Back To The Past: 15 Ancient Sites You Have To Visit To Connect With The Ancient Ones

No matter where you look on Earth, there are incredible ancient sites built by our ancestor’s thousands of years ago.

From the greatest empires to have ruled over Asia, to the countless ancient civilizations who called the American continent their homeland, there are hundreds of ancient ruins that you can visit today and imagine, for a brief moment what these magnificent ancient sites looked like thousands of years ago.

These intriguing, mysterious and perplexing ancient sites have withstood the test of time, and are now evidence that thousands of years ago, even before written history, magnificent empires challenged their very own capabilities and built some of the most impressive structures on the surface of the planet.

Here are 15 ancient sites you should visit if you want to connect to the past, and for a moment or two, submerge yourself in the past, imagining what it was like to be at those very same sites, but thousands of years ago, when the ancients were building them.

Many of these sites also happen to be ideal places for meditation.

Borobudur, a giant Pyramid-like temple.

Borobudur is a truly wonderful place.

The ancient temple complex of Borobudur. Image Credit. Shutterstock.

Not only is the largest Pyramid-shaped Buddhist monument in the world, but it is also one of the most intricately designed structures on the surface of the planet. No one knows who built it, or what its original purpose was, but the temple of Borobudur is a true wonder of ancient design and engineering. 

Cahokia, an ancient city, covered in Pyramids.

The Cahokia site covered an area of nine square miles. Illustration: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Around four centuries before the arrival of European explorers to the American continent, the Native Indians of Illinois erected a massive city that came to support a population of more than 20,000 inhabitants. However, not only did they create a sophisticated city, for some reason they built more than a hundred mysterious earthen Pyramids, which, until this day, remain a profound enigma, as well as the general history of the site and its inhabitants.

The Ancient Pyramid Complex of Caral.

An Aerial view of Caral. Image Credit: Turandino

Over 5,000 years ago, an ancient civilization in Peru created incredible Pyramids equally stunning when compared to the Pyramids erected by the ancient Egyptians. The Pyramids of Peru are believed to predate the Pyramids of the Giza plateau by at least 500 years.

The ancient City of Midas.

The ancient city of Midas. Image Credit: Shutterstock.

It’s an ancient—3,000-year-old city—that isn’t a city. It is said to be the eternal resting place of King Midas, the mythical character remembered in Greek mythology for his ability to turn everything he touched into gold.

The Ziggurat of Ur.

A view of the restored Ziggurat of Ur. Image credit: Shutterstock

The Ziggurat de Ur is an ancient ziggurat located next to the ruins of the ancient Sumerian city of Ur, in present-day Iraq.

It was built as a place of worship of the god Nanna (“moon,” in Sumerian), during the Ubaid period, and rebuilt in the 21st century BCE by King Ur-Nammu.

The Karnak temple complex.

Ancient columns with stone reliefs and Egyptian hieroglyphs at the Karnak Temple Complex in Egypt. Image Credit: Shutterstock

The Karnak Temple Complex was a place of pilgrimage for nearly 2,000 years; it was the place of the Gods, and it is the largest open-air museum and one the largest religious sites in the world.

Karnak—aka the fortified city—referred in Ancient Egypt as Ipet sut, “most select of places.”

The Hypostyle Hall of Karnak.

Columns of the hypostyle hall of Karnak’s temple in Luxor, Egypt. Image Credit: Shutterstock

The Hypostyle Hall located in the Karnak Temple complex, in the Precinct of Amon Re is composed was supported by a stunning 134 columns which are divided into 16 rows. 122 of these columns rise a staggering 10 meters into the air, and the other 12 are 21 meters tall having a diameter of more than three meters.

The Osirion Temple.

The Osirion Temple. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Located in Abydos, modern-day Egypt we find a number of incredible structures. Among them is the so-called Osirion or Osireon an ancient Egyptian temple located to the rear of the temple of Seti I. It is located in the extension of the longitudinal axis of the temple of Seti I and was made with limestone, reddish sandstone, and granite.

The Valley Temple of Khafre.

Khafre valley temple statue sockets. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Valley Temple of Khafre located at the Giza plateau is one of the most fascinating ancient structures on Earth. It features super massive blocks of stones, some exceeding 150 tons in weight, and design elements that eerily resemble elements found halfway around the world, in Peru.

In addition to that, the incredible ‘bent’ stones in the interior are another detail which has caused confusion and admiration among experts and tourists alike.

The Nazca Lines.

Nazca lines, courtesy Simon E. Davies.

The Nazca lines are ancient geoglyphs found in the pampas of Jumana, in the Nazca desert, between the towns of Nazca and Palpa, in the department of Ica (Peru).

They are believed to have been created by the Nazca culture and are composed of several hundred figures ranging from simple designs such as lines to complex zoomorphic, fitomorphic and geometric figures that appear traced on the earth’s surface. The Nazca lines are best appreciated from the air.

The Qorikancha Sun Temple.

A compilation of images from the Coricancha temple.

Of the many monuments that surround Cusco – the Millenary City of the Incas – none has aroused as much interest as the TEMPLE OF THE SUN or (Coricancha, Koricancha, Qoricancha or Qorikancha), the main Inca Sanctuary. It’s one of the most unique temples ever built, and its beauty and intricate design are shrouded in mystery. 

Bayon–the temple of 200 smiling faces.

The Faces of the temple of Bayon. Image credit: Shutterstock.

The Bayon Temple is a temple complex in the center of the ancient city of Angkor Thom, which is located in the region of Angkor, Cambodia. 

It is best known for its 54 towers and more than two hundred Buddha faces which give off a sensation as if they were staring at you with a relaxed, calm, and beatific look.

The Sun Temple Of Konark.

The Konark Sun Temple (also called the Black Pagoda or Temple of the Sun) is a Hindu temple located in the locality of Konark, in the state of Orisa (East India).  The temple complex was built in the shape of a gigantic chariot, adorned with massive, elaborately carved stone wheels, pillars and walls. A major part of the structure is now in ruins.

Sun Temple of Madhera.

What. A. View.

The ancient temple—dedicated to the solar deity Surya—is located at the Modhera village of Mehsana district, Gujarat, India. It’s one of those majestic ancient laces you simply have to visit.

The ancient stepwell of Chand Baori.

It is considered one of the largest and deepest stepwells in the entire world with a staggering 3,500 narrow steps, and 13 stories high. Chand Baori is located in the village of Abhaneri, in the state of Rajasthan. The ancient stepwell is located very close to the temple of Harshat Mata—Goddess of Joy and Happiness.

Featured image credit: Temple of Borobudur / Shutterstock. 

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