An ancient city set deep into the forests of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains in the South American country of Colombia is where we visit today. Ciudad Perdida, built most likely by the Tairona peoples, it was a significant hub for the ruling powers through to the arrival of Spanish. Believed to be built 650 years prior to Machu Picchu, it is constructed with terraces along the side of the mountain as well as roadways and plazas. It is a great example of pre-Colombian engineering. Despite being “discovered” in the 1970s the local tribes of Arhuaco, Wiwas, and Koguis have been aware of the it long before then. It has since been researched and restored (through the Global Heritage Fund) and today is considered one of Colombia’s most incredible multi-day hikes for those with a sense of adventure.
Hiking through the tropical forest to the “Lost City”can only be done with a tour group. Independent hiking is not allowed. Length of tours will vary dependant on how far you chose to hike each day to complete the 43 km / 27 mile trek. The route is not accessible by vehicle, only by foot (or helicopter). It is know to have steep inclines, varying weather, and an incredible views along the way.
When the word pyramid is uttered it is safe to say most people associate the word with the Great Pyramids of Giza. And rightly so – they are incredible to see and have survived over several millennia. They, however, are not the only pyramids in the world nor the only ones in Egypt (though they are the only ones I saw). So today we will take a look at some of Egypt’s other pyramids as well.
Egypt’s first pyramid is also the world’s first – the Pyramid of Djoser (or Zoser). Located in Saqqara, which is northwest of Memphis, it served as a large funerary complex or necropolis for the city in ancient times. This first pyramid was built by Imhotep for the Pharoh Djoser as a step pyramid. Construction ran from 2630 -2611 BCE and it was made up of “mastabas” built one atop another, always smaller that they went up, forming a step-like appearance.
The Pyramids of Dahshur, located 40 km / 25 miles south of Cairo is where you will find a number of pyramids from both the Old and Middle Kingdoms. Here is where you will find the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid. They are among the oldest in Egypt and were built during the reign of Pharoh Sneferu. Both are examples of moving the pyramid style to smooth sided as opposed to the step style.
Heading south of Cairo for about 100 km/60 miles you will encounter the archaeological site of what is believed to be the second pyramid built. The Pyramid at Meidum (or Maydum) was possibly built by Huni towards the end of the third dynasty. This pyramid is sometimes referred to as the “collapsed pyramid” due to its state of disrepair. Originally it began as a step pyramid but was later converted to true pyramid.
Our final pyramids, out of the 118 in Egypt, are the most recognized of all of them – The Pyramids of Giza. Built on the Giza Plateau south of Cairo, the complex is home to the pyramids of Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure (the last one I have been inside). The largest pyramid was built by Pharaoh Khufu with his son, Pharoh Khafre, building the second one. Although Khafre’s appears taller it is only because it is higher on the plateau. The smallest was built by Pharoh Menkaure.
Situated in a mountaintop 50 km / 50 mi northwest of the Peruvian city of Cusco is an old Incan citadel that has captivated tourists and travellers alike since it was re-discovered by Hiram Bingham in July 1911.What he though was the “Lost City of the Incas” was in fact Machu Picchu. Considered by many to the archaeological find of the 20th century it is still notknown why it was constructed, though current a current theory is that it was a retreat, a getaway for the rich built by Incan ruler Pachacuti. What is known that it was constructed around 1450 CE and was abandoned a century later, when the Spanish Conquest occurred.
In 1981 this grand complex was named a Peruvian Historic Sanctuary. Two years later in 1983 UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site. It continues to this day to be one of the top tourism sites in the world. So much so that the daily visitors have been capped at 2,500 per day and there is concern of damage and wear with the demand from tourists.
Found within China’s capital city of Beijing is an incredible palace complex that served as the home of emperor’s for a span of over 500 years. The Forbidden City, named so as only emperors, their immediate families, and officials where the only ones permitted inside, is a massive 72 hectares / 178 acres complex that has approximately 980 buildings. Surrounding the complex is a wall standing 10 m / 32.8 ft high and houses 8,700 rooms. Additionally there is a 52 m / 170 ft moat. That is one secure palace! Construction on the complex began back in 1406 CE and was the imperial home through the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Since 1925 the Forbidden City has been under the care of the Palace Museum and in 1987 it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with being deemed the largest collection of preserved ancient wood structures anywhere in the world. Due to its size and historical and cultural importance there are ongoing renovations occurring at the palace so at any time only about 80% of the complex is open for visitors.