As travelers, we often seek out the world’s most famous landmarks and destinations. But sometimes, the most fascinating places are those that have been forgotten by time. From ancient ruins to abandoned cities, these sites offer a glimpse into the past and a chance to experience history firsthand.
One of these forgotten treasures is Petra in Jordan. This ancient city was carved into sandstone cliffs more than 2,000 years ago and was once a thriving center of trade in the Middle East. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts visitors from around the globe.
Another breathtaking site is Machu Picchu in Peru. This Incan city was built in the 15th century but was abandoned just over 100 years later during Spanish colonization. It wasn’t rediscovered until 1911 and has since become one of South America’s most popular tourist attractions.
But not all forgotten ruins are as well-known as Petra or Machu Picchu. The lost city of Angkor Wat in Cambodia may not be on everyone’s travel bucket list, but it should be. This sprawling complex includes dozens of temples and palaces built between the 9th and 13th centuries AD. Although it once had a population of up to one million people, it was eventually abandoned for unknown reasons.
Closer to home, there are also many fascinating ruins to explore throughout North America. One such site is Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site near St Louis, Missouri. These mounds were built by Native Americans between AD 700-1400 and were once part of an enormous city that covered six square miles.
In Mexico, you’ll find Teotihuacan – another ancient civilization that left behind impressive ruins for us to marvel at today. The pyramids here were constructed around AD 200-600 by an unknown civilization before being abandoned several hundred years later.
Of course, not all forgotten ruins are thousands of years old – some are much more recent. One such site is the abandoned city of Pripyat in Ukraine, which was evacuated after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. Today, it stands as a haunting reminder of the catastrophic event.
Another fascinating example is Hashima Island in Japan, also known as “Battleship Island”. This small island was once home to a thriving coal mining community but has been uninhabited since the mid-1970s. The ruins of buildings and structures still stand, providing an eerie glimpse into what life was like for those who lived there.
While these forgotten ruins may not be as well-known or easily accessible as popular tourist destinations, they offer a unique opportunity to explore history and culture beyond what we typically see on our travels. If you’re looking for an adventure off the beaten path, consider adding some of these sites to your travel itinerary – you won’t regret it!