Loving archeology and having a passion for traveling, Kati and I have spent considerable amount of time exploring the ruins of “Ancient Man”. From the Pyramids in Cairo to the mountain tops of Peru, trying to discover and explore ancient man has never disappointed and we are constantly amazed of how advanced man was 1500 to 4000 years ago. In architecture, science, astronomy and engineering, ancient man found a way to move civilization forward that endures today.
Some of our favorite Ancient Man sites:
1. The Pyramids and Egypt
Egypt is everything you heard. It is over-crowded, noisy, dirty, loud, impressive, wonderful, ancient and unbelievable. To walk in the footsteps of Pharaohs and Kings is incredible. We stayed right outside of the Pyramids of Giza and loved exploring the area. Ancient Man is not ancient in Egypt. Ancient Man is still very present wherever you go. We were able to get in early to avoid the crowds and discovered the magic of the pyramids. Don’t forget to go to the night show. It is a bit kitschy but well worth it.
The Sphinx and Pyramid in Egypt
Another can’t-miss excursion is the Egyptian Museum. It really is incredible and the mummy room and King Tut’s treasures are amazing. Look out for the new Egyptian Museaum set to open in 2020 or 2021.
We then flew down to Aswan and found the town to be incredible. We had hired an Egyptologist and drove early in the morning south to Abu Simbel. Again, arriving from the desert early, we were able to avoid much of the crowds and really enjoyed the site.
Abul Simbel, Egypt
After Abu Simbel, we drove back and took a Felucca ride around Aswan. This is a must-do and did not disappoint.
From Aswan we drove to Luxor. We took the “back roads” and really saw how present-day Egyptians went about their lives. We saw the Temple of Kom Ombo and the Temple of Horus at Edfu. Once in Luxor, we went to the Valley of the Kings, the Colossi of Memnon, and Karnak.
Flying back to Cairo, we went to Saqqara and explored the Step and Red Pyramids. We were virtually alone and it was a great experience.
Also, in Cairo, we checked out Khan el-Khalili and explored the Muslim section of Cairo.
Cairo and Egypt was amazing and we loved it. It took us 10 days and we really got an idea of how Ancient Man lived, worked, loved and travelled. From making paper, to building the Great Pyramid, the Egyptians were really an amazing people.
2. Machu Picchu and the Inca, Peru
Machu Picchu, Huana Picchu and the Sacred Valley in Peru offers a glimpse into the ancient Incan world. How the ancient Incans lived, worked, protected their community and worshipped are all on display. It was a wonderful experience to travel throughout the Sacred Valley and hiking up Huana Picchu. We recommend anyone that is interested in Ancient Man to head to Peru.
There is so much more to see in the Sacred Valley than just Machu Picchu. After traveling to Cusco, which is a vibrant city that is an UNESCO World Heritage site that sits over 11,000 feet above sea level in the Andes, is the gateway to the Sacred Valley.
In Cusco, definetly go and see Sacsayhuamán. Sections were first built by the Killke culture about 1100; they had occupied the area since 900. The complex was expanded and added to by the Inca from the 13th century; they built dry stone walls constructed of huge stones. The workers carefully cut the boulders to fit them together tightly without mortar.
Cusco really is a special place that is not to be missed, and don’t just go there to pick up the train to Machu Picchu. We hired a driver and explored the Sacred Valley.
We saw the salt pans of Maras and Moray.
Without doubt, the Inca ruins of Moray are one of the most interesting and beautiful ruins in Peru. Designed like a dug-out amphitheater, scientists are still baffled as to what the site was actually used for.
The latest theory is that the Inca people were using it as a sort of test laboratory for crops – who knows.
Located near the ruins of Moray is the town of Maras. The town is famous for its local salt-evaporation ponds that have been in use since the Inca period. The salt deposited here would have been shipped out across the entire Inca nation.
We also went to the Pisac Ruins and then were dropped off at Ollantaytambo. Ollanytaytambo is more than just a place to catch the train, it is a living, breathing city. We explored Ollanytaytambo and loved the vibe and energy of the city.
We loved the town. Now here is a tip….make sure you book your train tickets before you are ready to take the train. We had not and were worried that we would not be able to get to Aquas Calientes and Machu Picchu. It all worked out, but better to be safe than sorry.
After nine days exploring the Sacred Valley in Peru, climbing Huana Piccu and exploring Machu Picchu, we returned home wanting someday to return. If Peru is not on your radar, put it on. It is a wonderful country to explore and the people are friendly and warm.
3. Mesa Verde, Colorado, United States
4. Chichen Itza and the Mayan, Mexico
5. Herculaneum, Pompeii and Rome, Italy
Petra is believed to have been settled as early as 9,000 BC, and it was possibly established in the 4th century BC as the capital city of the Nabatean Kingdom. The Nabataeans were nomadic Arabs who invested in Petra’s proximity to the by establishing it as a major regional trading hub.
We have booked a trip to Jordan in May of 2020 along with sleeping out with the Bedouin in Wadi Rum, visit the place where Jesus was Baptised and a slot canyon trek. We will review once we have completed it.
Angkor Wat is a temple complex in Cambodia and is the largest religious monument in the world, on a site measuring 162.6 hectares. Originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire, it was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century.
Though we have not yet booked a trip to Cambodia, this is definitely on our radar and we will review once we have visited.
There are other sites obviously where you can explore and experience “ancient man” and ancient cultures. Wherever you go, and whatever you see, ancient man has shown to be intelligent, artistic and incredible engineers. They have accomplished some feats that we still cannot explain or replicate. Overall, whether it was building pyramids or designing aqueducts, the skill and effort that “ancient man” had could never be replicated.
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We have traveled to Alaska and boarded a small plane. Flying through the Brooks Range, a mountain range in far northern North America stretching some 700 miles from west to east across northern Alaska into Canada’s Yukon Territory it felt like as if we were so close to the mountain tops that we could reach out and touch the peaks. Our destination was the arctic. The small village of Kaktovik.
And our goal? To encounter Polar Bears in the wild.