After a long trip to Europe in 2001 I came back wondering why ancient ruined things were so affecting. Then I saw a book about it, Among Ruins I think it was, but I cannot find my copy or reference to in on the internet. The subject was why ruins appeal to us.
Maybe I'll find it on one of my shelves sometime, but seeing the pictures this evening reminded me of the Roman Forum, which was for a time buried in dirt and literally a cow meadow (campo di vaca) before being unearthed.
There are so many ruins in Rome, a thriving city by the way, that it became one of my favorite places. Modern streets pass under ancient arches. Medieval buildings perch on Imperial foundations. I loved it.
Istanbul has hunks of Constantinople here and there, as well as byzantine churches. There is a great aqueduct downtown, and hunks of fallen columns alongside the Ordu Caddesi.
Athens has several great ruins, but largely separate from the modern city. The medieval Louvre lurks under the modern museum in Paris, which is very cool. And some of the old roman wall still stands in London.
Of course, you may remember by trip along Hadrian's Wall last September, which has views like this
But my favorite, so far of course, is Mycenae in the Greek Peloponnese. Older than anything else I have seen, and terribly moving.
The Trojan War started here, and with it the Iliad and the Odyssey.
I should be doing my work tonight, but ruins are on my mind. Not a bad thing, actually. It's good to see stuff older than me that has survived.