Who says time travel is not possible? One way to experience the past is to visit some monuments and heritage sites. These places are preserved as much as possible to give the visitors the experience and feel the things that happened way before.
Mankind’s ancient past is littered with some of the greatest architectural and engineering accomplishments ever known to history. Limited by the tools they had, ancient civilizations were still very much capable of spectacular feats of engineering that would stump even the best engineering minds of today.
In celebration to International Monuments and Sites Day we list down incredible sites around the world, rich with history that they also serve as portals into the ancient past.
Located in Southwestern Colorado, Mesa Verde offers a rare glimpse into the indigenous history of the American South West. Home to the Ancestral Pueblo Indians some eight centuries ago, be transported back in time by the breathtaking sites that awaits you at Mesa Verde.
With some of the best preserved archaeological sites in the United States, Mesa Verde offers visitors access to over 5,000 historical sites. This includes cliff dwellings, shrines and ceremonial artifacts, as well as some of the best preserved rock art in the Western hemisphere. Step back in time and live the lives of the Pueblo Indians, one of America’s oldest cultures as you explore the many sites Mesa Verde has to offer.
For a more personal experience, book a guided tour where highly experienced rangers will guide you through the history of this piece of American treasure. Moreover, with elevations of up to 8000 feet, visitors must be sure to have had a decent meal beforehand. Furthermore, always stay hydrated as it is also a desert. :Lastly, be prepared for the altitudes as the thin air will be felt immediately even after a short hike.
With Mount Vesuvius looming in the backdrop, Pompeii provided the perfect template for civilization to thrive. It was once home to over 20,000 inhabitants who flocked to the area for the volcanic ash rich soil. None of whom would have imagined the devastation that is to come. The very same volcano that was the lifeblood of the city eventually erupted in AD 79, burying the entire port city under tons of volcanic ash.
Today, Pompeii provides archaeologist and tourist alike a peek even into the most mundane aspects of Ancient Roman life. Live the lives of the Ancient Romans as you descend upon Ancient Roman streets, houses, amphitheaters and bistros. All perfectly preserved under fine-grained volcanic ash for most of history. It turned out that the volcanic ash at Pompeii made for the perfect preservative, keeping Pompeii intact as it was some two millennia ago.
Next, head to the “Garden of the Fugitives”, a very moving and emotional exhibition showcasing the devastation caused by one of history’s most famous natural disasters. Here lies the plaster casts of the victims of Mount Vesuvius, offering visitors a very powerful look into Pompeii’s appalling last hours.
Carved against sandstone cliff faces, the ancient city of Petra in Jordan is considered to be one of the most impressive feats of architecture and engineering in the ancient world. Built almost 2,000 years ago, Petra tells the story of the ancient Nabataean, nomadic desert people who turned the city into a thriving trading center of tremendous wealth.
Prepare to gasp in awe as you walk through The Siq. A narrow canyon flanked by towering cliff faces that served as the entrance into the ancient city. At the end of The Siq lies Al Khazneh, also known as The Treasury, possibly the most stunning of all of Petra’s wonders. Featured in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, it served as a tomb for a Nabataean king and represents the stunning ingenuity possessed by the people who built them.
The elaborate artworks, temples and monasteries at Petra provides a fascinating window into the lives of the ancient Nabatean people. Exploring each and every one of them would be impossible in a day. Therefore, visitors are wise to spend more than a few days exploring Petra. Be it a day or a week, Petra is bound to astonish everyone with its remarkable blend of mother nature and human innovation.
One of most iconic sites in England, Stonehenge ignites both questions and fascination. This can be mostly attributed to it’s mysterious past that continues to haunt historians in the modern-day. Age old questions are still being asked of this ancient monument, who built it, how was it built and why. Stonehenge brings back to life an ancient world littered with tales of magic and wizardry.
So much so that its origin story can also be traced back to such beliefs. One talks about how it was created by Merlin. A wizard, he summoned his powers and magic, transported the gigantic stones to the site and assembled them with the help of giants.
Putting folklore aside, Stonehenge is an absolutely stunning feat of engineering. Blocks of sandstone, weighing more than 20 tons each, were transported and constructed to form the structure that we see today. How this was accomplished and the route at which the stones were transported remains a question unanswered today. However, one thing which everyone agrees upon is its role as a reminder of ancient man’s remarkable creativity and ingenuity in conceiving and erecting a structure of such size and complexity. The immense nature of such an undertaking is something one can only imagine.
THE GREAT PYRAMID
Located on the Giza plateau, rising majestically over the west bank of the Nile River, lies the Great Pyramid, arguably the most known structure in history. Constructed during the reign of King Khufu, the Great Pyramid was also once the tallest structure in the world, a record it held for over 3000 years. Yet, the precise nature of how it was built, still perplexes both historians and archaeologists alike to this day.
For its construction, approximately 2.3 million blocks of limestone had to be cut and assembled. However, Egyptologists remain divided on the subject of how the Ancient Egyptians managed to successfully transport the massive stones, most of which originated some 500 miles away. With theories ranging from cranes and pulleys to floata devices.
Nonetheless, much has been documented about the people who built the Great Pyramid. And NO! it was not built by slaves as most would suggest. But was in fact built by skilled, well-fed and well-paid Egyptian workers. As to its construction, archaeological evidence suggests a workforce of around 20,000 people. Originally built as a symbol of Egypt’s great wealth and power, today, they represent a symbol of Egypt’s rich history and culture.
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