The Great Pyramid of Giza
Long established as one of the Wonders of the World – and in fact the only remaining site out of the original Seven Wonders of the World – the pyramids of Giza are an enduring source of wonder for travellers all over the world.
The oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis, Egyptologists believe that the pyramid was built as a tomb for the Pharaoh Khufu over around 20 years. Finished in around 2560 BC, the pyramid stood at around 146 meters high, and for 3800 years it stood as the tallest structure on the planet. Even after all these years, it’s still an incredible feeling to stand at the base of this incredible structure and think that it has endured so many thousands of years.
See the pyramids and Egypt’s other treasures on a tour of Egypt.
Another incredible relic of the ancient world, Stonehenge was built around 2800 BC, and is thought to have been used during ancient ceremonies, and possibly as a burial ground. Comprised of enormous upright stones capped with lintels – along with smaller capped stones – the site retains a mystical air about it, drawing thousands of tourists, scientists and even druids to it every year.
See Stonehenge on a tour of Great Britain.
Although not quite as old as the pyramids or Stonehenge, Cappadocia is impressive for different reasons. One of Turkey’s main attractions, Cappadocia is a soft rocky landscape, honeycombed with networks of ancient underground settlements. It also features incredible examples of Byzantine art. After ancient volcanoes covered the region in a layer of ash – which solidified into soft, porous rock – erosion set in and formed the oddly-shaped cones, pillars and ‘fairy chimneys’ we see today. People have made their homes in the soft, porous rock for more than a thousand years, creating tunnel networks and underground churches – even entire towns! Some had as many as eight levels underground!
Visit Cappadocia on a tour of Turkey.
Probably the most famous of the Roman structures, the Colosseum is an enduring symbol of the Roman Empire – and of mankind’s enduring need for entertainment! But wasn’t anything like stadium events these days; the average afternoon down at the Colosseum would have entailed events far bloodier than a football game! The Romans had a fondness for cold-blooded killing, and it was behind these arches that many thousands of gladiators, criminals, animals – and anyone the Romans didn’t like very much – met a brutal death before the Roman crowds.
The structure that remains is around 2/3 of the original structure, having been plundered and destroyed by various earthquakes and fires over the years. But it’s still quite something to stand near it, and imagine the roar of the crowd within as various events took place within all those long years ago.
Take a look at our Italy tours and plan your trip to the Colosseum!
Another relic of Rome’s past, Hadrian’s Wall was built by Emperor Hadrian between AD 122 and 130 and stretched for 73 miles. Designed as a barrier, the wall has been recorded as being 8 feet wide and 12 feet high, making it quite a formidable obstacle. Featuring bath houses, gates, forts and other structures, the wall was the northern limit of the Roman Empire, and separated the Romans from the barbarian hordes to the north.
It’s fascinating to think that it survives today; and numerous archaeological finds in the region have given great insight into what life might have been like on the British Isles almost 2000 years ago.
Visit Hadrian’s Wall on a tour of Great Britain.
What are some of your favourite ancient sites? Let us know in the comments below!