There are some ancient monuments that are so well-known, that they’ve become almost synonymous with the word ‘monument’. These structures have stood the test of time and continue to capture our imaginations, the kind of places you see in movies and dream about visiting one day; well, now’s your chance. All of these places are definitely a bucket-list-worthy, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Should you be keen to narrow things down, here is a list of some of the greatest ancient monuments in the world.
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England. It consists of a ring of standing stones, each around 13 feet (four meters) high, seven feet (two meters) wide, and weighing around 25 tons, with the stones set within earthworks in the shape of a crescent.
Stonehenge is thought to have been built between 3000 and 2000 BC. Though the purpose of the monument is unknown, many theories have been proposed – some believe it was a burial site, others a religious pilgrimage destination.
Regardless of its meaning, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK. You can’t just rock up to the stones (unless it’s during the winter or summer solstice), however; you’ll need to buy tickets for Stonehenge in advance or at the exhibition and visitor centre, though the admission fee will be higher if you choose the latter option.
The Pyramids Of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza are a complex of three ancient pyramids located in the Nile River Valley, just outside of Cairo, Egypt. They were built between 2560 and 2490 BC and are thought to have been used as tombs for the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure.
The Great Pyramid of Khufu is the largest and oldest of the three pyramids, and is also the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that is still standing today. If you’re looking to add an impressive ancient monument to your bucket list, look no further than the Pyramids Of Giza! The pyramids are no doubt amongst the most beautiful and perfect architectural masterpieces in history.
The Colosseum, or the Flavian Amphitheatre, is an oval-shaped amphitheater in Rome, Italy. It was built between 70 and 80 AD under the Roman emperor Vespasian. The Colosseum could seat up to 80,000 people and was used for gladiatorial contests, public executions, animal hunts, and other entertainment.
Today it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome with over six million visitors each year. So if you’re ever in Rome, don’t forget to add the Colosseum to your bucket list, as the city remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world for a reason!
The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens, Greece. It was built between the fifth century BC and the second century AD and contains a number of ancient buildings, including the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Erechtheion.
The Acropolis was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and is one of Greece’s most popular tourist attractions. The Acropolis is a must-see for anyone interested in ancient history or architecture. It was made even more famous by the 2004 film, ‘The Da Vinci Code.’ This is one bucket-list-worthy ancient monument that you won’t want to miss!
Chichen Itza is a pre-Columbian archaeological site located in Yucatan, Mexico. It contains the remains of a Maya city that flourished between the ninth and thirteenth centuries AD. The site is best known for its Temple of Kukulkan, also known as ‘El Castillo’. Chichen Itza was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Mexico.
If you’re looking to add an ancient Mayan site to your bucket list, Chichen Itza is a great choice, and for a larger exploration of the Yucatan peninsula, you might want to base yourself in nearby Tulum, which boasts Mayan ruins overlooking the ocean; just magic.
The Great Stupa
The Great Stupa at Sanchi is a Buddhist stupa located in Sanchi, India. It was built between the third century BC and the first century AD and contains the remains of Buddha. The stupa is surrounded by four gateways, each with a different design, and is a popular tourist destination s well as being one of the most well-preserved Buddhist monuments in India. If you’re interested in Buddhism or ancient Indian history, the Great Stupa is a must-see!
Temple Of Artemis
The Temple of Artemis, also known as the Artemision, was a temple located in Ephesus, Turkey. It was built in the fourth century BC and was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The temple was dedicated to the goddess Artemis and was one of the largest temples ever built. It was destroyed by fire in 356 BC and later rebuilt. The temple was again destroyed by an earthquake in AD 262 and never rebuilt. Today, only ruins remain but it is still possible to get a sense of the scale and beauty of this ancient monument.
Calakmul is a Mayan archaeological site located in Campeche, Mexico. It was built between 550 B.C. – 300 B.C. and contains the remains of a Mayan city. Calakmul is best known for the great pyramid which is over 45 meters tall. The site also contains a number of palaces, temples, and other buildings. Calakmul and its surrounding tropical forests was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002 and is one of the most important Mayan sites in Mexico. If you’re looking to add an ancient Mayan site to your bucket list, Calakmul is a great choice!
The Bottom Line
These are just a few of the many ancient monuments around the world that are definitely bucket-list-worthy, and if you’re interested in history or architecture, be sure to add some (or all!) of these amazing sites to your list.
If you’re concerned about the crowds, consider visiting during the off-season so that you can enjoy these ancient sites in relative peace. We hope this has inspired you to add some of these ancient monuments to your bucket list. Happy travelling!