Now we’ve really been enjoying this whole cultural destinations and historic sites theme for this month’s blog posts. You see it really makes you think about the world around us and all that is on offer when you go travelling. The best part is, a lot of the places and things we’ve looked at don’t take that long to visit (but of course you are welcome to spend your whole trip looking at them), which means that even the business traveller with only a little time can sometimes make it to one of these places.
Top historic sites to visit:
This week’s post is looking at the top 3 historic sites around the world that we have picked to visit in 2016: the Acropolis, Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat. Now we don’t pretend that these can necessarily be done in a single day and the list is by no means exhaustive, but at least you can get your ideas flowing when planning for your next trip by looking at what we’ve pulled together.
1. The Acropolis, Athens, Greece
Now we already mentioned this historic site in a previous post on visiting world famous art but we focused on the museum of the Acropolis which is dedicated to the artefacts salvaged from the sacred site. What we’re looking at this week is the site itself, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A temple complex built on the rocky outcrop in Athens, the Acropolis has some of the finest Greek architecture the world has ever seen – did you know they cut the stones of the Parthenon, the temple which the Acropolis is so well known for, so precisely that they fit together perfectly? So much so, the Parthenon is still standing some 2,500 years later, even after it was used as a munitions dump by the Ottomans in 1687 which ended up exploding within the Parthenon itself. Yet still it stands as a testament to one of the most philosophically progressive and advanced of the ancient civilisations to grace this earth.
Named the Acropolis, meaning rocky overlooking outcrop, this place was a site of sacredness and worship in the ancient Greek civilisation. It houses the Parthenon built by Ictinus, Erechtheon, Propylaea, monumental entrance designed by Mnesicles and the temple dedicated to Athena Nike.
The UNESCO website puts it best when it says,
‘The Acropolis of Athens and its monuments are universal symbols of the classical spirit and civilization and form the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek Antiquity to the world.’
Greek civilisation birthed what has now developed into modern democracy and provided the foundations for the evolution of much of modern philosophy. So, why not visit this year and absorb some of the majesty of the place?
2. Machu Picchu, Peru
Like a few of the things in history that we have discussed in this month’s posts, Machu Picchu has been made famous not only for it’s unique-ness but for the mystery surrounding it. Situated in southern Peru, Machu Picchu is a good old trek up into the mountains so this one is for the more adventurous of us.
Considered one of the mountain cities which formed the centre of the Incan civilisation, the ruins stretch out between forest tipped mountains and low-hanging wispy clouds. It was rediscovered in 1911 after it had been abandoned by the Inca’s during the Spanish conquest. It is still unknown exactly what the settlement was used for or why it was abandoned and it appears now as the ghostly remains of a former people. It could have housed up to 1,200 people but whether it was a mountain retreat for the Incan rulers or mountain people permanently inhabited the region will never been known.
It was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983 and numbers of visitors have been limited in order to protect it, so make sure it’s somewhere you make the effort to visit while you can.
An ancient and abandoned historical complex in Cambodia (apparently there’s something rather enigmatic about abandoned places), is next on our list. Centre of the Khmer Empire, a mighty force from the 9th-15th centuries, the Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire as well as the Angkor Wat temple complex.
Another of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Angkor is reputedly one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. It covers an area of 400km2 and houses structures reaching up to 200 feet tall. Home to temples, monuments, reservoirs and ancient urban areas this site is an impressive testament to a past civilisation which was built only to eventually fall into decay and be reclaimed by the jungle for hundreds of years.
Showing a unique civilisation, and in our opinion unique beauty, this place is well worth a visit. It shows cultural, religious and symbolic values in its structure and layout and is something that anyone, from a layman to a scholar can appreciate when standing in the midst of.
These are only a few of the historic sites we came across when researching places to visit and we hope it got your travel-bug buzzing. Happy travels this year and maybe we’ll see you at one of these places in 2016!