There’s no better way to gain an understanding of our incredible planet’s diverse and turbulent history than putting yourself in the midst of the locations where significant events and cultures took place. However, selecting destinations, for those interested in learning about history, can be a challenge with so much out there to choose from. With such an extensive range of epochs and cultures to explore, many often fall under the radar. Here are five underrated destinations that all history lovers should add to their bucket list.
The Republic Of Ireland
Ireland boasts a number of UNESCO world heritage sites amongst the high concentration of antiquities that are easily accessed across this small welcoming country. Walk in the footsteps of the ancient Celtic tribes at Newgrange passage tomb in County Meath built in 3200BC, or visit the even older Ceide Fiields that date back to 5000 bc and are some of the oldest known evidence of field systems in the world.
Photo: Gary Webb
For those who are interested in tracing the growth of early Christianity in Europe, there is a diverse range of locations from the historic beehive huts built on the Dingle Peninsula to the evocative 6th century monastery clinging to the distinctive barren offshore island of Skellig Michael, which can be visited by boat. Medieval castles such as Kilkenny and Leap castle evidence the subjugation of the Irish people by the English Norman aristocracy and for those more interested in the modern era you can visit the Jeannie Johnson ship at Dublin Quayside, built to carry early immigrants who set out with hope to make a new life in America and escape the famine in the 1800s.
The Czech Republic boasts an extremely diverse history. It was a key constituent of the early Bohemian empire, an independent state of the Roman empire and was eventually taken over by the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. In the early 1900’s it became a democracy and fell behind the iron curtain during the years following the war. Gaining independence from Slovakia in 1993, today it attracts visitors from all over the world and has many historical sites for them to enjoy.
Photo: Creative Commons
The capital city, Prague, is a history buffs paradise. As one of the only cities that did not suffer serious bombing during the Second World War, the large majority of its historic sites remain intact. Prague Castle dates back to the 9th century, and there are many other medieval buildings to visit. The Charles Bridge, perhaps the cities most popular landmark, is a beautiful 14th construction that is truly mesmerizing. Similarly, the 600 year old astronomical clock is one of the most unique attractions, and is well worth a visit.
The stunning beauty of Provence in the South of France creates an evocative backdrop to the largest collection of Roman architecture outside of Italy. The awesome Pont Du Gard, which spans the river Gardon and forms part of a 50 km aqueduct system, is a classic example of this.
Photo: Creative Commons
There are a number of amphitheatres to visit. The most notable is in Arles, although, since bull fights are held there, it may be better for the more faint hearted to select Vaison La Romaine which offers not only the amphitheatre but a spectacular bridge set high across the river. For those interested in medieval history Provence has many chateaus and walled towns. The most famous of these is Avignon where the gothic Palais des Papes became the temporary seat of the Popes when they fled Italy in the early medieval period.
When most think of history in North Africa, the world-famous ancient Eygptian civilisation is the first thing to come to mind. However, what many often overlook is much of this coastline is home to some of the most well-preserved Roman ruins left in the world. Due to reduced influx of tourists, compared to many of the other sites of the ex-Roman empire, the ruins of Algeria and Libya remain largely untouched, and often provide visitors with a more private experience than their European counterparts.
Photo: Dan Sloan
Algeria is probably the safest area in this region, due to the current political climate, so is the best place to visit for history lovers. The country boasts three UNESCO heritage sites, including the Djemila settlement, which is an incredibly well preserved mountain village and museum that goes alongside it. Other highlights to explore include Tipaza, Timgad and Hippo Regius. Another benefit of visiting Algeria’s Roman remains is that they have received no development or restorations over the years, making each site 100% authentic.
Whilst more well-known destinations, such as Greece, Egypt and Peru, are all essential for history lovers to visit, these underrated sites also deserve a consideration. When planning your next vacation, consider one of these countries to get your fill of world history!
This is a guest post sponsored by The Corinthia Hotels and written by Steve Ewins. An Avid Traveller and Blogger who has visited more than 80 countries.