Archaeological sites all over the world have attracted explorers and tourists alike for hundreds of years. Acting as links to our past, they provide a great insight into the lives and cultures of the people of that time. Some of them are shrouded in mystery and archaeological experts are still trying to piece together why they were built, what events took place there and, sometimes, why they may have been abandoned. Whatever they may signify, there’s no doubt that these places are fascinating to visit.
"The best prophet of the future is the past," according to the noted poet Lord Byron. Indeed, part of the fascination of visiting these sites is not only to see how things were but also to learn insights they can give us for our own lives and lessons for new directions and advancements we may want to take as a whole. From the Seven Wonders of the ancient world to the marvels on the Silk Road, there is bound to be something for you to reflect on.
The Flexicover Team lists some the best known archaeological sites that are readily accessible for an initial glimpse of times past.
The Colosseum; Rome, Italy
One of the most recognisable of all Italian ruins, the Colosseum or Vespasian Amphitheatre is also one of the city’s most popular attractions. This ancient amphitheatre, a true feat of ancient engineering, played host to performances of all kinds – gladiator competitions, executions, dramas, hunts and, supposedly, sea battles (though how they managed to flood and waterproof the arena is still hotly debated). Capable of seating up to 50,000 people, it was the largest venue for public spectacles in the Roman Empire. Today, it stands as one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world.
The Parthenon; Athens, Greece
Overlooking the Greek capital is an ancient temple and treasury dedicated to its namesake patron, Athena, a goddess of wisdom and war, who oversaw the development of this ancient city-state. Built in the fifth century BCE, it stands on the famous Acropolis, replacing an earlier temple destroyed by the Persians around 480 BCE. The many pillars are typical of classical Greek architecture and it served as a symbol of Athenian democracy, civilisation and primacy in a burgeoning empire. Though largely in ruins (although undergoing partial restoration), it’s still magnificent to behold.
Macchu Pichu; Urubamba Valley, Peru
This UNESCO World Heritage Site remained largely unknown until 1911, when it was brought to light by an American historian. It’s somewhat erroneously called the ‘Lost City of the Incas’ mainly because it was supposedly hidden by dense vegetation and also never found during the Spanish Conquest. Considered to be the estate of Incan emperor, Pachacuti, built around 1450 it appears to have been abandoned only a century later, for unknown reasons (though smallpox is suspected). Visitors here can marvel at the impressive Temple of the Sun as well as spectacular views over the Peruvian Andes.
The Historical City; Ayutthaya, Thailand
Capital of an ancient kingdom of the same name, Ayutthaya was once the pre-eminent city of this region with a population of a million people by 1700. The historical city is filled with monasteries, Buddhist images and ruined prang (reliquary towers) which tell tales of its magnificence before it was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767. The splendour of the art on display, symbolic of a distinct Thai style, helped garner World Heritage Site status in 1991. An easy day trip from Bangkok, amazing sights here include an enormous reclining Buddha statue and a famous Buddha head that can be found in a tree trunk.
The Pyramids; Giza, Egypt
The Giza Necropolis stands as one of the foremost ancient archaeological sites for the sheer imposing spectacle offered by its three pyramid complexes, including the Great Pyramid of Cheops. The other two are those of Menkaure and Khafre (the latter also considered to be the face of the Sphinx). The pyramids were constructed about 4,500 years ago as magnificent monuments to house the bodies of pharaohs of the Old Kingdom along with their worldly possessions. A wander through here will truly impress with the solemn splendour these limestone edifices afforded their ancient royalty.
Whichever of these amazing archaeological sites you plan to visit, always remember that we at Flexicover are committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.