SEE AN ANCIENT STONE CITY
You know… Petra, Jordan
Petra’s sandstone-carved walls still inspire Indiana Jones-themed fantasies the world over, such has been its impact on film. Moreover, watchers of the BBC’S recent Civilisations series will recognise the Nabataean city as the melting pot of the ancient world pored over by Simon Schama. But maybe it feels a little bit like we now know it too well…
But what about… Nan Madol, Micronesia
If Nan Madol is anything, it’s unfamiliar. The ruined capital of the ancient Saudeleur Dynasty is found in the lagoon off eastern Micronesia’s Temwen Island. Here, 92 artificial islets (some nearly a kilometre in width) were raised above the water on basalt pillars to create a floating city 1,000 years in the making. Expansion continued from around the 7th century AD until it was abandoned, with many parts now overgrown and unexplored.
Today, its twisting canals prompt Venice comparisons yet it still has that inescapable ‘lost city’ quality, and high tide allows boats and kayaks to weave the tangled compound. And make sure to combine any trip with snorkelling the surrounding reef and swimming with the rays of ‘Manta Road’ for an utterly unique day out.