Ruins (from Latin ruina, meaning 'a collapse') are the remains of human-made architecture: structures that were once intact have fallen, as time went by, into a state of partial or total disrepair, due to lack of maintenance or deliberate acts of destruction. Natural disaster, war and population decline are the most common root causes, with many structures becoming progressively derelict over time due to long-term weathering and scavenging.
There are famous ruins all over the world, from ancient sites in China, the Indus valley and Judea to Zimbabwe in Africa, ancient Greek, Egyptian and Roman sites in the Mediterranean basin, and Incan and Mayan sites in the Americas. Ruins are of great importance to historians, archaeologists and anthropologists, whether they were once individual fortifications, places of worship, ancient universities, houses and utility buildings, or entire villages, towns and cities. Many ruins have become UNESCO World Heritage Sites in recent years, to identify and preserve them as areas of outstanding value to humanity.
Ancient cities were often highly militarized and fortified defensive settlements. In times of war they were the central focus of armed conflict and would be sacked and ruined in defeat. Although less central to modern conflict, vast areas of 20th-century cities such as Warsaw, Dresden, Coventry, Stalingrad, Königsberg, and Berlin were left in ruins following World War II, and a number of major cities around the world – such as Beirut, Kabul, Sarajevo, Grozny and Baghdad – have been partially or completely ruined in recent years as a result of more localised warfare.
Entire cities have also been ruined, and some occasionally lost completely, to natural disasters. The ancient city of Pompeii was completely lost during a volcanic eruption in the 1st century AD, its uncovered ruins now preserved as a World Heritage Site. The city of Lisbon was totally destroyed in 1755 by a massive earthquake and tsunami, and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake left the city in almost complete ruin.
Apart from acts of war, some important historic buildings have fallen victim to deliberate acts of destruction as a consequence of social, political and economic factors. The spoliation of public monuments in Rome was under way during the fourth century, when it was covered in protective legislation in the Theodosian Code and in new legislation of Majorian. and the dismantling increased once popes were free of imperial restrictions. Marble was still being burned for agricultural lime in the Roman Campagna into the nineteenth century.
In Europe, many religious buildings suffered as a result of the politics of the day. In the 16th century, the English monarch Henry VIII set about confiscating the property of monastic institutions in a campaign which became known as the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Many abbeys and monasteries fell into ruin when their assets, including lead roofs, were stripped.
In the 20th century, a number of European historic buildings fell into ruin as a result of taxation policies, which required all structures with roofs to pay substantial property tax. The owners of these buildings, like Fetteresso Castle (now restored) and Slains Castle in Scotland, deliberately destroyed their roofs in protest at, and defiance of, the new taxes. Other decrees of government have had a more direct result, such as the case of Beverston Castle, in which the English parliament ordered significant destruction of the castle to prevent it being used by opposition Royalists. Post-colonial Ireland has encouraged the ruin of grand Georgian houses, symbols of British imperialism.
As a rule, towers built of steel are dismantled, when not used any more, because their construction can be either rebuilt on a new site or if the state of construction does not allow a direct reuse, the metal can be recycled economically. However, sometimes tower basements remain, because their removal can sometimes be expensive. One example of such a basement is the basement of the former radio mast of Deutschlandsender Herzberg/Elster.
The basements of large wooden towers such as Transmitter Ismaning may also be left behind, because removing them would be difficult.
In the Middle Ages Roman ruins were inconvenient impediments to modern life, quarries for pre-shaped blocks for building projects, or marble to be burnt for agricultural lime, and subjects for satisfying commentaries on the triumph of Christianity and the general sense of the world's decay, in what was assumed to be its last age, before the Second Coming. With the Renaissance, ruins took on new roles among a cultural elite, as examples for a consciously revived and purified architecture all' antica, and for a new aesthetic appreciation of their innate beauty as objects of venerable decay. The chance discovery of Nero's Domus Aurea at the turn of the sixteenth century, and the early excavations at Herculaneum and Pompeii had marked effects on current architectural styles, in Raphael's Rooms at the Vatican and in neoclassical interiors, respectively. The new sense of historicism that accompanied neoclassicism led some artists and designers to conceive of the modern classicising monuments of their own day as they would one day appear as ruins.
In the period of Romanticism ruins (mostly of castles) were frequent object for painters, place of meetings of romantic poets, nationalist students etc. (e.g. Bezděz Castle in Bohemia, Hambach Castle in Germany, Devin Castle in Slovakia).
Ruin value (German: Ruinenwert) is the concept that a building be designed such that if it eventually collapsed, it would leave behind aesthetically pleasing ruins that would last far longer without any maintenance at all. Joseph Michael Gandy completed for Sir John Soane in 1832 an atmospheric watercolor of the architect's vast Bank of England rotunda as a picturesquely overgrown ruin, that is an icon of Romanticism. Ruinenwert was popularized in the 20th century by Albert Speer while planning for the 1936 Summer Olympics and published as Die Ruinenwerttheorie ("The Theory of Ruin Value").
Ruins remain a popular subject for painting and creative photography and are often romanticized in film and literature, providing scenic backdrops or used as metaphors for other forms of decline or decay. For example, the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle in England inspired Turner to create several paintings; in 1989 the ruined Dunnottar Castle in Scotland was used for filming of Hamlet.
Adam Ruins Everything is an American comedy television series starring Adam Conover that debuted on September 29, 2015, with a 12-episode season on truTV. On January 7, 2016, it was announced that the show had been picked up for 14 additional episodes to air starting on August 23, 2016. An hour-long election special was later produced. The series aims to debunk misconceptions that pervade U.S. society.
On December 7, 2016, truTV announced the renewal of Adam Ruins Everything for a 16-episode season, which premiered on July 11, 2017. An additional miniseries of six animated episodes premiered on March 20, 2018. On May 9, 2018, TruTV announced the show had been renewed for 10 more episodes, and would return in fall of 2018. On July 8, 2019, it was announced that eight additional season 3 episodes would air that year, beginning on August 13, 2019.Aphrodisias (Cilicia)
Aphrodisias (Ancient Greek: Ἀφροδισιάς), sometimes called Aphrodisias of Cilicia to distinguish it from the town of the same name in Caria, was a port city of ancient Cilicia whose ruins now lie near Cape Tisan in Mersin Province, Turkey.Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (O'odham: Siwañ Waʼa Ki: or Sivan Vahki), in Coolidge, Arizona, just northeast of the city of Casa Grande, preserves a group of Ancestral Puebloans Hohokam structures of the Pueblo III and Pueblo IV Eras.Emirzeli
Emirzeli (İmirzeli) is a group of ruins in Mersin Province, TurkeyGreat Zimbabwe
Great Zimbabwe is a ruined city in the south-eastern hills of Zimbabwe near Lake Mutirikwe and the town of Masvingo. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe during the country's Late Iron Age. Construction on the city began in the 11th century and continued until it was abandoned in the 15th century. The edifices were erected by the ancestral Shona. The stone city spans an area of 7.22 square kilometres (1,780 acres) which, at its peak, could have housed up to 18,000 people. It is recognised as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Great Zimbabwe is believed to have served as a royal palace for the local monarch. As such, it would have been used as the seat of political power. Among the edifice's most prominent features were its walls, some of which were over five metres high. They were constructed without mortar (dry stone). Eventually, the city was abandoned and fell into ruin.
The earliest known written mention of the Great Zimbabwe ruins was in 1531 by Vicente Pegado, captain of the Portuguese garrison of Sofala, on the coast of modern-day Mozambique, who recorded it as Symbaoe. The first confirmed visits by Europeans were in the late 19th century, with investigations of the site starting in 1871. Later, studies of the monument were controversial in the archaeological world, with political pressure being put upon archaeologists by the government of Rhodesia to deny its construction by native African people. Great Zimbabwe has since been adopted as a national monument by the Zimbabwean government, and the modern independent state was named after it. The word great distinguishes the site from the many hundreds of small ruins, now known as "zimbabwes", spread across the Zimbabwe Highveld. There are 200 such sites in southern Africa, such as Bumbusi in Zimbabwe and Manyikeni in Mozambique, with monumental, mortarless walls; Great Zimbabwe is the largest of these.Karakabaklı
Karakabaklı is an archaeological site in Mersin Province, Turkey.Khami
Khami (also written as Khame, Kame or Kami) is a ruined city located 22 kilometres west of Bulawayo, in Zimbabwe. It was once the capital of the Kalanga Kingdom of Butwa of the Torwa dynasty. It is now a national monument, and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.Lesnes Abbey
Lesnes Abbey is a former abbey, now ruined, in Abbey Wood, in the London Borough of Bexley, southeast London, England. It is a scheduled ancient monument and the adjacent Lesnes Abbey Woods are a Local Nature Reserve. Part of the wood is the Abbey Wood SSSI, a geological Site of Special Scientific Interest which is an important site for early Tertiary fossils.List of castles in England
This list of castles in England is not a list of every building and site that has "castle" as part of its name, nor does it list only buildings that conform to a strict definition of a castle as a medieval fortified residence. It is not a list of every castle ever built in England, many of which have vanished without trace, but is primarily a list of buildings and remains that have survived. In almost every case the buildings that survive are either ruined, or have been altered over the centuries. For several reasons, whether a given site is that of a medieval castle has not been taken to be a sufficient criterion for determining whether or not that site should be included in the list.
Castles that have vanished or whose remains are barely visible are not listed, except for some important or well-known buildings and sites. Fortifications from before the medieval period are not listed, nor are architectural follies. In other respects it is difficult to identify clear and consistent boundaries between two sets of buildings, comprising those that indisputably belong in a list of castles and those that do not. The criteria adopted for inclusion in the list include such factors as: how much survives from the medieval period; how strongly fortified the building was; how castle-like the surviving building is; whether the building has been given the title of "castle"; how certain it is that a medieval castle stood on the site, or that the surviving remains are those of a medieval castle; how well-known or interesting the building is; and whether including or excluding a building helps make the list, in some measure, more consistent.
In order to establish a list that is as far as possible comprehensive as well as consistent, it is necessary to establish its boundaries. Before the list itself, a discussion of its scope includes lengthy lists of buildings excluded from the main lists for various reasons. The Castellarium Anglicanum, an authoritative index of castles in England and Wales published in 1983, lists over 1,500 castle sites in England. Many of these castles have vanished or left almost no trace. The present list includes more than 800 medieval castles of which there are visible remains, with over 300 having substantial surviving stone or brick remains.Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu (English: or , Spanish: [ˈmatʃu ˈpi(k)tʃu]; Quechua: Machu Pikchu [ˈmatʃʊ ˈpɪktʃʊ]) is a 15th-century Inca citadel, located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru, on a 2,430-metre (7,970 ft) mountain ridge. It is located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province, Machupicchu District, above the Sacred Valley, which is 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Cuzco and through which the Urubamba River flows, cutting through the Cordillera and creating a canyon with a tropical mountain climate.Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was constructed as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often mistakenly referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas", it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. The Incas built the estate around 1450 but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish conquest. Although known locally, it was not known to the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham brought it to international attention in 1911.
Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. Its three primary structures are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed in order to give tourists a better idea of how they originally appeared. By 1976, 30% of Machu Picchu had been restored and restoration continues.Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historic Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. In 2007, Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a worldwide Internet poll.Mohenjo-daro
Mohenjo-daro (; Sindhi: موئن جو دڙو, meaning 'Mound of the Dead Men'; Urdu: موئن جو دڑو [muˑənⁱ dʑoˑ d̪əɽoˑ]) is an archaeological site in the province of Sindh, Pakistan. Built around 2500 BCE, it was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation, and one of the world's earliest major cities, contemporaneous with the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Minoan Crete, and Norte Chico. Mohenjo-daro was abandoned in the 19th century BCE as the Indus Valley Civilization declined, and the site was not rediscovered until the 1920s. Significant excavation has since been conducted at the site of the city, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. The site is currently threatened by erosion and improper restoration.Persepolis
Persepolis (/pɝˈsepəlɪs/, Old Persian: 𐎱𐎠𐎼𐎿, Pārsa) was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550–330 BCE). It is situated 60 km northeast of the city of Shiraz in Fars Province, Iran. The earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BCE. It exemplifies the Achaemenid style of architecture. UNESCO declared the ruins of Persepolis a World Heritage Site in 1979.Salmon Ruins
Salmon Ruins is an ancient Chacoan and Pueblo site located in the northwest corner of New Mexico, USA. Salmon was constructed by migrants from Chaco Canyon around 1090 CE, with 275 to 300 original rooms spread across three stories, an elevated tower kiva in its central portion, and a great kiva in its plaza. Subsequent use by local Middle San Juan people (beginning in the 1120s) resulted in extensive modifications to the original building, with the reuse of hundreds of rooms, division of many of the original large, Chacoan rooms into smaller rooms, and emplacement of more than 20 small kivas into pueblo rooms and plaza areas. The site was occupied by ancient Ancestral Puebloans until the 1280s, when much of the site was destroyed by fire and abandoned (Reed 2006b). The pueblo is situated on the north bank of the San Juan River, just to the west of the modern town of Bloomfield, New Mexico, and about 45 miles (72 km) north of Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon. The site was built on the first alluvial terrace above the San Juan River floodplain.
The ruins of Salmon Pueblo were excavated between 1970 and 1979, under the direction of Cynthia Irwin-Williams of Eastern New Mexico University in partnership with the San Juan County Museum Association (Irwin-Williams 2006, p. 17-27). The San Juan Valley Archaeological Program resulted in the excavation of slightly more than one-third of Salmon's ground floor rooms. More than 1.5 million artifacts and samples were recovered from Salmon. In 1980, Irwin-Williams and co-principal investigator Phillip Shelley wrote, compiled and edited a multivolume, 1,500-page report. The document fulfilled the reporting requirements for the series of grants under which the project had been completed but it was not intended for publication. Throughout the 1980s, Irwin-Williams and Shelley worked on a modified and greatly reduced manuscript, with the goal of producing a publishable report. This work ended with the untimely death of Cynthia Irwin-Williams in 1990.
In 2000, Archaeology Southwest (formerly the Center for Desert Archaeology) President Bill Doelle and staff met with Salmon Executive Director Larry Baker and forged a multiyear partnership. Archaeology Southwest's work at Salmon began in 2001 as the Salmon Reinvestment and Research Program, with archaeologist Paul Reed leading the effort. The research initiative comprised two primary tasks: first, to condense and edit the original 1980 Salmon report into a new, published technical report, and second, to conduct additional, primary research in several targeted areas, with the goal of producing material for a detailed technical report, as well as a synthetic volume. The three-volume report, entitled Thirty-Five Years of Archaeological Research at Salmon Ruins, New Mexico, was published in 2006 (Reed 2006a), followed by the synthetic-summary volume Chaco’s Northern Prodigies, published in 2008 (Reed 2008a). An additional component of the Archaeology Southwest effort at Salmon focused on the curation needs of the massive collection. These needs were partially addressed through a Save America's Treasures grant for $150,000 awarded in 2002. The curation effort (repackaging and reboxing artifacts) has continued over the last 10 years.Tapureli ruins
Tapureli ruins are in Mersin Province, Turkey.Taxila
Taxila (from Pāli: Takkasilā, Sanskrit: तक्षशिला, IAST: Takṣaśilā, meaning "City of Cut Stone" or "Takṣa Rock") is an important archaeological site of the ancient Indian subcontinent, located in the city of Taxila in Punjab, Pakistan. It lies about 32 km (20 mi) north-west of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, just off the famous Grand Trunk Road.
Ancient Taxila was situated at the pivotal junction of the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia. The origin of Taxila as a city goes back to c. 1000 BCE. Some ruins at Taxila date to the time of the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BCE, followed successively by Mauryan Empire, Indo-Greek, Indo-Scythian, and Kushan Empire periods.
Owing to its strategic location, Taxila has changed hands many times over the centuries, with many empires vying for its control. When the great ancient trade routes connecting these regions ceased to be important, the city sank into insignificance and was finally destroyed by the nomadic Hunas in the 5th century. The renowned archaeologist Sir Alexander Cunningham rediscovered the ruins of Taxila in the mid-19th century. In 1980, Taxila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2006 it was ranked as the top tourist destination in Pakistan by The Guardian newspaper.By some accounts, the University of Ancient Taxila was considered to be one of the earliest (or the earliest) universities in the world. Others do not consider it a university in the modern sense, in that the teachers living there may not have had official membership of particular colleges, and there did not seem to have existed purpose-built lecture halls and residential quarters in Taxila, in contrast to the later Nalanda university in eastern India.In a 2010 report, Global Heritage Fund identified Taxila as one of 12 worldwide sites most "On the Verge" of irreparable loss and damage, citing insufficient management, development pressure, looting, and war and conflict as primary threats. However, significant preservation efforts have been carried out since then by the government which have resulted in the site being declared as "well-preserved" by different international publications. Because of the extensive preservation efforts and upkeep, the site is a popular tourist spot, attracting up to one million tourists every year.The Ruins of Undermountain
The Ruins of Undermountain is a boxed set for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for the second edition of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. The set, with product code TSR 1060, was published in 1991, and was written by Ed Greenwood, with box cover art by Brom.Vijayanagara
Vijayanagara (Sanskrit: "City of Victory") was the capital city of the historic Vijayanagara Empire. Located on the banks of the Tungabhadra River, it spread over a large area and included the modern era Group of Monuments at Hampi site in Ballari district and others in and around that district in Karnataka, India. A part of Vijayanagara ruins known as Hampi have been designated as a UNESCO world heritage site. Vijayanagara is in the eastern part of central Karnataka, close to the Andhra Pradesh border.Hampi is an ancient human settlement, mentioned in Hindu texts and has pre-Vijayanagara temples and monuments. In early 14th century, Deccan region including the Hoyasala and tiny Kampli Empire were invaded and plundered by armies of Khalji and later Tughlaq dynasties of the Delhi Sultanate. From these ruins was founded Vijayanagara by the Sangama brothers, who were working as soldiers in Kampli Kingdom under Kampalidevaraya. The city grew rapidly. The Vijayanagara centered empire functioned as a barrier to the Muslim sultanates in the north, leading to the reconstruction of Hindu life, scholarship, multi-religious activity, rapid infrastructure improvements and economic activity. Along with Hinduism, Vijayanagara accepted communities of other faiths such as Jainism and Islam, leading to multi-religious monuments and mutual influences. Chronicles left by Persian and European travelers state Vijayanagara to be a prosperous and wealthy city. By 1500 CE, Hampi-Vijayanagara was the world's second largest medieval era city (after Beijing) and probably India's richest at that time, attracting traders from Persia and Portugal.Wars between nearby Muslim Sultanates and Hindu Vijayanagara continued through the 16th century. In 1565, the Vijayanagara leader was captured and beheaded, and the city fell to a coalition of Muslim Sultanates. The conquered capital city of Vijayanagara was looted and destroyed, after which it remained in ruins.Öküzlü
Öküzlü is an archaeological site in Mersin Province, Turkey.