Five ancient archaeological ruins still standing

Saeed Nasser / AFP/Getty Images Enlarge Image Egypt’s pyramids in Giza were created by a pharaoh named Khufu over 3,000 years ago. They’re the most well-known of Egyptian monuments, but some of the wonders…

Five ancient archaeological ruins still standing

Saeed Nasser / AFP/Getty Images

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Egypt’s pyramids in Giza were created by a pharaoh named Khufu over 3,000 years ago. They’re the most well-known of Egyptian monuments, but some of the wonders of the ancient world didn’t build on the old pyramids, their descendants.

Here are five ancient locations that can be discovered within Egypt.

1. The Great Sphinx

On the southern bank of the Nile River sits the Great Sphinx of Giza. It’s the second-largest wonder of the ancient world, featuring a carved statue of a great, naked man atop a majestic pyramid. A construction marvel, the structure was built more than 3,000 years ago, after the collapse of Khufu’s empire.

While the Sphinx was completed in the late A.D. 1, Khufu died in A.D. 73. It is now guarded by a single guarding guard, who stands on the bases of the four pillars holding the pharaoh’s head and torso.

2. The blackened ruins of Natufa

Inside Egypt, a pit of smoke marks the spot where a city once stood — Natufa, located in the Western Desert. Natufa was the city of Thidon, built in the late A.D. 300s and the capital of the nation for the following three centuries. But it fell into ruin in the 16th century B.C. At the end of the Bronze Age, residents were moved to the new capital, and Natufa was abandoned.

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While the entire city is gone, some of the landmarks are still intact. Pylons, canals and bridges are still in place and smaller features can be found among the ruins, including a mound and a pair of temples. A Unesco World Heritage Site since 1973, Natufa was first discovered by a shipwreck on the River Nubia around the year 1827.

3. The fortified village of Meha

Meha is a remote town located between the Seychelles and Mozambique, roughly 2,100km (1,250 miles) from Cairo. Off the coast of central Africa, the inland temple town is sparsely populated with a population of just around 300. It’s a mosaic of silvery columns and lush green mountains, and of the areas built around the ancient temple.

The landscape was created by a massive attack on the area by the Assyrians between the 9th and 12th centuries B.C. Meha and the surrounding town were rebuilt in defensive ruins, but there are no ruins to show the villagers lived there.

4. Alqosh, Nubia

Alqosh sits on the west bank of the Nile, and is very near the site of Ancient Nubia. It was conquered by the Pharoahs in A.D. 1, and the earliest version of the capital, Alqosh-Jerusalem, was built around A.D. 100. In 2001, the area was named a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Strikingly, the Pharoahs destroyed the site after they’d taken control, and Alqosh is completely gone.

5. The Sphinx of Kush

The Thrace Mountains in southern Turkey are renowned for their ancient wonders. To the north of Cephalonia, the Kilaytan marble quarry still sprawls, providing the granite for ancient wonders like the Helios Cathedral in Greece and Mount Eskero in Bosnia.

But around 50km from the mountain’s summit, in the land ruled by the Kushian empire, the Sphinx of Kush stands. Set in a terraced garden, the temple was originally built in A.D. 1000. In the summer, there are still marble flakes left, so it has a pretty substantial look. The temple was destroyed in A.D. 1, but a new one was built near the point in A.D. 568.

Egypt’s contemporary reality is often at odds with the monuments that built the country. Who knows? Some of the pyramids and wonders that once surrounded the pharaohs may turn up here. We’ll know soon enough.

Have you visited Egypt in the last year? Tell us in the comments what you think about its culture and culture.

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