“Ruins inspire the feelings of melancholy and wonder associated with the sublime,” writes Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett in her book, Destination Culture.
I wrote about my visit to the Roman ruins of Ephesus, in Turkey, in this Huffington Post dispatch. (That's the Library of Celsus at left.) Of course, there are many other places to go for a dose of the melancholy and wonder. In Turkey, there's a trek past many ruin sites, in Iran, there's Persepolis (which you can't easily visit, as FP points out, but still) On our half of the globe, there are Mayan ruins aplenty, such as those in Copan, Honduras. And right here in the USA, there's even Eye-Opening Ruins in Detroit. For more writing on ruins, check out this anthology, From Stonehenge to Samarkand: An Anthropology of Archaeological Travel Writing