The opportunity to visit some of the world’s most important historical sites is a major perk of seeing more of the planet.
All over the world, people visit enormous ancient sites and small, obscure temples. No matter what they are or where they are found, they always have the same effect: they blow your mind, and the beauty, age, and architecture they showcase impress you and stick in your mind.
Best Places to Visit for History Buffs
Even if you’re not a history nerd, these amazing landmarks will make your trip memorable. Look into the following 10 landmarks to learn more about this phenomenon and to get some new ideas for your travel wish list.
1. The Russian city of St. Petersburg
We’ll start in one of my all-time favorite cities, St. Petersburg. If I were to recommend something to someone who was interested in history, this would be it. There’s so much of Russia’s history to learn about in St. Petersburg, and it only gets more interesting the deeper you go.
As Russia’s original capital, St. Petersburg has a rich history and many mysteries to uncover. The journey begins at the city’s flagship Hermitage Museum. However, this is not a regular museum. The historic Winter Palace was once used as a royal residence. A museum is interesting not only because of the works of art it houses but also because of the structure in which they are housed.
2. Machu Picchu, Peru
It’s likely that you’ve seen pictures of Machu Picchu before. It’s no surprise that this area is one of the most sought-after vacation spots in the world. Perched high in the Andes Mountains above the Urubamba River valley in Peru is the site of this Incan citadel.
Indeed picturesque, especially since no two visits are ever the same. The clouds have a major impact on the atmosphere, but regardless of the weather, the area has a magical, mysterious quality.
3. Chapel of the Sistine in the Vatican
Although it has the smallest land area, Vatican City packs a powerful tourist attraction punch. The Vatican, the spiritual heart of the Catholic Church, has a lot of layers to peel back. And it all begins with a visit to the Sistine Chapel, a must-see for any history buff.
The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City, Vatican City State, Italy. In addition, the papal palace is situated there. Between 1473 and 1481, Pope Sixtus IV had the Sistine Chapel restored, hence the name.
4. Tokyo, Japan
Due to its status as Japan’s former capital, Kyoto is a must-see for any history buff. Kyoto, a city in the Kansai region, has historical significance to the Japanese and continues to be a popular tourist destination due to its rich culture and architecture.
In Kyoto, you can visit a wide variety of historic Buddhist temples. You’ll need at least a few days to see the highlights, and that’s just the beginning! Gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines, and traditional wooden houses are also abundant in Kyoto.
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Then there are the world-famous Bamboo Gardens, which I have visited twice. My second visit, many years later, was much busier, so you’ll have to share the peaceful walkway with other tourists. If you want to avoid the crowds, I recommend getting there as early as you can.
5. Discover the secrets of Easter Island
The island of Easter is both mysterious and magical. Rapa Nui is the island’s original name, and it is still used occasionally by those who live there. I had heard about the mysterious moai statues before my trip, and that piqued my interest.
The statues, known as moai, are carved figureheads, and their appearance varies across the island. Make it a point to see them all, as you will soon be hearing tales illuminating their significance and function. It’s really interesting to think about!
The fact that Egypt connects Africa and the Middle East is reason enough to travel there. The richness of this region’s history and culture has endured despite the constant change brought on by its distinctive cultural mix. One of the world’s earliest urban and literate societies, Egypt is clustered along the Nile’s lower reaches and was once home to a major ancient Middle Eastern civilization.
For the better part of three thousand years, Pharaonic Egypt flourished under a succession of native dynasties that were occasionally interrupted by brief periods of foreign rule. In 323 BCE, following Alexander the Great’s conquest of the area, urban Egypt fully embraced the Hellenistic culture.
7. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Last but not least, the ancient site of Angkor Wat in Cambodia is actually a collection of temples. Some of the temples are recognizable from the blockbuster film Tomb Raider, where Angelina Jolie is rumored to have fallen in love with the country.
Many people don’t realize until they go there that Angkor Wat also has the largest land area of any religious building in the world. The massive 162.6 ha size requires a full day of exploration.
8. Athens, Greece
Athens, Greece’s capital, has a rich past that is worth exploring. We all know that ancient Greece was once a mighty empire and the center of Greek philosophy. Many of the city’s most recognizable landmarks remain standing today, providing history buffs with a wealth of new sites to explore.
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For instance, don’t miss out on seeing the Acropolis, a fortress perched on a hill above the city. Ancient artifacts such as vases, sculptures, and jewelry are on display inside the museum. Visitors interested in history will find this an ideal starting point for exploring the stunning Greek Islands.
9. The Forum of Rome
Ancient Roman ruins are breathtaking in their complexity and size at the Roman Forum, one of Rome’s most infamous historical sites.
Over the course of many centuries, it was transformed from a swampy cemetery into the economic and political center of the Roman Empire. Few other archaeological sites display the past as well as this beautifully restored historic district.
In 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the city of Pompeii beneath a thick layer of ash and lava. The ash and rock that buried the town effectively mummified it, freezing it in time until its rediscovery in the 18th century.
Archaeological excavations have uncovered many ancient Roman buildings, streets, and monuments, providing new information about the city’s past.
The first thing you need to know about me is that I am a huge history nerd. I am especially interested in the aristocracy of Russia. Despite my undying interest in the scandals and legends surrounding Russia’s nobility, I find people from all walks of life fascinating. The stranger, the better, in fact.
The stranger and the more fantastical the stories are, the more likely I am to believe them. With that admission made public, let’s examine the whole shebang of historical sightseeing goals.