Pyramids of Meroe, Sudan
Nearly 200 pyramids, smaller than their counterparts in Giza, mark the final capital of the kingdom of Meroe on the east bank of the Nile, northeast of Khartoum. Brutally raided by treasure hunters in the 19th century, the Pyramids of Meroe lacked the treasure and mummies of ancient Egypt. Build around 590 BC, some of the pyramids contain Meroitic writing which to this day cannot be deciphered.
Build around 850 AD by the Chimor people, Chan-Chan is constructed out of adobe and intricately carved. The largest pre-hispanic city in South America and today's largest adobe city, Chan-Chan contained residential, commercial and ritual significance to the Chimor people of Northern Peru. The city was inhabited for nearly 600 years before falling to Incan conquerors.
Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
Monumental and mortarless, construction of Great Zimbabwe started in 1100 AD and continued for 300 years. A source of great pride today in Southern Africa, items found at the site, like the sculpture of the Zimbabwe bird have found their way into the political iconography of the present day nation of Zimbabwe.
Built in the 12th and 13th Centuries, the 11 rock hewn churches of Lalibela are a fascinating study in architecture. Monolithic, the churches are all hewn from the red volcanic hills, creating groups of buildings that exist entirely underground. Designed to be the new Jerusalem, Ethiopian folklore tells that the Churches were built with the help of angels.
Existing at the same time as Ancient Egypt, Mohenjo-Daro was one of the earliest urban centres in the world. The largest city of the Indus Civilization (2600-1900 BC), Mohenjo-Daro “Mound of the Dead” looks to have been destroyed by flooding. First excavated in the 1920s, the city appears to have been rebuilt seven times in its long history.
First settled in 700 BC by Persians, Samarkand has been inhabited ever since. One of the world's oldest cities, Samarkand's turquoise domes instantly invoke an image of ancient trade caravans. A harmony of form, design and colour, the architecture of Samarkand has been acclaimed for hundreds of years.
Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, Egypt
This labyrinth of burial chambers and catacombs in Alexandria provide a fascinating look at combining cultures. A mix of Hellenistic and Egyptian beliefs, techniques and customs, the catacombs are home to sculpted pillars, sarcophagi, and Roman-Egyptian religious statues.
Decorated with over 2, 500 carved relief panels and over 500 statues of Buddha, Borobudur is an international monument and a pilgrimage for Buddhists. To this day no one knows who built it, or for what purpose exactly but it was likely completed around 800 AD, before the site was abandoned for unknown reasons and lost to the jungle for almost 1000 years. Worldwide knowledge of its existence was sparked in 1814 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, then the British ruler of Java.