You’ve spent years learning about ancient Greek and Roman ruins in school but did you ever imagine you’d someday be able to visit them for yourself? There are, of course, ancient ruins scattered all over the world and we’re proud to present some of the most popular destinations for those who want to explore them on their own.
10. Delphi – Greece
Greece is full of incredible ruins, but if you head towards the ruins at Delphi you’ll find structures almost rivaling the Parthenon in beauty. Delphi was, at one point, considered to be the epicenter of the Greek spiritual world. Make sure you catch a glimpse of the Tholos Temple while you’re there. Built to honor Athena, the temple still has three of the original 20 columns.
9. Aspendos – Turkey
Believe it or not, some of the finest Greek ruins remaining today can be found not only in Greece but in Turkey as well. Such is true of Aspendos where you will find one of the best preserved amphitheatres in the world today. The amphitheater, estimated to have been built around 1,000 BC, can hold up to 7,000 visitors.
8. Villas Jovis – Capri, Italy
The city of Capri attracts thousands of tourists each year but there aren’t many willing to take the time to hike up the hill to visit Villas Jovis. Villa Jovis represents what is left of the palace of Tiberius. Those who trek to the top of the hill to see the ruins may not have much guidance when it comes to interpreting what they see but are treated to breathtaking views of the cities below.
7. Leptis Magna –Libya
While most ancient ruins, built to last but damaged by advancing civilization, didn’t survive there are a few that give glimpses into the astounding lifestyles their creators led. Leptis Magna was originally founded by Phoenician settlers and was then taken over by the Romans during the Punci Wars. Some of the most beautiful sites include the colonnades left from the ancient theater and the Arch of Septimius Severus.
6. Kourion – Cyprus
The cliff-side ruins at Kourion are an incredibly popular Mediterranean destination. You’ll find architectural wonders in various states of disarray. The Greco-Roman amphitheater, for example, is still in use today while the public baths and incredible Roman mosaics are but distant memories. True lovers of adventure will enjoy paragliding off of the cliffs while there.
5. Aphrodisias, Turkey
The city of Aphrodisias was dedicated, as you can tell by the name, to the love of the goddess Aphrodite. The city was built near one of Turkey’s marble quarries, an important and prominent location during the rise of the Roman empires. While some columns remain intact you will find many more scattered around the hillsides.
4. El Jem – Tunisia
El Jem, located in Tunisia, is one of the largest remaining Roman ruins left in the country. The stadium, similar in design to the massive Colosseum in Rome, was build around 238 AD. In its days of glory the stadium could hold up to 35,000 spectators.
3. Baalbek, Lebanon
Another place where you might not have expected to find a ton of ancient ruins is the country of Lebanon. It is there, though, in the Bekaa Valley, you’ll find the city of Baalbek. During the days of Roman occupation the city was called Heliopolis (or the City of the Sun). Some of the best pieces of remaining architecture include the Temple of Jupiter and the Temple of Bacchus.
2. Temple of Aphaea – Greece
Only 17 miles away from the city of Athens in Greece you’ll find the remains of the Temple of Aphaea. Part of a large sanctuary complex built around 500 BC, many of the remaining sculptures from this area have long since been transferred to Munich for storage. The colonnades left intact tend to remind visitors of the beautiful Greek Parthenon.
1. Agrigento, Italy
Not far from Sicily you’ll find Agrigento, an area that was a critical part of the Greek empire during the 8th century BC. Agrigento is a modern town set on the cliffs of Akragas, littered with marble ruins. The Temple of Concord has long been destroyed by its original 34 Greek columns still remain today.
Nothing compares to seeing ancient ruins up close and in person. Put away your textbooks, pack your bags, and prepare to explore some of the best preserved ruins left in the world today!