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Ancient wonders you can see on a cruise holiday

Tuesday 22 March 2022

View of the Pyramids near Cairo city in Egypt

Travelling is a great way to learn more about the world, and one of the most remarkable things we can seek out is human history. When exploring the world, we can uncover ancient relics and sites that show us what life would have been like thousands of years ago and we gain perspective. For many, learning about the history of humankind can be a life-affirming and inspirational thing to experience, allowing you to return home with a new outlook.

For those seeking out the best ancient history sites on a cruise holiday, you’ll be pleased to know there is a range of ancient marvels just waiting for you to visit. In this article, we pick out our favourites.

Great Pyramid of Giza, Cairo

The most prominent ancient wonder that can be visited on cruises from London Tilbury is the staggering Great Pyramid of Giza, located near the city of Cairo in Egypt. Of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, the Great Pyramid of Giza is the last to remain standing and has been an iconic landmark on the Egyptian plains since 2,600 BC. The oldest and the largest in the complex, the Great Pyramid of Giza isn’t the only thing to see, as there are other pyramids, the Great Sphinx and a number of major monuments.

For those who have always dreamt of a trip to Cairo to see this behemoth and the full Giza Pyramid Complex, our Black Sea & Mediterranean Cruise Holidays stop in Alexandria for Cairo.

The Acropolis, Athens

Another ancient marvel and iconic site that you can easily visit on a cruise holiday is the Acropolis of Athens. The ancient citadel, the Acropolis stands towering above the surrounding city meaning not only does it catch the eye, but it also offers the perfect vantage point. Atop the hill, you’ll find the remains of an array of ancient buildings, the most notable being the Parthenon. The Acropolis itself is thought to have been inhabited since the fourth millennium BC, however, the architectural mind behind the current vision was Pericles, who oversaw the construction of the complex in the fifth century BC. Although it’s not in the same condition it would have been in its prime, the ruins have been well preserved and there is a lot to enjoy on your cruise stopover.

Skara Brae, a stone-built Neolithic settlement on the Bay of Skaill

Skara Brae, Orkney Isles

You may think you need to look further field that the UK for ancient wonders, however, we have some of our very own available for the travel curious on a British Isles Cruise. Everyone knows of Stonehenge, but far fewer people are aware of its older rival, Skara Brae, located on the Orkney Isles of Scotland. In fact, Radiocarbon dating indicates that Skara Brae was constructed in Neolithic times, making it the oldest site on our list at over 5,000 years of age.

With a cluster of ten flagstone houses built into the landscape, you can see clearly how Neolithic life would have looked for those living on the island, including beds, cupboards and a sewer system. The complex was initially discovered after a terrible storm in 1850, which stripped the overlying earth and excavation was started by the local laird.

READ MORE: What is Scotland known for?

Remains of Temple of Artemis in Ephesus

Temple of Artemis, Ephesus

Although it’s not in as good a condition as the Great Pyramid of Giza (and the remains are nowhere near as impressive as the original structure had been) a visit to Ephesus will let you set foot amongst the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, another of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World.

In a poem written by Greek writer Antipater of Sidon, often associated with the Seven Wonders, the Temple of Artemis (in its heyday) is highlighted as especially remarkable: “I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of Zeus by the Alpheus, and the hanging gardens, and the Colossus of the Sun, and the huge labour of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, ‘Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand.’”

Telling us in her own words, Christine Wheeler from Live Love Run Travel explains “You can read about Ephesus in the Bible or learn about it in history books, but standing in the ancient city is an entirely different experience. To walk the streets where so many important historical and religious figures walked and to see a city still in such good conditions centuries later make an excursion to Ephesus a must when visiting Turkey.”

Old City, Jerusalem

It’s impossible to finish this list without talking about the Old City of Jerusalem, one of the most significant locations in human history. Associated with the origins of three major world religions, Jerusalem Old City is a cultural hub and it’s hard to find a path in the history of humankind that hasn’t run through its veins. The Old City is home to several sites of key religious importance, including Temple Mount, the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Dome of the Rock, to name a few. This is why it’s been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981 and, for those of any walk of like (and even those with no faith) an entrancing and unique place to visit.

READ MORE: How to spend your stopover in Jerusalem, Israel

Ancient wonders you can see on a cruise holiday:

  • Great Pyramid of Giza, Cairo

  • The Acropolis, Athens

  • Skara Brae, Orkney Isles

  • Temple of Artemis, Ephesus

  • Old City, Jerusalem

It’s no understatement to say that a visit to any of these sites can be life-changing, offering you a first-hand look at the history of the world and giving a perspective that simply cannot be gained by reading a book or looking at images online. Being able to engulf yourself in an experience is one of the best things about travelling, and we think, jumping into human history is one of the most rewarding. So, next time you take a cruise holiday, we hope you’re inspired to seek out some of these marvels and you get to have that experience yourself.

For more tips, guides, and advice, make sure to visit our blog page.

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