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Visited Travel App Ranks Top 25 Ancient Sites

Top 25 Ancient Sites

The most popular ancient sites in the world include Greek and Roman ruins, Egyptian pyramids, and more. According to the travel app Visited, these are the top 25 ancient sites for international travelers. Whether you’re a history buff or an architect lover, you’ll want to add some of these iconic destinations to your bucket list. You can browse more top destinations in different categories and plan your dream itinerary using the Visited app. Check off where you’ve been and get a personalized travel map with the Visited app. 

The most visited ancient sites in the world are:

1. Colosseum

The Colosseum comes in as the number one ancient destination for travelers around the globe. The elliptical arena is located in Rome, Italy. The Colosseum was built by Roman emperor Vespasian in A.D. 72. It was completed in A.D. 80. The amphitheater was used for the famous Roman gladiatorial games, public spectacles, and theatrical performances. Although a significant part of the amphitheater was destroyed by earthquakes, the majestic structure still stands and is the largest amphitheater in the world. 

Related Post: Top 10 Greek and Roman Ruins You Need to See

2. Acropolis

The Acropolis is the most complete ancient Greek complex that still stands today. The ancient citadel is perched atop a hill overlooking Athens, Greece. The Acropolis was a central gathering place in ancient Greece. It includes iconic structures such as the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Propylaea. The Acropolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognized for its contributions to the world in the form of democracy, philosophy, and art.

3. Pompeii

Pompeii offers fascinating glimpses of the past in the Campania region of southern Italy. The ancient city was buried by a volcano erupting from Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The city was preserved by volcanic ash, and today, it offers tourists the opportunity to explore excavated ruins of streets and houses from the ancient city. So much was preserved by the volcano that visitors can see architecture, artifacts, and even humans preserved in frozen statues. 

4. The Pantheon

The Pantheon is one of the best-preserved ancient Roman buildings in the world. The historic temple in Rome offers a link to the ancient Romans. The building has a large circular domed ceiling. The innovative design has inspired architects for centuries, influencing iconic structures like the Florence Cathedral and St. Peter’s Basilica.

Related Post: Top 10 Most Visited Wonders of the World

5. Roman Forum

The Roman Forum is the fifth most visited ancient site according to Visited users. The forum includes looming ruins from the Roman Empire’s glory days. The forum lies in the center of Rome, surrounded by remnants of ancient Roman government buildings. Just to the southeast of the forum is the Arch of Titus, a 1st-century A.D. honorific arch to celebrate Roman Emperor Domitian’s brother Titus. 

6. Athenian Agora

The Agora of Athens, also known as Athenian Agora, is the sixth most visited ancient site. The historic spot is the best-known example of a Greek agora, a public gathering place central to ancient Greek city-states. The agora is renowned for being the birthplace of democracy, which forever changed the course of history. In addition to exploring the ruins, visitors can also see the Agora of Athens Museum, which showcases art and artifacts from ancient Greece. 

7. Stonehenge

Stonehenge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England. The prehistoric monument played a significant role in ancient civilizations. The giant stone monument was built in six stages between 3000 and 1520 BCE. Although its exact purpose is mysterious, evidence suggests Stonehenge was used for astronomical observations and possibly religious ceremonies. 

8. Giza Pyramids

The Giza Pyramids offer a unique window into the complexities of ancient Egyptian civilizations. The pyramid complex includes the Great Pyramid, the Pyramid of Khafre, the Pyramid of Menkaure, and the Great Sphinx. The spectacular structures showcase the craftsmanship of ancient Egyptians, and the grand tombs illustrate the power of the pharaohs. The massive Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest of the Seven Ancient Wonders. It is the only one to survive largely intact. 

Related Post: Top 10 Ancient Sites to See in Egypt

9. Chichén Itzá 

Chichén Itzá includes Mayan ruins in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. The complex includes unique structures like El Castillo, an expansive step pyramid, stone carvings, the Temple of the Warriors, and the Wall of the Skulls. By visiting Chichén Itzá, tourists can better understand the ancient Mayan city that thrived from around 600 A.D. to the 1200s.

Related Post: Most Visited Ancient Sites in Mexico

10. Machu Picchu

The tenth most popular ancient destination is Machu Picchu, a 15th-century Inca citadel in the Andes Mountains in southern Peru. The ruins include ingenious stonework, terraced fields, and intricate water channels. Machu Picchu sits 2,430 meters (1.5 miles) above sea level. The iconic site offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and villages.

11. Tulum

The ruins in Tulum, Mexico, are the remains of an ancient Mayan city that was once a thriving port and trading center. Located on cliffs towering above the Caribbean Sea, the ruins reflect the lives of the Maya people who lived there centuries ago. The ruins are about 130 kilometers (about 81 miles) south of Cancún.

12. Temple of Karnak

The Temple of Karnak near Luxor, Egypt, was built over 2,000 years ago. The temple complex is one of the largest ancient religious complexes in the world. The site includes temples, chapels, towers, and other ancient remains. The Temple of Amun-Ra features the Hypostyle Hall, a majestic structure with massive columns reaching up to 24 meters (80 feet).

13. Roman Baths

The Roman Baths are an ancient bath complex in Bath, Somerset, England. The Roman bathhouse dates back to Roman times in England and was built around 70 A.D. The popular tourist destination includes a variety of sites, including the Sacred Spring, the Roman Bath House, the Roman Temple, and a museum with Roman artifacts. The sacred site was a gathering place for people in Roman Britain to worship the goddess Sulis Minerva and bathe in the warm waters of the natural thermal springs, which still flow today.

14. Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is an ancient temple complex in Cambodia. The complex was built in the 12th century by the Khmer Empire in the ancient Khmer capital city of Angkor. The UNESCO World Heritage Site was initially dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu and later became a Buddhist temple. The architectural marvels at the site include five lotus-shaped towers, ornate carvings, and galleries depicting ancient myths and battles. Angkor Wat is spread out over a sprawling 402 acres and is considered the largest religious structure in the world, according to Guinness World Records.

15. Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is a bucket list destination that spans 21,196.18 kilometers (13,171 miles) in China. The site includes a collection of walls, barriers, watchtowers, and military outposts built over centuries to protect the northern borders of ancient Chinese states. Tourists come from around the world to walk along the Great Wall of China, learn about Chinese history and culture, and see incredible panoramic views. 

16. Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings, also known as the Great Necropolis of Millions of Years of Pharaoh, is an ancient burial site located on the west bank of the Nile River in Egypt. The majestic necropolis is a collection of tombs that offers a portal to ancient Egypt. It was the burial site of almost all the pharaohs from the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties. The Valley of the Kings offers remarkable glimpses of the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes.

17. Luxor Temple

The Luxor Temple is a massive ancient Egyptian temple complex in Luxor, Egypt. The complex was built around 1400 BC and includes many feats of engineering. Towering statues of pharaohs like Ramses II guard the entrance, and hieroglyphics tell stories about the gods and kings on the walls. Luxor Temple is one of the best-preserved ancient temples in Egypt.

18. The Istanbul Basilica Cistern

The Istanbul Basilica Cistern is the largest ancient cistern that lies beneath Istanbul, Turkey. The underground structure dates back to the 6th century when it was built under the Byzantine Empire. The cistern provided a water filtration system for the Byzantine palace complex. Today, the complex is a popular tourist destination with remarkable architecture, including hundreds of giant marble columns, some of them submerged in water. 

19. Petra

Petra is an archeological city in southern Jordan that dates back to 300 BC. The city is half carved into stone and half-built. Visitors flock to Petra to see the stunning architecture and beautiful setting surrounded by mountains with passages and gorges. Petra is one of the most renowned archeological sites in the world, offering many places to explore, including the Royal Tombs and The Treasury (Al-Khazneh).

20. Jerusalem

Jerusalem is the world’s 20th most visited ancient site and a popular destination for people seeking religious destinations. The sacred city of Israel is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is considered a holy place for three major religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Jerusalem includes ancient sites like Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Via Dolorosa.

21. Olympia

For ancient history lovers and sports fans, Olympia is a must-see. The ancient site is located on the Peloponnese peninsula in Greece and hosted the first Olympic Games in the 8th century B.C. The archaeological site offers a window into the culture and civilization of ancient Greece. Visitors can explore the ruins of the temples, athletic facilities, and other structures. The Archaeological Museum of Olympia also offers a collection of artifacts found on the site, including sculptures, pottery, and bronzes, further enriching the understanding of Olympia’s rich history.

22. Ephesus

Ephesus is an ancient city in the Central Aegean region of Turkey, near modern-day Selçuk. The UNESCO World Heritage Site has many layers of history, with ruins from Classical Greece, the Roman Empire, and early Christianity. Ephesus includes the Terrace Houses, which are luxurious multi-story residences with stunning murals and mosaics. The Great Theatre dates back to the 3rd century B.C. and accommodated 24,000 spectators for theatrical performances, gladiator contests, and religious gatherings. 

23. Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel is an ancient historic site in the village of Abu Simbel, Upper Egypt. Two giant temples are carved into rock at Abu Simbel. The temples were created in the 13th century B.C. during the rule of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the best-preserved monuments from ancient Egypt, offering a fascinating look at the artistry and details that went into construction. The Great Temple has four colossal seated statues of Ramses II, each 20 meters (66 feet) high. 

24. Cappadocia

Cappadocia is an ancient region in Central Anatolia, Turkey. One of the most iconic destinations in the region is Derinkuyu, an ancient multi-level underground city with tunnels, living quarters, stables, and more to explore. Goreme Open-Air Museum includes cave churches and monastic buildings with Byzantine art and architecture. 

25. Belem Tower

Belem Tower, also called the Tower of Saint Vincent, is a 16th-century fortification and cultural landmark in Lisbon, Portugal. Located on the northern bank of the Tagus River, it stands as a proud symbol of Portugal’s Age of Discovery and its rich maritime history. The historic tower was built between 1514 and 1519 and includes a blend of Gothic, Renaissance, and Moorish styles. 

Explore the World with Visited

Want to find more iconic destinations around the world? Download the Visited app for free on iOS and Android. You can find and save bucketlist destinations and plan your dream itinerary using the Visited app. 

Check out Lonely Planet Ancient Wonders: Then & Now.

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