Machu Picchu…Ephesus…Chichen Itza…the Parthenon…Angkor Wat…the Roman Forum…Luxor…Petra…Stonehenge…Pompeii…all archaeological treasures reflecting the finest cultural achievements of ancient civilizations around the world. Many tours include these and other famous ruins and sites in their itineraries, while others offer travelers opportunities to engage in some amateur archaeology themselves. Whether you “dig” ancient ruins and sites figuratively or literally, you can find a tour that will breathe new life into your appreciation of their cultures.
Why You Need a Guide: The Importance of Archaeological Group Tours
Unless you are a qualified expert in the exact sites that you are visiting (and chances are, you’re not), getting information on archaeological site can be complicated, timely, or even impossible. This is the main reason that having a tour guide is quintessential when visiting, for example, a series of ruins. Not only was the thing in front of you created during a time so long ago that you can barely imagine the context -- the wear and tear of time will have also degraded what it once was, making it more unrecognizable.
Going on a tour with a knowledgeable guide is by far the best way to connect with the historic (and sometimes prehistoric) places you are visiting, which is also important. Tours to ancient ruins and archaeological sites around the globe offer some of the best introductions into the often remarkable achievements of past cultures. With a guide, you will be able to answer questions like:
How did the ancient Mayans uncover their startling insights into astronomy that enabled them not just to predict when the spring and fall equinoxes would appear, but produce special effects to mark the occasion?
- How did the ancient Egyptians build the Pyramids without modern technology?
- What evidence proves that dinosaurs once roamed the American West in great numbers?
- Are there still more ruins likely to be uncovered at the Roman Forum?
- How did ancient Easter Islanders move multi-ton stone statues miles away from their quarries?
- What is the mystery behind England’s Stonehenge?
The possibilities are almost limitless, but here’s a small sampling of some key archaeological sites and ruins around the world that you can tour:
Israel: Temple on the Mount & Dome of the Rock, Old Jaffa Port, Western Wall,
Greece: The Acropolis (Athens); the island of Delos; Delphi; Epidaurus; Marathon; Mycenae; Olympia; Temple of Poseidon (at Cape Sounion)
Italy: The Colosseum, Forum; and Ostia Antica (Rome); Hadrian’s Villa; Pompeii; Herculaneum; Agrigento, the old city of Siracusa and Taormina’s Greek theater (Sicily)
Britain: Stonehenge; Hadrian’s Wall
Ireland: Skellig Michael (island); Carrowmore
France: Lascaux caves (replica)
Spain: The Alhambra (Granada); The Great Mosque (Cordoba)
Croatia: Emperor Diocletian’s Palace (Split)
Cambodia: Angkor Wat (Siam Reap)
China: Terracotta Army (Xian); The Great Wall
Japan: Kyoto’s temples; Kasuga Shrine (Nara)
India: Taj Mahal; Fatehpur Sikri; Ajanta and Ellora Caves
Nepal: Lumbini, Changu Narayan
Jordan: Petra, Wadi Rum, Amman Citadel, Ummayad Palace,
Israel: Old Jerusalem; Akko; Be’er Sheva; Caperneum; Herodium; Masada; M
Turkey: Ephesus, Pergamo, Gobekli Tepe, Troy, Hattusha, Aphrodisias
Egypt: the Pyramids of Giza and Saqqara; Temple of Karnak and Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens at Luxor, Abu Simbel at Aswan
Tunisia: Roman amphitheater at El Djem
Zimbabwe: Great Zimbabwe Ruins
Tanzania: Olduvai Gorge
Benin: Royal Palaces of Abomey
Peru: Machu Picchu
Chile: The Moai (Easter Island)
Mexico: Chichen Itza; Tulum; Teotihuacan
United States: Cahokia Mounds (Illinois); Capitol Reef National Park and Horseshoe Canyon, Utah; Canyon de Chelly and Agua Fria National Monument, Arizona
Canada: Writing on Stone Provincial Park (Alberta)