Around the world, 18 April is recognized as World Heritage Day or the International Day For Monuments and Sites. It celebrates human history and heritage through ancient and magnificent monuments.
Many countries even have free entry at popular monuments and sites in recognition of this day. This Wold Heritage Day, take a look at some of the oldest buildings on the planet that you can actually visit:
1. Ggantija, Malta (c. 3700 BC)
Located on the island of Gozo, these two temples are more than 5500 years old, and some of the oldest manmade religious structures in the world.
2. Knap of Howar, Scotland (c. 3700 BC)
This Neolithic farm on the island of Papa Westray is the oldest surviving building in the UK and has intact stone furniture.
3. Tarxien Temples, Malta (c. 3250 BC)
The megalithic temple structures at Tarxien in Malta were used for ritual sacrifices and as a cremation cemetery.
4. Newgrange, Ireland (c. 3200 BC)
Consisting of a large circular mound filled with decorated passageways and chambers, this Neolithic structure is thought to have had religious significance.
5. Skara Brae, Orkney, Scotland (c. 3180 BC)
One of the best preserved Neolithic villages in Europe, Skara Brae is one of many prehistoric structures on the Orkney Islands.
6. Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England (c. 3000 BC)
Perhaps the most famous prehistoric structure in all of Europe, no one really knows what the ring of standing stones at Stonehenge was used for.
7. Pyramid of Djoser, Egypt (c. 2660 BC)
Built by the Pharaoh Djoser (Zoser), this step pyramid predates those at Giza by more than a century, making it Egypt’s oldest surviving pyramid
8. Mohenjo Daro, Pakistan (c. 2600 BC)
One of the earliest urban settlements, this city of the Indus Valley Civilization has a sophisticated road and drainage system, with two storied brick houses and public baths.
9. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt (c. 2560 – 2500 BC)
The only remaining wonder of the ancient world, the three Pyramids of Giza are truly astonishing in their magnificent scale and grandeur.
10. Ziggurat of Ur, Iraq (c. 2100 BC)
Near the mouth of the Tigris and the Euphrates, in what was the city of Ur, this Neo-Sumerian Ziggurat was partially reconstructed in the 1980s under Saddam Hussein.
11. Temples of Luxor & Karnak, Egypt (c. 2060 BC – 1085 BC)
Part of the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, also called Waset, the temples of Karnak and Luxor as well as the nearby necropolis, the Valley of Kings, are awe-inspiring.
12. Minoan Palace of Knossos, Crete, Greece (c. 2000–1300 BC)
This sprawling palace complex and nearby city were the ceremonial and political center of the Minoan civilization with a population of 100,000 people.
13. Abu Simbel, Egypt (c. 1264 BC)
Located on the western bank of Lake Nasser, the twin temples were entirely relocated in 1968 when they were under threat of being submerged by the Aswan High Dam
14. Paestum, Italy (c. 600–550 BC)
Once a major Greek city, Pasteum (Poseidonia in Greek) is famous for the remarkably well-preserved complex of three temples in the Doric style to Hera and Athena.
15. Tomb of Cyrus, Iran (c. 530 BC)
Part of the ancient settlement of Pasargadae, the tomb of Cyrus the Great is near the hilltop fortress of Toll-e Takht.
16. Persepolis, Iran (c. 522 BC)
The ancient capital of the First Persian Empire (Achaemenid Empire), the city would have been known as Pārsa to the ancient Persians.
17. Parthenon, Athens, Greece (447–432 BC)
Atop the Acropolis of Athens, this lavishly decorated temple was dedicated to the goddess Athena, patron of the city. While it is still under reconstruction, a full-scale replica can be found in Nashville.
18. Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak, Bulgaria (400–300 BC)
Part of a larger Thracian necropolis near the ancient Thracian capital of Seuthopolis, this tomb is full of colorful murals representing a ritual funeral feast
19. Philae (c. 380–362 BC)
One of the newest Egyptian temples, it is located on an island in the reservoir of the Aswan Low Dam. Said to be the burial place of the god Osiris, it also contains a temple to his wife, Isis.
20. Sanchi Stupa, India (c. 300 BC)
Commissioned by the Emperor Ashoka the Great Stupa at Sanchi is one of the oldest stone structures in India. It houses relics of the Buddha
21. Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, Xian, China (246 BC)
Built over 38 years, this vast complex houses the famous Terracotta Army which guard the resting place of Qin Shi Huang (who also built the first part of the Great Wall)
22. Ajanta Caves, India (230 BC–650 AD)
The 29 rock-cut Buddhist caves were started in the 2nd century BC, and their sculptures and paintings are among the finest surviving examples of ancient Indian art.
23. Ruwanwelisaya Stupa, Sri Lanka (c. 140 BC)
Built by King Dutugemunu, this Sri Lankan stupa was renovated in the early 20th century.
24. Maison Carrée, Nimes, France (16 BC–4AD)
Located in Nîmes, in southern France, it is one of the best preserved Roman temples in the world.
25. Colosseum, Rome (70–80 AD)
Rome’s most famous classical ruin is also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre. Seating well over 50,000 people, it is located just next to the ruins of the Roman Forum