Today we see Architecture which is almost the same in every other place we go, but long before this paradigm, architecture and design ideology changed in every part, city, and place. This ancient architecture left a long-lasting mark in our history. Today these structures are declared as archaeological sites but long before they flourished with a beaming beauty in design, material, and architecture. Though it’s impossible to list all such sites in Asia, this article lists 15 marvelous places of ancient ingenuity and architecture that will provide you with enough pride about our historic treasures.

1. Mohenjo-Daro, Pakistan

Mohenjo-Daro is an archaeological site in the Sindh province of Pakistan. Mohenjo-Daro has a planned layout with rectilinear buildings in a grid format. It had one of the earliest planned construction of sanitary and water supply systems.

Mohenjo-Daro, Pakistan - Sheet1
Mohenjo – Daro ©
Mohenjo-Daro, Pakistan - Sheet2
Mohenjo – Daro ©

2. The great mosque of Damascus, Syria

Built-in the early eighth century, The great mosque of Damascus, also known as the Umayyad mosque is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world. The original features of its architecture have not been significantly altered. This mosque became the prototype for the development of congregational mosque architecture in Syria.

The great mosque of Damascus, Syria - Sheet1
Damascus, Umayyad Mosque ©Arian Zwegers
The great mosque of Damascus, Syria - Sheet2
Damascus, Umayyad Mosque ©my architectural moleskin
The great mosque of Damascus, Syria - Sheet3
Damascus, Umayyad Mosque ©islamic landmarks

3. The Forbidden City, China

The Forbidden City was an imperial palace with 9999 rooms for 24 emperors. The layout and architecture of the world’s largest ancient palatial structure follow the Chinese Fengshui theory of design.

The Forbidden City, China - Sheet1
The Forbidden City ©
The Forbidden City, China - Sheet2
The Forbidden City ©

4. Mỹ Sơn, Vietnam 

Built between the 5th and 14th century, My son is a cluster of Hindu temples constructed by the Kings of Champa. It depicts seven different styles of Cham architecture which was greatly influenced by its Indian connection. The sanctuary comprises more than 70 structures of archaeological importance.

Mỹ Sơn, Vietnam  - Sheet1
Mỹ Sơn ©
Mỹ Sơn, Vietnam  - Sheet2
Mỹ Sơn ©
Mỹ Sơn, Vietnam  - Sheet3
Mỹ Sơn ©www.tripadvisor

5. Horyuji Temple, Japan

Horyuji Temple( temple of the flourishing dharma) is the world’s oldest wooden temple built in 600 AD. The temple perfectly captures the design ideology of Japanese wooden architecture.

Horyuji Temple, Japan - Sheet1
Horyuji Temple ©663Highland
Horyuji Temple, Japan - Sheet2
Horyuji Temple ©Vesna Vujicic-Lugassy
Horyuji Temple, Japan - Sheet3
Horyuji Temple ©Vesna Vujicic-Lugassy

6. Rani ki Vav, India

Rani ki Vav is one of the finest surviving examples of stepwell architecture in Gujarat. It is in the form of an inverted temple highlighting the religious importance of water. It has seven levels with more than 500 principal sculptures and over a thousand minor sculptures.

Rani ki Vav, India - Sheet1
Rani ki Vav ©
Rani ki Vav, India - Sheet2
Rani ki Vav ©

7. Library of Celsus, Turkey

The library of Celsus in the ancient city of Ephesus is considered an architectural marvel and is one of the only remaining examples of Roman libraries. Its marble facade is intricately designed with botanical carvings and portrait statuary some of which are restored to its former beauty.

Library of Celsus, Turkey
Library of Celsus ©

8. Borobudur, Indonesia

Borobudur is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple. The plan takes the form of a giant tantric mandala representing Buddhist cosmology and state of mind. The designs took the form of a step pyramid with 9 platforms( six are square and three are circular) topped by a central dome. The central dome is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupa.

Borobudur, Indonesia - Sheet1
Borobudur ©
Borobudur, Indonesia - Sheet2
Borobudur ©
Borobudur, Indonesia - Sheet3
Borobudur ©

9. Champaner-Pavagadh archeological park,  India

It has a mixture of both Hindu and Muslim architectural works such as palaces, mosques, entrances gates, tombs, temples, agricultural structures, and step-wells dating from 8th to the 14th century.

Champaner-Pavagadh archeological park,  India - Sheet1
Champaner-Pavagadh Archeological Park ©
Champaner-Pavagadh archeological park,  India - Sheet2
Champaner-Pavagadh Archeological Park ©Nitin Mhapsekar
Champaner-Pavagadh archeological park,  India - Sheet3
Champaner-Pavagadh Archeological Park ©Nitin Mhapsekar

10. Derinkuyu underground city, Turkey

The underground city of Derinkuyu extends to a depth of 60 m. The city has churches, spacious rooms for shelter, cellars, storage rooms, etc.

They are connected by a series of narrow pathways and staircases.

Derinkuyu underground city, Turkey - Sheet1
Derinkuyu underground city ©
Derinkuyu underground city, Turkey - Sheet2
Derinkuyu underground city ©

11. Petra, Jordan

One of the seven wonders of the world, Petra’s architecture is referred to as Nabatean architecture. It is characterized by a blend of Assyrian, Egyptian, Hellenistic, and Roman architectural styles. The city is carved in sandstone cliffs.

Petra, Jordan - Sheet1
Petra ©
Petra, Jordan - Sheet2
Petra ©
Petra, Jordan - Sheet3
Petra ©

12. Bagan Temples, Myanmar

Bagan is an ancient city which has over 3800 temples and pagodas surviving from the 11th and 13th century. Bagan stands out for its magnificent architecture which led to the development of Burmese temple architecture. The temple architecture, in the beginning, falls into two categories as the stupa style solid temples and gu-style hollow temples.

Bagan Temples, Myanmar - Sheet1
Bagan Temples ©Nicholas Kenrick
Bagan Temples, Myanmar - Sheet2
Bagan Temples ©hybernator

13. Etchmiadzin cathedral, Armenia

Built-in the early fourth century, the Etchmiadzin cathedral is one of the oldest surviving churches in the world. It features an amalgamation of unique styles of different periods of Armenian architecture due to its various alterations and restoration since its construction.

Etchmiadzin cathedral, Armenia - Sheet1
Etchmiadzin Cathedral ©Butcher
Etchmiadzin cathedral, Armenia - Sheet2
Etchmiadzin Cathedral ©
Etchmiadzin cathedral, Armenia - Sheet3
Etchmiadzin Cathedral ©Spasavor

14. The temple of Bacchus, Lebanon

Built-in the second century CE, The temple of Bacchus is one of the best-preserved and grandest temple ruins featuring imperial roman architecture. The temple represents some of the most refined reliefs and engravings from antiquity.

The temple of Bacchus, Lebanon - Sheet1
The temple of Bacchus ©
The temple of Bacchus, Lebanon - Sheet2
The temple of Bacchus ©
The temple of Bacchus, Lebanon - Sheet3
The temple of Bacchus ©

15. Great living Chola temples, India

Completed between 11th and the 12th century CE by the Chola empire. It represents a unique work in the purest form of Dravidian temple architecture.

The Chola Temples ©

Nitin Mhapsekar is currently pursuing his undergraduate degree in Architecture. He is upskilling and trying different possibilities for his career. He loves travelling and going on adventures as well as using his leisure time to read fictions, cook and research.