This month marks the 100 year anniversary of the discovery of Machu Picchu. To celebrate, we're looking at some of the most fascinating lost civilizations of the world and giving you all the info you need to get there yourself.
Whether they're nestled in the jungle, perched atop a mountain or in the middle of a modern city, the remains of these 'lost civilizations' are just waiting to be explored!
Constructed around 1450 at the height of the Inca empire, Machu Picchu was abandoned barely100 years later as the empire collapsed under Spanish conquest. Yet, unlike many other Inca sites, Machu Picchu was never discovered by the Spaniards. Over the centuries, the city was lost to the jungle, but in 1911, explorer Hiram Bingham rediscovered the city and brought it to the world's attention.
Getting there: Visitors can either hike the Inca Trail leading up to the site or take a train from the city into the mountains where you can walk or take a bus up to the monuments.The average price of a Machu Picchu train ticket is about $43 USD (30 EUR). The best time to go would be between April and October, when there is less chance of rain. For more information, visit http://www.rediscovermachupicchu.com/visiting-mp.htm.
This old Roman town was a lively port city and a favorite vacation haunt of Roman nobles. In 79 AD, the city was destroyed and completely buried during an eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The volcano collapsed higher roof-lines and buried Pompeii under many meters of ash and pumice. It was lost for nearly 1700 years before its accidental rediscovery in 1748. Today, it's been excavated and is open to tourists. Ironically, the volcanic ash that destroyed the city also preserved almost everything it touched, giving us a unique glimpse back in time.
Getting there: You can take a train, bus or car to visit the ruins, which are just outside of Naples. The average price of a ticket is around $20 USD (14 EUR), but as the ruins are pretty expansive, it is recommended that you get the three day pass for around $40 USD (28 EUR). Also, depending on what time of the year you visit, operational times vary so be sure to check before you go or visit http://goeurope.about.com/cs/italy/a/pompeii.htm
Located in northern Guatemala, the sites of Tikal National Park were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. Population estimates for Tikal vary from 10,000 to as high as 90,000 inhabitants, with the figure most likely being at the upper end of this range, making it one of the largest urban centers and archaeological sites of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. The city was abandoned in 900 AD when the Maya moved elsewhere, most likely due to a combination of environmental change, rebellion and famine.
Getting there: A car ride from the nearby village of Flores will take 45 minutes, and it's the only transport to and from the site. After that, it's a hike through the jungle to get to there. Some trips to Mexico and Belize offer the trip to Tikal as part of a package tour. Tickets are around $20 USD (14 EUR) a person.
Running along the banks of the Nile River, Ancient Egypt was a pioneering city for writing, mathematics, medicine, farming and sheer man-power. Egypt's early inhabitants left a lasting legacy on both the ancient and modern worlds, creating one of the most recognizable places on the planet. The civilization prospered for over 5,000 years before falling to the Romans in 30 BC.
Getting there: The pyramids and surrounding monuments have become so famous, locals have made a business of offering tours (and hustling foreigners) to the site. To avoid this, book a trip with a reputable travel company, read reviews online before you go, and be on your guard. Buses and taxis can get you to your destination. Once there, entering the pyramid zones will cost upwards of $120 USD (85 EUR), and some charge for taking pictures. For more information, visit http://everything-everywhere.com/2009/04/30/how-to-survive-a-visit-to-the-pyramids/.
Perhaps one of the greatest, most complex cities of the ancient world, Rome was the center of philosophy, religion, culture and the seat of power for hundreds of years. Perhaps they spread themselves too thin, because the Roman Empire fell in 476 A.D. when the Eastern Roman Empire finally gave in (the western part had been sacked 1,000 years earlier by the barbarians). This decay and fall was most likely due to a combination of corrupt emperors, a change in religion and an unorganized system of government. But, no one knows for sure.
Getting there:Located next to the heart of the modern day city, the ruins of Rome are easily accessible by public transportation or car. Because this is a very popular tourist destination, you are able to purchase most tickets online to avoid waiting in lines, and most guided tours are in a minimum of 8 languages. There are dozens of monuments to see, so if you want to organize you trip, visit http://www.italyguides.it/us/roma/rome_italy_travel.htm
After the Maya abandoned Tikal, they moved here, to what is now Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. This former Mayan stronghold features impressive step-pyramid style temples and other monumental architecture in classic Central Mexico style. The city was abandoned by 1,000 AD for largely unknown reasons. Although there is evidence of looting and sacking, historians do not believe it fell to invaders.
Getting there: Most tourists make a day trip from Cancun to visit the site, although it is more than 100 miles away. You can go by bus or car and many agencies offer group bus rides. Once there, you can walk around and explore the over 20 monuments and temples. Tickets are reasonably priced at around $14 USD (9 EUR), and if you want to video record your adventure, it's another $4 USD (2 EUR). Learn more at,http://yucatantoday.com/en/topics/chichen-itza
Once populated by the Indus Valley or Harappan civilizations, the city dates back to 2600 BC, making it one of the world's earliest major urban settlements. Located in modern day Pakistan, the city features technology far ahead of its time, including a sewage system and toilets. After it was discovered in 1922, excavations were conducted until weather damage started to erode the exposed buildings, but tourists can still visit.
Getting there:This trip could be taken as a day-trip from Sukkur through Larkana, but most places advise avoiding making the trip home after dark. It's better to start early and end early in the day. Most tours are held with groups as part of a larger tour. To find out more about the ruins, visit http://insider.pk/travel/tourism/mohenjo-daro-an-adventure/
Off the southern shore of Okinawa, Japan under 20 to 100 feet of water lies huge stone structures that many believe have been built by some ancient civilization. Skeptics say the large, tiered formations are probably natural in origin, but most scientists who have studied them believe them to be man-made. The architecture includes what appear to be paved streets and crossroads, large altar-like formations and pyramids, staircases leading to broad plazas and processional ways surmounted by pairs of towering features resembling pylons.
Getting there: Located off the coast of the small island of Yonaguni, a few diving companies offer trip packages to visit the sites. Visitors will need to book a trip with on of them as solo scuba diving is prohibited. The trip isn't cheap though, packages start at $1395 USD (980 EUR) (including room and board, but not travel to and from the island). To book a trip, visit