How old can ‘old’ really be? Ancient ruins reveal much about ancient culture and these incredible sites have been preserved since their conception.
Visit the monuments that still stand today and see what life was like in a place that ceased to exist years ago. These are some of the world’s most beautiful ancient ruins.
1.Temple of Confucius, China
Location: Qufu City
The end of September this year marked the 2568th anniversary since the birth of the Confucius – the Chinese educator, philosopher and educator. A grand ceremony took place in his honour and the majestic Temple of Confucius named after the Chinese leader was built in 1302. It’s one of the most renowned temples and the second largest temple in China. An emblem of the rich Asian history and culture, the temple has nine courtyards offering a tranquil environment to appreciate the stillness as you learn about the Asian history.
2. Great Mosque of Djenné, Mali
Location: Djenné, Mopti
The famous landmark in Africa was only declared a Heritage Site in 1988. The mosque used to be the meeting place for traders from Sudan and Guniea in 800AD. The Great Mosque of Djenne is a mosque and occasionally becomes a market. The city is also affectionately known as the City of Mud and is built from a mixture of straw, clay and oil. It remains a prominent symbol of the city and the nation of Mali.
3. Prambanan Temple, Indonesia
The Prambanan Temple was built in the 9th century AD. The temple is 47 metres high and is the largest temple dedicated to Shiva, who was one of three Hindu gods. The beautifully carved temple can be seen from a great distance and is surrounded by green fields and a few villages.
4. Ajanta Caves, India
The Ajanta Caves is the oldest UNESCO Heritage in India, which are over 2000 years old. These caves are home to magnificent masterpiece of Indian art. It is believed that Buddhist monks spent their time in the caves during monsoons. While they were waiting for the monsoons to end, they painted the caves.
5. Roman Baths, Rome
Roman Baths were a day-to-day life in ancient Rome and were useful for social and community gatherings.The local complex was a gathering point where everyone would chat and relax. Folk in the ancient Roman times could choose between a cold, warm or hot bath. Many would indulge in all three. There are baths that remain in the old sites, but are not in operation anymore.
6. Husuni Kubwa Palace, Tanzania
Location: Kilwa Kisiwani
The East African Coast was home to trading towns in the 14th century. The Husuni Kubwa Palace was built by Sultan al-Hasan ibn Sualiman who was referred to as ‘the father of gifts’. He made the palace from jagged blocks of coral stone. Kilwa Kisiwani was a wealthy port for trading between Africa, Arabia, China and India.
7. Bagan Temples, Myanmar
Location: Central Burma
The Bagan Temples are in the ancient city of Burma. These temples were built between the 11th and 13th century. The Kings all wanted to leave a legacy for the future generation by creating the monuments. The are more than 10 000 Bagan Temples that have various architectural styles. The Bagan architectural zone is on the UNESCO Heritage Site list.
8. Luxor Temple, Egypt
Location: Luxor City
The ancient Luxor temples are on the east side of the Nile River. The temples were constructed in 1400 BC in the Thebes and are made from sandstone blocks. The temple is one of the best preserved ancient monuments in the world. The entrance of the monument is known as the first pylon. The statues seated at the entrance, are of the Ramesses II. Ramesses was a pharaoh of the Dynasty of Egypt.
9. Baalbek: Temple of Baachus, Lebanon
The temple of Baachus is one of the grandest Roman temples ruins ever built. The temple is dedicated to the Roman wine god, Baachus. The building was constructed in 150 AD to 250 AD. Tourism has become a large part of the economy in Baalbek. An annual Baalbek International Festival takes here.
10. Chichen Itza, Mexico
The Chichen Itza is Mexico’s most visited archaeological site. The Mayan ruin is an enormous pyramid made from stone dating back as early as 250 AD. The pyramid was originally built around a limestone sinkhole and is known as one of the seven wonders of the world. The name Chichen Itza means “the mouth of the well of Itza”.
11. Longmen Grottoes, China
The largest and most impressive collection of Chinese art is based in the Longmen Grottoes, also known as the Longmen Caves. The caves are made out of lime stone. The carving for the caves began in 492 AD and continued for 500 years. There are now 1350 caves to visit with a number of statues inside, all accessible to the public.
12. Ta Prohm Temple, Cambodia
Location: Siem Reap
The original name for Ta Prohm was Rajavihara which means ‘The King’s Ministry’. Originally the temple was built in 1186 and used as a Buddhist Monastery and learning centre. It is one of three most popular attractions in Siem Reap. This is where the movie The Tomb Raider with actress Angelina Jolie was filmed.
What temples have you visited that are not on the list? Comment in the box below and share with us.