Summer of Adventure – Ruins Facts!
We’re super ready for a summer adventure! And for sheer top-to-bottom RADness – you can’t go wrong with an epic ruin. Feast your faculties on these remarkable ruin facts from around the world… Let’s get ready to crumble!
1. The ruin of Pompeii is covered in Latin graffiti
Pompeii was an ancient city buried under volcanic ash in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. This amazing ruin shows a unique snapshot of Roman life, frozen at the moment it was buried. It gives visitors a chance to see the everyday life of the people who used to live there – and that includes some graffiti artists who added their tags in Vulgar Latin!
2. Before 1977 kids could play on Stonehenge!
Stonehenge is a proper famous ruin on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England. It has an outer ring of huge sarsen standing stones, topped by horizontal lintel stones, with an inside is a ring of smaller bluestones. Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 B.C., but mystery has always surrounded this epic ruin, so nobody knows for sure when, how, or even why it was built. Before 1977 you could actually play on the stones, but nowadays, they are wisely cordoned off to protect them from damage.
3. The Great Wall of China is NOT visible from the moon!
The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications along the northern borders of Imperial China as protection against invaders. Bits of the wall were built at different times and slowly joined together over the years. Some parts of the wall are ruins now, while some remain in pretty good shape! For many years, simply because of its size – an urban myth persisted that it was visible from the moon – not true, sadly. You can see it on Google Earth, so good news there.
4. There were five boats buried under The Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and most prominent pyramid in Greater Cairo, Egypt. It is also the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and even though it is technically a ruin, a lot of it is surprisingly still intact! When excavation on the pyramid took place in 1954, five boat-shaped pits were found – three of the boats had vanished, but two remained and can be viewed today in a museum.
5. The ruined city of Tikal was used as a location in Star Wars
Tikal is the ruin of an ancient city that can be found in a rainforest in Guatemala. Tikal was once one of the most powerful cities in ancient Maya, before eventual desertion by it’s inhabitants and being swallowed up by the jungles of time (and actual literal jungles.) Filmmaker George Lucas used Tikal as a filming location for the fictional moon Yavin 4 in the Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
6. Guinea pigs were once very important at Machu Picchu!
Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel in southern Peru on a massive mountain ridge above a place called the Sacred Valley. It is believed to have been built between 1438-1472 as an estate of Emperor Pachacuti. Now a ruin, many unusual things have been uncovered at Machu Picchu, including the remains of guinea pigs in special burial caves. It is thought that people were buried with their guinea pigs to keep them company in the next life. Aw!
7. The Easter Island ‘heads’ have bodies!
Moai statues are massive ruined megaliths found on Easter Island. They were built between 1400 and 1650 A.D. by the Rapa Nui people. Many people call the statues the Easter Islands Heads, but this isn’t accurate – the statues have bodies that have become covered up with soil over the years!
8. The Parthenon has been a temple, a church, a mosque and a treasury for storing gold!
The Parthenon is perhaps Athens’ most famous ancient Grecian ruin. Originally dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, many religious festivals and events have occurred in and around this temple. Because of war and invasion, this ruin has been many different things over the centuries, including; a temple, a church, a mosque and a gold store!
9. There is a cave-palace in America which was abandoned, and nobody knows why!
In the southwest of the USA is the Mesa Verde National Park, which has 600 ancient clifftop ruins. The biggest of these is called the Cliff Palace, which is an enormous sandstone alcove. In total, the palace had over 150 rooms! For some reason, people stopped living in this cave village in the 13th century, but nobody knows why.
10. The ruined city Hampi has carvings of fantastical sea-creatures!
Hampi was once a vast mediaeval city and one of the wealthiest in India. It was the thriving centre of the Karnata Empire and had beautiful temples and imperial palaces – all that remains now is a crumbling ruin. Founded in the 14th-century by two princes, the main temple in the city has many carvings of mysterious mythical sea creatures!