A History Buff’s Guide to Ancient Places
From enduring monuments to ancient ruins
There are several historical locations in the globe that everyone should see at least once. These historical locations are much more than just ruins or decaying structures.
They provide a window into history and allow visitors to follow in the footsteps of illustrious figures and ancient civilizations.
#1 THE COLOSSEUM, ROME
Once a renowned amphitheatre, the Colosseum is also known as Flavian Amphitheater was built during the reign of the Flavian Imperial. It was built as a gift for the Roman people.
The Roman Colosseum is thought to have been built between 70 and 72 AD. History has it that during the first 100 days since the Colosseum was opened, hundreds of gladiatorial games were carried out to celebrate its opening.
Besides gladiatorial games, the Colosseum has also seen public executions, dramas, and plays. The colosseum also saw its days of neglect. Post fall of the Roman empire, the colosseum began to fall apart due to reasons such as natural disasters and exposure to the elements.
In the 20th century, restoration work was in progress to restore some parts of the Colosseum as a part of the tourism-boosting initiative. In the present day, the Colosseum sees millions of visitors from all around the world. To date, the Colosseum is the largest ancient amphitheatre ever built and is considered the largest standing amphitheatre in the world.
#2 THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA
Wall of China has withstood time and weather, making it one of the most solid ancient structures in the history of mankind. Its length spans over 21,000 kilometres making the wall the longest wall in the world until the present day. It twines through various landscapes of China such as dessert-like areas, luscious plains, and mountains.
Many believe the shape and the way the wall is panned out are heavily inspired by the dragon. History records say that the proper construction of the wall began during the Qin Dynasty (221–207 BC). However, construction efforts have been said to have started pre- Qin Dynasty era and reconstruction efforts have also been underway by multiple dynasties and governments post-Qin Dynasty. Initially, the Great Wall was built to keep out enemy forces and protect the Silk Road. However, throughout the times, the Great Wall has expanded its purpose. The Wall has been used for international trade and also foreign tourism.
To date, the Great Wall is one of China’s most prided tourist attractions and historical highlights.
#3 THE GREAT BATH OF MOHENJO DARO
The excavation of Mohenjo-Daro not only unveiled one of the greatest civilisations in the world: the Indus Civilisation, but it also uncovered the world’s oldest pool known as the Great Bath.
The Great Bath is thought to have been built in the 3rd Millenium BC and it’s situated in one of the centres of the Indus Civilisation. According to historians, the bath is built with excellent brickwork and measures approximately 83 square meters. When compared to the surrounding pavement, the inside of the bath is 2.5 meters lower.
The Bath even had flights of stairs that make it accessible to the bottom of the pool. Historians further highlighted that the sewage system in the Bath and the households in Mohenjo-Daro are elaborate as most houses had designated spots that can be considered washrooms. The sewage systems are extensive and they may have been connected throughout the city.
This led historians to conclude that the Indus Valley Civilisation placed great importance on sanitation, hygiene, and overall cleanliness. To date, there is no clear evidence that indicates what is the exact purpose of the Bath. However, it’s largely been linked to ritual bathing.
#4 THE AL-QARAWIYYIN LIBRARY, MOROCCO
Morocco houses the world’s oldest library and it’s still operating today. The al-Qarawiyyin Library (located in Fez) is home to some of the world’s rarest documents and literary manuscripts that range from religion to Mathematics and more. The al-Qarawiyyin library is part of a more elaborate setting consisting of the Qarawiyyin Mosque and Qarawiyyin University.
What makes al-Qarawiyyin library ahead of its time is that it was initially founded by Fatima al-Fihri, the daughter of a wealthy Tunisian merchant in 859 CE. According to a report on CNN, Fatima al-Fihri also founded Qarawiyyin Mosque and Qarawiyyin University.
Over the century, the library was exposed to elements such as water and humidity which don’t go hand-in-hand with the structure. Fast forward to 2012, the library underwent a complete remodelling and this time the person who was spearheading this project of a lifetime is also a woman, who goes by the name of Aziza Chaouni, a Fez native. She is an architect who has overseen al-Qarawiyyin’s restoration.
In the present day, the al-Qarawiyyin Library has been restored to its former glory, and some sections of the library are accessible to the public.
As a history buff, here are a few pointers to bear in mind when travelling to make the most of your experience:
#1 Do Your Research:
Before you travel, learn about the history and culture of the destination. Discover important events, historical locations, and museums to visit. This will improve your comprehension of the location and your overall experience.
#2 Visit Historical Sites:
Visiting historical sites is an excellent method to learn about history. You may see and touch the locations of historical events, as well as learn more about the people and cultures of the past.
#3 Take a Guided Tour:
Guided tours can provide useful insights intoa location’s history. A skilled guide can provide a greater understanding of a site’s or monument’s historical significance and answer any questions you may have.
#4 Attend Cultural Events:
Cultural events such as festivals, concerts, and exhibitions can provide insight into the local history and culture. These activities are a terrific way to get to know the area and meet the people who live there.
#5 Sample Local Cuisine:
Food is an important aspect of any culture, and sampling local cuisine can provide insight into the region’s history and traditions. You can taste the flavours and spices passed down through centuries.
#6 Journal Your Experience:
Keeping a journal might help you reflect on your trip’s events and recollections. You can keep a journal of your ideas, impressions, and observations about the historical sites and events you’ve visited, as well as how they’ve influenced you.
Source: Britannica, China Highlights, Guinness World Records, World Atlas, Discovery, CNN