Too often in travel, people only think about “where to visit” without considering “when.” I’m not talking about the time of year, but which year in time. These 15 places in history you must visit will take you on a journey through time to the physical places and the monumental moments that shaped humanity.
We’ll start you with historical places in great and gory detail to demonstrate how visiting brings history alive to inspire you to plan your own living-history vacation.
- When: June 1944
World War II dominated the summer of 1944. Hitler held tentative dominion over Fortress Europe, but over two million Allied troops were massed in England for the upcoming invasion. France had suffered four years of occupation and yearned for freedom. The entire world held its collective breath for what happened next.
The Day of Decision, or D-Day, came on June 6th. Over 156,000 men landed on five beaches: Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha, and Utah, while 24,000 more parachuted behind enemy lines, including my grandfather, who was in the 101st Airborne. Casualties varied widely, but “Bloody Omaha” saw the worst. Around 4,000 men were killed or wounded, with one US landing unit losing 90% of its men in the first wave.
The Allied missions were marked by confusion, with missed drop zones and strong winds blowing landing craft beyond their intended positions. The German response was chaos. Field Marshal Rommel was in Germany returning home to give his wife shoes for her 50th birthday, and Hitler reportedly slept in until at least 10:00 am. Thanks to a massive deception campaign, the Germans held significant troops in reserve to defend a second attack at Calais that never came.
At the end of D-Day, the Allies had established a foothold in France. They liberated Paris by the end of August and defeated Nazi Germany within 11 months.
Historic Monuments To See in Normandy
The Normandy Coast is one of the most staggering places in history to visit and a wonderful opportunity for educational travel.
Historic monuments abound in Normandy that preserves historical accounts of the largest amphibious invasion of all time. The beaches are still known by their invasion code names. Nothing brings history alive like seeing the 100′ cliffs towering over Omaha Beach and imagining landing there under German machine gun fire or walking through the 9,386 graves of the Normandy American Cemetery.
Plaques, memorials, museums, and fortifications dot the countryside, but the most significant historic locations to see in Normandy for D-Day tours are:
- Normandy American Cemetery
- Caen Memorial Museum
- Airborne Museum
- Omaha Beach
- Pointe du Hoc Ranger Monument
- Bayeux War Cemetery
- Utah Beach Landing Museum
- Pegasus Memorial Museum
- Juno Beach Centre
- Overlord Museum
- Musée du Debarquement
- When: 2700 – 2500 BCE
Everybody has heard of the Great Pyramid of Giza. It’s the only remaining intact Seven Wonder of the Ancient World. But the more we learn about the mysteries of the Giza Pyramids, the less we know for sure. Their mystery and grandeur made them early entries on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
For almost 4,000 years, the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world, but it isn’t the sheer size that baffles Egyptologists. The pyramid faces true north with less than 1/15th of a degree of error, which is more accurate than many modern attempts at celestial alignment. It encodes pi, the Golden Ratio, Euler’s Number, and quite possibly the Fine-structure Constant. Who knows what more secrets the pyramids have to reveal?
The Giza Pyramids are not just big and beautiful but tell a timeless story of the rise and fall of civilizations. Even though ancient Egypt was a relatively stable river civilization, the Pyramids of Giza were built during the reign of only three kings. No future king attempted such a grand project, either from a lack of resources or lost technology. Was this the apex of an ancient civilization or something else entirely?
What Can You See in Giza?
There are always fears about Egypt’s safety, but the pyramids’ draw made Egypt one of the first destinations for historical travel and the top of many bucket lists. The Giza pyramid complex, including the Great Sphinx, is the biggest draw; however, the new Grand Egyptian Museum promises to be extraordinary. I know I was impressed during my behind-the-scenes tour, where I came face to face with an extensive collection of King Tut’s underwear.
The top historic sites in Giza are:
- Pyramids of Giza
- Great Sphinx
- Red Pyramid
- Bent Pyramid
- Statue of Ramses II
- Grand Egyptian Museum (Opening Late 2023)
- When: 7000 BCE – 600 CE
Petra certainly would have been one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, except it was lost to the Western World until 1812 when Swiss traveler Johann Ludwig Burckhardt rediscovered it. It’s certainly on everybody’s list of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Unlike Egypt, Petra sits on the periphery of Mediterranean civilization, so it’s a little familiar but very foreign to Western visitors. The carved sandstone facades of the Treasure and Monastery pay homage to Greco-Roman architecture with their Hellenistic style. Still, the water harvesting and integration into the desert environment speak to a different base civilization.
Petra was the capital of the Nabataean Empire. Its control of the trade routes to the Orient allowed it to grow wealthy and powerful, particularly with incense trade. Massive and beautiful buildings and facades were carved along the sandstone valleys, which are the primary attractions for modern visitors.
In 106 CE, Nabataea fell to the Romans and became Arabia Petraea. An earthquake severely damaged the city in 363 CE, particularly the extensive waterworks. It continued as a minor trade outpost during the Byzantine era, but the new Royal Road, declining incense trade, and unreliable water supply kept Petra from regaining its former glory. By the early Islamic era in the mid-7th century, the city held little civilization beyond a seasonal camp for nomads.
What Can You See in Petra?
When you’re visiting Petra, you should plan on hiking through well-worn trails through the ruins of the ancient city. You should have a good Petra guidebook to plan your routes, even if you end up hiring an in-person guide.
Modern Petra is a beautiful juxtaposition between the ancient past and a tribe of modern Bedouins, some of whom still inhabit Nabatean caves in the surrounding area. They are Petra’s only permitted caretakers, guides, and vendors by Jordanian law. Enquire at the Visitor Center if you’re interested in a guided tour of Petra.
The sites you can expect to see in Petra are:
- The Treasury
- The Monastery
- The Siq
- The Visitor Center
- City Center
- Royal Tombs
- High Place of Sacrifice
Boston Freedom Trail
- When: 1770 – 1785
In the spring of 1770, a loud and angry crowd of 300-400 Bostonians confronted a group of nine British soldiers. Tensions ran deep as the mob hurled insults, snowballs, and stones at the Redcoats. Eventually, the scene came to a boil, and the soldiers opened fire, killing five people.
News of the “Boston Massacre” spread through the 13 colonies. Five years later, Paul Revere’s midnight ride summoned patriots to Lexington and Concord to fire the “shot heard around the world” that started the Revolutionary War.
Later that year, the defenders of Bunker Hill heeded the command “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes” and inflicted sufficient damage to the regular British Army that the world could imagine a Colonial victory in the war.
These events are just three stories from 16 stops along the Boston Freedom Trail. Today, more than 4 million visitors walk the trail to step back in time and relive a moment in history when the fate of a young nation hung in the balance. It’s a historic project to link the national landmark sites together as an interpretive, self-guided walking tour.
What Can You See on the Boston Freedom Trail?
The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long path in Boston with 16 stops significant to the history of the United States. It starts in Boston Commons and winds through the North End to Bunker Hill.
Popular stops along the Freedom Trail include:
- Old South Meeting House
- Old State House
- Paul Revere House
- Bunker Hill Monument
- USS Constitution
- Boston Commons
Chichén Itzá Mexico
- When: 13th Century
The Medieval Warm Period that brought peace and prosperity to Northern Europe decimated the Yucatan Peninsula with chaos and famine. Even the deepest wells were going dry, and crop failures were common. The great city of Coba was already in decline, but Chichén Itzá (roughly translated as “the edge of the sorcerer’s well”) persevered.
Four visible natural cenotes provided plentiful water year-round at Chichen Itza and a fifth lay hidden under the Temple of Kukulkan. However, drought and famine began to find their way into Chichén, so the priests cast human sacrifices into the Sacred Cenote, hoping for one to emerge from the waters with the gift of prophecy. Only none survived.
Hunac Ceel, an ambitious Mayapan ruler, seized the opportunity and jumped into the Well of Sacrifice. He emerged alive with a vision of his own ascension to rule Chichén Itzá. According to the Books of Chilam Balam, he conquered the powerful city-state that had dominated Northern Maya Lowlands from the Late Classic through the Postclassic periods.
History is written by the victors, so there’s always the chance that Hunac Ceel merely annexed a historically powerful city after the wells had already gone dry. The celestially aligned temples and pyramids tell the story of an advanced civilization, but its demise is still debated among historians and scholars.
What Can You See at Chichén Itzá?
Chichen Itza was one of the largest Maya cities, with the densely clustered architecture of the site covering an area of at least two square miles. The landscape is dominated by the Temple of Kukulcán, aka El Castillo, a 100′ terraced pyramid aligned so that shadow serpents climb the structure every equinox.
However, there’s much more than El Castillo at Chichén Itzá. There are more than 20 building groups connected by 75 roadways, including the largest ball court in all of Mesoamerica. It’s a must-see destination on this list of the best places in history to visit.
The most significant sites at Chichén Itzá include:
- Temple of Kukulcán (El Castillo)
- Great Ball Court
- Skull Platform
- Sacred Cenote
- Group of a Thousand Columns
- Temple of Warriors
- El Mercado
- The Osario
- Las Monjas
- El Caracol
Jekyll Island, Georgia
- When: 19th – 20th Century
The winter playground of America’s late 19th and early 20th-century industrial elite in southern Georgia, Jekyll Island is a barrier island located off the coast of Georgia. The island has a rich history, dating back to the early 19th century when it was used as a hunting and fishing ground by Native Americans.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Jekyll Island became a popular vacation destination for wealthy industrialists and entrepreneurs, including J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, and Joseph Pulitzer. They built grand mansions and hotels on the island and used it as a retreat from the pressures of city life.
John D. Rockefeller Jr., son of Standard Oil’s founder, purchased this 6 miles long by 1.5-mile-wide barrier island in 1886 as an exclusive private playground for himself and his extended family. The Jekyll Island Club was a private, luxurious resort where the wealthy could escape the outside world.
In 1910, a secret meeting was held on Jekyll Island that would have a profound impact on the financial system of the United States. The meeting, which representatives of several major banks attended, resulted in the creation of the Federal Reserve System, which is still in use today.
During World War II, Jekyll Island was used as a training ground for American troops, and many of the grand mansions and hotels on the island were converted into military barracks and hospitals.
What Can You See on Jekyll Island?
Today, Jekyll Island is a popular tourist destination, known for its beautiful beaches, golf courses, and wildlife. Visitors can explore the island’s rich history by visiting the Jekyll Island Club National Historic Landmark District, which includes several of the island’s historic buildings and structures, or by visiting the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, which is dedicated to the conservation and protection of sea turtles.
Popular Things to Do on Jekyll Island:
- Georgia Sea Turtle Center
- Jekyll Island Museum
- Drayton Hall Plantation
- Museum of Coastal Georgia
- Jekyll Wharf Marina
- Great Dunes Park
- Historic Landmark District
- Tidelands Nature Center
- Mosquito Beach Pier
- Summer Waves Water Park
Sigiriya Rock, Sri Lanka
- When: 477 CE
An ancient rock fortress in central Sri Lanka was the center of King Kashyapa’s kingdom during his ascension to rule over Sri Lanka. He chose the site for its strategic location, overlooking the jungles below and surrounded by water on three sides. It is believed to date back to 477 CE, making it one of the oldest structures in South Asia.
King Kashyapa was known for his extravagant lifestyle and desired to create a magnificent palace on top of Sigiriya Rock. He ordered his workers to carve out terraces on the side of the rock and to construct a complex system of water gardens, fountains, and pools at the base of the rock.
The palace itself was built on top of the rock and was accessed via a series of staircases and walkways. It was adorned with intricate frescoes depicting scenes from the king’s life and Buddhist mythology.
After the death of King Kashyapa, the palace was abandoned and fell into disrepair. It was later used as a Buddhist monastery and remained a site of religious significance throughout the centuries.
In 2005, Sigiriya was featured on the eleventh episode of The Amazing Race 6.
What Can You See in Sigiriya?
The Sigiriya site has different areas to explore. There’s an upper palace on the flat top of the rock, a mid-level terrace with the Lion Gate and frescoes on the mirror wall and lower palaces situated on the slopes below the rock. The palace had moats, walls, and gardens that extended a few hundred meters from the base of the rock. It served as both a palace and a fortress, and the upper palace had cisterns carved into the rock.
Popular sites to see in Sigirya:
- Sigiriya Rock Fortress
- Pidurangala Rock
- Sri Lankan workshop
- Minneriya National Park
- Dambulla Cave Temple
- The Ancient City Of Polonnaruwa
St Augustine, Florida
- When: 1565
America’s oldest European city and home to the mighty Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine, was founded in 1565 by the Spanish conquistador Pedro Menéndez de Avilés.
The first long-lasting settlement in the United States was established by the Spanish in St. Augustine 42 years prior to the English colonization of Jamestown and 55 years before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock.
Menéndez de Avilés established the settlement of St. Augustine in order to protect Spanish ships traveling through the area from pirates and other threats. The settlement grew into a prosperous port town and became an important center of trade and commerce in the region.
Over the years, St. Augustine changed hands several times, with the Spanish, British, and Americans all laying claim to the city at various points in history. The city played an important role in the American Revolutionary War, serving as a base for British troops in the South.
During the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, St. Augustine was the site of numerous protests and demonstrations as African Americans fought for equal rights and an end to segregation in the city.
What Can You See in St Augustine?
St Augustine is a fascinating location and one of the best places in history to visit in America. It’s known for its beaches and stunning architecture. The city is also home to museums, art galleries, and interesting shops. The Lightner Museum showcases 19th-century artifacts from around the world, while Flagler College offers an interesting look at architecture from a past era.
Some of the most popular sites include:
- Castillo de San Marcos
- Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse
- Flagler College
- St. George Street
- The Spanish Quarter Village
- Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park
- Fort Matanzas National Monument
- Lightner Museum
- When: 1800s
Tucson claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in North America, with traces of centuries-old Hohokam communities still visible in petroglyphs throughout the region. This multicultural heritage helped it to become North America’s first UNESCO City of Gastronomy.
Arizona’s southern region, including Tucson, was purchased from Mexico through the Gadsden Purchase on June 8th, 1854. This made Tucson a part of the United States of America. From 1860 to 1880, Tucson was the site of several conflicts among settlers, cattle ranchers, miners, and Apache Indians during the “Old West” era.
Tucson officially became a city in 1877, making it the oldest city in Arizona. When the Southern Pacific Railroad arrived in 1880, the city’s multiculturalism grew as new residents embraced the customs of the Tohono O’odham Indians, Mexicans, and earlier settlers who already lived there.
What can you see in Tucson?
Tucson is home to some of the Southwest’s most iconic sights and attractions. Here, you’ll find the world-renowned Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, a unique combination of zoo, botanical garden, natural history museum, aquarium, art gallery, and Saguaro National Park West. The nearby Mission San Xavier del Bac is a stunning example of Spanish colonial architecture.
No visit to Tucson would be complete without a trip to Sabino Canyon. This magnificent canyon is home to spectacular waterfalls, pools, and trails that are perfect for hiking or simply watching the wildlife. There’s also plenty of camping in the canyon and nearby areas, making it a great spot for outdoor enthusiasts.
Some of the most popular sites include:
- Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
- Mission San Xavier del Bac
- Tucson Museum of Art
- DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun
- Pima Air & Space Museum
- Old Tucson Studios
- Catalina State Park
- Sabino Canyon
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
- When: 12th Century CE
The largest religious structure in the world dates back to the 12th century CE. Many visitors start from nearby Siam Reap and venture to the complex of temples that the Khmer Empire built.
The name “Angkor Wat” means “City Temple” in Khmer. This incredible site was once home to more than one million people at its peak during the 12th century CE. It is believed that Khmer King Suryavarman II built this massive temple complex in the early 12th century CE.
The complex was originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu but later became a Buddhist temple in the 14th century. The complex covers an area of over 400 acres (160 hectares) and features numerous temples, pavilions, and courtyards.
The Khmer Empire was known for its advanced engineering and architectural skills, which are evident in the design and construction of Angkor Wat. The temple features a series of concentric galleries, towers, and courtyards, all adorned with intricate carvings and bas-reliefs depicting scenes from Hindu mythology and Khmer history.
After the decline of the Khmer Empire in the 15th century, the temple complex fell into disrepair and was eventually reclaimed by the surrounding jungle. It was rediscovered by French explorers in the 19th century and was subsequently restored and preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What can you see at Angkor Wat?
Today, visitors can explore Angkor Wat’s temples and ancient ruins to learn more about this incredible civilization. The complex is made up of several temples, including the iconic temple of Angkor Wat itself, as well as other smaller sites such as the Bayon and Ta Prohm.
There is also a museum dedicated to the history of Angkor Wat and its surrounding areas, which provides visitors with an even greater understanding of this incredible site.
At Angkor Wat, visitors can marvel at breathtaking architecture from ancient times. The ancient temple of Angkor Wat is considered one of the world’s greatest architectural wonders and easily makes this list of best places in history to visit.
Some of the most popular sites include:
- Angkor Wat Temple
- Bayon Temple
- Ta Prohm Temple
- Banteay Srei Temple
- Preah Khan Temple complex
- Chau Say Tevoda temple complex
- Kbal Spean River Valley
- Phnom Bakheng Temple complex
- Angkor Thom city wall and temples
Taj Mahal, India
- When: 1632 – 53 CE
The Tomb of the Beloved is considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child. This stunning mausoleum is made of white marble and stands majestically on the banks of the Yamuna River near Agra, India.
The construction of the Taj Mahal began around 1632 CE and took over 20 years to complete, with thousands of workers from across India and beyond contributing to its construction. This incredible building is a mix of architecture from the Mughal, Indian, Persian, and Islamic styles. It is widely regarded as a masterpiece of Mughal architecture and is considered one of the greatest examples of Islamic art and architecture.
What can you see at the Taj Mahal?
Visitors will experience some of its most impressive features when visiting the Taj Mahal. These include the iconic white marble dome, reflecting pools and gardens, four minarets (towers), as well as intricate interior designs and artwork. Several other buildings are located within the complex, such as a mosque, guest house, and entrance gate.
Some of the most popular sites include:
- Taj Mahal
- Agra Fort
- Fatehpur Sikri
- Tomb of Itimad-Ud-Daulah
- Buland Darwaza (Gateway to Fatehpur Sikri)
- Meenakshi Temple, India
Easter Island, Chile
- When: 1100 – 1680 CE
Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, is a small island located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. The island is most famous for its giant stone statues, known as moai, which its ancient inhabitants built.
The history of Easter Island dates back over a thousand years, when Polynesian settlers arrived on the island. Over time, the settlers developed a unique culture and society, which was centered around the construction of the moai statues.
The moai were carved from volcanic rock and were sometimes over 30 feet (9 meters) tall and weighed up to 75 tons. It is estimated that over 800 moai were constructed on the island, each representing a deceased ancestor and intended to protect and bless the living.
The island’s society was organized into various clans, each of which was responsible for constructing and caring for the moai statues. The moai were believed to be imbued with spiritual power, and the islanders went to great lengths to construct and transport them across the island.
In the late 17th century, Easter Island was visited by European explorers, who brought with them diseases and other threats to the island’s inhabitants. Over time, the island’s population declined, and the construction of the moai statues came to an end.
What can you see on Easter Island?
When visiting Easter Island, visitors can explore its many archaeological sites, including Moai Platforms, Pukao (topknots), petroglyphs, and more. Additionally, visitors can experience the cultural aspects of Easter Island, including traditional music and dance performances, and visit some of its local museums.
Some of the most popular sites include:
- Ahu Tongariki
- Rano Raraku quarry
- Anakena Beach
- Orongo Village
- Ahu Akivi platform
Great Wall, China
- When: 221 BC
The Great Wall of China is an iconic symbol of China and one of the most famous landmarks in the world. It is a series of fortifications that stretch for over 13,000 miles (21,000 km) across northern China, from the Bohai Sea in the east to the Gobi Desert in the west.
The history of the Great Wall of China dates back more than 2,000 years, to the 7th century BC. The walls were built by various Chinese emperors and dynasties over centuries, with the earliest sections being constructed during the Warring States period (475–221 BC).
The Great Wall was initially built as a defensive fortification to protect China from invading nomadic tribes from the north. Over time, it was expanded and rebuilt by subsequent dynasties, including the Qin, Han, and Ming dynasties, with each dynasty adding its own unique touches and modifications.
The Great Wall of China is made up of a variety of materials, including brick, tamped earth, and stone, and features various architectural elements such as watchtowers, signal towers, and barracks. It was designed to be a formidable barrier against potential invaders and played a crucial role in protecting China from outside threats.
Today, the Great Wall of China is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an enduring symbol of Chinese civilization and a testament to the incredible engineering and architectural skills of the ancient Chinese people.
What can you see at the Great Wall?
Visitors can explore the Great Wall’s many sections, including Badaling, Jinshanling, and Mutianyu. The wall is also home to a number of interesting cultural attractions, such as tombs, temples, and watchtowers.
Some of the most popular sites include:
- Badaling Section
- Jinshanling Section
- Mutianyu Section
- Simatai West Section
- Gubeikou Gateway
Machu Picchu, Peru
- When: 1450 CE
The most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire is situated high in the Andes Mountains. This incredible citadel was built around 1450 CE and is believed to have been a royal estate or sacred religious site.
Reports indicate the mountaintop citadel was abandoned approximately 100 years after it was built, which is thought to coincide with the Spanish conquest of the pre-Columbian civilization in the 1530s. While there is no indication that the conquistadors attacked or ever made it to the citadel, it is speculated that the inhabitants left due to a possible outbreak of smallpox.
The abandoned citadel remained a secret for centuries, and only the locals knew about it until American archaeologist Hiram Bingham discovered it in 1911. The site spans a distance of 5 miles and contains over 3,000 stone steps connecting various levels.
Machu Picchu is renowned for its stunning architecture and breathtaking location, perched on a steep ridge between two mountains. The city was built using the Incan technique of ashlar masonry, where large stones are cut and fitted together without the use of mortar, creating a seamless and incredibly stable structure.
It is also believed that Machu Picchu served as a strategic stronghold for the Inca Empire, protecting the Sacred Valley from potential invaders. The city was well-placed to control the agricultural production of the surrounding terraced fields, which allowed the Inca Empire to feed its people and maintain its power.
The ruins of Machu Picchu are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist destinations in South America.
What can you see at Machu Picchu?
Machu Picchu is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world, and visitors can explore its many ruins.
Some of the most popular sites include:
- The Sun Gate (Inti Punku)
- Huayna Picchu
- The Inca Bridge
- Temple of the Sun
- Royal Tomb – Palace of the Princess
- The Temple of Three Windows
- Central Plaza
- Terraced Fields
- Inca Trail
Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
- When: 1173
One of the most remarkable architectural structures from medieval Europe is known for its nearly four-degree lean. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of Italy’s most famous landmarks and a world-renowned architectural wonder. It is located in the city of Pisa, in Tuscany, Italy.
The tower’s construction began in 1173 and was initially intended to be a bell tower for the adjacent cathedral. However, as work began on the tower, it started to lean to one side due to the soft ground on which it was built. This caused the construction to be interrupted several times over the years.
It wasn’t until almost two centuries later, in 1372, that the tower was finally completed. However, the lean continued to worsen over the years, with the tower tilting at an angle of about 5 degrees. In the 20th century, there were concerns that the tower might topple over, and extensive restoration work was undertaken to stabilize it.
Today, the tower stands at an angle of about 3.99 degrees and is open to the public. Visitors can climb the tower’s 294 steps to enjoy a stunning view of the surrounding city.
What can you see at the Leaning Tower of Pisa?
When visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you can explore the surrounding area and take in the stunning views or take a tour up to the top of the leaning bell tower. Additionally, the Cathedral Square (Piazza dei Miracoli) is home to a number of other historical landmarks and monuments that are worth exploring.
Some of the most popular sites include:
- The Leaning Tower
- Piazza dei Cavalieri
- Camposanto Monumentale Cemetery
- Santa Maria della Spina Church
- Museo del Opera del Duomo
- Borgo Stretto
- San Matteo National Museum
Forbidden City, China
- When: 1406 – 1420
The Forbidden City, located in the heart of Beijing, China, is a palace complex that served as the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties for almost 500 years, from 1420 to 1912.
The construction of the Forbidden City began in 1406 during the Ming dynasty, and it took over 14 years to complete. The palace was built on the orders of Emperor Yongle, who wanted a new imperial palace to assert his authority and enhance the prestige of the Ming dynasty.
The Forbidden City was so named because it was off-limits to the general public and served as the residence of the emperor, his family, and the court. Only those who had permission from the emperor were allowed to enter the palace.
Over the centuries, the Forbidden City underwent numerous renovations and expansions, and many buildings were added to the complex. It was also the site of many important events in Chinese history, such as imperial weddings, coronations, and the signing of important treaties.
After the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1912, the Forbidden City was turned into a museum and has been open to the public since 1925. Today, it is one of China’s most popular tourist attractions and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace complex is renowned for its intricate architecture, rich cultural heritage, and historical significance, making it an important symbol of Chinese history and culture.
What can you see in the Forbidden City?
The Forbidden City is an incredible place to explore, with a grand array of magnificent palaces, gardens, and courtyards. Visitors can take a guided tour through the palace complex and learn about the lives of the Chinese Emperors. Additionally, there are several museums located inside the palace grounds, such as the Hall of Preserving Harmony and the Pavilion of Literary Profundity.
Some of the most popular sites include:
- Hall of Supreme Harmony
- Towers of Reverance
- Palace of Heavenly Purity
- Hall of Preserving Harmony
- The Palace Museum
- The Imperial Garden
Concluding Places in History You Must Visit
The world is filled with historical places to visit, each with its own unique story to tell. Some preserve historical landmarks and archeological sites. Others, particularly those designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites, have significant cultural or historical significance.
This article originally appeared on Savoteur.
Featured image credit: Markus Winkler