10 of the World’s Greatest Ruins

2014 Friendliest & Unfriendliest Cities in the WorldThroughout our travels I’d say that if I had to pick favorite experiences, visiting ruins and adventures involving animals would rank at the top for us.

When visiting a country, a lot can be learned by visiting great ruins from past times. It can really explain a lot in relation to how a people lived and got by. Other ruins can also leave many question unanswered.

I think all of these elements create an excitement and leave it open for us to wonder & fill in the blanks on our own. I love imagining how the people built and crafted some of the amazing sites we’ve visited over the years.

Conde Naste Traveler came up with a slideshow of what they feel are 10 of the World’s Greatest Ruins.

I went over the list and have been to 6 of the 10 ruins. One other is very high on my list of sites to visit in the future.

Here are CN Travelers Top Ruins:

  • Teracotta Army– Xi’an, China
  • Roman Baths– Bath, England
  • Moai– Easter Island, Chile
  • Petra– Petra, Jordan
  • Tikal– Tikal National Park, Guatemala
  • Pueblo Bonito– Chaco Culture National Historic park, New Mexico
  • Machu Picchu– Aguas Calientes, Peru
  • Delphi– Delphi, Greece
  • Montezuma Castle– Camp Verde, Arizona
  • Angkor Wat– Siem Reap, Cambodia

I bolded the sites from the list that I’ve visited. The other that I’d love to see is the Teracotta Warriors in Xian.

If I was to be asked about some of my favorite all-time travel experiences, I’d most likely include 5 of the 6 ruins. I remember visiting Bath but don’t remember it having such a huge lasting impression on me as the others.

The Weekly Rehash

Take a look at my blog’s header above. I had a friend of mine design it with 4 of the element being from photos I’ve taken over the years. If you focus on the middle you’ll see 2 ruins from this list shown. The pyramid in the middle is Tikal and the 3 statues next to it are actually Moai from Easter Island!

Some surprises:

  • When I think ancient ruins, the United States doesn’t come to mind. I guess if you think of modern America it’s only a few hundrew years old but there is a much older history and people that have been here before our time.
  • I am wondering why the pyramids of Egypt are not listed?
  • I was glad to see Tikal get its due on this list. I feel like when it comes to Mayan ruins, Chichen Itza usually gets the nod. (However, I haven’t been to Chichen Itza so I can’t personally compare it to Tikal.)
  • I found it interesting that there weren’t any sites from Italy on the list.
  • If I could add one site besides the others mentioned, I think that I’d focus on something a bit more obscure. I’d add the Megalithic Temples of Malta, the oldest free-standing monuments in the world! You can read a little about them in my Malta Trip recap here.

What do you think of CN Travelers list of World’s Greatest Ruins. Do you agree with it or do you find some sites to be missing here?

Find out more in the CN Traveler article here.

7 thoughts on “10 of the World’s Greatest Ruins

  1. Pompeii, Chitzen Itza, and Stonehenge are not on this list? I can’t say that I think much of this list, they need to travel more.

    1. Kuelap is an impressive site. But it is not much better than Machu Picchu IMO…it isn’t nearly as expansive nor as in good condition nor does it have the same dramatic perch or view.

  2. Glenn- I think the thing with these lists are that they are subjective. I haven’t been to Chichen Itza like I mentioned in the post but Tikal to me was amazing. When it comes to Pompeii I wasn’t so impressed. However, a site close by called Herculaneum was much better. As for Stonehenge, I’ve been there. Interesting site but I don’t think it compares to many of the others…

    Asar-Kuelap looks pretty awesome. Can’t say from the few photos that I saw that it looked more impressive than Machu Picchu though (but that is probably not the best way to judge it). Hopefully when I go back to Peru some day I can visit it.

  3. The Pyramids (and Sphinx) definitely should be included. I’m surprised that Borobodur on Java, Indonesia, and the Plain of 1000 Temples in Bagan, Myanmar, weren’t included…both for their sheer size and age, not to mention that they are among the most impressive sites we’ve seen (having been to most on the list).

  4. Bill- I agree about Egypt but would add the Pyramids of Dahshur. The Step, Red & Bent Pyramids amazed me much more than Giza! I almost went to Java a couple of years back but we ran out of time and Myanmar have long been a top place I’d like to go. Thanks for those recs!

    Brian- Agreed! I mentioned that Malta would’ve made my list in the post. The Megalithic Temples & Hypogeum really are amazing.

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