Ancient reliefs and carvings—being some of the most durable forms of art—can still be found at religious sites, tombs, and palaces. Most of the reliefs and carvings on this list are found at UNESC world heritage sites and are seen as having significance to the legacy of mankind.
Arsameia Mount Nemrut, Turkey
At the ruins of Arsameia in Turkey, you can visit the most ancient known relief carving of two figures shaking hands. The famous eleven-foot (3.5m) relief shows the King Mithridates—in royal apparel, shaking the hand of Hercules. Believed to have been created between 70 B.C. and 38 B.C., it is splendid to behold to this day.
Elephanta Caves Gharapuri Island, India
The cave temple on Gharapuri Island has been called one of the seven wonders of India. It was carved from the natural landscape in the fifth century, and hosts the embodiment of Indian art in the form of staggeringly beautiful carvings and statues. The carvings on the panels portray various Hindu deities, along with their attendants.
Dazu Rock Cravings China
The intricate carvings on the stone cliffs of Dazu are revered as the most sophisticated and exquisite of their time. Created between the ninth and thirteenth centuries AD, they are a clear testimony to the congenial and harmonious integration of religion, philosophy, and culture that China experienced during this epoch.
Kom el Shoqafa Alexandria, Egypt
The catacombs in Alexandria include tombs, sculptures, and other archaeological artifacts that blend Greek, Roman, and Egyptian features. Carved in the second century and in use as a cemetery until the fourth century, the catacombs were then forgotten until being rediscovered in 1900.
Angkor Wat Cambodia
The temple at Angkor Wat has the distinction of being the largest religious monument in the world. Its allure brings more than a million visiting tourists every year. Built in the twelfth century, it is admired not only for its massive size, but also for the tremendous intricacy of the reliefs and the assorted devata (minor female deities) that adorn the temple walls.