Monday, March 3, 2014

Travel theme: Ancient

I thought I'd try my hand at putting together a post for the weekly travel theme from Where's My Backpack.  The travel theme for this week is ancient.

Central America is full of Mayan ruins, and some of the most extensive ruins are in Tikal, Guatemala.  The majority of the ruins at Tikal are still covered in dense vegetation, but some, like this temple in the Gran Plaza have been unearthed and can be visited. 

Tikal, Guatemala

Peru has close ties to Incan culture and boasts many sites of well-preserved Incan ruins, the most famous among them being Machu Picchu, a "lost" city on top of a mountain.

Machu Picchu, Peru
Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is one of the most mysterious places I've ever been.  The civilization that lived on this isolated island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean carved giant stone heads called moai that can be found all over the island.  Although there is debate about when the island was initially settled, it is likely that it was before 1200 CE.  This site is known as Ahu Tongariki and contains 15 moai.

Ahu Tongariki, Rapa Nui
The Red Fort was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1648 when he decided to shift the capital of the empire to modern day Delhi.

Lahore Gate of Red Fort, Delhi
Sometimes called the opposite of the Taj Mahal, Humayun's tomb was commissioned for the emperor Humayun by his wife in 1569-70.  The tomb houses many unknown graves in an area called the dormitory of the Mughals.

Humayun's Tomb, Delhi
The Qutb Minar is one of the oldest monuments in Delhi.  It was finished in the late 1300s.  It is made of red sandstone and contains Arabic inscriptions.  The iron pillar, which stands in the Qutb Minar complex, is metallurgically interesting because it has not rusted.

Iron Pillar and Qutb Minar, Delhi
The Mughal capital of Fatehpur Sikri has been preserved in very good condition because it was only used for a few years before being abandoned due to lack of water, among other concerns.  This picture shows the Panch Mahal, a 5-story open structure with decreasing numbers of pillars.

Panch Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri
The Taj Mahal in Agra, India is a timeless monument to love.  It was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the mid-1600s as a mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz Mahal.

Taj Mahal, Agra, India
When I think of ancient, I always think of geological formations.  My favorite are the Rocky Mountains, close to where I grew up in Colorado.

Golden Gate State Park, Colorado, United States

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