With incredible ancient civilizations and rich history, the world is full of historic places. Each historical site represents a unique story of culture, power, and the human race. For travelers with an interest in history, here is a list of historic places that are must visit to get a peek into the past.
1. Machu Picchu
The history of this ruined city dates back to 1450 when Incas populated this land. The Incas abandoned this place nearly 100 years later when the Spanish conquered it. With rediscovery in 1911, this cultural center of Inca civilization has become a popular attraction for explorers. Since 1983, the place has been protected by the UNESCO World Heritage. In 2007, it also gained the status of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Machu Picchu is open to the public throughout the year. You can explore this place as a trail tour or reach the nearest town Aguas Calientes by train.
2. Angkor Wat
Located in Cambodia, Angkor Wat is one of the largest religious landmarks extending over 400 acres of land. This Hindu temple complex was constructed in the 12th century under the rule of the Khmer Empire. The complex features historic stone temples decked with statues of Hindu deities. Due to its unique historic value, Angkor Archeological Park is one of the UNESCO protected sites.
Angkor Wat temples are nearly 20-minutes’ drive away from Siem Reap. You can either rent a tuk-tuk or get a rental bike for a day to drive around yourself.
Petra, situated in southwestern Jordan, is thought to have been founded as early as the 6th century BC. Historians believe that the city was a commercial hub where traders from far Asian countries came to sell their products. Now, this UNESCO World Heritage site is known for its ancient tombs and temples sculpted into pink sandstone cliffs.
Petra is nearly 3-hours’ drive away from Amman, the capital of Jordan. For travelers visiting Petra, a nearby town offers a range of luxurious hotels where you can stay and plan a full-day tour with a tour company.
4. The Parthenon
The historical landmark of Greece, the Parthenon signifies the glory and power of the Athenian Empire. The classical temple was constructed in 447 B.C to mark the victory of Athenians over Persian invaders. Despite much destruction by wars and violence, this gigantic rocky structure still underscores the power of Athens and the Greek civilization.
The Parthenon is easily accessible through the pedestrian street Dioysiou Aeropagitou. You can also find buses to reach the historic place.
5. Easter Island
A remote island in Polynesia, Easter Island is a special territory of Chile. The island is home to mammoth statues which are believed to have been built between the 10th and 16th centuries. These gigantic structures, known as moai, were created by native Polynesian inhabitants to honor their ancestors. The historical landmark has nearly 400 moai made from volcanic ash. These impressively sculpted structures are a testament of the indigenous people who once populated the island. The only way to reach the island is through an air route.
6. The Pyramids at Giza
These 3,000 years old pyramids are marvelous structures in human history. The pyramids are part of a large tomb complex. The complex has three structures. The largest structure, known as the Great Pyramid was built by Pharaoh Khufu. The second pyramid consists of a necropolis (the burial space) and the Great Sphinx which is a figurine of a mythical creature comprising the body of a lion and the head of a human.
The Pyramids of Giza are a marvel to modern-day engineers and construction experts for their precision and technicalities. To witness the true beauty of these structures, you can take a ride on the camel or horse to explore the place.
7. Taj Mahal
Known as a symbol of undying love, the Taj Mahal was built in the 1600s by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in remembrance of his late wife. The tomb is surrounded by a sprawling garden and pools of water extending over a large area of land.
The white stone building is unarguably one of the most sophisticated examples of Mughal architecture. In 1983, UNESCO World Heritage declared it one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The place is open to the public throughout the year so you can schedule your trip anytime during the year.
8. The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is another engineering marvel considered to be the greatest construction project ever completed in world history. The idea behind the construction was to build fortification against invaders and foreign enemies. The wall, extending over 21,000 km, took more than 2,500 years to complete. As the complete exploration of the site may take several days, most visitors see only a couple of sections of the wall. Mutianyu and Jinshanling are the most popular sections among visitors for hiking and accessible day trips.
9. Chichén Itzá
Chichén Itzá is a site of pre-Columbian ruins in Mexico. It is amongst the New Seven Wonders of the World and the second most popular archeological site in Mexico. The famous structure comprises a Great Ball Court, the Temple of Kukulkan, the Temple of Warriors, and a pyramid. This historical site carries great importance in the Maya civilization and history. As the site is only a few miles from the major cities, you can take a rental car for an easy day trip. However, when you are renting a car in Mexico, remember that rental car insurance is a must.
10. Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia, located in Istanbul, is amongst the most magnificent structures of Byzantine architecture. Built as a church in 537 AD, it was converted into a mosque in 1453 when Ottoman Empire took over the region. The building is widely known for its beautiful design, stunning mosaics, and historic artwork. In 1935, part of this historic place was turned into a museum. Known as a symbol of co-existence, the site is a popular tourist destination.
These were some of the many amazing historical sites of the world. If you are a traveler who is fascinated by the history of the world and human civilization, this is surely not an end to you. Let’s visit historic places and learn our history.