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Ancient Ruins

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Paigah Tombs, Owaisi Nagar, Hasnabad, Santosh Nagar, Hyderabad, Telangana 500059
One of Hyderabad's lesser-known gems: the Paigah Tombs are intricate, ornate, and often deserted. Members of the noble Paigah class are buried here, and a visit is peaceful and haunting — and beautiful. A photographer's dream.
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Al Bairat, Luxor, Luxor Governorate, Egypt
Without the crowds busling through, we have access to compose some phenomenal shots and take advantage of the perfect light. Here, at Medinet Habu, Temple of Ramses III, we captured the detailed reliefs and vibrant color remaining on the columns...
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Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Crowds may swarm upon it daily from sunrise onwards, but exposure hasn’t dulled the impact of the largest religious monument in the world. Commissioned by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century as the centerpiece of the mighty Khmer empire,...
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Athens 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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Palenque was a classic Maya city-state located in Chiapas, Mexico, and has gained notoriety among Maya archaeologists for its extravagant architecture and refined art and writings. The temples perched upon a hill adjacent to the main plaza of...
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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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Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Walk into Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) and look up to the heavens to see why so many conquerors and their respective religions claimed this basilica turned mosque turned museum as their own. Visitors will swoon over the Byzantine gilded mosaics,...
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Mathura Road Opposite Dargah, Nizamuddin, New Delhi, Delhi 110013, India
Look familiar? The Taj Mahal continued the tradition of architecture that began largely with Humayan's Tomb in Delhi. Made from red sandstone (like much of Delhi's famous landmarks), the tomb was built in 1562. Go inside the tomb for a look at the...
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Siwa Oasis, Qesm Siwah, Matrouh Governorate, Egypt
Siwa is a desert oasis in the heart of Egypt's Great Sand Sea, just 30km east of the Libyan border. Traditionally constructed of sand, salt and mud, many of the town's buildings literally melted away in the torrential rains of 1926, leaving behind...
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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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Carretera Merida-Campeche Km. 78, 97890 Uxmal, Yuc., Mexico
Overshadowed by its larger and more well-known cousins, Palenque and Chichén-Itzá, Uxmal ("Oosh-mahl") is the ruins of an ancient Maya city located near present-day Campeche. In its heyday, Uxmal was one of the largest cities of the Yucatan...
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Dharmapuri, Forest Colony, Tajganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 282001, India
The Taj Mahal is referred to as "the jewel of Muslim art in India,” by UNESCO in its listing on the World Heritage Site registry. The Mughal ruler Shah Jahan  had the truly magnificent white marble...
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Calle Real de la Alhambra, s/n, 18009 Granada, Spain
A visit to Granada, Spain isn't complete without a stop at the Alhambra. The Moorish architecture, robust gardens, and stunning views of Granada combine to make a truly memorable experience. Start your day with a tour of the Generalife Gardens....
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Machu Pichu, Peru
This month marks the hundred-year-anniversary of the "re-discovery" of this Inca citadel by Hiram Bingham. Machu Picchu deserves its clichés--'place of a lifetime,' 'bucket-list destination'...'mystical'...'amazing'... Sometimes, it's okay...
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Jordan
As is often the case with travel expectations, there’s so much more to a site than what we can see in the confines of a screen or read in black and white letters on a page. Often the real place is a shock of depth, colors and aromas, and the way...
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Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Thailand
While you're in Thailand, be sure to escape the colorful chaos of Bangkok and head toward the historic capital of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The best option to get there would be by train and they run frequently from Bangkok's...
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Situated not far from Meknes, between Fes and Rabat, the Roman ruins of Volubilis stand as a testament to a culture that changed the world forever. In the fertile area that the ruined city is located, it's difficult to remember you're in Morocco....
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Adare, Co. Limerick, V94 W8WR, Ireland
This castle was erected with an ancient ring-fort, around the early part of the 13th century. It became a strategic fortress during the following turbulent years. It was the property of the Earls of Kildare for nearly 300 years until the rebellion...
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Carretera Federal, Cancun - Chetumal Km 230, 307, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
A visit to old Mayan Ruins is a must when you are vacationing in Tulum. It's a perfect trip to sneak in some history and activity without too much effort and without loosing sight of ocean and the beach. Being built in 13th century Tulum Ruins...
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1495 Villers-la-Ville, Belgium
In 1146 a dozen monks and some lay brothers, with the blessings of St Bernard (not the dog!) headed to what is now Belgium and founded the abbey. It had been neglected and then revitalized during its second golden age in the 1800s where some of...
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Easter Island is a strange, remote, and magical place. After a full day of wandering around this tiny island, we were fortunate enough to witness an absolutely breathtaking sunset over the Pacific. The "beach" here is made up of pitch black...
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Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Better known as the Tomb Raider Temple since its starring role in the Hollywood movie of the same name, Ta Prohm has at least as much star quality as Angelina Jolie. Cloaked in dappled shadow and locked in the embrace of the vast root systems that...
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Jerash Governorate, Jordan
I'll be honest, the primary reason I went to Jordan was to see Petra. But rather than fly in and out, I decided to spend a week exploring the country. One day I went to the ancient city of Jerash. It was beautiful - well preserved with the avenues...
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Flavijevska ul., 52100, Pula, Croatia
The sixth largest Roman amphitheater still standing today, the Pula Arena is Croatia’s most magnificent classical monument—and reason enough to check out Pula, Istria’s main city. Built in the 1st century C.E. during the rule of...
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The Pends, St Andrews KY16 9QL, UK
Often called, "Scotland's Greatest Cathedral" the now-ruined medieval St. Andrews, overlooking the North Sea in its namesake town, is a splendid sight any time of day or night. However, in my several days of residence in the town made famous by...
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Orkney, UK
The flight into the Orkney Islands was amazing. Many of the neolithic ruins can be seen from the air, dotting the land. I visited several of the sites including Skara Brae, and Maeshowe, but the Ring of Brodgar was the highlight of the sites I...
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Macau
One of Macau's most famous landmarks. The front façade and the grand stone stairs are the only remains of the greatest church in Macau or even in East Asia.
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2710 Sintra, Portugal
We ventured to Sintra from Lisbon on a beautiful day. The Castelo do Mouros is worth a visit, perched high above the town, where you will find the ruins of a Moorish castle dating back to the 8th century. On a clear day you can see the coast and...
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Polignotou 3, Athina 105 55, Greece
Slave-traders and shoe-menders, jewelers and moneylenders haggled and gossiped at this ancient marketplace the history of which spans five millennia. The Agora was also the stomping ground of rival philosophers Plato and Socrates—the latter...
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Woodstock, NY, USA
About forty minutes after you start Overlook Mountain trail in Woodstock suddenly without any warning the ruins of Overlook Mountain House rise in their most haunted and cryptic look in front of you. Only four outer walls and main staircases of...
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Jendouba, Tunisia
I discovered a couple years ago that if you have a penchant for ancient Roman ruins, it’s far better to go to Tunisia than Italy. The quality of preservation is far superior to many Italian sites and the lack of tourists is more refreshing than...
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Kranggan, Bokoharjo, Prambanan, Sleman Regency, Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Go back in time with these partially ruined temples from the 9th century. Celebrating the hindu trinity (Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh, Creator- Sustainer-Destroyer), these temples have seen their cycles of creation and destruction more than once.
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Montezuma Castle Rd, Camp Verde, AZ, USA
As Anglo settlers arrived in the 19th century, several sites throughout the Southwest desert were named, erroneously, for the Aztec emperor Montezuma (Moctezuma). The most famous one—and the one to keep this name officially—is Montezuma Castle...
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Mueang Pak, Pak Thong Chai District, Nakhon Ratchasima 30150, Thailand
Though it pains me to say this - prior to traveling to Thailand, I had never heard of Ayutthaya. How could such a historically significant and architecturally fascinating place have completely evaded me?!? In case you're in the same boat as me,...
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Tikal, Guatemala
It will give you a jolt to see these crumbling Mayan temples in the middle of the Guatemalan jungle. The limestone rocks have been scraped smooth by archeologists desperate to stave off the jungle vines and mossy dampness and the green undergrowth...
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11391 El Lentiscal, Cádiz, Spain
Baelo Claudia is the seaside site of an ancient Roman town that was settled was about 2,000 years ago. You can take a self-tour of the ruins, which include skeletons of the city's temple, forum and basilica. The modern Visitors Centre includes a...
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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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Ürgüp/Göreme/Nevşehir, Turkey
On any tour of Cappadocia in central Turkey, you'll find ruins of cave homes, churches carved inside the cliffs, and outdoor museums like the famous one near Goreme. However, just a short bus ride away is another open air museum with far fewer...
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Cambodia
Vestiges of European colonial settlement remain throughout much of Southeast Asia, often contrasted against more traditional hill tribe villages and always set in (cooler) rolling mountain ranges. These former frontier towns were once the summer...
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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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Finding 'old' in Qatar can be a challenge. Someone mentioned in passing that there are ruins of a pearl fishing village up north, but none of the Qataris I asked had heard of it–nor could they possibly comprehend anyone's fascination with a...
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During a recent destination wedding shoot in the Caribbean, our boat tour guide took us to a shipwreck off the coast of Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands. La Famille Express, a general cargo ship, ran aground during Hurricane Frances in 2004...
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Ollantaytambo, Peru
Ollantaytambo’s namesake archaeological site is one of the best examples of Incan architecture in the region. It’s easy to spend a half day exploring the temples and other structures there, especially if you factor in time to hike...
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Piazza Venezia, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
The Monument of Victor Emmanuel II in Rome, nicknamed the Wedding Cake (and, alternately, the Typewriter) for its distinctive boxy shape, offers some of the most stunning panoramic views to be had of the Eternal City, in every direction. There is...
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Pisiga, Bolivia
Contact Guinness Book of World Records. This must be the shortest vacation to Bolivia on record. As near as I can tell with my less-than-fluent Spanish skills, I was turned back after 30 minutes at the Bolivian border because: - it was snowing and...
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Plaza Margarita Xirgu, s/n, 06800 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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Alemdar Mh., Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34410 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
A city as ancient as Istanbul has many layers of history, and you’ll have to go below the surface to see the Basilica Cistern, the largest of the underground cisterns. Built in the sixth century for the Byzantine emperor Justinian, the...
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suzan dogan park plaza altı no 15 zemin kat, Akdeniz Mahallesi, 39609 Mezitli/Mersin, Turkey
Sütunlu Cadde (translated as columned street) can be found in the Soli area of Mersin. Originally a 350 meter (.22 mile) street leading from the ancient city of Soloi (Greek: Ʃoloi) down to it’s port, the column lined street would have been quite...
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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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32, Hadar Street (Cl.5), Caesarea, Israel
The ancient city of Caesarea, which is located halfway between Haifa and Tel Aviv, was founded in 90 B.C.E. and has a wealth of history and archaeological ruins, most notably those that date from the Roman Empire. The impressive Roman aqueduct,...
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20 Rue Lacurie, 17100 Saintes, France
It's not so easy to locate this huge, ruined Roman amphitheater in Saintes, France. But it's well worth the effort. You can climb all around it and even walk out into the middle of it. No crowds and no fake gladiators to spoil the mood! There's...
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1 Rond-Point des Arènes, 13200 Arles, France
Long associated with Van Gogh, who produced hundreds of paintings there, the UNESCO World Heritage City of Arles on the Rhône River in Provence also has some of the finest Roman ruins in France. The well-preserved amphitheater is still utilized...
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Emperor Hadrian built the most enduring monument of the Roman occupation of England around 122 C.E. to protect against Scottish invaders. Hadrian’s Wall spanned the country from west to east, and today the remaining sections are a UNESCO World...
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Porta-Nigra-Platz, 54290 Trier, Germany
Considered the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps, the Porta Nigra has been designated a World Heritage Site.