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Ancient Greece and Rome

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Even if you slept through history class, you still know a bit about the ancient Greeks and Romans. In the grand scheme of civilizations, both periods were short, but their brevity makes their achievements all the more impressive. The scientific and philosophic thinking of ancient Greek culture formed the foundation of Western civilization, and the mega-empire of Rome further developed those cultural ideals, spreading them over 2.5 million square miles.
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Acropolis, Athens 116 36, Greece
The Acropolis is, for most people, the "can't miss" site. Because of its popularity it can be very busy, and the hours seem to change constantly. There's also the possibility that the workers might go on strike, which can mess with your plans as...
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Akropolis, Athina 105 58, Greece
See our full list of Where to Go in 2015. According to legend, the ancient gods battled it out to become Athens' patron deity. The showdown came after the Phoenicians founded a city at a giant rock near the Aegean some two and a half million years...
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Delphi 330 54, Greece
Located at the foot of Mount Parnassus, Delphi was the Pan-Hellenic site of the most famous oracle of ancient Greece. It was the center of the world during its time. Delphi lies in a lush, hidden valley surrounded by craggy mountains—a pastoral...
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Dio-Olympos 270 65, Greece
Even the most experienced visitor of ancient ruins has to think Olympia is pretty cool. To walk beneath the arched entrance to the original Olympic stadium? How can you not take your place at the ancient starting line as if you're about to sprint...
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Kastro, Mykonos, Mikonos 846 00, Greece
The entire (tiny) island of Delos is basically one big archaeological site, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Being the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, the island is littered with archaeological monuments. Check out the Terrace of the Lions, the...
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Egnatia 144, Thessaloniki 546 22, Greece
This arch was actually part of a larger, long structure that lead to an ancient church known as the Rotunda of Galerius. A small park leads you to what's left of the Rotunda, but much of the structure of the arch was removed over time, with what...
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Epidaurus, Greece
Epidaurus was once a major city, most well-known for its healing qualities. It served as a sanctuary, with hundreds of spas and structures devoted to the gods Apollo, Asklepios, and Hygeia. The most important spa, Asklepieion, was declared a...
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This remote temple, high in the mountains of the Peloponnese, has perhaps the most dramatic setting of any classical ruin. Nowadays, the temple itself is protected by a weatherproof tent—an engineering marvel in itself, as it has to endure the...
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Ira 270 61, Greece
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Temple of Apollo Epicurius pays homage to Apollo, the god of healing, prophecy, the sun, and music. It's an important attraction, built between 420 to 400 B.C.E., mainly from local gray limestone and marble, on...
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80045 Pompeii, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy

Witness the destruction wrought by Mt. Vesuvius nearly 2,000 year ago at the archaeological site of Pompeii. The ancient village was frozen in time beneath a blanket of hot ash during an eruption in 79 C.E. Among the ruins that have been uncovered...

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00184 Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
No matter how many postcards you've seen of Rome's iconic Colosseum, you just don't get it until you pass beneath its crumbling arches. Built by Emperor Vespasian in 72 C.E., the huge amphitheater held 50,000 spectators and marked its...
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Via di San Gregorio, 30, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
The Palatine Hill was home to an early Roman settlement and had major significance for the city's history. Legend states that Romulus founded Rome on that hill in 753 B.C.E., and Romans even maintained a cult site sacred to the founding father for...
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Largo della Salara Vecchia, 5/6, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
The Roman Forum is where ancient Rome began. The sprawling archaeological park gives us just a hint of what the Roman Empire once was—a dominant and diverse society. The Forum itself was the political, social, religious, and commercial focal...
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Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
This 1st-century wonder will take your breath away. Not only is it one of the city's most ancient sites, it's been in continuous use for centuries. Originally built as a private temple, today it is a Catholic church and the resting place of...
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Largo Marguerite Yourcenar, 1, 00010 Tivoli RM, Italy
The 2nd-century Roman emperor Hadrian spent much of his 20-year reign traveling through his empire, absorbing architectural inspiration from Greece to Egypt. His vision for a luxury villa was realized in Tivoli, a Roman suburb, where he...
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27001 Lugo, Spain
Celts and Romans left their mark throughout Galicia, but Rome’s enduring presence in Lugo is, well, solid as stone. The old city is the only one in Europe to be surrounded by intact 3rd-century Roman walls—designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site—...
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Plaza Margarita Xirgu, s/n, 6800 Mérida, Badajoz, Spain
Merida is an instantly likable city and easily reached from Madrid on a day trip. Life is slower in Extremadura; upon our stepping out of the car, palm trees were gently swaying in the breeze, and the pace of life on the streets felt just right—...
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Plaza del Azoguejo, 1, 40001 Segovia, Spain
The ancient city of Segovia is charming in every sense of the word. Wooden and stone houses line impossibly narrow winding streets, up the hills to the heart of the Roman Aqueduct. On your quest to see the Alcázar of Segovia and its spatial...
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Khoms, Libya
Some of the best preserved, most intact Roman ruins I've ever seen. The location, about 80 miles east of Tripoli, is amazing—overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
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Osman Ben Affan St, Doursoumian bldg, P.O.Box 11-4215, بعلبك، Lebanon
I went to Lebanon in spring to visit friends. But also because in the back of my head I thought, "This might be the last time that I'll be able to safely see Lebanon intact for a while." While car bombs had gone off in Beirut in recent weeks, and...
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88 Route de La Goulette, Site archéologique de Carthage, Tunisia
January is a lovely time to visit the Roman ruins at Carthage. Fewer people. Cooler temperatures. And, if you are lucky, beautiful blue skies over the adjacent sea. While the ruins themselves are quite small (especially in comparison to Pompeii or...
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Avenue des Alyscamps, 13200 Arles, France
The Alyscamps is home to one of the most famous sites of necropolises of the ancient world. Because Roman cities traditionally forbade burials within city limits, it was traditional for the roads immediately outside a city to be lined with tombs...
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Jerash, Jordan
One of the best-preserved Greco-Roman sites in the world, Jerash allows the pomp and ceremony of the ancient world to come alive. Although founded during the Hellenistic era, it's the monuments of Jerash's glory days under Roman rule that have...
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Made world famous after becoming the setting of the Holy Grail's home in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the Treasury is Petra's most recognizable monument. Its facade soars to 40m, creating an imposing welcome to the main ruins area after...
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Hamzalısüleymaniye Mahallesi, Akropol Cd. No:6, 35700 Bergama/İzmir, Turkey
“The ruins of himself! now worn away, with age, yet still majestic in decay.” —Homer. The best way to see the Acropolis of Pergamon is to take the cable car up (they will try to sell you a return ticket, but insist on one-way) and then walk down...
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Bodestraße 1-3, 10178 Berlin, Germany
One of the biggest stars of the five museums on Museum Island, the Pergamon was the last to open, in 1930. Built to resemble a Babylonian temple, it houses a trove of ancient treasures from the Middle East, with highlights that include the...
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Via Sacra, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
On the Via Sacra east of the Roman Forum, the Arch of Titus is a beautiful and imposing triumphal monument, commemorating Titus' victory following the Siege of Jerusalem in the first century, C.E. The south relief panel on the interior of the arch...