Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Traveling Around the World with History

By Margaret Duncan, Ed.D.

I love to travel and I love history, so on many occasions I have incorporated these two great loves.  If you spin a globe, just about any place your finger lands, you will find a wonderful place bristling with history.  Although I am no travel expert, I am happy to share my thoughts of places I have been and those I want to visit because I believe they have historical significance.

Holy Land

For those who are religious, making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land is on their ultimate travel bucket list.  For me, I would love to walk the streets of Old Jerusalem, float in the Dead Sea and visit Masada, the Western Wall, Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  Plus, after watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade I must admit to having wanted to visit Petra.  This city known for its awesome cliff face architecture is located in Arabah, Jordan, and for me a must see.
Athens, Greece

I taught World History for years—so visiting parts of the Ancient World is also on my ultimate travel bucket list. However, the world of Ancient Greece that I taught doesn’t always coincide with modern Athens.  Top spots to see—wandering around the Acropolis, walking around the Parthenon, spending time in the National Archaeological Museum, and being enthralled by the Tower of the Winds.  Should you venture outside Athens, a cruise around the islands would be a must as well as Santorini, Meteora and the Delphi theatre.

Rome, Italy

Okay, if you love the Ancient World and decide to travel to Greece, how can you not visit Rome. 
Plus, just like Indiana Jonessparked my interest in Petra, Roman Holiday is one of the sparks for seeing Rome.  History from different eras are found all over the city—look around and you will see Ancient, Renaissance and Modern Rome.  Highlights include visiting the Colosseum, Forum, Palatine Hill, Pantheon, plus exploring the catacombs and the ancient port of Ostia Antica.  However, no trip to Rome would be complete without visiting the Vatican.  A visit to Vatican City should include St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums.


Cairo, Egypt

Cairo offers a glimpse of the Ancient World colliding with the modern world.  Just outside Cairo is Giza and the Great Pyramids, as well as Saqqara’s step pyramids.  However, any trip to Cairo must include time at a number of the city’s Mosques, a ride down the Nile and at least a day at the Egyptian Museum.  A trip to Old Cairo would include seeing Coptic Cairo and the Coptic Museum, the Greek Church of St. George, and the Ben Ezra Synagogue.  Also, great deals can be had at the Khan El-Khalili, but be prepared to haggle to reach a fair price.


The Great Wall of China

A must see for my ultimate bucket list is the Great Wall of China.  This leftover of the ancient world is a driving reason for me to some day visit China. However, while I’m in Beijing, my list of sites to see includes walking around the Forbidden City, Tiananman Square, and the Temple of Heaven.  On the way to the Great Wall you could spend time in the Ming tombs.  A trip to Xian would be a must in order to see the Terracotta Warriors and Horses.

So, this is my top five world history tour and just a glimpse of what each place has to offer.  What would you include in a must see history bucket list?

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