On the edge of the desert where the sand ends and modern Cairo begins, the pyramids of Giza were constructed around 4,500 years ago as grand tombs for the pharaohs. With walking routes around the site, this virtual tour shows the magnificent structures from near and far. This includes two of the largest pyramids ever built – the Great Pyramid (147 metres) and the Pyramid of Khafre (136 metres) – plus the Great Sphinx to the east.
The prehistoric site of Stonehenge in Wiltshire dates back 5,000 years. It was originally a simple earth enclosure used for cremations, with the ring of standing stones added around 2500BC. The stones include large sarsen blocks that archaeologists believe were brought to the site from Marlborough Downs (20 miles away) and smaller bluestones from Preseli Hills in Wales, a confounding 140 miles away. The English Heritage virtual tour includes a 360-degree interactive image from the centre of the site, with pop-out videos on its excavation, conservation and design, including as a site for celestial observation. Other interactive CGI images give more information on its construction and the landscape at different periods in its history.
One of the oldest cities in the world, Petra was occupied thousands of years BC, though it is believed the spectacular sandstone city was built in the 3rd century BC by the Nabatean Arabs. It’s rose-coloured buildings have been viewed by the world in films such as The Mummy Returns and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, though around 85% of the city remains underground, yet to be excavated. This online tour includes a guide narrating the interactive walk around some of Petra’s most iconic monuments. It heads through a narrow gorge called the Siq, passing tombs, temple ruins, an enormous monastery and Al Khaznah, the famous building whose elaborate facade is carved into the gorge wall.
Once seating between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators who came through 80 entrances, the Colosseum was the world’s largest amphitheatre when it was built between AD70 and AD80 for sporting events and gladiatorial combat. Around two-thirds of the structure has been destroyed in the 2,000 years since but the remaining ruins are one of Italy’s most popular attractions. Take a walk inside, around the various levels, or fly overhead in these 360-degree images.
There are many strange and wonderful architectural features within the ancient city of Chichén Itzá on Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula. El Castillo pyramid (also known as the Temple of Kukulcan, a serpent deity) at the centre has a combined 365 steps ascending its four sides. Twice a year, on the equinox, the steps cast a shadow in the shape of a serpent on the north section, which connects to a snake head sculpture at its base, meant to depict Kukulkan. The 360- aerial images explore several of the Mayan ruins, including the pyramid, the Temple of Warriors, the observatory and the nunnery.
Source: The Guardian 30 March 2020