If you’re passionate about history, there is nothing that compares seeing the world’s great historical places in person. Reading about places in a book or seeing them on a documentary is all well and good. However, being able to see these incredible places up close, to walk through them yourself, allows you to put yourself in the shoes of peoples from a time gone by, and really imagine what it would have been like hundreds or thousands of years ago. There are many important sites and cities around the world in terms of history. But here are the top 6 travel destinations for history lovers you simply can’t miss.

Rome, Italy

Rome really is an outdoor museum. Simply walking down the street you will come across pillars and artifacts dating back to the ancient Roman Empire. As the once capital city of that mighty Empire, Rome is full of incredible historic sites.

There is the Colosseum, the biggest arena ever built. You’ll also be able to visit the Forum, once the seat of the Roman government with many ruins still visible, as well as the Pantheon and the Arch of Constantine. For more recent history, you can also see wonders of the Renaissance such as Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, located in Vatican City, itself located inside Rome.

rome italy cafes

Photo via Pixabay

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City was once known as Saigon. As well as having a wealth of history from the Khmer Empire through to its French colonial period, the city also played a vital role in the Vietnam War. Today, Ho Chi Minh City is home to a number of important sites related to that conflict, known locally as the American War.

In the centre of the city you will find the War Remnants Museum, with excellent, deeply moving exhibitions about the war, as well as Reunification Palace, which celebrates the reunification of North and South Vietnam being the official location of the end of the war. Just outside the city you can visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, which played an important role during the war.

Cusco, Peru

The ancient capital of the Incas, the city of Cusco sits high in the Peruvian Andes. The entire town center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its cobblestone streets are the legacy of the Spanish conquest of the 16th century.

However, in the town you’ll also find older sites from the Incas, such as the Incan ruins that lie under the Catholic Cathedral, and the ruins of the Incan city of Saksaywaman on the edge of town. Cusco is also the common base for visitors to explore Machu Picchu, the lost Incan city in the mountains.

Granada, Spain

Granada, in Southern Spain, is a city steeped in history. It was once a major city in the Moorish Empire that stretched across much of modern Spain and into France. This has left a legacy of many fascinating historic, Islamic sights across the city, not least of all the Alhambra.

Visiting the Alhambra is an unforgettable experience. This vast palace complex features ornate courtyards, ancient fortresses, as well as beautiful gardens and fountains. With roots going back to the Romans, most of the complex has constructed between the 11th and 14th centuries by the Moors, and speaks to the incredible design, artistry and technology of the Empire at the time.

Cairo, Egypt

If you’re looking to travel back thousands of years, there are few places more ancient than Cairo. The Egyptian capital is packed with treasures, from the ancient Egyptians to more recent historical sites, such as the Khan El Khalil Market, Tahir Square, and the Al Azhar mosque.

However, the oldest and most fascinating of all are undoubtedly is the Pyramids of Giza. The Pyramids loom over the city, dating back over 3000 years. These meticulously made and massive structures, whose construction remains a mystery today, align to the stars and the solstices.

World's Oldest Cities Petra, Jordan

Petra. Photo: David Badias via Pixabay

Petra, Jordan

No one knows exactly how old the site of Petra in Jordan is, though there is evidence of settlement here as early as the 6th century BC. This ancient city was carved out of the stone of a canyon on the slopes of Mont Hor, and is now one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Petra features amazing stone carvings that are not only on an incredible scale, but also incredibly detailed and intricate. It is known as the “Rose City” as it is carved in sandstone that has a pink hue. The city includes over 800 structures including buildings, tombs, baths and temples.

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