Lesser-Known Wonders of the World
Collected by Maggie Fuller, AFAR Staff
From incredible feats of construction somehow pulled off by ancient cultures, to stunningly beautiful and age-old structures, there’s something awe-inspiring about every place on this list. They may not be the wonders of the world that we know and love, but they are equally impressive—and slightly less touristy, too.
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...
Maharashtra 431117, India
The 30 Caves at Ajanta ("the finest surviving examples of Indian painting") are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales. The Caves of Ellora represents the epitome of Indian rock-cut...
Kalabaka 422 00, Greece
Meteora means "suspended in air" in Greek. The town of Meteora, about a 5-hour drive north of Athens in Thessaly, Greece, is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site: six Greek Orthodox monasteries built on enormous rock pinnacles that rise up to...
Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao, Philippines
Still in use today, the Ifugao Rice Terraces were carved into the hillsides of Ifugao Province by hand some 2,000 years ago, and are fed by an elaborate irrigation system that captures water from the forests above. While many people explore this...
Shizhong, Leshan, Sichuan, China
I didn't know what to expect from the largest stone Buddha in the world. But here is some good perspective. Those people at the front are maybe HALF of one of his toes. The place was incredibly spiritual, even with the thousands of tourists in the...
City Center Inside Seven Olives Hotel | Next To The reception, Lalibela 1260, Ethiopia
There are 11 churches in total at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Lalibela. Built in the 12th century by King Lalibela, these churches were and are a sacred pilgrimage site for Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia. Because these churches are still...
Of the many ruins I've visited in Mexico, those of Calakmul have been by far the best. Why? Because this site is largely still covered in jungle. Not many tourists visit the ruins here either. Located only 22 miles from the Guatemalan border in...
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