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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   3 min read

It’s not just spectacular beaches that attract tourists these days. Many travel thousands of miles just to see the stone Pyramids in Egypt or the great Colosseum in Rome. Ancient ruins connect us to the past in a way that nothing else does; it’s totally visceral.

We’ve collected the most popular ancient sights from around the world, according to visitor numbers. Sights like the Great Wall of Giza’s Pyramids do nothing less than inspire us and fill us with awe by their sheer size. It’s no wonder they attract people by the millions each and every year.

Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

Great is an understatement. Stretching an incredible 5,500 miles across China and into Mongolia, the Great Wall is easily accessible from Beijing, just a 70 mile journey. Built over the course of hundreds of years as far back as 700 BC, the wall is truly a tribute to the millions of slaves and prisoners from the war who built it, carrying the blocks on their backs to do it.

  • Annual visitors: between 9 and 10 million



When the colosseum was finally finished in AD 80 it could hold 50,000 spectators to experience everything from mythical drama reenactments to executions and battles, aka The Gladiator. The pits where the gladiators would wait for their fate opened to the public for the first time in 2010, making it all the more attractive to visit with flights to Rome.

  • Annual visitors: 6.9 million

Roman Forum

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum was the social centre of ancient Rome for 1,200 years from the beginning of the fifth century BC. The grand piazza is almost 650m long and was once both the public marketplace and the site of the local government. The still standing columns of the temples gives us just a hint of the kind of scale and grandeur of building that the Romans used to build.

  • Annual visitors: 5.1 million

Terracotta Army

 Terracotta Warriors

These incredible statues were not discovered until the 1970s but today are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Xi’an, China. The 700 life-size statues depict a whole army from generals, infantrymen, chariot drivers and warriors, not to mention the 400 horses and 100 or so chariots. What is incredible is that each is unique, with different facial features and clothing.

  • Annual visitors: between 3.6 and 4.5 million

Pyramids of Giza


The Pyramids have long held the position of being on the of second wonders of the world and are certainly recognized around the world as a symbol for Egypt. They are believed to have been built 4,500 years ago but what remains a mystery is exactly how the ancient Egyptians managed to do it. Just a short trip from Cairo, there Pharaoh tombs are not to be missed.

  • Annual visitors: 4 million

Which ancient sights have you visited before?

#fridayfinds is a bi-weekly feature on the Traveller’s Blog. We collect some inspiring photos from around the web and match them up with some great travel tips and ideas. Choose your favourite and tell us about it! Want to recommend a theme? Leave us a comment.

Imgs: great wall, colosseum, roman forum, terracotta warriors

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