Some of the most fascinating places around the world – actually don’t exist.
Click start to play today’s Spell It, where you can find why ‘ruins’ attract so many visitors.
Remnants of the ancient world can be found all around the globe, providing a glimpse into the daily lives of people who existed thousands of years ago. Here are some of the most interesting ruins you can visit around the world:
1. Olympia, Greece
One of the best-known ruins in the world, the archaeological site of Olympia is the birthplace of the most famous sporting event of the ancient world: the Olympic Games. Held every four years since 776 BC, the Olympics were part of a celebration of the Greek deity Zeus. The site holds over 750 significant buildings and its oldest structures date back to around 2000 BC. The location is open to visitors all through the year.
2. Derinkuyu Underground City, Turkey
When you think of Cappadocia, you probably picture hot air balloons gliding over fairy chimneys. But there’s another side to this location – Derinkuyu in Goreme National Park is one of its largest two subterranean cities. The Byzantine city was an 18-story underground labyrinth, where up to 20,000 people resided. The extraordinary city was self-sufficient, complete with ventilation ducts and water pipes. It served as a haven during sieges, and was connected to other cities through kilometres of tunnels. The city is open to visitors all year round.
3. Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
The fortress of Sigiriya is a 200m tall rock face in Sri Lanka, built in the first century AD. Thought to be the capital of the ancient kingdom of Kassapa, the ruins are perched on top of a massive column of igneous rock. This column was given the name Lion Rock, because its gateway is in the shape of a lion carved right from the rock. It serves to both welcome visitors and warn foes. Today, you can make the journey right to the top, but be prepared to climb a lot of steps!
4. Ellora Caves, India
A United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) site, the Ellora Caves complex in Maharashtra, India, comprises a number of caverns, monasteries, temples and chapels, all cut out of basalt rock. The caves were devotedly expanded over five centuries by Buddhists, Hindu and Jain monks. The Kailasa Temple is one of its main attractions, as it is home to the world’s biggest monolithic sculpture – a tribute to the deity Shiva.
5. Terracotta Army, China
In 1974, when digging plots for a new field near Lishan, in China, farmers made the incredible discovery of the burial tomb of the country’s first emperor. When excavating, archaeologists found an 8,000-man army of life-sized soldiers, all carved with incredible precision and detail to differentiate generals from commanding officers, and archers from foot soldiers. Even their hair, armour and facial structures have been carved to create unique personas.