5 Timeless Journeys in Asia
Discover some of the world’s oldest sites.
Shinto shrines, Islamic architecture, and cities carved from rock—the people of Asia have been building iconic monuments for millennia. Check out the five UNESCO World Heritage Sites below, and explore more ancient locations throughout the world in the new book Timeless Journeys.
Chiseled into a warren of desert canyons between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, Petra started life as a caravan city on the busy overland routes between Arabia, Egypt, Asia Minor, and Mesopotamia. Its eclectic architecture reflects this crossroads quality, a blend of Hellenistic and Middle Eastern influences.
A former capital of the Persian Empire, Isfahan rises in a spectacle of gleaming, arabesque-adorned domes. The city has one of the largest central squares in the world, its centuries-old history spanning both the rise and the demise of Persia.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Built during the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th centuries, the massive 400-square-mile (1,036-sq-km) Angkor Wat complex rises out of the dense jungle in central Cambodia. The temple complex is not only one of the world’s largest religious monuments, it is an elaborate expression of Hindu cosmology.
Great Wall of China
The Great Wall snakes across northern China for hundreds and hundreds of miles, the world’s largest human-made military structure and one of its oldest. According to a recent Chinese study, this marvel of engineering rambles for more than 12,400 miles (19,960 km) from the Korean border west to the Gobi.
Rice Terraces of the Cordilleras, Philippines
Following the natural contours of the region’s hills—some slope at an angle of 70 degrees—the terraces were carved by hand, and then fixed with stone or mud walls. The paddies were never intended for commerce or profit; to this day they simply feed the locals, who work hard to cultivate them so they can eat.