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In the last blog, “Ancient Cities of the World, part 1: The Americas”, we looked at the top 5 must-visit lost cities of North and South America. Of course, there are plenty of other ancient cities on other continents around the world too. So if you’re planning a visit to Europe, Africa or the Middle East, you might appreciate the top 5 picks for Europe and beyond below!

Petra, Jordan

If you’ve ever read anything about ancient cities around the world, there’s no doubt you’ve come across Petra! Possibly the most recognizable of them all, Petra (or “Rock”), is an iconic site in southern Jordan, which just so happens to feature on list of the Seven Wonders of the World too!

Petra’s decline came under Roman rule, leaving this ancient city a secret to the western world until its discovery in 1812 by European, Johann Burckhardt. Petra was officially recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985 after being described as “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage”.

You’ll find yourself mesmerized by the sheer scale of this site, and in awe of the detail and beauty of its tombs – particularly The Treasury (made famous by Indiana Jones) and The Monastery. If you’re planning on visiting, keep in mind that cars aren’t allowed. So if you’re not a fan of walking, you might want to look into hiring a camel, donkey or carriage to get around!

Saqqara, Egypt

While most people associate Egypt with the Pyramids of Giza, pyramid building actually began in Saqqara – the burial ground of the agent Egyptian city of Memphis. Founded in approximately 3,100 BC, Memphis is the city of Menes – the King who united Upper and Lower Egypt.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to eleven pyramids, including the first ever pyramid (and the world’s oldest stone monument) – the Step Pyramid. If you’re visiting Cairo, this day trip is a must! Don’t forget to check out the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid while you’re here too! And if you’re not up for walking, you can also tour this site by horse, donkey or camel.

Ephesus, Turkey

Ephesus was an important centre for early Christianity – and to this day remains a place of Christian pilgrimage – which grew into one of the largest Mediterranean cities in the classical era.

Another on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, here you’ll find the ruins of the Temple of Artemis (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world), the Library of Celsus, The Great Theatre and the House of the Virgin Mary.

Ctesiphon, Iraq

Located on the River Tigris, nearby modern Baghdad, you’ll find Ctesiphon – the capital of the ancient Parthian Empire. This unique site is famous for the remains of a gigantic vaulted hall, complete with one of the largest single-span brick arches in the world. Behind this arch sits the throne room – at 30m high and 48m long – the sheer scale of this site will have you picking up your jaw off the floor.

While this is an incredible ancient city, boasting unique culture and a glimpse into the history of the region, we do not recommend travelling to this destination. Furthermore, the Australian government strongly advises NOT travelling to Iraq due to the extreme danger present and the challenging security environment. Read more on the dangers of visiting Iraq here.

Always be sure to check Smart Traveller’s safety advice before travelling overseas.

Pompeii, Italy

You’re probably familiar with the story of Pompeii – destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD. But did you know? With no warning and no time to evacuate, many of the city’s residents were buried alive with their animals and possessions, all of which were perfectly preserved.

One of the world’s most famous archeological sites, at Pompeii you’ll find buildings, homes and artifacts perfectly intact. Oh, and be warned, you’ll also find the scattered bodies of those who fell victim to the eruption – and it can feel a little eerie!

But don’t let that deter you. Home to the first ever stone amphitheater (a huge 20,000 seat structure), a public marketplace, a large home and the Basilica (the city’s central building), you’ll need a map to find your way around.

One of the most famous attractions in Italy, this is definitely a must-see to add to your list of ancient cities around the world!

Of course, if you’re thinking about visiting any of the ancient cities of the world, or if you’re just looking for a little more information, we’d be delighted to chat! You can always give us a call on (02) 6041 5577, call into the office at 601 Dean Street, Albury or book an appointment via the form below with one of our expert travel agents today.

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