Ancient ruins can take visitors back in time and provide historians with a wealth of clues about past great civilisations – but exposure to the elements means many of these sites look vastly different to when they were first built.
However, thanks to CGI wizardry from myvouchercodes.co.uk some of the world’s most famous ancient sites have been cleverly rebuilt.
Fascinating before and after images show how buildings such as the Parthenon in Greece, England’s Roman Baths in the city of Bath and Angkor Wat in Camodia used to look compared to their current state. And the contrasts are remarkable…
Parthenon (Athens, Greece)
How the Parthenon in Greece looks now, left, compared to what experts believe it looked like when it was first built in the fifth century BC, right
Sitting on top of the hill at the Acropolis, the Parthenon was built in the mid fifth century BC to house a monumental golden statue of Athena.
Everybody knows what the outside looks like but inside, historians believe it had a 12-metre-high statue made of carved ivory and 1,140 kilograms of gold.
They also say that a basin of water sat in front of Athena to provide humidity, which preserved the ivory.
And they add that this obvious display of wealth and power sent a very clear message to the rest of the world.
Angkor Wat (Siem Reap, Cambodia)
The Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia, which took around 30 years to construct and was originally a Hindu temple before it was consecrated into Buddhism
Historians believe that in its heyday, Angkor Wat was a brightly coloured building surrounded by perfectly manicured gardens
Estimated to have taken around 30 years to construct, this complex was originally a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu before transitioning to a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century.
Once inside visitors find a series of elevated towers, porches and courtyards on different levels, linked by a series of stairways.
And historians believe that in its heyday it was a brightly coloured building surrounded by perfectly manicured gardens.
Roman Baths (Bath, England)
How the Roman Baths in Bath look now to visitors, left. When it was first built, historians believe the Roman baths were originally covered in a 45-metre-high barrel-vaulted roof, right
Constructed around 70 AD, the Roman baths were an integral part of ancient Roman daily life offering citizens the chance to mingle, gossip and relax.
The steaming, geothermally heated water from the ‘Sacred Spring’ fills the Great Bath.
While it’s in the open-air these days, the bath was originally covered by a 45m-high barrel-vaulted roof.
Domus Aurea Octagonal Court (Rome, Italy)
Constructed between 65 and 68 AD by one of Rome’s most notorious emperors, the Domus Aurea Octagonal Court now lies in ruins
But when it was first built, experts believe the building had gem-encrusted walls as well as mother-of-pearl decorations and ceilings
Constructed between 65 and 68 AD by one of Rome’s most notorious emperors, the eponymous Golden House of Nero was a lavish palace complex that played host to wild parties and banquets.
The large, octagonal room had a concrete dome, most likely covered in glass mosaic.
Roman historian Suetonius tells of a ‘circular banquet hall, which revolved incessantly, day and night, like the heavens’ as well as gem-encrusted walls, ivory and mother-of-pearl decorations and ceilings that showered guests with flowers and perfumes.
Lower Terrace, Masada (Masada, Israel)
According to Josephus Flavius, governor of Galilee, Herod the Great built the fortress of Masada, pictured today, between 37 and 31 BC
The CGI-ed lower terrace was designed especially for entertainment and relaxation. It had walls covered in beautiful frescoes
According to Josephus Flavius, governor of Galilee, Herod the Great built the fortress of Masada between 37 and 31 BC on top of an isolated rock cliff overlooking the Dead Sea.
The CGI-ed lower terrace was designed especially for entertainment and relaxation.
It was surrounded by porticos, with walls covered in beautiful frescos of multi-colored geometric patterns.
Great Kiva, Aztec Ruins National Monument (New Mexico, USA)
The ruins of Great Kiva In New Mexico, USA, were first discovered in 1859 and provide invaluable insight into the daily lives of the Pueblo people
Built partly underground, the ‘great kivas’ were huge, round structures where people gathered to socialise
The ruins of Great Kiva were first discovered in 1859 and provide invaluable insight into the daily lives of the Pueblo people.
Sprawled over 27 acres, the ruins boast over 450 rooms and include a fully restored kiva.
Built partly underground, the ‘great kivas’ were huge, round structures where people gathered to socialize, discuss important issues of the day or tuck into a communal feast.
Basilica of Maxentius (Rome, Italy)
The majestic building of Basilica of Maxentius in the Forum Romanum was the greatest of all the Roman basilicas
Before it fell into ruin, the building had spectacular Corinthian columns, multi-coloured marble floors and gilded bronze tile walls
This majestic building in the Forum Romanum was the greatest of all the Roman basilicas.
Covering 6,500 square meters, it acted as a meeting house, commercial area and administrative building. It was designed in a grand fashion fit for its prime location and importance to the Roman government and public.
The spectacular Corinthian columns, multi-coloured marble floors and gilded bronze tile walls made this one of the most impressive buildings of Ancient Rome.