There are just so many historical places in the world to discover. From the fascinating Maya temples in Mexico to the jungle-covered ancient city of Angkor, each site has its own values. This article about stunning historical places in the world is not a complete list but some remarkable ones proposed by different travel bloggers worldwide.
Historical Places of the World
The Ruins of Volubilis – Morocco
One of the best historic sites around the world can be found in Morocco. The ruins of Volubilis which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Center, is located a two-hour drive east of Rabat, and ninety minutes west of Fes. Volubilis is a partly excavated Berber and Roman city in Morocco and commonly considered as the ancient capital of the kingdom of Mauretania. The only way to get to the ruins is to have your own car which you can rent from any airport. Use this guide to help you with driving in Morocco.
Once at the site, there will be guides that can take you around and tell you the full history, but you do not need a guide. You can explore the ruins on your own, it is only $1 USD to enter the site. There are so many amazing picture opportunities, you can spend anywhere from thirty minutes to over two hours just trying to capture all the beauty.
Saadian Tombs, Marrakech (Morocco)
By Gábor at Surfing the Planet
The Medina of Marrakech is one of the places with most architectural wonders you can visit in North Africa. Amongst these monuments there’s one that especially amazed us, the Saadian Tombs in the Southern end of the Medina close to the main palaces of Marrakech.
The buildings on this ancient this burial ground were constructed under Ahmed el Mansour, a powerful sultan at the turn of the 16th and 17th century. The tombs were only discovered in 1917 and they have been preserved in perfect state. There are two main mausoleums here with 66 tombs, and these buildings are decorated with wonderful carvings and tiles. There is also a nice garden with an additional 100 tombs there. It’s worth checking out the graves one by one, all of them are covered in beautiful colorful tiles and inscriptions.
A remarkable historical site of Petra -Jordan
By Cat at Walk My World
There are not many wonders of the world that still feel like they are pretty wild, but the sprawling site of Petra is just that. Whilst all tourists will visit the Siq and Treasury, not many venture into all the side streets and mountain trails that are on offer. The most magical way to see Petra for the first time this is to walk through the 1.2km Siq (canyon) at sunrise, wondering if around every corner will be your first glimpse of the exquisite Treasury.
However, Petra is more than just the Treasury, a huge sprawling city of magnificent amphitheaters, tombs and buildings. The whole city was designed to awe and impress, but was lost for centuries, only known to the local Bedouins. It was “rediscovered” in the 19th Century by a Swiss traveler. If you really want to see it in a unique setting, then go to Petra By Night – where the Treasury and Siq are illuminated by candlelight.
Imperial City in Hue, Vietnam
The walled Imperial City in Hue, Vietnam, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Surrounded by towering, thick walls and a moat, this fortress and palace complex is filled with incredibly detailed monuments, pagodas, statues and temples. It also covers a huge space — you could spend many hours exploring the gardens and buildings that make up the Imperial City.
I was completely blown away by the number of beautiful, ornate structures that have been preserved and restored in the citadel, and ended up spending a full day taking photos and enjoying the space. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that although it’s a famous attraction and there were lots of tourists and tour groups visiting, the city was not too crowded. I actually found that in some areas I was totally alone with nobody else around, which added to the experience.
Outside of the citadel, Hue itself is a fun town with lively bars, restaurants and street markets. Visiting ended up being one of my absolute favorite experiences in Vietnam!
Bagan In Myanmar is a well-known destination for temple hopping and it sure lives up to its name of being incredible. King Anawratha forcefully took the throne of the country in 1044 and not only introduced Theravada Buddhism, but he also began construction of the first temple in Bagan – the amazing Shwezigon Temple.
During the 11th – 13th century, the plains of Bagan were home to over 10,000 temples, pagodas and stupas. Today, due to time and natural disasters such as earthquakes, only around 2,200 are left standing – some of them greatly damaged. Even though the number of temples has gone down significantly, Bagan is still well worth a visit and one can easily explore many of the beautiful structures by rented electric motorbike.
Historic Castle Town of Kawagoe City (Japan)
Kawagoe is a small city in Saitama Prefecture, Japan and is one of the few remaining areas in the country where one can catch a glimpse of the history and architectural features of Japan from the Edo Period, 400 years past.
For starters, there is the old warehouse district where the clay-walled warehouses, an architectural feature that was widely implemented for its flame-retardant features after the great Fire of Kawagoe burnt down the whole castle town in 1638. The Old Warehouse District is the main tourist attraction in Kawagoe and it is where the Bell of Time Tower, the symbol of the city government and was used to announce the time.
There is also the Kawagoe Castle, a flatland style castle built in 1457 to house the feudal lords of the Tokugawa Shogunate to protect the north capital, Edo, which is currently known as Tokyo. Further northwest of the castle is the Kitain Temple, a popular Buddhist Temple which is widely known as being an integral part of the original Edo Castle.
Kawagoe is just a 30-minute train trip from Central Tokyo and is an ideal day tour itinerary from the country’s capital. There are several tour buses going through each of the points of interest within the city but I recommend a walking to each destination to have a better appreciation of the city.
Taj Mahal (India)
India is filled with amazing historic sites. You can easily find impressive sites in each and every single Indian state. They all come with their own story and different background. But one site comes to everyone’s mind when you say India. It’s the famous Taj Mahal, seldom referred to as the most beautiful and the most romantic building in the world.
You cannot imagine just how wonderful it is until you see it with your own eyes. If you visit it early in the morning and try to be among the first people entering the main gate, you will find it difficult to hold your tears. Although the story of the Taj Mahal is a sad one, the building is actually a mausoleum for Emperor Shah Jahan’s wife, Mumtaz, the entire site fills your heart with serenity. A perfect tomb for a beautiful love story, a remarkable example of Mughal architecture that shouldn’t be missed in any Indian itinerary.
Jerash, the ancient Roman city in Jordan is one of my favorite historic destinations to visit and to encourage others to visit. It is the best-preserved Roman city outside of Rome and anyone who visits can see why, as they wander the colonnaded streets and marvel at this huge archaeological site, much of which is still left to discover. With 2000-year-old features such as Hadrian’s Arch, the Cardero, Zeus’ Temple, the Oval Forum and more, it is easy to see how this was once a bustling city.
Located about 1 hours drive from Jordan’s capital city of Amman, it is well worth the visit while in Jordan. It takes about 1 to 2 hours to visit the site. You can visit independently, on a guided tour or hire a local guide inside the site.
Tikal – Guatemala
Tikal was once a powerful empire that was home to around 100,000 people. We were amazed to discover only 15 percent of the ancient city has been excavated as the site is huge. In fact, it’s one of the largest archaeological sites of pre-Colombian Maya civilization Anyone lucky enough to visit Tikal is treated to spellbinding temples, palaces, public squares and dwellings.
But it’s the surrounding jungle that makes Tikal one of the best historic sites around the world. The jungle is home to a wide variety of wildlife including the elusive jaguar. We spotted spider monkeys, coatimundis, agoutis and a toucan. My biggest thrill though was hearing my first howler monkey roar. Tikal is a magical experience for anyone fortunate enough to visit.
Acropolis of Athens – Greece
The Acropolis of Athens has to be up there as one of the ultimate historic destinations of the world! It’s not just a monument, it’s a symbol of democracy and of Western civilization as a whole.
But thankfully it’s also a pretty cool (and really easy) monument to visit. The modern city of Athens is built around the Acropolis hill and the ancient citadel which still sits atop it. The Parthenon temple is the most famous of its structures, although a few others remain and it’s definitely worth visiting the separate Acropolis Museum (which is down at the bottom of the hill) to see the best of the excavations on the site.
As well as the ancient ruins, the Acropolis and surrounding area is also a really pleasant green space and commands excellent views over the city. It’s illuminated at night so everyone can admire its beauty.
The Megalithic Temples of Malta
Malta is often thought of as a summer holiday destination for its great beaches, but few people realize that it’s also home to some of the oldest temples in Europe. Of all the countries I’ve visited in Europe, Malta turned out to be my favorite in terms of historic sites.
Predating the temples of Greece by thousands of years, there are over a dozen mysterious megalithic temples scattered around Malta, each one raising more questions about our past than answering them.
Who built these temples on Malta? Why did they build them? What was their significance?
Walking around these ancient structures makes you realize that there is so much we don’t know about the origins of our civilization, and that our ancestors were probably a lot brighter than we give them credit for! If you’ve not visited Malta already, it’s time to start planning so you can see them for yourself.
Skara Brae, Orkney (Scotland)
By Jonathan at Scotland Bucket List
After spending 5,000 years buried deep beneath the sand, a wild storm in 1850 exposed a small stone village to the surface. Located in a picturesque Scottish bay on the island Orkney, this is Skara Brae. Consisting of 8 houses, it’s Europe’s best preserved Neolithic village.
Even though it’s older than the Pyramids, you get a great impression of what life was like for those that lived here. In fact, the furniture is still place and most obvious is the stone dresser thought to have been used to store food. But there are also stone beds, a sink and a hearth.
There is a great little visitor’s center with interactive displays that feature artifacts found at the location. Best of all, however, is the superb recreation of a house, complete with a roof and animal skin bedding. Also on site is a fab café and a well-stocked gift shop.
Siracusa – Italy
A trip to Siracusa, Italy, is a real treat for history lovers. Located on the East coast of Sicily, Siracusa dates back to Greek times and has a plethora of beautiful buildings bearing witness of the city’s rich past. The city has two main areas of interest to the visitor: the small island of Ortigia, which is the old city center, and the archaeological park.
Ortigia is the part of the city we loved the most. Here you have small meandering alleys and many architectural treasures such as the temple of Apollo, the fountain of Arethusa and the impressive duomo, which mixes remains of the ancient temple of Athena with Sicilian baroque style.
The archaeological park has a different vibe from Ortigia but is equally impressive. Here you have Siracusa’s Greek theater and the infamous Latomie, the quarries where so many prisoners lost their lives when Siracusa ruled the Mediterranean
Aqueduct Segovia Spain
The Aqueduct of Segovia (Spain)
By Ingrid at Second-Half Travels
The magnificent Aqueduct of Segovia that dominates the city’s skyline is a brilliant feat of Roman engineering. One of the best-preserved Roman aqueducts, it was built at the end of the first century AD and supplied water from the Frío River to Segovia until the mid-19th century. Its delicate two-tiered arcades were constructed with amazing precision using colossal granite blocks joined without any kind of mortar. The lower arches alternate in height to adapt to the contours of the land.
Be sure to climb the stairs on the old city side for panoramic views of the aqueduct, beautiful medieval streets, and snow-capped mountains. At the top of the stairs, look for the small plaza where the aqueduct goes underground. A historic walking path begins from this point that traces the route of the buried water channels through the old city to the Alcázar.
Vila Romana del Casale
Italy has the most UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world and Sicily has the most in Italy. Hidden in that treasure trove of historical riches is the wonderful Vila Romana del Casale, near Agrigento. This is a large Roman palace with the largest, most complex and best-preserved collection of Roman mosaics in the world.
Built in the 4th Century C.E. it was severely damaged at various times in its history until it was finally abandoned in the 12th Century after a landslide buried it. Excavations took place throughout thee 20th Century and the mosaics survived relatively intact. The mosaics are glorious and seeing them transports you to ancient Roman times. Seeing this is what you travel for.
By Patrick at Adventographer
Before it was Istanbul it was Constantinople, this historical city straddling the European and Asian continents is a treasure chest of history. Ruled by the Greeks, Romans and Ottomans its a real melting pot of history and culture.
Istanbul is a unique & eclectic mix of old meets new, east meets west and Europe meets Asia and its history supports this. From walking along the ancient city walls to climbing ottoman castles and visiting Greek and Roman ruins the city is a jackpot for any history buffs!
Make sure you give yourself enough time in the city. With all the places to visit in Istanbul you’ll you’ll need at least three days to explore it properly!
Stonehenge has to be one of the most famous historic sites in the world. It’s an ancient monument that dates from Neolithic times. How Stonehenge was built with primitive technology and what it was used for are enduring mysteries.
A visit to Stonehenge is on many people’s itineraries when they visit the UK. It’s an easy day trip from London, but arriving as early as possible is recommended. At Stonehenge, you can walk around the stones, and get fairly up close to them, although you can’t touch them. There are also plenty of hikes in the surrounding countryside.
Elsewhere on the site, there’s a new visitor center which houses a museum on Neolithic life and has exhibits on what experts believe might have happened at Stonehenge over the centuries. You can also walk through a reconstruction of a Neolithic village to see how people lived.
Igreja São Francisco, Porto- Portugal
Porto, Portugal’s second city has a number of outstanding churches, but if you only have time to visit one, then I would recommend Igreja de São Francisco. The richness of the gilded wood carvings inside the church is amazing. The only Gothic church in the city, construction took place between 1383 and 1410.
Throughout the centuries the church underwent numerous renovations. There is more than 200 kilos of gold on the main altar, pillars and statues. The star attraction is the Tree of Jesse which takes the genealogy of Jesus as its theme showing his descent from the kings of Judah and Israel. Craftsmen carved and painted the gilded tree between 1718 and 1721.
Port Arthur Tasmania (Australia)
Port Arthur is located on the far South Coast of Tasmania Australia and is a UNESCO World Heritage classified under the Australia Convict Sites. Port Arthur came to live in the early 18th Century when the British Government were looking to send there convicts away from the home land. As a convict there was no further place you could be sent than 17,000 kilometers away from England to Port Arthur.
The men who were sent to Port Arthur faced a life of hardship and punishment. The men of Port Arthur were broken down both physically and mentally before being rehabilitated. Port Arthur’s history as a penal colony lasted from the 1830″ to the 1880″s. At Port Arthur you will find ruins of the Prison, Hospital, Church and building still intact such as the Commandants house, Second Prison and the Asylum.
Today Port Arthur is one of Australia’s top tourist attractions with people flocking in daily by car, bus and cruise ship.
Machu Picchu – Peru
I’ve been travelling almost all my life. I’ve seen some continents, many countries, various regions, an abundance of places and sights. Natural treasures, cultural treasures. I liked them. I was impressed. I was amazed. When I went to Peru, it was clear that I would visit Machu Picchu. Despite the ridiculous costs.
Already at the train station in Ollantaytambo when waiting with all the others in the wee hours for the overpriced panoramic train there was some excitement in the air – or maybe just in my heart, who can tell?! The route to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to the world famous remains – like a dream: Mist-covered hills and mountains, valleys with winding rivers – it’s all a cliche but so, so beautiful; and worth every cent I paid for that stupid train. Images that will enrich my heart and soul forever are priceless.
The town of Aguas Calientes a zoo, stalls, and vendors everywhere. Tourists shoved from the train to shuttle buses – permanent rush hour.