If you can’t tear yourself away from your history books during your travels, or you simply can’t set foot in a city without wanting to find out about every major event there for the last 500 years, make sure you head to the top destinations for history enthusiasts. Here are our top 5…
Interesting fact: Did you know that gladiator blood was used to aid fertility in Ancient Rome?
Before you sigh, yes, Rome can be tourist nightmare in peak seasons, and shuffling through the Vatican like squashed sardines isn’t a great experience. But that shouldn’t take away from the incredible history of the Roman Empire; go in the off season if you have to. The Colosseum and the Forum ruins is a window into Italy’s interesting past. A great book to take with you is Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (read reviews here).
- Angkor Wat
Interesting fact: Did you know that the Cambodian flag is the only flag with an image of a building?
War tourism is a funny thing these days. We’re fascinated by our violent past but the terrifying fact of it is, the Khmer Rouge happened within the now older generation’s lifetime. This modern history holiday destination is not made for the faint-hearted and anyone leaving Cambodia without compassion must have a heart of stone. Take First They Killed by Father by Loung Ung (review here) but be prepared for tears.
- Petra, Jordan
Interesting fact: Did you know that Petra is home to 800 carved tombs?
An archaeologist’s dream, Petra in Jordan is truly one of the most fascinating historical places to visit on this planet. The Treasury is one of the most amazing architectural attractions and dates back over 2,000 years. It is said that the ‘lost city’ still has many secrets to reveal. A great read is the Holidayplace.co.uk blog – there’s been an excellent recent post on discovering Jordan.
- Athens, Greece
Interesting fact: Did you know that the Virgin Goddess is a notorious killer of women?
Athens isn’t a luxury holiday, for those who are mistaken. This is a history geek’s heaven but luxury seekers may turn away now because it’s a clash between the beautiful and the ugly. Due to the economic difficulties which persisted in Greece for several years, many parts of Athens are a little run down. But if you’re travelling to learn about Greek history, you won’t find anything more spectacular.
- Beijing, China
Interesting fact: Did you know that Fortune Cookies were not invented in China? (They were invented in San Francisco)
There’s no doubt that Beijing is a becoming city. The country itself has changed dramatically in recent years and ever since the Beijing Olympics, the world has looked upon China differently. The Great Wall remains to be one of the most amazing wonders of the world and the country is rich in breath-taking history.
For a controversial read to accompany you on your journey, take Empire of Lies: The Truth About China in the 21st Century (read a review here).