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The wonders of the ancient world that are now almost erased by the sands of time by human and natural distruction. Yet we can look at these structures and begin to contemplate and understand that all things are not imortal.

Bamiyan Valley: The cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley represent the artistic and religious developments which from the 1st to the 13th centuries characterized ancient Bakhtria, integrating various cultural influences into the Gandhara school of Buddhist art. The area contains numerous Buddhist monastic ensembles and sanctuaries, as well as fortified edifices from the Islamic period. The site is also testimony to the tragic destruction by the Taliban of the two standing Buddha statues, which shook the world in March 2001.

Ward's LakeAngkor Wat, Cambodia: Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Stretching over some 400 sq. km, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. These include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations.

UmiumThe Great Wall, China: In c. 220 B.C., under Qin Shi Huang, sections of earlier fortifications were joined together to form a united defence system against invasions from the north. Overall, the wall extends about 1500 miles (2400 kilometers). A first set of walls, designed to keep Mongol nomads out of China, were built of earth and stones in wood frames during the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE). Some additions and modifications were made to these simple walls over the next millennium but the major construction of the "modern" walls began in the Ming Dynasty (1388-1644 CE), when the Great Wall became the world's largest military structure

Ward's LakeHatra, Iraq: A large fortified city under the influence of the Parthian Empire and capital of the first Arab Kingdom, Hatra withstood invasions by the Romans in A.D. 116 and 198 thanks to its high, thick walls reinforced by towers. The remains of the city, especially the temples where Hellenistic and Roman architecture blend with Eastern decorative features, attest to the greatness of its civilizatio. Dating back to 200 BC -200 AD, has remains of buildings, temples, statues and other works of art in stone and bronze.


sohpetbneng peakMasada, Israel: Masada is a rugged natural fortress, of majestic beauty, in the Judaean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea. It is a symbol of the ancient kingdom of Israel, its violent destruction and the last stand of Jewish patriots in the face of the Roman army, in 73 A.D. It was built as a palace complex, in the classic style of the early Roman Empire, by Herod the Great, King of Judaea, (reigned 37 – 4 B.C.). The camps, fortifications and attack ramp that encircle the monument constitute the most complete Roman siege works surviving to the present day.

Ward's LakePetra, Jordan: Inhabited since prehistoric times, this Nabataean caravan-city, situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, was an important crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia. Petra is half-built, half-carved into the rock, and is surrounded by mountains riddled with passages and gorges. Petra (lit. Rock) was the capital city of the Nabataeans, a tribe of pre-Roman Arabs who dominated the region around the Sixth century BC. Located at the crossroads of ancient trade routes, the city survived on toll and taxes collected from traders. Despite several attempts to conquer their capital, the Nabataeans remained practically independent until the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra and the reunification of the Roman Empire by Octavian in 31 BC. In 106, the Romans under Trajan finally captured Petra to mark the beginning of the decline of the city. The Nabataeans carved their Capital in the canyons and hills of sandstone of Wadi Araba in Jordan. The entrance to the city is through The Alley (Al-Siq). The city includes the Urn Tomb and the Royal Tombs, the Colonnade Street, the Temples of Dushara and Al-Uzza, and the High Place of Sacrifice.

UmiumLeptis Magna, Libya: Leptis Magna, or Lepcis Magna, was a prominent city of the republic of Carthage, and later, of the Roman Empire. Its ruins are located 62 miles southeast of Carthage, near Tripoli, Libya. The city appears to have been founded by Phoenician colonists sometime around 1100 BC, although it didn't achieve prominence until Carthage became a major power in the Mediterranean Sea in the 4th century BC. It nominally remained part of Carthage's dominions until the end of the Third Punic War in 146 BC, and then became part of the Roman Republic, although from about 200 BC onward it was for all intents and purposes an independent city. It remained as such until the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberius, when Leptis Magna and the surrounding area were formally incorporated into the empire as part of the province of Africa. Leptis achieved its greatest prominence beginning in 193, when a native son, Lucius Septimius Severus, became emperor. He favored his hometown above all other provincial cities, and the buildings and wealth he lavished on it made Leptis Magna the third most-imporant city in Africa, rivaling Carthage and Alexandria. In 205, he and the imperial family visited the city and received great honors. During the Crisis of the Third Century, when trade declined precipitously, Leptis Magna's importance also fell into a decline, and by the middle of the fourth century, large parts of the city had been abandoned. It enjoyed a minor renaissance beginning in the reign of the emperor Theodosius I.. In 439, Leptis Magna and the rest of the cities of Tripolitania fell under the control of the Vandals when their king, Gaiseric, captured Carthage from the Romans and made it his capital. Unfortunately for the future of Leptis Magna, Gaiseric ordered the city's walls demolished so as to dissuade its people from rebelling against Vandal rule. But the people of Leptis and the Vandals both paid a heavy price for this in 523, when a group of Berber raiders sacked the city. Belisarius recaptured Leptis Magna in the name of Rome 10 years later, and in 534 he destroyed the kingdom of the Vandals. Leptis became a provincial capital of the Eastern Roman Empire (see Byzantine Empire), but never recovered from the destruction wreaked upon it by the Berbers. By the time the Saracens overran Tripolitania in the 650s, the city was abandoned except for a Byzantine garrison force.


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