Sun. Nov 29th, 2020

At these historical landmarks, history buffs and world travelers alike will get an authentic look into local culture.

Many tourists typically add at least one historical landmark to their vacation itineraries. Such sites have become iconic symbols that represent the heritage of various destinations. Major landmarks generate income for local residents and are a source of pride, especially when they are recognized by organizations like UNESCO. On your next trip, take time to experience the authentic landmarks that make each place unique.
Historical landmarks

Stonehenge: Salisbury, U.K.

Mysterious Stonehenge, Europe’s best-known prehistoric site, likely originated as a sculpted earthwork 5,000 years ago. Around 2150 B.C., more than 80 bluestones weighing up to 4 metric tons each were transported about 240 miles by raft, sledges and rollers to the site. The circles of huge stones seen today were added and rearranged over the next 500 years, likely by multiple tribes using the site for burials, religious ceremonies or ancestor worship. Stonehenge sits less than 90 miles southwest of London; trains to Salisbury connect with daily bus tours that include Salisbury Cathedral, Old Sarum (an Iron Age fort) and the Stonehenge visitor center.

At these historical landmarks, history buffs and world travelers alike will get an authentic look into local culture.

Many tourists typically add at least one historical landmark to their vacation itineraries. Such sites have become iconic symbols that represent the heritage of various destinations. Major landmarks generate income for local residents and are a source of pride, especially when they are recognized by organizations like UNESCO. On your next trip, take time to experience the authentic landmarks that make each place unique.

Stonehenge: Salisbury, U.K.

Mysterious Stonehenge, Europe’s best-known prehistoric site, likely originated as a sculpted earthwork 5,000 years ago. Around 2150 B.C., more than 80 bluestones weighing up to 4 metric tons each were transported about 240 miles by raft, sledges and rollers to the site. The circles of huge stones seen today were added and rearranged over the next 500 years, likely by multiple tribes using the site for burials, religious ceremonies or ancestor worship. Stonehenge sits less than 90 miles southwest of London; trains to Salisbury connect with daily bus tours that include Salisbury Cathedral, Old Sarum (an Iron Age fort) and the Stonehenge visitor center.

Colosseum: Rome

Book a tour in advance to experience the magnificent Colosseum, a first-century amphitheater with 50,000 seats built by Emperor Vespasian to entertain the Roman people. An unknown architect designed the harmonious symmetry of repeating arches, vaults and statuary niches. Follow your guide to the arena floor to explore the hypogeum (the site’s underground ruins), where archaeologists believe sophisticated pulleys and elevators were used to lift gladiators, contestants and caged animals into view. Don’t miss the nearby Roman Forum and nobles’ villas on Palatine Hill for an excellent overview of ancient Rome.

Independence Hall: Philadelphia

Stand in Independence Hall, the Pennsylvania State House completed in 1753, and relive America’s founding in the heart of historic Philadelphia. This is where the Declaration of Independence was forged and where, in the summer of 1787, the Constitution was debated behind closed doors. With your free, timed-entry ticket to Independence National Historical Park, visit the Benjamin Franklin Museum, watch park rangers demonstrate an early printing press, see the Liberty Bell from outside (join a separate line to enter the Liberty Bell Center) and follow the footsteps of Ona Judge, a Mount Vernon slave who escaped from former President George Washington’s Philadelphia residence.

Petra: Jordan

Experience Petra, an ancient city located 77 miles northeast of the town of Aqaba near the Red Sea, to understand why the setting of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” is considered one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Hike through a narrow, 250-foot-tall slot canyon to see the towering treasury of the Nabataean Kingdom carved into pink sandstone cliffs. Archaeologists, who’ve uncovered 15% of the site, believe Petra flourished between 400 B.C. and A.D. 106, then fell into ruin. Stay in modern Petra to check out the site’s stunning theater, royal tombs, market street and other monuments before exploring more of Jordan or nearby Israel.

Moai: Easter Island, Chile

Easter Island’s moai, larger-than-life ancestral figures carved between the 10th and 16th centuries, have intrigued historians since 1722, when a Dutch explorer stumbled upon them while visiting the island. The approximately 900 moai statues and 300-plus ahu (stone ceremonial platforms) carved of lava tuff are awe-inspiring. Each moai stands up to 72 feet tall; the unfinished El Gigante megalith weighs 160 to 182 metric tons. Although you’ll likely spend the bulk of your visit admiring Easter Island’s impressive moai statues, be sure to also check out the mysterious ceremonial village of Orongo and various caves decorated with rock art, pictographs and petroglyphs.

Great Pyramid: Giza, Egypt

Experience the Great Pyramid, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, on a self-guided, private or group daytrip from Cairo that also includes the famous Great Sphinx. The 481-foot-tall monument is composed of an estimated 2.3 million stone blocks that each weigh up to 15 tons, a feat that still baffles engineers today. Built around 2550 B.C. by Pharaoh Khufu for his afterlife, it was soon joined by two other major pyramids built by Pharaohs Khafre and Menkaure within a burial complex at Giza that includes other temples and a palace.

Machu Picchu: Peru

Whether you spend four days hiking the Inca Trail or four hours traveling by train to Machu Picchu Pueblo (formerly Aguas Calientes), this 15th-century Inca citadel will take your breath away. Perched nearly 8,000 feet above the Sacred Valley, what’s thought to be the estate of Inca Emperor Pachacuti is located about 45 miles northwest of Cusco in Urubamba Province. As the Inca peoples’ greatest aesthetic and architectural achievement, Machu Picchu includes more than 200 stone structures in upper and lower cities with terraces, ramps and giant walls that blend naturally with the lush rainforest of the upper Amazon basin.

Ephesus: Selçuk, Turkey

Put ancient Ephesus on your bucket list. A site that once housed civilizations from 6,000 B.C. to the early Christian period, the city is just 12 miles northeast of the Turkish port of Kuşadasi in Selçuk. Ephesus was once a vital port city with a strategic trading position between the River Kaystros and the Aegean Sea. The impressive Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is now gone, so guides highlight the striking Roman-era Library of Celsus, the House of the Virgin Mary and the Basilica of St. John, as well as the nearby 14th-century Mosque of Isa Bey.

Chichén Itzá: Yucatán, Mexico

Visit the Mayan archaeological site of Chichén Itzá during the spring or fall equinox, when thousands of tourists watch the setting sun cast a moving, serpentlike shadow across the Pyramid of Kukulcan (or El Castillo). The structure’s intricate design serves as a clock, a Mayan calendar and a temple. Its 365 steps honor the feathered serpent god, Quetzalcoatl. Originally settled during the sixth century, the Toltec people added sophisticated monuments such as El Castillo, the Great Ball Court and the observatory during the 10th century. Chichén Itzá, voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, is a must-see site located about 125 miles southwest of Cancun.

Acropolis: Athens, Greece

Even if you’ve seen the Parthenon replica in Nashville, Tennessee, you’ll never forget a trip to the original hilltop fortress in Athens, Greece. Athens’ Acropolis encompasses the real Parthenon and other masterpieces of Greece’s Golden Age, including the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike (all dedicated to the goddess Athena). Past travelers recommend wearing sturdy shoes, hiring a guide and using the south entry near the Theatre of Dionysus to avoid long lines. Don’t miss the life-size Parthenon frieze with casts and original sculptures at the spectacular New Acropolis Museum.

Angkor Wat: Siem Reap, Cambodia

If you’re planning a trip to Cambodia, chances are you’re visiting to see the enormous Angkor Wat temple. Constructed by 300,000 workers using 6,000 elephants, the roughly 500-acre complex dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu was the centerpiece of 12th-century Khmer Empire life during King Suryavarman II’s reign. The main wat (or temple) is a 213-foot-tall tower surrounded by four smaller towers, terraces and a moat. The structure mimics Mount Meru, a mythological abode of the Hindu gods. Base yourself in Siem Reap between May and October to avoid crowds, as long as you’re willing to endure the rainy season’s showers.

Lalibela: Ethiopia

Nearly 200,000 worshippers attend Christmas Eve services at Lalibela’s 11 medieval rock churches, the spiritual center of Ethiopian Orthodoxy. Historians say King Lalibela built these extraordinary underground temples spanning both sides of the River Jordan in the 12th century to offer Coptic Christian pilgrims a safe place of worship. Each column, window, door and drainage gutter was hand-chiseled into enormous monoliths excavated more than 30 feet below ground. Book a guide and flight from Addis Ababa and plan two days to fully experience their splendor before controversy over UNESCO-funded preservation projects disrupts this holy site.

Auschwitz-Birkenau: Oswiecim, Poland

An iron gate inscribed “Arbeit Macht Frei” (“Work Makes You Free”) leads into Auschwitz-Birkenau, Europe’s largest concentration camp. Located within 45 miles of both Kraków and Katowice and accessible by train and bus, the haunting Holocaust site features a death camp, a forced labor camp, gas chambers and crematoria operated from 1940 to 1945. At this site, more than 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed. Due to crowds and restrictions on individual visits, book free entry and a guide (for a fee) online prior to arrival to understand the horrors at both the former Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau camps.

Great Wall of China: Huairou District, China

The world’s largest military structure, the more than 12,400-mile Great Wall of China, was first erected by Emperor Qin Shi Huang around 220 B.C. and continuously expanded through the 17th century. The easily accessible Badaling section near Beijing is capped at 65,000 visitors daily, while the less crowded western end at Jiayuguan in the Gobi Desert offers carefully restored watch towers and fortresses built into this architectural wonder. Spend a week exploring the 14th-century, 36,000-square-foot Jiayuguan Pass, climbing the reconstructed Overhanging Great Wall and visiting the Buddhist caves at Dunhuang and other monuments of the historic Silk Road.

Statue of Liberty: New York City

The Statue of Liberty, a gift from France to the United States, has dominated New York City‘s harbor since 1886. This symbol of freedom stands approximately 305 feet tall and is modeled after the Roman goddess of Liberty. From 1892 to 1924, the copper lady was the first sight for immigrants traveling to Ellis Island. Digitized records of nearly 65 million passengers and crew can be freely searched at the island’s museum. Tour operator Statue Cruises runs ferries servicing the statue and Ellis Island; if you’re planning to visit in summer, be sure to reserve boat tickets months in advance.

Taj Mahal: Agra, India

Historically significant as a masterpiece of Indo-Islamic architecture, the Taj Mahal is considered the world’s finest monument to love. Commissioned in the 17th century by Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, it took 20,000 artisans 22 years to erect and sculpt this towering white marble mausoleum and decorate it with inlaid flowers made of semiprecious stones and calligraphy writings from the Quran. The Agra landmark’s elaborate gardens, representing the Muslim vision of paradise, feature canals and pools that offer spectacular reflections during full-moon evening viewings.

Old Slave Mart: Charleston, South Carolina

Explore the Old Slave Mart building on cobblestoned Chalmers Street to imagine how Charleston looked when more than 35% of America’s slaves arrived at its port. Originally connected to a barracoon (slave jail) and a morgue, South Carolina’s only remaining slave auction gallery was converted into a display shed used to sell forced laborers to local plantations from 1859 to 1863. The building became the Old Slave Mart Museum in 1938 and, with the Avery Research Center and Magnolia Plantation, is a vital element in understanding the American slave trade.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *