is 1 km, and several stages were constructed in the 2nd century and 3rd.

You’ll explore the theater of ancient times here, Roman Theater; this theater initially had twelve rows of seats made of wood. But now, you can see only nine rows of seats; others do not exist within the ruin of this theater.

You’ll see the 1 kilometer long funerary monuments when you visit the valley of tombs.

In the museum, you’ll explore many essential artifacts excavated from the site.

17: Machu Picchu – Peru

Machu Picchu is a ruin from the 15th century. It is situated 2400 meters above sea level. This ancient ruin was built around 1450 for Inca ruler Pachacuti. Second name for Machu Picchu is Inca Lost City. Hiram Bingham, an American historian, uncovered the ancient Inca city in 1911.

Due to its natural values and distinctive culture, UNESCO declared Machu Picchu a heritage site in 1983.

Machu Picchu

What you’ll explore here?

Get this;

The house is surrounded by attractive mountain forests that are surrounded by natural beauty.

  • You can explore the temples, storage rooms, palaces, residences, baths, and stone structures in the Machu Picchu ruin.
  • Many visitors are unaware of this museum so, they lost a lot of information about Machu Picchu Ruins . The museum is Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballón. This museum is located near the base of Machu Picchu, about a 25 to 30 minutes walk from the town of Agues Calientes.

The museum will explain how and why Machu Picchu was created and why the Incas picked such a unique, remarkable, and natural beauty for the citadel.



Final Thoughts…

Amazing ancient ruins are one of the most significant things to see when going on any trip. When you visit the ruins, you can explore and learn about the old things in the new world. After seeing these massive and giant structures, the mind will boggle how the folks constructed these without any technology or modern machinery and the architectures of that time, how much creativity they had in their minds.

Natural beauty make these sits more beautiful and mesmerizing places to visit.  When you visit the ancient ruins, I can bet on this thing; you’ll find your soul in ancient times.

Just, take one step and go to visit these ruins personally…

Thank you for being with me!




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