Category Archives: Archaeology & History

The story of human origins, unexplained artifacts, ancient places, myths and legends, our world is full of interesting things waiting to be uncovered. From the powerful civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Indus Valley, to the fearsome yet advance society of the Vikings, the ancient world has a lot to teach us. Archaeology is the study of human activity in the past, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, and cultural landscapes.

Hidden Gems in Rome: Off the Beaten Track

Rome is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy and the entire world, with around 9 million people visiting from around the globe each year.

Most people stay for just a few days and try to check off the biggest sights – the things you can’t afford to miss, like the Colosseum, the Vatican, and the Pantheon.

The Pantheon

But if you’re looking for something beyond the obvious to give your holiday a little something extra, check out these sights and really make the most out of your time in La Città Eterna.

The viewpoint at Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi

If you want a great view of the city, walking up to the top of the Janiculum Hill is essential. It can be a bit of a tough walk if you’re already tired from a day of sightseeing, but the views are well worth the effort.

Arrive in the large, open square to see a huge statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi, a key figure in the unification of Italy, astride his horse, looking out across the capital of the country he helped to create.

From here, you can see the whole city – the Colosseum and Roman Forum included – and if you cross over the square, you can watch the sun go down behind the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican.

Get there in the early evening to snag a spot on the wall, grab a takeaway cocktail from one of the kiosks, and settle in.

The Fountain of the Acqua Paola

Just around the corner from the Janiculum Hill’s viewpoint is a huge monumental fountain. Built in 1612, it marks the end of an underground aqueduct originally built by the emperor Trajan.

In the seventeenth century, the aqueduct brought essential drinking water to the Trastevere area of Rome and culminated in this elaborate fountain.

If it looks familiar, it might be because it actually served as the inspiration for the better-known Trevi Fountain, built over 100 years later.

There’s another gorgeous view of the city here, and it tends to be a little quieter than the viewpoint at Piazza Garibaldi as there are no kiosks serving drinks, so you might be in with a better chance of snagging a place to sit.

The Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary

Yes, that’s right, a cat sanctuary. If you’re a cat person, you probably won’t need much more convincing, but this sight is worth a visit regardless of your feelings towards our furry friends.

It’s situated among the ruins of four ancient temples, dating from 400–300 BC, and it’s also the site of Julius Caesar’s infamous murder on the Ides of March.

While it’s not possible to walk around the ruins themselves, you can get a good view of them from the street level, so peer over the railings to marvel at the well-preserved columns and slabs of ancient tufa.

Throughout the year, you’ll see the stray cats of Rome who have been taken in by the sanctuary basking in the sunshine or lying in the shade of these once-vast temples.

The sanctuary itself welcomes visitors, so if you need a sightseeing break or are looking to cuddle up with some cats, look no further!

The Borghese Gallery and Museum

If art is more up your street, take a trip to the Galleria Borghese, home to some of Bernini’s most famous sculptures.

Housed within the Villa Borghese and the surrounding park (one of the largest in Rome), the gallery’s upper floor contains paintings by Raphael, Titian, Correggio, and Rubens.

The lower floor displays two of the most jaw-dropping sculptures of the Baroque period: Bernini’s Rape of Persephone and Apollo and Daphne.

Bernini’s Rape of Persephone

Wonder at these marble masterpieces, including neoclassical works by Canova, and gaze at ancient mosaics before taking a stroll around the expansive park – a perfect place for an evening passeggiata (promenade), an Italian tradition.

Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls

This huge basilica is one of four ancient papal basilicas in Rome and is the largest church in the city other than Saint Peter’s in the Vatican.

Situated outside the Aurelian Walls, which traditionally contained the city’s fabled seven hills, it’s often overlooked by tourists, but its rich history and elaborate façade make it a worthwhile visit.

St Paul’s outside the walls

Home to the bones of Saint Paul himself, the church has been repeatedly pillaged throughout history, eventually leading to the construction of a fortified town, Johannispolis, the ruins of which you can still visit today.

Inside the church itself, as well as thirteenth-century mosaics and a fourteenth-century crucifix, look out for the series of mosaic portraits of all the popes.

Legend has it that when there are no spaces left for portraits of new popes, the world will end – there are now only six spaces left, so visit while you still can!

The Isola Tiberina

This island in the middle of the River Tiber is a marvel. To reach the island, just walk across the city’s only intact ancient Roman bridge, the Ponte Fabricio (look out for the four-headed stone gatekeepers as you start to cross).

View from Ponte Fabricio

Once on the island, you’ll find a tenth-century basilica built on the site of an ancient temple, and a restaurant that wafts out gorgeous smells at all times of the day.

The four-headed gatekeeper

Wander around the circumference of the island and sit down at the eastern end to gaze up at another Roman bridge, the Ponte Rotto (‘Broken Bridge’) – the oldest in the city.

This is a wonderful place to sit down and take a breather, and you’ll often spot locals coming to the island to relax with a bottle of beer and something to read. Take a leaf out of their book and wind down.

Enjoy your holiday

There are so many wonderful things to do and see in Rome, whether you want to see the ‘biggies’ or not.

If the ever-present hordes of tourists in the eternal city are off-putting for you, consider visiting these smaller sites instead. While still busy at times (Rome is a capital city, after all), you’ll find that you have more time and space to reflect, relax, and enjoy your trip.

Author Bio

Chloe is a freelance proofreader, copy editor, and writer from the UK who has spent the last year living, working, and traveling through Italy. She’s picked up great tips and tricks to help make your Italian adventure the best it can be. See more of her writing at chloelaywrites.wordpress.com.

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Nazca Lines in Peru: A Photo Gallery

Nazca is the capital of the Nazca Province located in the Ica District of the Ica region of Peru.

The Nazca Lines are a group of very large geoglyphs made in the soil of the Nazca Desert in southern Peru. They were created between 500 BC and 500 AD by people making depressions or shallow incisions in the desert floor, removing pebbles, and leaving differently colored dirt exposed.

For decades anthropologists, ethnologists, and archaeologists have studied the ancient Nazca culture to try to determine the purpose of the lines. In general, one common hypothesis is that the Nazca people created them to be seen by the deities in the sky.

The Nazca Lines were designated in 1994 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Most lines run straight across the landscape, but there are also figurative designs of animals and plants. The individual figurative geoglyph designs measure between 0.4 and 1.1 km (.2 and .7 mi) across.

The combined length of all the lines is over 1,300 km (800 mi), and the group cover an area of about 50 km2 (19 sq mi).

The lines are typically 4 to 6 inches deep. They were made by removing the top layer of reddish-brown iron oxide-coated pebbles to reveal a yellow-grey subsoil.

The width of the lines varies considerably, but over half are slightly over just over 1 foot wide. In some places they may be only 1 ft wide, and in others they could reach up to 6 feet wide.

Some of the Nazca lines form shapes that are best seen from the air, though they are also visible from the surrounding foothills. The shapes are usually made from one continuous line.

The figures vary in complexity. Hundreds are simple lines and geometric shapes; more than 70 are zoomorphic designs, including a hummingbird, spider, fish, condor, heron, monkey, lizard, dog, cat, and a giant human.

Other shapes include trees and flowers. Furthermore interesting to note, the largest lines are about 370 m long.

Because of its isolation and the dry, windless, stable climate of the plateau, the lines have mostly been preserved naturally for ages.

How To Get Here

The high, arid plateau stretches more than 80 km (50 mi) between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana, approximately 400 km (250 mi) south of Lima.

The main PE-1S Panamericana Sur runs parallel to it. The main concentration of designs is in a 6 mi by 2 mi rectangle, south of San Miguel de la Pascana hamlet. This is the region where most of the notable geoglyphs are visible.

Nazca People

A Nazca Female Figure (made of sperm whale tooth, shell and hair)

Although some local geoglyphs resemble Paracas glyphs, scholars believe the Nazca Lines were created by the Nazca culture.

Nazca society developed and flourished over 1500 years. Their history can be divided into four phases: the Proto Nazca (100 BC – 1 AD), the Early Nazca (1–450 AD), Middle Nazca (450–550 AD), and Late Nazca (550–750 AD).

Strongly influenced by the preceding Paracas culture, which was known for extremely complex textiles, the Nazca produced an array of crafts and technologies such as ceramics, textiles, and geoglyphs.

They are known for two extensive construction projects that would have required the coordination of large groups of laborers:

  1. Nazca Lines, immense designs in the desert whose purpose is unknown, and
  2. Puquios, underground aqueducts for providing water for irrigation and domestic purposes in the arid environment.

Note: Several dozen Puquios are still function today. Think about that! Talk about ancient engineering!

Palpas glyphs

The Paracas culture is considered by some historians to be the possible precursor that influenced the development of the Nazca Lines. In 2018, drones used by archaeologists revealed 25 geoglyphs in the Palpa province that are being assigned to the Paracas culture.

Many predate the associated Nazca lines by a thousand years.

Some demonstrate a significant difference in the subjects and locations, such as some being on hillsides.

Paracas Candelabra, Peru

Chinchas glyphs

Further north from the Nazca, Palpas region and along the Peruvian coast are other glyphs from the Chincha culture that have also been discovered.

The Fall of Nazca Civilization

From 500 AD, the civilization started to decline and by 750 AD the civilization had fallen completely. This is thought to have occurred when an El Niño triggered widespread and destructive flooding.

Evidence also suggests that the Nazca people may have exacerbated the effects of these floods by gradually cutting down Prosopis pallida trees to make room for maize and cotton agriculture.

These trees play an extremely important role as the ecological keystone of this landscape: in particular preventing river and wind erosion.

Gradual removal of trees would have exposed the landscape to the effects of climate perturbations such as El Niño, leading to erosion and leaving irrigation systems high and dry.

Times have changed 

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Top 10 Things You Need To Do In Malaga

Malaga in southern Spain is famous for its sunny weather and sandy beaches, but there’s more to Malaga than simply beach tourism.

Sitting on the Mediterranean coast in Andalusia, this multicultural city has everything: an incredible history, sumptuous cuisine, a thriving art scene, and deep cultural roots.

No matter what kind of traveler you are or what you look for in a holiday, you’ll find something that appeals to you in Malaga.

If you’re looking for some inspiration and suggestions, here are the top ten things you need to do in Malaga.

Malaga is famous for much more than the beach.

Explore Malaga’s History in Alcazaba

Alcazaba Fortress

Malaga is reportedly one of the oldest cities in Europe, with its history dating back to approximately 770 BC when it was founded by the Phoenicians.

Over the years, it was then inhabited by the Romans, Moors, and Christians, all of whom contributed to this city’s diverse, multifaceted history and monuments you can still see today.

Perhaps the best of these is Malaga’s Alcazaba fortress in the city centre. It backs onto a Roman Theatre and sits watch on a hill overlooking the sea.

Built in the 11th century by the Arabs inhabiting the city at the time, this beautiful fortress houses a series of stunning patios and gardens typical of Arab architecture. The building’s defensive nature combines with its palatial character in a visual wonder of marble columns, archways, fountains, and turrets.

You can notice the Moorish-Arabic influence in the architecture

A Roman Theatre dating back to the 1st century AD sits proudly next to this Arab building in a juxtaposition that perfectly reflects Malaga’s multicultural history and heritage.

Finally unearthed in 1951, it’s one of the last vestiges of Malaga’s Roman past and well worth a visit. Over half of its tiered seating remains today, along with its stage. Nowadays, it even occasionally hosts shows as it is so well preserved.

Dive into the City’s Art Scene & Visit Picasso Museum

Patio of the Buenavista Palace

Second only to Madrid in terms of the number of museums, Malaga has made quite the name for itself in the art world. In addition, Malaga is famous for being the birthplace of the widely celebrated painter and sculptor, Pablo Picasso.

The Picasso Museum in this Andalusian city is housed in the 16th-century Palacio de Buenavista, which in itself is a building worth a visit.

Picasso Museum

The work displayed in this museum spans 80 years of Picasso’s art, while its library and archives contain a vast number of titles on Picasso. The museum also has a bookshop selling various books related to Picasso and art in general, as well as a café in a quaint, leafy courtyard if you fancy a break from your day of tourism.

Or if you would like to learn even more about Picasso, you can also head to the Picasso Birthplace Museum (Museo Casa Natal). Take a tour through the rooms of the home where this great painter was born and learn about his family life and Malaga’s influence on his works.

Experience the Importance of Religion in Malaga

Christmas Lights in Malaga

Spanish people are passionate by nature, and their passion applies to religion too. Here in southern Spain, Catholicism is deep-rooted, playing an integral part in the city’s fabric.

The most iconic religious building in Malaga is undoubtedly its cathedral: the Catedral de la Encarnación.

Construction on this Renaissance-Baroque building commenced in the 16th century, on the site of what was previously the city’s great mosque. Today, it forms an unmistakeable part of Malaga’s skyline.

Affectionately referred to by locals as “La Manquita” (or “the one-armed lady”), it gained its nickname thanks to its unfinished south tower. Some historians believe funds to finish the tower were instead donated to America in its fight for independence against Great Britain; others believe the money went towards construction of a new road to Vélez, a town in the east.

A visit to this religious building will take your breath away, thanks to its finely made stained glass windows, its intricate vaulted ceilings, and its imperious columns.

And if you choose to visit Malaga at Easter, you’ll be able to enjoy all the religious fervour of Holy Week in Spain, and Andalusia in particular, when the scent of incense wafts through the streets.

Easter Holiday Celebration 

Religious brotherhoods and associations dressed in robes parade through the streets, carrying ornate religious sculptures and floats (tronas) on their shoulders. They’re usually accompanied by traditional bands that fill the streets with a cacophony of sound in this incredible religious celebration.

Try Local Cuisine

Charcoal smoked sardine espeto

When you visit Malaga, make sure you try the local food. The most famous dish in Malaga is the Sardine espeto (skewer).
You can order Malaga’s espeto speciality at any of the restaurants found along the beachfront.

The sardines are skewered with a stake and then cooked on an open fire in an old fishing boat kept on the sand beside the restaurant. The smoky aroma of these fires will tempt you inside as you walk along the beach promenade.

The Mediterranean diet is lauded worldwide, and Malaga’s location means it can offer up prime land and sea products in its dishes.

Seafood Paella

While in Malaga, you should also give the tapas culture a try. Tapas are small portions of food that are devised to be shared by diners.

So pick a restaurant or tavern, order a few different dishes, and indulge in Malaga’s wonderful cuisine.

Explore Malaga’s Old Town Like a Local

Malaga’s old town is the perfect place for a stroll at any time of day. Its narrow streets are brimming with typical cafés, bustling bars where you can have churros for breakfast, and charming independent shops among big-name brands.

Among its picturesque streets, you’ll find the city’s main market, Mercado de Atarazanas, which should be on your list of things to see and do in Malaga.

The original building sited here was an Arabian shipyard. There is one remnant of this history still standing: the market’s main entrance archway. It has since been incorporated into the rest of the market’s structure, which includes an amazing stained glass window at the rear.

Open in the mornings from Monday to Saturday, locals flock here to buy fresh bread, vegetables, meat, fish, and more at amazing prices.

In addition to shopping here for food, many locals take the time to sit in one of the market’s bars for a caña (small beer) and a bite to eat before going on their way.

Hit the Shops in Malaga

With Spain having contributed many of the world’s famous fashion houses, it’s only natural that there are many shopping options in Malaga.

In Malaga’s old town, Calle Marqués de Larios and its neighboring streets are some of the most popular places for shopping. You’ll find a varied selection of shops here to suit all budgets.

Venturing a little further outside of the old town, you’ll find El Corte Inglés. This Spanish department store is a shopping symbol in every city in the country.

Close by are the Larios and Vialia shopping centres, which also have several restaurants. The latter also has a cinema and it’s combined with Malaga’s main railway station, Malaga María Zambrano.

From here, you can hop on a suburban (cercanías) train to Plaza Mayor, a large shopping complex on the outskirts of the city. The journey won’t take longer than 15 minutes and is well worth it for shopping fans.

At this shopping complex you’ll find all kinds of brand names, especially as Plaza Mayor has recently been extended with the addition of the new McArthurGlen Designer Outlet that’s opened. Whether you shop at H&M, Zara, Adidas, or Ralph Lauren, you’ll find something to please you here.

Not only that, there are lots of restaurants to keep your taste buds happy too, and a cinema that often screens movies in the original English version.

Relax at some Arab Baths

Malaga is the perfect place for a spot of relaxation too. One way to explore its Arab heritage is with a visit to the Hammam Al Andalus in the city centre.

A visit to these Arab baths will allow you to enjoy a divine massage with oils, along with a range of herbal teas, a steam room, and various baths at different temperatures.

And that’s not to mention the stunning architecture of the place. Archways and vaulted ceilings leap over the baths and strategically placed candles throw warm, peaceful light along its corridors.

Try Something More Adventurous: El Caminito del Rey

When it comes to adding something more adventurous to your list of things to do in Malaga, you should consider checking out El Caminito del Rey – the King’s Pathway.

This is an 8 KM (5 miles), linear hiking route through mountains and gorges, and passing by reservoirs.

With its origins dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, this previously hazardous pathway has undergone several renovations to become one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions today. It was initially built so workers could reach the hydroelectric power plants at each end of the route, as well as to transport materials, among other tasks involved in these plants.

The pathway itself is built into the side of the mountain, hanging vertiginously 100 metres above the ground and only a metre wide.

Along the way, you can sneak a peek at the ground or river below through glass floors if you dare, and enjoy incredible views of the surrounding landscape, before finally crossing the hanging bridge at the end.

Go Hiking in Montes de Malaga Natural Park

Photo by Marcos Cortes Troman CC BY-SA 4.0

Further inland, five kilometres north of the city, you’ll find Malaga’s green lung, Montes de Malaga Natural Park. Covering almost 5,000 hectares, it features mountains (some of whose peaks stretch up to 1,000 metres above sea level), the basin of the Guadalmedina River, and rolling valleys.

During your holiday to Malaga, you should take the time to go for a hike here as this area is rich in flora and fauna, and it offers several signposted walking routes and cycling options.

There are also places of archaeological value within the park, including a rock painting, as well as a visitor center that also acts as a museum that explains wine culture, and how bread and oil are made.

Once you’ve finished your hike, make sure you finish with the area’s traditional dish, the Plato de los Montes. This calorific bomb is a hearty dish containing pork loin in lard, a fried egg, and several other fried foods, which usually include potatoes, blood sausage, chorizo, and peppers.

Discover the Surrounding Region with a Cultural Day Trip

Lastly, if you’re visiting Malaga over the last weekend in August, make sure you head to the neighboring town of Frigiliana to enjoy its Three Cultures Festival.

Located to the east of Malaga, Frigiliana is one of Andalusia’s famous White Villages. Its Three Cultures Festival celebrates the Christian, Muslim and Jewish populations that have inhabited this village over the years and helped to build its traditions. It does so in a spectacle filled with lively music, dancing, culinary delights, art, fireworks, and more.

Over the course of four days, the streets are packed with people there to enjoy street performers, workshops, and storytellers, in addition to the official concerts arranged for the event.

One of the most popular aspects of this festival is its ‘Ruta de la Tapa’ (Tapas Route). This tour will take you on a gastronomic adventure around the town to try different tapas in several local establishments.

Malaga’s Attractions are Varied

An old bridge

Ultimately, there are so many things to see and do in Malaga that you’ll be hard-pressed to find the time to manage them all in one trip. That way, you’ll have the perfect excuse to return to this Mediterranean city in the future.

Author Bio

Rhian MacGillivray is a content writer, translator, and blogger (www.malagamama.com). When she’s not busy helping companies to communicate their message with content and translations, she can be found at the beach by her home in sunny southern Spain.

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Explore the 13 Intangible Cultural Heritage of India

There are 13 traditional-cultural elements of India that have been inscribed on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The Indian ICH list is an attempt to recognize the diversity of the Indian culture embedded in its rich and diverse social demographics.

Intangible Cultural Heritage Classifications

The UNESCO’s Convention for safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) classifies cultures and traditions into 5 broad domains. These are:

  • Oral traditions & expressions (including ancient languages)
  • Performing arts
  • Social practices, rituals, & festivals
  • Knowledge & practices concerning nature & the universe
  • Traditional craftsmanship

Intangible Cultural Heritage of India

The 13 traditional-cultural elements of India are:

  • Vedic Chanting
  • Kutiyattam (Sanskrit theatre)
  • Ramman (a religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal)
  • Mudiyettu (a ritual theatre and dance drama of Kerala)
  • Ramlila (the traditional performance of the Ramayana)
  • Kalbelia Folk Songs & Dances (in Rajasthan)
  • Chhau Dance (in Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Odisha)
  • Buddhist Chanting of Ladakh (recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in the Himalayan Ladakh region)
  • Sankirtana (a ritual singing, drumming, and dancing of Manipur)
  • Traditional Brass and Copper Craft of Utensil Making (among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru in Punjab)
  • Yoga
  • Nawrouz
  • Kumbh Mela (most popular in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh)

Vedic Chanting

The oral tradition of the Vedas consists of several recitations (or chanting) of the Vedic mantras. Such traditions of Vedic chant are often considered the oldest unbroken oral tradition in existence, the fixation of the Vedic texts as preserved dating to early Iron Age.

UNESCO proclaimed the tradition of Vedic chant a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on November 7, 2008.

The four Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva) are not books in the usual sense, though within the past hundred years each veda has appeared in several printed editions. They comprise rather tonally accented verses and hypnotic, abstruse melodies whose proper realizations demand oral instead of visual transmission.

Kutiyattam

Kutiyattam, is a traditional performing art form in the state of Kerala. It is a combination of ancient Sanskrit theatre with elements of koothu, an ancient performing art from the Sangam era.

It is officially recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Koodiyattam, meaning “combined acting” in Malayalam, combines Sanskrit theatre performance with elements of traditional koothu. It is traditionally performed in temple theaters known as koothambalams.

It is the only surviving art form that uses drama from ancient Sanskrit theatre. It has a documented history of a thousand years in Kerala, but its origins are unknown.

Ramman Festival

Ramman is a religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal region in India. It is a festival of the Hindu community in the Saloor Dungra village of the Painkhanda Valley in the Chamoli district in Uttarakhand, India.

Photo by UNESCO CC-BYSA3.0

The festival and the eponymous art form are conducted as an offering to the village deity, Bhumiyal Devta, in the courtyard of the village temple. The Ramman is unique to the village and is neither replicated nor performed anywhere else in the Himalayan region.

Ramman combines the sacred and the social, the ritualistic with revelry and expresses the history, faith, lifestyle, fears and hopes of the Saloor Dungra villagers through a mesh of oral, literary, visual, kinetic and traditional craft forms.

It is an annual affair that children learn by watching. The various skills it involves in terms of dance, singing and drumming are passed down across hereditary communities orally.

Note: The onslaught of globalization and technology and lack of financial or artistic compensation have adversely impacted the ritual and traditional performances of the Ramman. Being peripheral to mainstream art forms, the awareness of the Ramman beyond its immediate borders is small and it stands the risk of becoming extinct in time.

Mudiyettu

Mudiyett or Mudiyettu is a traditional ritual theatre and folk dance drama from Kerala that enacts the mythological tale of a battle between the goddess Kali and the demon Darika. The ritual is a part of the Bhagavathi or Bhadrakali cult.

The dance is performed in Bhadrakali temples, the temples of the Mother Goddess, between February and May after the harvesting season.

Photo by Bobinson K B CC-BYSA3.0

Being a community based art form it is the community that has traditionally encouraged and trained the next generation to preserve the art form. There is no school or institution to give training in this art form and its survival depends almost exclusively on direct transmission through the Guru-Shishya Parampara (i.e. masters to disciples tradition).

In 2010, Mudiyettu was inscribed in the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, becoming the second art form from Kerala after Koodiyattam.

Ramlila

Ramlila (literally ‘Rama’s lila or play’) is any dramatic folk reenactment of the life of Rama according to the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana or secondary literature based on it such as the Ramcharitmanas.

It particularly refers to the thousands of Hindu god Rama-related dramatic plays and dance events, that are staged during the annual autumn festival of Navratri in India.

After the enactment of the legendary war between Good and Evil, the Ramlila celebrations climax in the Dussehra night festivities where the giant grotesque effigies of Evil such as of demon Ravana are burnt, typically with fireworks.

Most Ramlilas in North India are based on the 16th century secondary work on Ramayana, Ramcharitmanas a verse form composition in the regional vernacular language by Tulsidas. These verses are used as dialogues in traditional adaptations.

Open-air productions are staged by local Ramlila committees, and funded entirely by the villagers or local neighborhoods in urban areas. The core team of performance artists train for the dance-drama, but the actual performance attracts impromptu participants from the audience and villagers.

This art form is a part of the Hindu culture, found for many gods and goddesses, but those of Rama, Durga (as Durga Puja) and Krishna (as Rasa lila) are the most popular and annual events in the Indian subcontinent.

Kalbelia Folk Songs & Dances

Kalbelia or Kabeliya is a dance from Rajasthan, performed by the tribe of the same name. The dance is an integral part of their culture and performed by men and women.

Photo by Aniket Murkute CC-BYSA4.0

The Kalbelia dance, performed as a celebration, is an integral part of Kalbelia culture. The dancers are women in flowing black skirts who dance and swirl, replicating the movements of a serpent.

The male participants play musical instruments, such as the pungi, a woodwind instrument traditionally played to capture snakes, the dufli, been, the khanjari – a percussion instrument, morchang, khuralio and the dholak to create the rhythm on which the dancers perform.

The dancers are tattooed in traditional designs and wear jewelry and garments richly embroidered with small mirrors and silver thread. As the performance progresses, the rhythm becomes faster and faster and so does the dance.

Kalbelia songs are based on stories taken from folklore and mythology and special dances are performed during Holi. The Kalbelia have a reputation for composing lyrics spontaneously and improvising songs during performances.

These songs and dances are part of an oral tradition that is handed down generations and for which there are neither texts nor training manuals. In 2010, the Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan were declared a part of its Intangible Heritage List by the UNESCO.

Chhau Dance

Chhau dance, also spelled as Chau or Chhaau, is a semi classical Indian dance with martial, tribal and folk traditions, with origins in Eastern India. It is found in three styles named after the location where they are performed, i.e. the Purulia Chau of West Bengal, the Seraikella Chau of Jharkhand, and the Mayurbhanj Chau of Odisha.

Photo by Biswarup Ganguly CC-BY3.0

The dance ranges from celebrating martial arts, acrobatics and athletics performed in festive themes of a folk dance, to a structured dance with religious themes found in Shaivism, Shaktism, and Vaishnavism.

The stories enacted by Chhau dancers include those from the Hindu epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the Puranas, and other Indian literature.

The dance is traditionally an all males troupe, regionally celebrated particularly during spring every year, and may be a syncretic dance form that emerged from a fusion of classical Hindu dances and the traditions of ancient regional tribes.

Buddhist Chanting of Ladakh

The recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in the Himalayan Ladakh region. These chants are a form of musical verse or incantation, in some ways analogous to Hindu, Christian or Jewish religious recitations.

In Buddhism, chanting is the traditional means of preparing the mind for meditation, especially as part of formal practice. However it can also be done for ritualistic purposes.

In a more traditional setting, chanting is also used as an invocative ritual in order to set one’s mind on a deity, tantric ceremony, mandala, or particular concept one wishes to further in themselves.

Tibetan buddhist monks are noted for their skill at throat-singing, a specialized form of chanting in which, by amplifying the voice’s upper partials, the chanter can produce multiple distinct pitches simultaneously.

Sankirtana

Manipuri Sankirtana is a form of performing art involving ritual singing, drumming and dancing performed in the temples and domestic spaces in Manipur State in India.

Through the performances which exhibit unparalleled religious devotion and energy, the performers narrate the many stories of Krishna often moving the spectators to tears.

It is practiced primarily by the Vaishnava community in Manipur and by the Vaishnava Manipuri population settled in the neighboring States of Tripura and Assam.

Traditional Brass & Copper Craft of Utensil Making

The traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru Punjab has got the distinction of being inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, UNESCO, in 2014.

The crafts colony was established during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1883), the great 19th Century Sikh Monarch, who encouraged skilled metal crafters from Kashmir to settle in the heart of his kingdom in the Punjab. Jandiala Guru became an area of repute due to the skill of the Thatheras.

The craft of the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru constitutes the traditional techniques of manufacturing brass and copper utensils in Punjab. The Thatheras craft utensils are of both Utilitarian and ritualistic value made of copper, brass and kansa (an alloy of copper, zinc and tin).

The metals used are recommended by the ancient Indian school of medicine, Ayurveda. The crafting process carried out by a specific group of craftspeople, known as Thatheras, has a unique ethnic and historical identity with an oral tradition that underpin their skill. The very name of the community – ‘Thatheras’ is identical with the name of the element.

Yoga

Obviously, yoga! Namaste world! 🙂 Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. Yoga is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophical traditions.

There is a broad variety of yoga schools, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The practice of yoga has been thought to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions; possibly in the Indus valley civilization around 3000 BC.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the most popular authoritative text on yoga, dates from the 2nd century BC. It has gained prominence in the west in the 20th century after being first introduced by Swami Vivekananda.

Nawruz

Nowruz (Persian: “new day”‘) has Iranian and Zoroastrian origins; however, it has been celebrated by diverse communities for over 7,000 years in Western Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin, the Balkans, and South Asia.

Tradition of Nowruz in Northern India dates back to the Mughal Empire; the festival was celebrated for 19 days with pomp and gaiety in the realm. However, it further goes back to the Parsi Zoroastrian community in Western India, who migrated to the Indian subcontinent from Persia during the Muslim conquest of Persia of 636–651 AD.

In the Princely State of Hyderabad, Nowruz was one of the four holidays where the Nizam would hold a public Darbar, along with the two official Islamic holidays and the sovereign’s birthday.

Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela is a major pilgrimage and festival in Hinduism. It is celebrated in a cycle of approximately 12 years at four river-bank pilgrimage sites: the Prayagraj (where three rivers Ganges, Yamuna, and Sarasvati meet), Haridwar (river Ganges), Nashik (river Godavari), and Ujjain (river Shipra).

The festival is marked by a ritual dip in the waters, but it is also a celebration of community commerce with numerous fairs, education, religious discourses by saints, mass feedings of monks or the poor, and entertainment spectacle.

The seekers believe that bathing in these rivers is a means to atonement (penance) for past mistakes, and that it cleanses them of their sins.

The festival is traditionally credited to the 8th-century Hindu philosopher Adi Shankara, as a part of his efforts to start major Hindu gatherings for philosophical discussions and debates along with Hindu monasteries across the Indian subcontinent.

About UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

The purpose of such a list is to preserve intangible human elements that help demonstrate the diversity of cultural heritage and raise awareness about its importance.

Some of the criteria for inclusion in the representative list are if the inscription of the element will ensure visibility and awareness of it and if the element has been nominated after having “the widest possible participation” of the community, group or individuals concerned and with their free, prior and informed consent.

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Explore the 8 Natural History Museums in India

The visit to a museum has always been an enchanting experience for every visitor since humans started collecting and preserving ancient artifacts and memories of bygone people, wildlife, and cultures.

A visit to a museum always leaves a visitor gawking at the unexplored parts of both the past and the present. That’s why if a museum houses elements from paleontology, geology, archaeology, climatology and various other natural spheres, then the visit to such a museum becomes the greatest source of pleasure and excitement.

The best part about these museum is that you can visit them with kids as well, which makes it a great choice for family travel.

India is blessed with the presence of 8 such natural history museums across its prominent cities. Even though each of these 8 natural history museums is a great place to explore, in today’s blog, we’ll highlight the top 4 museums because of their rich collection and beautiful ambiance.

Leopard at Gass Forest Museum / Photo by Booradleyp1 CC-BYSA 3.0

Natural History Museums in India

  • Indian Museum, Kolkata
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum, Mumbai
  • Gass Forest Museum, Coimbatore
  • Napier Museum, Kerala
  • Government Museum, Chennai
  • Bengal Natural History Museum, Darjeeling
  • Thar Natural History Fossil Museum, Rajasthan
  • Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai
  • National Museum of Natural History, New Delhi (1972–2016; sadly, it got burned down in 2016)

Ready? Let’s being.

Indian Museum, Kolkata

The Indian Museum in Kolkata is the oldest museum present in India. Not only is the Indian Museum the largest in India and best among all museum in Kolkata, but, it also acquires a significant place in the Asia-Pacific zone. Started out in 1814 by the Asiatic Society, this museum has emerged as the most-stocked museum in India over the years.

As soon as the visitor sets foot on the steps leading to the museum, he or she is greeted by the huge, white pillars structured as per the British architecture. The various halls of the enormous building are tagged as per the different contents stored in them.

While a visitor may get awestruck looking at the weapons and coins of the old era at one hall, another visitor may get scared looking at the giant skeleton as soon as he or she enters the Paleontology section.

However, even though these things are beautiful in their own ancient way, the biggest source of attraction at the Indian Museum is the Egyptian section. The reason why every visitor rushes to the Egyptian section is because of the mummy that is displayed within the glass chambers.

There is a particular sort of chill in the air that automatically makes every tourist keep quiet and pay respect to the Egyptian mummy resting there peacefully.

Apart from the specimens, the architectural bounty of this museum, especially the white-washed walls and the huge pillars surrounding the lush green courtyard, leaves every visitor dreaming of returning to this exceptional place again and again.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai

Started out in the early 1900s as the Prince of Wales Museum, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya is known for its massive collection. This museum too has different sections and specializes in the collection of art and culture.

However, a huge natural section is also present at this museum which is a beautiful deviation from the age-old cultural partiality of any museum. Thus, as a whole, the collection of this Indo-Saracenic style architectural museum along with the adjoining lush, green lawn makes the city of Mumbai a proud owner of immense diversity.

Gass Forest Museum, Coimbatore

Photo by Booradleyp1 CC BY-SA 3.0

The Gass Forest Museum was established in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu in 1902. This museum is an influence of the forest department and, hence, houses a great variety of biodiversity.

This museum is blessed with some of the best collection of stuffed animals in India that enlivens the tour and makes the visit an enriching educational experience.

Napier Museum, Thiruvananthapuram

Photo by Ashiq Surendran CC BY-SA 4.0

The Napier Museum, founded in 1855 in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, is one of the oldest museums in India. Inspired by the Indo-Saracenic architecture, this museum boasts of a wide variety of the specimens of art and culture.

The natural air-conditioning system of this museum makes the visit a pleasant experience even in the hot, summer months.

This museum also has a zoological garden which was established in 1857. This is one of the oldest zoological gardens in India and, thus, has a huge collection in the field of natural history.

Thus, this varied flora and fauna, and, the cultural and natural biodiversity makes the Napier Museum a must visit for every tourist.

Conclusion

Thus, it can be comprehended how beautiful India is in terms of the natural museums. Because of the marvelous collection of natural specimens in each of these aforesaid museums, India boasts of being a proud owner in the field of displaying the untold stories of the past.

Author Bio

Rohit is a curious traveler who takes a keen interest in getting to know the past and comparing it with the present. He takes out time from his busy schedule to unearth true knowledge and share the same with his readers. You can read his stories and experiences at his travel blog Trans India Travels.

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Francis Bacon on Travel: Wisdom of the Ancients

Some of you may be familiar with Francis Bacon, while others may not have heard of this name before. Therefore, let me first introduce you to Francis Bacon, also, the father of empiricism.

“Knowledge is power.” – Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon was an English philosopher and statesman. He argued science could be achieved by the use of a skeptical and methodical approach whereby scientists aim to avoid misleading themselves.

His works are credited with developing the scientific method and remained influential through the scientific revolution.

Statue of Francis Bacon in the Library of Congress, Washington DC

Below is Bacon’s essay on travel, published in his book called the Wisdom of the Ancients (1609). There is a lot to chew on here. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Francis Bacon on Travel

Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of the experience. He that travelleth into a country before he hath some entrance into the language, goeth to school, and not to travel.

Young men travel under some tutor or grave servant, I allow well, so that he be such a one that hath the language, and hath been in the country before; whereby he may be able to tell them what things are worthy to be seen in the country where they go, what acquaintances they are to seek, what exercises or discipline the place yieldeth; for else young men shall go hooded, and look abroad little.

Have Travel Diaries

Have a camera and travel diary

It is a strange thing that, in sea voyages, where there is nothing to be seen but sky and sea, men should make diaries; but in overland travel, wherein so much is to be observed, for the most part they omit it as if the chance were fitter to be registered than observation.

Let diaries, therefore, be brought in use. The things to be seen and observed are, the courts of princes, especially when they give audience to ambassadors; the courts of justice, while they sit and hear causes; and so of consistories ecclesiastic; the churches and monasteries, with the monuments which are therein extant; the walls and fortifications of cities and towns.

And so the havens and harbors, antiquities and ruins, libraries, colleges, disputations, and lectures, where any are; shipping and navies; houses and gardens of state and pleasure, near great cities; armories, arsenals, magazines, exchanges, burses, warehouses, exercises of horsemanship, fencing, training of soldiers, and the like; comedies, such whereunto the better sort of persons do resort; treasuries of jewels and robes; cabinets and rarities; and, to conclude, whatsoever is memorable in the places where they go, after all which the tutors or servants ought to make diligent inquiry.

As for triumphs, masks, feasts, weddings, funerals, capital executions, and such shows, men need not to be put in mind of them; yet they are not to be neglected.

Learn the Language

If you will have a young man to put his travel into a little room, and in the short time to gather much, this you must do: first, as was said, he must have some entrance into the language before he goeth.

Soak the Culture

Then he must have such a servant, or tutor, who knows the country. Likewise, as I have said before, let him also carry some cards, maps, and books, describing the country where he is traveling to which will serve as a good key to his inquiry.

Also, let him keep a diary; let him not stay long in one city or town, more or less, as the place deserves, but not long; nay, when he stays in one city or town.

Let him change his lodging from one end and part of the town to another, which is a great adamant of acquaintance.

Let him sequester himself from the company of his countrymen, and diet in such places where there is good company of the nation where he travels.

Let him, upon his removes from one place to another, procure recommendation to some person of quality residing in the place whither he removeth, that he may use his favor in those things he desireth to see or know: thus he may abridge his travel with much profit.

On Travel Acquaintance

As for the acquaintance which is to be sought in travel, that which is most of all profitable, is acquaintance with the secretaries and employed men of ambassadors, for so in traveling in one country he shall suck the experience of many; let him also see and visit eminent persons in all kinds which are of great name abroad, that he may be able to tell how the life agreeth with the fame.

For quarrels, they are with care and discretion to be avoided; they are commonly for mistresses, healths, place, and words; and let a man beware how he keepeth company with choleric and quarrelsome persons, for they will engage him into their own quarrels.

On Returning Back

When a traveler returneth home, let him not leave the countries where he hath traveled altogether behind him but maintain a correspondence by letters with those of his acquaintance which are of most worth.

Kids having fun in Thailand

On Humility

And let his travel appear rather in his discourse than in his apparel or gesture, and in his discourse let him be rather advised in his answers than forward to tell stories.

And let it appear that he doth not change his country manners for those of foreign parts, but only prick in some flowers of that he hath learned abroad into the customs of his own country.

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The Best Ruins Photos From Around The World

Ruins photography is a relatively new form of photography that focuses on the aesthetic and artistic value of modern urban decay. It’s increasingly becoming popular and getting notoriety.

In ruin photography, the subjects are typically large industrialized cities (e.g. New York City, Chicago, or Detroit) but can be any landscape, building, or symbolic representation of modern ruin and deindustrialization.

An abandoned factory hall in ruins

Ruins photography aestheticizes the abandonment and decline of the city most of all and has sparked conversations about the role of art in various revitalization and restoration projects from Detroit to Berlin.

San Galgano Abbey Ruins

Popular staples of ruins photography can include abandoned houses, neglected factories left over from the Industrial Revolution or auto industry booms, as well as bridges, abandoned lots, tenant or apartment buildings, or gutted theaters or offices.

Heiligendamm Villa Ruin in Germany

The style relies heavily on lighting, detail close-ups, long shots, and digital imaging.

Ruins photography is different from historical architectural photography in that it does not focus on comparisons between past and present but instead focuses on the state of the subject and how it came to be dilapidated.

Summit Castle, Burgruine in Switzerland in Ruins

Ruins photography as a way of marketing for potential tourism, while yet others have insisted that it can serve as a powerful call to action to do something about the city.

Detroit, Michigan is a major center for ruins photography. Since manufacturing jobs began leaving the city in the 1950s, Detroit has not only seen a decline in population, but also has seen many buildings and homes abandoned, vandalized, and destroyed.

Many other major cities and smaller settlements that once thrived have decayed over periods of time, some even becoming ghost towns due to economic hardship or civil unrest.

The town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, saw its population vanish due to a fire that spread from a nearby cemetery and ended up sparking smoldering flames in extensive abandoned coal mines below the district.

The state of Pennsylvania has blocked roads to the area, but there are about ten vigilant inhabitants that remain. Other examples of urban decay include Gary, Indiana, and Camden, New Jersey.

Hashima Island, Nagasaki, Japan was an empty island that became populated due to its coal deposits. Home to some of Japan’s first concrete high rise buildings, it became a ghost town when petroleum replaced coal.

Another example of a ghost town is Kolmanskop, Namibia, built by Germans into a successful diamond mining community. After the mining stopped and the workers left, the desert repossessed the area.

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5 Wonders of the Middle East

The Middle East abounds with stunning scenery and glorious history. Plus, the architectural wonders and the vibrant culture, make the Middle East an exotic part of the world.

The rare beauty of the region will likely overwhelm you at first. Since there is an immeasurable amount of destinations that will captivate you, we list just a few places that characterize the Middle East.

You must start somewhere, so why not start with these 5 wonders of the Middle East!

The Dome of Rock, Israel

From amongst the quaint buildings of Jerusalem, the Golden Dome shines. The magnanimous dome radiates from the center of the holy city. Plus, the Golden Dome lies within the larger sacred site, Haram Al-Sharif.

Furthermore, the foundation stone, a highly revered artifact, is kept inside the dome.

This octagonal enigma is built in a splendid Byzantine style. It is befitting that a building with such religious important glows splendidly, truly demonstrating the rich cultural heritage of the Middle East.

Musandam Fjords, Oman

The Norwegian Fjords are acclaimed throughout the world for their unique charm. However, the Middle East has its own share of Fjord glory. In the Strait of Hormuz (Musandam, Oman), the rocky cliffs give way to the bright turquoise blue water.

Dhow trip in the fjords of Musandam, Oman By Robert Haandrikman    CC BY 2.0

There are numerous quaint villages perched on the rocky terrain of the Musandam Fjords. You can visit the nearby coastal towns; you can even go scuba diving and experience the diverse underwater wildlife. 

Luxor, Egypt

Mysterious wonders in Egypt beckon us to visit. When we travel to hot deserts with impressive ruins, we are awed by the history and energized by the sun.

Painted with ancient images, Luxor is a canvas. The ruins of buildings, stunning mosques, and holy temples are just some of the ancient portraits depicted here.

The landscape is an open-air museum that displays the rich past of the country. One of the ancient displays is the Karnak Temple, an intricately carved monument made from sandstone.

You can also visit the tombs of famous kings and queens in the valley. For example, the sheer magnificence of Tutankhamen’s tomb alone creates an unforgettable experience.

Sheik Zayed Mosque, UAE

When we talk about the Middle East we speak of wealth, culture, and religion. Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) ticks all three boxes.

Recently constructed, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. It oozes with the opulence of enormous effort and care.

The gorgeous Persian design, integrated with a modern touch, makes for the incredibly rare beauty. Spectacular pools of water reflect the pearly interiors and glittering chandeliers.

Step into the heart of Islamic culture by visiting the Sheik Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

Petra, Jordan

The dry winds whisper into your ears the story of the long-gone city. Maybe we are getting too melodramatic, but Petra will do that to you. Golden pools of sands and a dangerous canyon define the ancient town of Petra.

Tombs and buildings carved into the sandstone predominate the landscape. Ages ago the Nabatean Kingdom inhabited Petra. Now only the “Pink” sandstone cliffs remain.

The rose-colored city overflows with stunning temples, such as Al Khazneh, as well as tombs and buildings. A visit to Petra will turn the pages of time and transport you to an older age in the exotic Middle East.

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5 Mythical Places You Should Consider Exploring

We have been on this Earth for a long time, but we have always been intrigued by tales of another world. We don’t know if we are the only ones living here or if Earth is occupied by otherworldly creatures.

Many places in the world are shrouded in mystery. These are said to be portals to another realm. They are also believed to be homes to these realms. Travelers can feel the lure of these places in their hearts.

It’s about time we dare to visit some of the most exciting destinations in the world.

Knockma Woods

A walk around this dark forest will pique your interest, You will wander around it. This piece of beauty, which is located in western Ireland is full of unsolved puzzles. Legends say that it is the home to the tomb of warrior queen Maeve. The hill on which Knockma woods rest is also thought to be the entrance to a fairy kingdom.

A traditional story says that once, the king of fairies Finnvara abducted the bride of a lord on the hill. He took her to his kingdom. The Lord followed his bride and started digging his way, but fairies would always repair the work.

Faeries are also said to protect Castle Hackett.

Castle Hackett by Smcq CC BY SA 3.0

This location even contains cairns which date back to 6,000 BC. Imagine fairies living there, all those centuries back! Many stories hide behind this moss covered hills. Want to unlock the gate to the fairy kingdom? This is your chance.

River Styx

Achilles in Water of River Styx

The black waters of Styx are said to bring a painful death to whosoever drinks from them. Flowing through Greece, it’s thought that this river is a way to the most popular Greek netherworld. A sea nymph guards Styx. It runs down between two massive silver pillars.

Zeus used to set this as a test. If any Gods were lying to him then drinking the water from Styx would lead to a loss of their voice. This way of atonement was hard for Gods. When a human drank it, he met death, no matter how great he was. It’s rumored that this is the way Alexander the Great died.

Wouldn’t you want to have a glimpse of lethal waters of Styx? Maybe, we can find a path to Greek otherworld.

Gates Of Guinee

In voodoo language, Guinee is the place of dead. It’s where souls travel above the waters to meet their ancestors. After a person dies, his soul is to pass through seven gates of Guinee. Passage to Guinee is possible only then. It’s believed that the seven gates are present in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

The cemeteries form a circle canal street. The crossroad at Canal Street is the final gateway to Guinee. It’s perilous to open the portals because when you make one mistake, evil spirits could enter this world to possess humans. So you need to open it in the right sequence and also pay tribute to the guardians of gates.

Mardi Gras is the perfect time for you to travel to New Orleans and visit these spooky cemeteries. Good luck if you end up finding a zombie behind you.

Swedish Stonehenge

Ales stenar, which simply means “stones”, is also known as Swedish Stonehenge. It is a megalithic monument in Scania in southern Sweden made up of gigantic stones in the shape of a ship.

You can’t quite tell the formation if you are standing at the ground but if you look at it from above, you can see the oval outline and the stones at each end markedly larger than the rest.

No one knows for certain what function the stones have had through the ages, or what the ship setting symbolized for the people who created it. Plus, the stones and materials used are roughly between 5,500 to 1,400 years old.

Now, go figure that out that how these early civilization managed to create this in the first place? Perhaps it was a sacred viking site with magical powers!

The Lost City Of Z

Movie poster

Nobody knows what haunts the dense forests of South America. Not a single soul was brave enough to venture into this thick woods. The mystery inside them tempted many, but only one person was brave to follow it.

Colonel Percy Fawcett explored the deep forests of South America when he went looking for a mythical city. Many of his speculations were misleading to other explorers. But Fawcett soon disappeared in the jungle.

What waits inside those trees is still a mystery. Satellite images have spotted an establishment around where Fawcett was last seen , dating back to AD 200. Legends tell that there is an entrance to The Lost City of Z between Xingu and Tapajos tributaries.

Are you brave enough to discover the unseen or would you want to just walk on fringes of this lost city?

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5 Terrifying Tales Of Isolated Islands

Isolated and dejected, you might think only you feel that way. But there are several islands around the world going through the same feeling.

There are bone-chilling tales about the islands which are off-limits to visitors. If you are daring enough, set your sails to the hauntingly mysterious islands which have a lot of secrets to bare.

NORTH BROTHER ISLAND

On a warm sunny morning, the members of the St Mark Lutheran’s Evangelical Church were ready to enjoy a picnic. They boarded a ship General Slocum to make their way from Lower East side to Eaton’s Neck. But they did not know that it was the last trip they would ever make.

Flames engulfed the entire ship, turning the smiles into tears. Hence, The captain had no choice but to steer the ship to nearby North Brother Island.

Here a thousand corpses lay, mangled and burnt. And those who did not make it to the shore died drowning in the dark waters without any life support. Till this day, General Slocum rots beneath the ominous waters near North Brother Island.

SOLOVKI

Monks and monasteries are peaceful places where the most troubled soul can attain peace. When monks settled in Solovki islands, that was the way. But change was soon coming to the island.

The Soviet Union made the island into a prison. Those who guilty of theft, murder, blasphemy spent their life in isolation and torture.

Ivan the Terrible sent 400 prisoners every year. He sentenced convicts who fought against him in Russian civil war.

By the end of the 1890s, the monastery had become a nightmare. Chopped heads, bodies hanging from sea hooks, frozen prisoners – and many horrifying tortures took place in Solovki.

If you still think all Islands are white sands and palm trees, think again!

TIBURON ISLAND

Image Credit

Tom Grindell was an Arizonian Prospector inquisitive about the Tiburon Island. He made a team of four people, including him to discover the unknown frontiers of Tiburon.

On June 10th, 1905 they set the sails to the island. But their families never saw them again. Tom Grindell’s brother Edward wanted to know what went wrong with his brother. So, he set off to the island.

The locals told him that Seri killed a group of Americans. He only found hands tied to stakes, around dance rings. His brother and team became the victim of Seri tribe, who inhabit the land.

They are a bunch of cannibals who feed like wild animals. They do killing and pillage just for giggles. Mexican government once tried to civilize them, but whether it bore results, nobody knows.

NAZINO CANNIBAL ISLANDS

Image Credit

The gruesome scenes you watch in movies is nothing compared to what happened in another cannibal island Nazino islands.

In 1933 Nazino Island saw 6200 people dropped off here. They had nothing more than raw flour. After ten days of starvation and death by contaminated water, people started feasting on each other. Nazino island earned its new name “Cannibal Island.”

SOROK ISLAND

Image Credit

Like all above-mentioned islands, Sorok Island is now accessible. But the beauty and restoration does not hide the agonizing past.

Sorok Island was once a leper colony. Those who contracted the disease became objects of the experiment for the scientists who studied the disease. Their disease became their curse. Days after days they worked like slaves, with little to eat.

Oppressed by the overseers and not allowed to cross the island. Finally, in 2007, a bridge was built which connects the mainland to the Sorok Island.

6 Must Visit Quirky Museums in London

Quirky museums are present all around the World. From displaying profane things to perfect artifacts, museums give us immense knowledge.

If you bored of knowing about the age-old history of the British empire? Then London has some quirky museums that are worth a visit. You might think these museums strange, but they are impressive.

So go offbeat, away from crowded parts of London, and discover something – that’s fun!

Geffrye Museum

Walk down 136 Kingsland Road and be surprised. Geffrye Museum is set apart from the traditional museums, because of its ideas. What is the purpose of a museum? Geffrye Museum serves that need. It takes you back in time. But not through decayed artifacts and coins.

There are eleven different rooms. Each room displays how a room used to be in a particular era. You can walk in from the Victorian period to the medieval and back to modern in no time! Talk about time travel.

Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising

Want to have a look at a KitKat dating back to 1930? Or would you like to have a swig at the oldest coca-cola bottle? We are just kidding. Apparently, you can’t. But you can have a glance at it in the Museum of Brands, Packaging, and Advertising.

Items from the Victorian age have been displayed. You will be taken through the time tunnel. You will have a look at the product lines of companies from the 1800s to the present age.

The Magic Circle Museum

Magicians from around the world visit this quirky museum. It is like a Mecca to them. The Magic Circle has a library, museum, headquarters. Entry is only available to members. But you can view the museum which is on the lower floor. Magic Circle has established 111 years ago.

But in 1998 the museum was opened, which hosts a variety of posters, ephemera, and artifacts related to magic. A look across the tokens of magicians from the past is a treat to watch.

Freud Museum

Photo by Rup11 CC BY SA 3.0

The father of Psychology – Sigmund Freud was a genius. He studied psychoanalysis and wrote the first ever book in that genre –The Interpretation of Dreams. If you want to have a peek into the mind of the father of psychology, what better way than to see his home?

Freud Museum has been untouched, the family heirlooms and Freud’s belongings still sit at the exact place. It would be fun to see where Freud sat and meditated- yeah, his couch.

Hunterian Museum

Every fancy and classy is displayed in traditional museums. The crown of kings, swords used to slay enemies, the boot of the great. But did you ever think of a museum which would preserve and display a tooth?

Of course, the tooth is not a regular human tooth, but the teeth of an extinct giant sloth. That is when we decided to include it in our quirky museums.

The giant at Hunterian Museum / Photo by StoneColdCrazy CCBYSA 3.0

Hunterian Museum in Holburn takes you on a tour through the pathological and anatomical history of mankind. A massive skeleton is also on the show (but it is not of a beast). Don’t let your imagination run with you. It belongs to an Irish giant who was 7ft 7in tall.

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum /CC0

Everyone wants to visit the Natural History Museum and for good reasons. It is worth visiting and hence this is an honorary mention.

The Natural History Museum in London is a natural history museum that exhibits a vast range of specimens from various segments of natural history.

Science Museum / Photo by Christine Matthews CCBYSA 2.0

As a bonus, once you get here, note that it is one of three major museums on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, the others being the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

If time allows you should definitely check out the Science Museum (especially if you are traveling with kids).

16 Famous Explorers and Their Incredible Stories

When men invented ways to move from one place to another, may it be through wheels or sails, many brave souls ventured into the unknown to defy logic? Such explorers made a name in history, and surely lived a life of adventure.

Let’s hear their tales of discovery and exploration.

Famous Explorers

The Age of Discovery or the Age of Exploration primarily began from the beginning of the 15th century until the end of the 18th century.

It is an informal and loosely defined term for the period in European history in which extensive overseas exploration emerged as a powerful factor in European culture and was the beginning of globalization.

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

It also marks the rise of the period of widespread adoption in Europe of colonialism and mercantilism as national policies. Many lands previously unknown to Europeans were discovered by them during this period, though most were already inhabited.

From the perspective of many native population or non-Europeans, the Age of Discovery marked the arrival of invaders from previously unknown continents.

Global Exploration

Photo: The Age of Discovery / The Art of Travel Partners

Global exploration started with the Portuguese discoveries of the Atlantic archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores, the coast of Africa, and the discovery of the sea route to India in 1498.

This was followed by the trans-Atlantic Voyages of Christopher Columbus to the Americas between 1492 and 1502 and the first circumnavigation of the globe in the early 16th century.

These discoveries led to numerous naval expeditions across the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans, and land expeditions in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Australia that continued into the late 19th century, and ended with the exploration of the polar regions in the 20th century.

Let us relive the stories of 16 of the most famous explorers in the history of humankind.

Marco Polo

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners / Public Domain Archive

What sets Marco Polo apart from the rest of the explorers is his written account of his travels. Though when he published it, many believed it to be fiction, but now historians confirm many of his accounts as facts that Marco Polo mentioned in his book.

Polo was an Italian, his father and uncle were successful Jewel Merchants in Asia. When they came back to Italy, Marco Polo went with them to China. He describes his first look of hardships in Afghanistan and Gobi Desert.

Later when he made it to China, Kublai Khan sent him on voyages to Tibet, Burma, and India. After working for King Kublai Khan for 17 years coming back home after 23 years was a difficult transition. He was also imprisoned in Genoa for declaring war against the city.

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners / Public Domain Archive

Inside the prison, he recorded his tales in “The Travels of Marco Polo.” This made him a celebrity later after he got out of prison. After being released from the prison, he lived 25 more years with his daughters and died in 1324.

Vasco Da Gama

A Portuguese by nationality and an explorer at heart, Vasco Da Gam learned to navigate the ships at an early age from his father, Estevao. When King Manuel discovered that Indian and Atlantic Oceans merged, he wanted to know the route that led to India.

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners / Public Domain Archive

The King sent Vasco Da Gama on his way, the changes in weather forced half of his crew to fall to scurvy. That is the reason Da Gama made a rest at Mozambique, the first step of Portuguese colonialism planted here.

On his way, he stopped at Mombasa and Malindi and took a guide Ahmed Ibn Magid with him. In the May of 1498, Da Gama landed in Kochi.

After establishing spice trade in India, he went on his way back to Portugal. And Scurvy claimed the lives of his fellow crew member, as well as his brother Paulo. After struggling to keep his brother for a year in the Azores, he got back home as a hero.

His next voyage to India portrays his ruthlessness. He ordered the death of 380 Muslims aboard a ship back from Mecca. And his determination made him the dominant spice trader in Kochi. After twenty years of his second voyage to India, in 1524 he ventured to India once again.

But this time age took over mental strength and as soon as he reached Kochi, he became ill. A Catholic Church acted as his burial ground, but later his remains got back to Portugal.

Sir Walter Raleigh

He was not only a favorite of Queen Elizabeth but also a sworn enemy of the Spanish. The reason behind his hatred for Roman-Catholicism was the persecution of his family under Queen Mary I who was a Catholic.

He went to France to fight Wars of Religions, and he also studied law at Oxford. His Voyage includes his quest to find the North West Passage, but along the way, the Spanish army became the vessels of his wrath.

He became the Queen’s favorite after his return; it is even said that when he married some another woman, the Queen imprisoned him in a jealous fit.

That aside, apart from North West Passage Sir Walter Raleigh established a colony in Roanoke. His Last Voyage was to South America after which he died in Westminster (sentenced to death because of treason).

Roald Amundsen

Born to a family of shipowners and captains in Norway, Roald Amundsen was the first ever explorer to navigate the South Pole as well as the first to travel the North West Passage.

Photo: Public Domain Archive / The Art of Travel Partners

He was the leader of the Antarctic exploration. His first expedition led to his being locked up in sea ice west of Antarctic Peninsula. After surviving a harsh winter, he led his crew through the North West Passage.

Roald first wanted to explore the North Pole, but hearing he won’t be the first one to do so discouraged him. It took two attempts for him and his team to reach Polheim or the South Pole.

Abel Janszoon Tasman

Abel Janszoon Tasman was a Dutch seafarer, explorer, and merchant, best known for his voyages of 1642 and 1644 in the service of the Dutch East India Company. He was the first known European explorer to reach the islands of Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania after his name), New Zealand, and the Islands of Fiji.

Photo: Tasman’s voyage route to Tasmania and New Zeland / Public Domain Archive

Ironically, from the point of view of the Dutch East India Company, Tasman’s explorations were a disappointment: he had neither found a promising area for trade nor a useful new shipping route. Although received modestly, the company was upset to a degree that Tasman did not fully explore the lands he found and decided that a more “persistent explorer” should be chosen for any future expeditions.

For over a century, until the era of James Cook, Tasmania and New Zealand were not visited by Europeans – mainland Australia was visited, but usually only by accident.

James Cook

James Cook was the brave captain who led his ship to dangerous territories. Son of a farmhand in Yorkshire he gradually grew up and worked as an apprentice for a shipowner in Whitby.

Photo: Gisborne, New Zealand / The Art of Travel Partners

Due to his experience with ships and ports, he joined the British Nany, then ended up as the Ship’s Master. After the Seven Years War, he took on a scientific expedition to the uncharted areas of New Zealand and the Great Barrier Reef.

He also took a tour of Antarctica in which he discovered Ester Island, Tonga, and he smashed the belief of fabled southern continent’s existence.

He did more than any sailor ever did to fill in the vast blank spaces in the world map. He died in a battle with the locals of Kealakekua Bay.

Sir Francis Drake

The relationship between Spain and England was not a warm one during the 16th century. When n Francis Drake became a successful slave trader as he sailed to Africa, but after that, he became a victim of Spanish forces in 1568.

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

He and Hawkins deluded the Spanish Navy. Then, Queen Elizabeth, I issued a privateer’s commission to Drake saying he has right to plunder the properties belonging to King Phillip II.

For his next voyage, he went to Panama and raided the coast, then came the best point in British Naval history when Sir Drake became the first British to circumnavigate the earth.

Ferdinand Magellan

Magellan is often revered as the first man to circumnavigate the earth. That is so not true, his crew was. In his conquest to find a route to the Spice Islands from Spain without Portugal coming in the way, he lost his life.

But before that, he sailed to East Africa, Malacca (Malaysia), Indonesia. After his employment in Morocco had finished, he moved to Seville, Spain.

Under the orders of King Charles I, he sailed to Brazil, Patagonia, South America, Strait of Magellan, Philippines. He died while fighting in a mutiny in the Homonhom Island.

David Livingstone

In earlier days sailors were rowdy and cruel, they needed a rough exterior while traveling on the unknown waters. But David Livingstone was a saint among the devils.

He was a Scottish pastor who fell in love with Africa. He went to Africa in 1836 to work as a missionary. Even though he traveled to his country, he loathed slavery and adhered to his morals.

His madness for exploration led him to a hand to hand combat with a lion even. After retiring from his missionary job, he continued in Africa- but his source of motivation was to glean knowledge about the origin of the Nile River.

He was unsuccessful in his studies, but he made a dramatic exit from life when he died while on his knee- praying.

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus was an Italian-born to a weaver father, but that did not stop him from going on voyages to Mediterranean and Aegean seas. He was a disillusioned hero who thought he had arrived in South Asia when he had actually discovered America by error.

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

Columbus made four remarkable voyages. The first one nearly took his life, when French privateers attacked his ship in Portugal’s Coast. But Columbus did not give up and swam to the shore.

Both the Portugues and the Italian Kings rejected his idea of exploring a safer route to Asia, after the war when the Spanish sponsored his expedition Columbus reached the Bahamas.

In his subsequent voyages he set foot in Venezuela and Cuba, but in his death, he still thought that it was some part of Asia.

Amerigo Vespucci

Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian explorer, financier, navigator, and cartographer. Born in the Republic of Florence, he became a naturalized citizen of the Crown of Castile in 1505.

Photo: Vespucci arrives in New World /Public Domain Archive

Vespucci first demonstrated in about 1502 that Brazil and the West Indies did not represent Asia’s eastern outskirts as initially conjectured from Columbus’ voyages, but instead constituted an entirely separate landmass hitherto unknown to people of the Old World.

Colloquially referred to as the New World, it came to be termed “the Americas”, a name derived from Americus, the Latin version of Vespucci’s first name.

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

Hernando de Soto

Hernando de Soto was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who was involved in expeditions in Nicaragua and the Yucatan Peninsula and played an important role in Pizarro’s conquest of the Inca Empire in Peru.

But Soto is best known for leading the first Spanish and European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States (through Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and most likely Arkansas).

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

De Soto’s North American expedition was a vast undertaking. He is also the first European documented as having crossed the Mississippi River.

It ranged throughout the southeastern United States, both searching for gold, which had been reported by various Indian tribes and earlier coastal explorers, and for a passage to China or the Pacific coast.

Brave leadership, unwavering loyalty, and ruthless schemes for the extortion of native villages for their captured chiefs became de Soto’s hallmarks during the conquest of Central America.

De Soto died in 1542 on the banks of the Mississippi River; different sources disagree on the exact location, whether what is now Lake Village, Arkansas, or Ferriday, Louisiana.

Vasco Núñez de Balboa

Vasco Núñez de Balboa was a Spanish explorer, governor, and conquistador. He is best known for having crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean in 1513, becoming the first European to lead an expedition to have seen or reached the Pacific from the New World.

He traveled to the New World in 1500 and, after some exploration, settled on the island of Hispaniola.

He founded the settlement of Santa María la Antigua del Darién in present-day Panama in 1510, which was the first permanent European settlement on the mainland of the Americas (a settlement by Alonso de Ojeda the previous year at San Sebastián de Urabá had already been abandoned).

John Cabot

John Cabot was an Italian navigator and explorer, born in the Kingdom of Naples. His 1497 discovery of the coast of North America under the commission of Henry VII of England was the first European exploration of coastal North America since the Norse visits to Vinland in the eleventh century.

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

Like other explorers at those times, including Christopher Columbus, Cabot led an expedition on commission, in his case, England. Cabot planned to depart to the west from a northerly latitude where the longitudes are much closer together, and where, as a result, the voyage would be much shorter.

He still had an expectation of finding an alternative route to China.

Henry Hudson

Henry Hudson was an English sea explorer and navigator during the early 17th century, best known for his explorations of present-day Canada and parts of the northeastern United States.

In 1607 and 1608, Hudson made two attempts on behalf of English merchants to find a rumored Northeast Passage to Cathay (China) via a route above the Arctic Circle.

In 1609 he landed in North America and explored the region around the modern New York metropolitan area, looking for a Northwest Passage to Asia on behalf of the Dutch East India Company.

He sailed up the Hudson River, which was later named after him, and thereby laid the foundation for Dutch colonization of the region.

Hudson discovered the Hudson Strait and the immense Hudson Bay on his final expedition, while still searching for the Northwest Passage.[6] In 1611, after wintering on the shore of James Bay, Hudson wanted to press on to the west, but most of his crew mutinied. The mutineers cast Hudson, his son, and seven others adrift; the Hudsons and their companions were never seen again.

Lewis and Clark

The Lewis and Clark Expedition began near St. Louis, made its way westward, and passed through the Continental Divide of the Americas to reach the Pacific coast.

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

From May 1804 to September 1806, it was the first American expedition to cross the western portion of the United States.

President Thomas Jefferson commissioned the expedition shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 to explore and to map the newly acquired territory, to find a practical route across the western half of the continent, and to establish an American presence in this territory before Britain and other European powers tried to claim it.

Photo: The Art of Travel Partners

The campaign’s secondary objectives were scientific and economic: to study the area’s plants, animal life, and geography, and to establish trade with local American Indian tribes. The expedition returned to St. Louis to report its findings to Jefferson, with maps, sketches, and journals in hand.

Related Posts

Visit All 419 US National Parks Points of Interest

The National Park Service manages 419 individual protected units in all 50 US States as well as in the District of Columbia and 14 US territories.

If you want to travel to all of them, it’ll most likely take you years (possibly decades) and can become a massive bucket list adventure.

United States Capitol, Washington DC

US National Parks Points of Interest

These 419 protected points of interest in the US National Park System is bucketed into over a dozen different categories. These are:

  • National Parks (61)
  • National Monuments (87)
  • National Historic Sites (77)
  • National Memorials (29)
  • National Battlefields, Parks & Sites (16)
  • National Military Parks (9)
  • National Historical Parks (52)
  • National Lakeshores (4)
  • National Parkways (4)
  • National Preserves & Reserves (21)
  • National Recreation Areas (18)
  • National Wild & Scenic Rivers & Riverways (15)
  • National Scenic Trails (3)
  • National Seashores (10)
  • Other Designations (12)

US National Parks

Arches

  1. Acadia National Park, Maine
  2. Arches National Park, Utah
  3. Badlands National Park, South Dakota
  4. Big Bend National Park, Texas
  5. Biscayne National Park, Florida
  6. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado
  7. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
  8. Canyonlands National Park, Utah
  9. Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
  10. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
  11. Channel Islands National Park, California
  12. Congaree National Park, South Carolina
  13. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
  14. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
  15. Death Valley National Park, California and Nevada
  16. Denali National Park, Alaska
  17. Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
  18. Everglades National Park, Florida
  19. Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska
  20. Gateway Arch National Park, Missouri
  21. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
  22. Glacier National Park, Montana
  23. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
  24. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
  25. Great Basin National Park, Nevada
  26. Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
  27. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee
  28. Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
  29. Haleakalā National Park, Maui, Hawaii
  30. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
  31. Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
  32. Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana
  33. Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
  34. Joshua Tree National Park, California
  35. Katmai National Park, Alaska
  36. Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
  37. Kings Canyon National Park, California
  38. Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska
  39. Lake Clark National Park, Alaska
  40. Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
  41. Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
  42. Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
  43. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
  44. National Park of American Samoa, American Samoa
  45. North Cascades National Park, Washington
  46. Olympic National Park, Washington
  47. Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
  48. Pinnacles National Park, California
  49. Redwood National Park, California
  50. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
  51. Saguaro National Park, Arizona
  52. Sequoia National Park, California
  53. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
  54. Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
  55. Virgin Islands National Park, Virgin Islands
  56. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
  57. Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota
  58. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska
  59. Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming
  60. Yosemite National Park, California
  61. Zion National Park, Utah

The Narrows, Zion

US National Monuments

African Burial Ground

  1. African Burial Ground National Monument, New York
  2. Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Nebraska
  3. Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, Texas
  4. Aniakchak National Monument, Alaska
  5. Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico
  6. Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico
  7. Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, District of Columbia
  8. Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, Alabama
  9. Booker T. Washington National Monument, Virginia
  10. Buck Island Reef National Monument, Virgin Islands
  11. Cabrillo National Monument, California
  12. Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona
  13. Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Alaska
  14. Capulin Volcano National Monument, New Mexico
  15. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Arizona
  16. Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, Florida
  17. Castle Clinton National Monument, New York
  18. Castle Mountains National Monument, California
  19. Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah
  20. César E. Chávez National Monument, California
  21. Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, Ohio
  22. Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona
  23. Colorado National Monument, Colorado
  24. Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho
  25. Devils Postpile National Monument, California
  26. Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming
  27. Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado and Utah
  28. Effigy Mounds National Monument, Iowa
  29. El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico
  30. El Morro National Monument, New Mexico
  31. Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Colorado
  32. Fort Frederica National Monument, Georgia
  33. Fort Matanzas National Monument, Florida
  34. Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, Maryland
  35. Fort Monroe National Monument, Virginia
  36. Fort Pulaski National Monument, Georgia
  37. Fort Stanwix National Monument, New York
  38. Fort Sumter National Monument, South Carolina
  39. Fort Union National Monument, New Mexico
  40. Fossil Butte National Monument, Wyoming
  41. Freedom Riders National Monument, Alabama
  42. George Washington Birthplace National Monument, Virginia
  43. George Washington Carver National Monument, Missouri
  44. Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, New Mexico
  45. Governors Island National Monument, New York
  46. Grand Portage National Monument, Minnesota
  47. Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, Idaho
  48. Hohokam Pima National Monument, Arizona
  49. Homestead National Monument of America, Nebraska
  50. Honouliuli National Monument, Hawaii
  51. Hovenweep National Monument, Colorado, and Utah
  52. Jewel Cave National Monument, South Dakota
  53. John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon
  54. Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, Maine
  55. Lava Beds National Monument, California
  56. Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Montana
  57. Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona
  58. Muir Woods National Monument, California
  59. Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah
  60. Navajo National Monument, Arizona
  61. Ocmulgee National Monument, Georgia
  62. Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve, Oregon
  63. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona
  64. Petroglyph National Monument, New Mexico
  65. Pipe Spring National Monument, Arizona
  66. Pipestone National Monument, Minnesota
  67. Poverty Point National Monument, Louisiana
  68. Pullman National Monument, Illinois
  69. Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Utah
  70. Reconstruction Era National Monument, South Carolina
  71. Russell Cave National Monument, Alabama
  72. Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, New Mexico
  73. Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska
  74. Statue of Liberty National Monument, New Jersey and New York
  75. Stonewall National Monument, New York
  76. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Arizona
  77. Timpanogos Cave National Monument, Utah
  78. Tonto National Monument, Arizona
  79. Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, Nevada
  80. Tuzigoot National Monument, Arizona
  81. Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument, Virgin Islands
  82. Waco Mammoth National Monument, Texas
  83. Walnut Canyon National Monument, Arizona
  84. White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
  85. World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, Alaska, California, and Hawaii
  86. Wupatki National Monument, Arizona
  87. Yucca House National Monument, Colorado

Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument

National Historic Sites

San Juan National Historic Site, Puerto Rico

  1. Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, Pennsylvania
  2. Andersonville National Historic Site, Georgia
  3. Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Tennessee
  4. Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site, Colorado
  5. Boston African American National Historic Site, Massachusetts
  6. Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, Kansas
  7. Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, North Carolina
  8. Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site, District of Columbia
  9. Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, South Carolina
  10. Christiansted National Historic Site, Virgin Islands
  11. Clara Barton National Historic Site, Maryland
  12. Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site, Pennsylvania
  13. Eisenhower National Historic Site, Pennsylvania
  14. Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, New York
  15. Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site, California
  16. First Ladies National Historic Site, Ohio
  17. Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, District of Columbia
  18. Fort Bowie National Historic Site, Arizona
  19. Fort Davis National Historic Site, Texas
  20. Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Wyoming
  21. Fort Larned National Historic Site, Kansas
  22. Fort Point National Historic Site, California
  23. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, North Carolina
  24. Fort Scott National Historic Site, Kansas
  25. Fort Smith National Historic Site, Arkansas, and Oklahoma
  26. Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, Montana and North Dakota
  27. Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Washington
  28. Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, District of Columbia
  29. Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, Massachusetts
  30. Friendship Hill National Historic Site, Pennsylvania
  31. Golden Spike National Historic Site, Utah
  32. Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site, Montana
  33. Hampton National Historic Site, Maryland
  34. Harry S Truman National Historic Site, Missouri
  35. Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, Iowa
  36. Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, New York
  37. Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Pennsylvania
  38. Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, Arizona
  39. James A. Garfield National Historic Site, Ohio
  40. Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, Georgia
  41. John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site, Massachusetts
  42. John Muir National Historic Site, California
  43. Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, North Dakota
  44. Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Illinois
  45. Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, Arkansas
  46. Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters, Massachusetts
  47. Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, Virginia
  48. Manzanar National Historic Site, California
  49. Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, New York
  50. Mary McLeod Bethune Council House, District of Columbia
  51. Minidoka National Historic Site, Idaho
  52. Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, South Dakota
  53. Nicodemus National Historic Site, Kansas
  54. Ninety-Six National Historic Site, South Carolina
  55. Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site, District of Columbia
  56. President Bill Clinton Birthplace Home, Arkansas
  57. Pu’ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Hawaii
  58. Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, New York
  59. Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, New Hampshire
  60. Saint Paul’s Church National Historic Site, New York
  61. Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Massachusetts
  62. San Juan National Historic Site, Puerto Rico
  63. Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, Colorado
  64. Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site, Massachusetts
  65. Springfield Armory National Historic Site, Massachusetts
  66. Steamtown National Historic Site, Pennsylvania
  67. Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace, New York
  68. Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, New York
  69. Thomas Stone National Historic Site, Maryland
  70. Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, Alabama
  71. Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, Alabama
  72. Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, Missouri
  73. Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, New York
  74. Washita Battlefield National Historic Site, Oklahoma
  75. Weir Farm National Historic Site, Connecticut
  76. Whitman Mission National Historic Site, Washington
  77. William Howard Taft National Historic Site, Ohio

Vanderbilt Mansion, New York (NHS)

National Memorials

  1. Arkansas Post National Memorial, Arkansas
  2. Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, Virginia
  3. Chamizal National Memorial, Texas
  4. Coronado National Memorial, Arizona
  5. De Soto National Memorial, Florida
  6. Federal Hall National Memorial, New York
  7. Flight 93 National Memorial, Pennsylvania
  8. Fort Caroline National Memorial, Florida
  9. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, District of Columbia
  10. General Grant National Memorial, New York
  11. Hamilton Grange National Memorial, New York
  12. Johnstown Flood National Memorial, Pennsylvania
  13. Korean War Veterans Memorial, District of Columbia
  14. Lincoln Boyhood Home National Memorial, Indiana
  15. Lincoln Memorial, District of Columbia
  16. Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove on the Potomac, District of Columbia
  17. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, District of Columbia
  18. Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota
  19. Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, Ohio
  20. Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, California
  21. Roger Williams National Memorial, Rhode Island
  22. Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, Pennsylvania
  23. Theodore Roosevelt Island, District of Columbia
  24. Thomas Jefferson Memorial, District of Columbia
  25. Vietnam Veterans Memorial, District of Columbia
  26. Washington Monument, District of Columbia
  27. World War I Memorial, District of Columbia
  28. World War II Memorial, District of Columbia
  29. Wright Brothers National Memorial, North Carolina

Abraham Lincoln Statue at Lincoln Memorial

National Battlefields, Parks & Sites

Big Hole National Battlefield, Montana

  1. Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland
  2. Big Hole National Battlefield, Montana
  3. Cowpens National Battlefield, South Carolina
  4. Fort Donelson National Battlefield, Kentucky, and Tennessee
  5. Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Pennsylvania
  6. Monocacy National Battlefield, Maryland
  7. Moores Creek National Battlefield, North Carolina
  8. Petersburg National Battlefield, Virginia
  9. Stones River National Battlefield, Tennessee
  10. Tupelo National Battlefield, Mississippi
  11. Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Missouri
  12. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Georgia
  13. Manassas National Battlefield Park, Virginia
  14. Richmond National Battlefield Park, Virginia
  15. River Raisin National Battlefield Park, Michigan
  16. Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site, Mississippi

National Military Parks

Chickamauga Battlefield

  1. Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Georgia and Tennessee
  2. Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial National Military Park, Virginia
  3. Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania
  4. Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, North Carolina
  5. Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, Alabama
  6. Kings Mountain National Military Park, South Carolina
  7. Pea Ridge National Military Park, Arkansas
  8. Shiloh National Military Park, Tennessee
  9. Vicksburg National Military Park, Louisiana and Mississippi

National Historical Parks

  1. Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park, Kentucky
  2. Adams National Historical Park, Massachusetts
  3. Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Virginia
  4. Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park, Rhode Island
  5. Boston National Historical Park, Massachusetts
  6. Cane River Creole National Historical Park, Louisiana
  7. Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, Virginia
  8. Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico
  9. Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, District of Columbia, Maryland, and West Virginia
  10. Colonial National Historical Park, Virginia
  11. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia
  12. Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, Ohio
  13. First State National Historical Park, Delaware
  14. George Rogers Clark National Historical Park, Indiana
  15. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia
  16. Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, New York
  17. Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park, Maryland
  18. Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, Ohio
  19. Independence National Historical Park, Pennsylvania
  20. Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, Louisiana
  21. Kalaupapa National Historical Park, Hawaii
  22. Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, Hawaii
  23. Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Alaska, and Washington
  24. Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, Oregon and Washington
  25. Lowell National Historical Park, Massachusetts
  26. Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, Texas
  27. Keweenaw National Historical Park, Michigan
  28. Manhattan Project National Historical Park, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Washington
  29. Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Vermont
  30. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, Georgia
  31. Minute Man National Historical Park, Massachusetts
  32. Morristown National Historical Park, New Jersey
  33. Natchez National Historical Park, Mississippi
  34. New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, Massachusetts
  35. New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, Louisiana
  36. Nez Perce National Historical Park, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington
  37. Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park, Texas
  38. Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, New Jersey
  39. Pecos National Historical Park, New Mexico
  40. Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, Hawaii
  41. Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, California
  42. Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve, Virgin Islands
  43. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, Texas
  44. San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, California
  45. San Juan Island National Historical Park, Washington
  46. Saratoga National Historical Park, New York
  47. Sitka National Historical Park, Alaska
  48. Thomas Edison National Historical Park, New Jersey
  49. Tumacácori National Historical Park, Arizona
  50. Valley Forge National Historical Park, Pennsylvania
  51. War in the Pacific National Historical Park, Guam
  52. Women’s Rights National Historical Park, New York

Women’s Rights National Historical Park, NY

National Lakeshores

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

  1. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin
  2. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana
  3. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
  4. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan

National Parkways

Crabtree Falls, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

  1. Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia
  2. George Washington Memorial Parkway, District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia
  3. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, Wyoming
  4. Natchez Trace Parkway, Mississippi

National Preserves & Reserves

  1. Aniakchak National Preserve, Alaska
  2. Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Alaska
  3. Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida
  4. Big Thicket National Preserve, Texas
  5. Craters of the Moon National Preserve, Idaho
  6. Denali National Preserve, Alaska
  7. Gates of the Arctic National Preserve, Alaska
  8. Glacier Bay National Preserve, Alaska
  9. Great Sand Dunes National Preserve, Colorado
  10. Katmai National Preserve, Alaska
  11. Lake Clark National Preserve, Alaska
  12. Little River Canyon National Preserve, Alabama
  13. Mojave National Preserve, California
  14. Noatak National Preserve, Alaska
  15. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Kansas
  16. Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, Florida
  17. Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico
  18. Wrangell-St. Elias National Preserve, Alaska
  19. Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, Alaska
  20. City of Rocks National Reserve, Idaho
  21. Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, Washington

National Recreation Areas

Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California

  1. Amistad National Recreation Area, Texas
  2. Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Montana and Wyoming
  3. Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, Massachusetts
  4. Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Georgia
  5. Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Oklahoma
  6. Curecanti National Recreation Area, Colorado
  7. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, New Jersey and Pennsylvania
  8. Gateway National Recreation Area, New Jersey and New York
  9. Gauley River National Recreation Area, West Virginia
  10. Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona and Utah
  11. Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California
  12. Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, Washington
  13. Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Arizona and Nevada
  14. Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, Texas
  15. Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, Washington
  16. Ross Lake National Recreation Area, Washington
  17. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, California
  18. Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area, California

National Wild & Scenic Rivers & Riverways

Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River, Texas

  1. Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Kentucky and Tennessee
  2. Buffalo National River, Arkansas
  3. New River Gorge National River, West Virginia
  4. Mississippi National River and Recreation Areas, Minnesota
  5. Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Missouri
  6. Alagnak Wild River, Alaska
  7. Bluestone National Scenic River, West Virginia
  8. Delaware National Scenic River, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania
  9. Great Egg Harbor National Scenic and Recreational River, New Jersey
  10. Missouri National Recreational River, Nebraska and South Dakota
  11. Niobrara National Scenic River, Nebraska
  12. Obed Wild and Scenic River, Tennessee
  13. Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River, Texas
  14. Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway, Minnesota and Wisconsin
  15. Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreation River, New York and Pennsylvania

National Scenic Trails

Appalachian Trail

  1. Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Maine to Georgia (13 states)
  2. Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail, Alabama, Mississippi, and, Tennessee
  3. Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, and Virginia

National Seashores

Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts

  1. Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland and Virginia
  2. Canaveral National Seashore, Florida
  3. Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts
  4. Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina
  5. Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina
  6. Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia
  7. Fire Island National Seashore, New York
  8. Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida and Mississippi
  9. Padre Island National Seashore, Texas
  10. Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Other Designations

Constitution Gardens, District of Columbia

  1. Catoctin Mountain Park, Maryland
  2. Constitution Gardens, District of Columbia
  3. Fort Washington Park, Maryland
  4. Greenbelt Park, Maryland
  5. National Capital Parks-East, District of Columbia
  6. National Mall and Memorial Parks, District of Columbia
  7. Piscataway Park, Maryland
  8. Prince William Forest Park, Virginia
  9. Rock Creek Park, District of Columbia
  10. White House, District of Columbia
  11. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Virginia
  12. Saint Croix Island International Historic Site, Maine

Cost of Travel

Only 118 of 417 park sites charge entrance fees. One can obtain a park entrance pass by visiting a park site that charges an entrance fee.

National Park Maps

You can view maps on specific park websites. You can also get a map from the national park services when you visit the park.

Camping in National Parks

For campground reservations, visit Recreation.gov. Not all parks participate in this service; many campgrounds are first come, first served.

For more information on specific camping and lodging services offered at the park(s) of your interest, please check specific park websites.

How do I reserve a tour in a park?

You can book some park tours through Recreation.gov. But note that not all parks participate in this reservation service. For more information on tours offered at a specific park, please see the park search.

Can I bring my pet to a national park?

Some national parks welcome pets—in developed areas, on many trails and campgrounds, and in some lodging facilities.

What do I need to know about driving off road in national parks?

Before you head out, check with the national parks that you intend to visit. In many national parks, off-road driving is illegal. Where off-road driving is allowed, the National Park Service regulates it.

15 National Parks Fun Facts

  • There are over 27,000 historic and prehistoric structures preserved within the 417 National Parks System.
  • Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska is the largest National Park in the country at 13.2 million acres of area.
  • Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial in Pennsylvania is the smallest national park unit at a mere 0.02 acres of area.
  • The Appalachian Trail is a 2,185 mile long public trail that traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains from Maine to Georgia.
  • The nation’s deepest cave is 1,593 ft deep in New Mexico at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
  • Yellowstone National Park sits on top of a super volcano, one active volcano, thousands of petrified trees, and almost 300 waterfalls.
  • Yosemite National Park supports more than 400 species of vertebrates including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.
  • There are more than 2,000 documented arches in the Arches National Park, some as tall as up to 300 feet.
  • Acadia is the oldest park east of the Mississippi River and the first instance where the land was donated to the federal government.
  • Bryce Canyon has the largest collection of hoodoos–odd-shaped pillars of rock–in the world.
  • Crater Lake’s volcanic caldera is almost 6 miles in diameter and 3,900 feet deep.
  • Maui’s Haleakala, meaning “House of the Sun” in Hawaiian, is one of the world’s largest volcanic craters.
  • Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park two active volcanoes are within the bounds of this national park, Kilauea being the world’s most active.
  • Isle Royale National Park is the only national park in the United States that completely closes in the off-season. The park is typically closed November through mid-April due to extreme weather conditions. Also, Isle Royale has the most repeat visitors.
  • Mammoth Cave National Park is the world’s longest known cave system, with more than 400 miles explored.

The Vikings: Top 50 Viking Sites for Travelers

Many tourists who visit the United Kingdom or Nordic countries ask where they can see real Vikings. However, no country or tribe has ever been called a Viking nation. ‘The Vikings’ is simply the word for “sailors” or “pirates” in Old Norse, a language spoken in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden during the Viking age.

The Nordic (literally “the North”) countries have an interesting history going as far back as to the end of the last Ice Age. Scandinavia was covered by an ice sheet around 10,000 BC.

As the ice melted, the north Germanic peoples populated southern coastal areas and Finns and Sami migrated from the Ural Mountains. Thus, the Nordic countries were among the last parts of Eurasia to be settled by humans.

The Vikings

The Vikings mainly came from three countries of Scandinavia: Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. These were primarily Norse seafarers who spoke the Old Norse language, and sailed, raided, and traded across wide areas of northern, central, eastern, and western Europe.

Nordic countries

Nordic countries

The Viking Age

The Viking Age was during the 9th and 10th centuries, when the Norsemen sailed the seas and rivers of Europe, reaching as far as Canada, North Africa, and Central Asia.

While overseas adventures were nothing new to the Norse peoples, their range, intensity, and frequency of travels became significantly high between the 8th to 11th centuries.

The Norse were the first people known to have crossed the Atlantic ocean. Iceland was settled during the 9th century, with Reykjavík as its first settlement. Shortly after, Greenland and parts of today’s United Kindom was also attacked and settled by the Vikings.

A pearl necklace from the Viking age

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Top Viking Sites To Visit

Below is the list of over 50 top Viking sites you can visit in the Scandinavian or Nordic countries, Latvia, Germany, United Kingdom, and Canada.

Odin on an eight-legged horse (Norse mythology)

Note: It’s important to note that most of these Viking sites are only open from late Spring to start of Fall season. When planning your trip, just make sure that the place is open by simply Googling.

Sweden

Ale Vikingagård

A Viking farm, north of Göteborg which is open every Sunday. Events throughout the year including feasts and markets in the spring (early May), autumn after harvest time in late October to early November and around Jul, a Norse pagan celebration at Christmas time.

Birka

Viking Age grave field at Birka archaeological site on Björkö Island, Sweden

Birka is a UNESCO World Heritage site near Ekerö, Stockholm. Birka was established in the 8th century and was an important trading center in the Viking Age. There is a museum on the island of Björkö, including a reconstructed Viking village. Roleplays, guided tours, craftsmen, and events are planned throughout the year.

Foteviken Museum

An open-air Viking museum, south of Malmö, Foteviken Museum is centered around a large Viking settlement reconstruction. The area is an important archaeological site of the Viking Age and the naval Battle of Fotevik was fought around here in 1134. Experimental archaeology, roleplays and season program and engaging activities for the whole family.

Gamla Uppsala

Gamla Uppsala (aka the “Old Uppsala”) is a former settlement outside the modern day city of Uppsala, and was the political and religious center of Viking-era Sweden. It was once the site of a legendary Norse pagan temple, which brought visitors from all around Scandinavia.

The temple was however lost; no-one knows what it looked like, or where it stood exactly. The site also hosts some impressive burial mounds and a large museum.

Gamla Uppsala Museum

The Old Uppsala Museum is in Disavägen and houses many of the Viking era archeological findings from Old Uppsala.

Gotlands Museum

Gotlands Museum is located in Visby, Gotland. Though Gotland’s Golden Age was during the Hanseatic League years from the 13th century, the island was a commercial center long before, possibly the home of the legendary Goths.

Gunnes gård, Ryttargatan

A reconstructed Viking Age farm, mostly open during summer.

Gustavianum, Akademigatan

Is the university museum of Uppsala University, and among other things they exhibit findings from Vendel- and Viking-era boat burial field in nearby “Valsgärde”. FREE entry for people under 19.

Järnåldershuset i Körunda

A reconstructed Viking Age longhouse, north of Nynäshamn.

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Medeltidsveckan (Medieval Week)

In Visby, Gotland. While conversion to Christianity in the 11th century marked a divide between the Viking Age and the Middle Ages, Gotland remained an autonomous region of peaceful mariners and merchants until Sweden annexed the island in the 17th century.

While the people of Gotland were not true Vikings, this festival week creates a Viking-like (sailers, pirates, or mercenaries) atmosphere.

Rök Runestone

The world’s largest runestone, near Ödeshög, and also the oldest known written record in Sweden. The name of the village Rök has the same roots as rock or stone, which means that Rök Stone is a tautology.

Stallarholmen Viking Festival

Annually the first weekend of July, in a village near Strängnäs with plenty of runestones and other Viking-age artifacts.

Storholmen

A reconstructed Viking village situated on the shore of Lake Erken, north of Norrtälje. A small nature reserve of Norr Malma to the south, including a large graveyard from the Iron Age. The whole region – known as Roslagen – is steeped in history.

In the Viking Age, there trade with the East was important. There is a nice 18th-century inn and restaurant nearby and a child-friendly lakeside beach.

A reconstructed Viking village

Swedish History Museum

If you’re interested in older Scandinavian history, from the Stone Age to the Vikings, you will want to visit the Swedish History Museum. In the Gold Room, you’ll find gold treasures from the Bronze Age to the 16th century.

Trelleborgen

In the modern port town of Trelleborg in Scania, close to Foteviken Museum or a 20-minute drive from Malmö. One of only seven known Viking Ring Castles from the 980s.

“Trelleborg” is the name of the town, the castle and a general term for Viking Ring Castles. It is 143 meters in diameter and was largely reconstructed with palisades and houses in 1995.

Watch role plays and reenactments or engage in the Viking market, and Viking board games. Stories from Norse mythology are occasionally dramatized here, but only in Swedish. FREE for people under the age of 20.

Uppåkra Arkeologiska Center

Uppåkra Archaeological Centre is located south of Lund. A historical museum by and about the Viking-era archaeological site Uppåkra. This area was supposedly a cultural and religious center in Scania with a pagan temple but was abandoned in favor of modern-day Lund around year 990.

Vikingatider, Ådalsvägen

At the village of Löddeköpinge near Lund. An archaeological Viking-themed open-air museum and landscape with Viking houses and farms. Engage in everyday activities of the Vikings at the farm or in the workshops.

Guided tours (in English) of the settlement and surrounding landscape and special events throughout the year, including re-enactments, craft shops, and markets.

Årsjögård

At the lakeside village of Årsunda, south of Sandviken. An open-air museum centered around a reconstructed Viking farm in the midst of a historic region known as Järnriket (The Iron Realm). Experimental archaeology and occasional role plays, re-enactments, feasts, music, and crafts.

Learn more about the cultural history of this area, in particular, the Viking Age. The Sörby grave-fields with 90 burial mounds and stone settings are nearby, as are the popular lakeside bathing site of Strandbaden at the lake of Storsjön, locally known as “Gästriklands riviera”. At Strandbaden you will find a camping site and restaurant.

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Vikingaliv, Djurgårdsvägen

A Viking museum opened in 2017. Does not exhibit any archaeological findings, but rather showcases information about the era and a Viking themed-train ride, as well as replicas of Viking craft.

Norway

Lofotr Viking Museum

Located on the island of Vestvågøya in the Lofoten archipelago, is a huge reconstructed Viking Chieftains hall situated in a dramatic landscape. The hall holds exhibitions and there are walking paths in the surrounding landscape.

In the summer it is possible to sail with a Viking ship replica nearby. There are seasonal events and programs with roleplays, Viking feasts, Viking Festival and more. 

The Viking Ship Museum

Located in the University of Oslo, the main attractions here are the all original Viking ships such as Gokstad, Oseberg, and Tune. The Viking Ship Museum is part of Museum of Cultural History, a department of Oslo University.

Museum of Cultural History also houses Historical Museum with a permanent exhibition themed around the Norse and Vikings in particular. Tickets include admission to both museums within 48 hours. The Bygdøy island can be reached by road or ferry (in the summer).

Gokstad Mound (Gokstadhaugen)

Gokstad is in Sandefjord. The burial mound at Gokstad where the Gokstad ship was discovered in 1880. The ship is the largest found in Norway and is now on display in the Viking ship museum, Oslo. The Norwegian government has asked UNESCO to include the mound on the world heritage list.

Stiklestad (Trøndelag)

The site of the battle in the year 1030 where King Olav died.

Trondenes historical center, Trondenesveien

Displaying more than 2,000 years of history in the region, which was a Viking power center (Tore Hund from Bjarkøy just north of Harstad killed St Olav at the Battle of Stiklestad, according to the saga).

Three Swords

Sverd i fjell, (literally “Sword in Mountain”), is a monument outside the center of Stavanger, beside the Hafrsfjord. The swords themselves are massive and in the background is the fjord. The monument commemorates the battle of Hafrsfjord in the late 800’s where Harald Hårfagre beat his eastern opposition and became the first King of Norway.

Midgardsenteret, Borrehaugen

New museum in Birkelyveien about history, religion, and wars of the Vikings, next to Borrehaugen, the Viking cemetery.

Kaupang

Around 800 AD, a Viking trade post was established here, and today it is both an archaeological site and a venue for Viking events in the summer.

Bronseplassen

Open May to September. Reconstructed houses from the Bronze Age and Viking times and is located in Høvåg, approx. 15 km west of Lillesand. There are also bark boats, labyrinth, offering space and cemetery.

Avaldsnes

A former Viking settlement, nowadays featuring a Viking farm, a history center, burial mounds and archaeological excavations.

Gulen Assembly, Eivindvik

Gulating was the Viking era legislative assembly and high court (þing) for West Norway. The site had a central location along the shipping lane (the highway of the time). The assembly may have been established by Harald Hairfair around year 900 (perhaps older) and existed until 1300.

Originally Gulating was a “common assembly” where all “free men” joined for the annual meeting, later only delegates from each district.

Two ancient stone crosses mark the original site, and new monument marks a later site nearby. Similar assemblies and laws existed for Trøndelag and for Eastern Norway. When Norway’s modern constitution was crafted in 1814 the name Storting (grand assembly) was adopted.

Frosta assembly, Trøndelag

Frostating was the Viking era court and general assembly for the Trøndelag area, similar to Gulating for Western Norway. The “Thing hill” is marked and can be visited.

Denmark

Bork Vikingehavn

In the village of Bork near Skjern and Ringkøbing, at the bottom of a large lagoon. A Viking village and harbor area with Viking ship replicas and a town market. Re-enactments and roleplays that varies throughout the year. Great for kids.

Fyrkat

Viking Ring Castle and re-constructed Viking houses. Sometimes roleplays and craftsmen. FREE to the public.

Jelling Monuments

A UNESCO World Heritage Site in Jelling, a Viking Royal residence. Enormous stone ship monument, burial mounds, runestones and 10th-century church. Newly built exploratorium bringing the site’s rich history to life. Good for all ages. Free.

Lindholm Høje

Pagan Iron Age and Viking Age burial grounds with hundreds of stone-set grave sites. There is a museum building.

Ribe Vikingecenter

A large Viking Center and open-air town museum reconstructed at the former site of a large Viking town. Re-enactments, craftsmen, roleplays and experimental archeology of varying themes throughout the year. Ride Icelandic horses, help the farmers, watch the falconry displays, shoot with bows or learn to fight like the Vikings; there are many activities here suited for all ages and interests.

Sagnlandet Lejre

March – December. Large open-air Viking and pre-historic center with themes reaching back to the Stone Age as it unfolded in Scandinavia. Located in Lejre, a former royal homeland in the Nordic Iron Age and early Viking Age. Engaging activities for all ages.

Trelleborg Castle

A Viking Ring Castle, one of the only seven known of its kind. A small museum and some reconstructed Viking buildings.

Viking Ship Museum

A museum with several original Viking ships, a Viking research center, a harbor with copies of Viking ships, and a shipyard making new ships. Study the originals, watch how archaeologists preserve them and engage on a small sea-voyage with replica ships in the summer months. FREE for children under the age of 5.

Greenland

Norse settlements in Greenland

Vikings settled parts of Southern Greenland, starting with Erik the Red, who gave the landmass its name to make it sound appealing to travelers. Remains and reconstructions of the Norse settlements can still be visited, some of them forming a world heritage site.

Iceland

The Settlement Exhibition

Run by the Reykjavík City Museum, this exhibition in central Reykjavík was built around the oldest archaeological ruins in Iceland. As the name indicates, these ruins date to around the year 870. This interactive exhibition brings you the early history of the area that today forms central Reykjavík. FREE for children under 18.

A Viking Ship in Reykjavík, Iceland

National Museum of Iceland

This museum, located right by the University of Iceland campus, takes the visitor through the history of a nation from settlement to today. Includes a café and a museum shop. FREE for children under 18.

Reykjavík City Museum

In the suburb of Árbær, and frequently called Árbæjarsafn (Árbær museum), this open-air museum contains both the old farm of Árbær and many buildings from central Reykjavík that were moved there to make way for construction.

The result is a village of old buildings where the staff takes you through the story of a city. The staffs are dressed in old Icelandic clothing styles and trained in various traditional techniques, for example in making dairy products or preparing wool. FREE for children under 18.

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Þingvellir

Also spelled as Thingvellir in English, it’s the place where the Icelandic parliament (Alþing) met for a few days every year from 930 until 1798. This yearly event also served as a supreme court and a huge market and meeting place for people from all over Iceland.

Vikings landing in Iceland

The Settlement Centre, Brákarbraut

A media center showcasing the Viking sagas, stories or descriptions of their everyday life.

Eiríksstaðir

Around 150 km north of Reykjavik, Eiríksstaðir is an open-air museum centered around the recreation of the homestead of Erik the Red and his son Leif Eriksson (considered to be the first European to set foot in America).

Saga Centre

In Hvolsvöllur, 15 km to the southeast of Hella. A museum showcasing Njals Saga, the main saga of the Icelanders.

Snorrastofa

A museum and research center showcasing Snorri’s Saga, written by the 12th and 13th-century writer Snorri Strulasson.

Viking World, Keflavík

A museum with five Viking exhibitions, including a replica of a ship.

Germany

Haithabu

Located at the southern end of the Jutland peninsula, Haithabu was once the site of the largest Viking town in Scandinavia. Now an open-air town museum with reconstructed Viking houses. Experimental archeology, craftsmen and engaging roleplay and reenactments of the former life in the Viking Age town.

Latvia

Grobiņa Viking Settlement

The west coast of Latvia has Viking heritage, where there was once a settlement named Seeburg (now in Grobiņa city).

United Kingdom

Jorvik Viking Centre, England

The world famous Jorvik Viking Centre is a must-see for visitors to the city of York and is one of the most popular visitor attractions in the UK outside London. Welcoming over 16 million visitors since 1984, Jorvik Viking Centre invites visitors to journey through the reconstruction of Viking-Age streets as they would have looked 1000 years ago.

Lindisfarne, England

An early Christian monastery at the Northsea rocky shore. The Norse raid at Lindisfarne in AD 793 usually marks the beginning of the Viking Age.

Up Helly Aa (Shetland Islands)

Europe’s largest and most famous fire festival. It takes place on the last Tuesday in January. Over the year the ‘Guizer Jarl’ or Viking Chief and his squad prepare costumes, weapons, and a replica heraldic style Viking Galley and torches.

There is a torchlight procession of over 800 participants and then the Galley is ceremoniously burned. Tickets to the halls are by invitation only, but public tickets are available for the Town Hall from the committee. Although the Lerwick festival is the largest and most famous, eleven other fire festivals are held across the islands.

Battle Abbey and Battlefield

The Abbey was established after 1070 on the site of the Battle of Hastings in 1066, the Pope has decreed that the Norman conquerors should do practical penance for the deaths inflicted in their conquest of England. William the Conqueror initiated the building, but it was only completed and consecrated in 1094 in the reign of his son William II (Rufus).

The Abbey is in an incomplete, partly ruinous state, having been dissolved during the Reformation, then re-used as a private home. Visitors can stand on the reputed site where Harold was slain on 14 October 1066.

Bayeux

A cathedral town which features the Bayeux tapestry, which chronicles the Norman invasion of England, culminating in William’s victory over Harold in 1066.

Canada

L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site

A UNESCO heritage and archaeological site in Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland. It features the remains of the North American Viking settlements described in the Vinland Sagas: depressions in the ground that were once the foundations of houses, a sod longhouse reconstructed according to Viking-era building methods, plus some unearthed artifacts displayed in the museum contained in the visitors’ center.

Norstead, Newfoundland

Located just down the road from the L’Anse aux Meadows UNESCO site, Norstead takes a more interactive, living-history approach to the subject of the Norse incursion into North America, with a “village” of reconstructed longhouses populated by costumed interpreters reenacting daily life in a 12th-century “Viking port of trade” with a respectable degree of historical accuracy.

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A Solo Trip to Turkey: A Transcontinental Journey

“I want to visit Turkey is the line I often hear when I speak to other travel loving folks, but not all could turn their wish into reality. There are many reasons why people couldn’t make it and one common reason which people give is “Turkey is beautiful but very expensive”.

Turkey: A Transcontinental Country

I must say this is the biggest myth, Turkey is expensive if you don’t plan your trip well and if you don’t know what is there to see in Turkey. I was fortunate to turn my wish into reality.

It was a wonderful solo trip for 11 days where I had one of my best travel experiences traveling across Turkey at a very reasonable cost. I thought of sharing my Turkish experience with everyone, and if this blog could motivate at least one person to travel, I would consider this blog as successful one.

Why Visit Turkey?

Turkey has such lucrative landscape and culture which attract millions of visitors from across the globe and I wanted to be in that one in the million for sure, but the distance from India to Turkey so far that I really had to make up my mind that I will visit it no matter what.

Also, after visiting quite a good number of countries in South East and East Asia, I was sure my next destination is going to be different from my past travel and Turkey fitted in very well in my requirement.

The mix of Europe and Asia in the beautiful city of Istanbul, fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, and Ephesus’ historical sites looked so exciting in the photos, videos, and the blogs I read that I couldn’t stop myself from visiting the same and experiencing it all on my own.

 

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The decision to visit Turkey is something which makes me feel satisfied as a traveler.

A Sample Itinerary & Travel Routes

I must say, to decide for a Turkey solo trip was a difficult choice but to decide what to see inside Turkey was even harder as there are so many things to see in Turkey that my 11 days vacation looked way too shorter. 

So based on the number of days I had and the season, I picked up the below itinerary for my trip.

Bangalore, India to Istanbul, Turkey

  • Leg 1: Kuwait Airways > Landed in Istanbul > Turkish Air (to Cappadocia)
  • Leg 2: Cappadocia > Pamukkale/Denzli (by Bus) > Selcuk (by Train)
  • Leg 3: Selcuk > Izmir (by Train) > Istanbul (by Flight)

Things to See in Turkey

Let me detail out things which I covered in each of my stopovers.

After landing in Istanbul at around 3:00 PM in afternoon, I had a same day connecting flight at 6:00 PM for Navshahar and a shuttle booked in Navshahar airport to take me to my hostel booked in Gorame, Cappadocia.

Cappadocia

Cappadocia is a wonder world and certainly a heart of Turkey that no one should miss. You can explore the city on your own or take a group tour based on time which you have in Cappadocia.

So I decided to combine both. On the first day, I took a green tour in a group covering the fairy chimney, underground city, monastery, etc. And the next two days, I spent exploring the city on my own by foot and by local transportation available.

Apart from the Fairy chimneys, Cappadocia is also a popular destination for people who love Hot Air Balloons. Since I had already done the hot air balloon in the past, I wasn’t interested to take it again but I did make sure to get up early in the morning to see hundreds of balloons taking off at one shot.

The view is just amazing and can’t be missed out.

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Pamukkale

After spending three days in Cappadocia, I took an overnight bus to Pamukkale. Bus tickets were easily available for comfortable overnight journey which dropped me in Pamukkale by 5:00 AM in the morning.

Since the main attraction of Pamukkale (Cotton Castle) opens only by 8 AM, so I had some time in hand and I sipped a cup of Turkish coffee and waited for the gate to open.

I must say I was the first one to enter that morning from that specific entrance. It made me happy.

I spent half a day in Pamukkale admiring the beauty of mineral-rich thermal waters flowing down white travertine terraces, Hierapolis ancient theater, and other attractions in the vicinity.

Once I was done with it, I took a mini bus to Denzli from where I took about four hour train ride to Selcuk.

Selcuk

Selcuk is the town which people generally use it for stop over when they are visiting the UNESCO Heritage Site of Ephesus.

But I must say Selcuk is much more than just a stopover. This beautiful town is popular for its cafe culture and it’s wonderful to just walk around and enjoy the chilled vibe of Selcuk.

In my two days in Selcuk, I visited the famous ruins of Ephesus to experience the ancient Roman culture and architectures. Afterwards, I went to visit the Saint John’s Basilica, a beautiful historical place just in the city center and worth visiting any day.

During the evenings, I spent my time sipping famous Turkish tea with Seesha (also known as Hookah). The next day, I took a minibus to go to Sirince Wine Village about an hour drive from city.

This village is embraced in such a way that once reach here sure you don’t want to leave at all. I took my slow walk going around the village for the good part of that day.

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Izmir

Next early morning, I took a train from Selcuk to Izmir which took about an hour. Izmir is a laid back city in the west coast of Turkey. It is one of the biggest port city in the region and walking around the seafront (Kordon) is defiantly one of the best experience in Izmir.

Apart from waterfront and the clock tower in city center, the local market was a wonderful experience to visit. Overall, my days spent in Izmir was pretty tiring as I had just a day to explore the city but it was worth every moment.

Istanbul

After spending a day in Izmir, I took early morning flight to Istanbul to spend the rest of my three and half days remaining before returning back to India.

Istanbul took my heart even before the airplane landed. The view from the small plane window was so tempting that I couldn’t wait any longer to explore the city.

Istanbul have two side of it, a European side with much of the night life and an Asian side with all the historical sites. I took a shuttle bus to Kadikoy Ferry Terminal. I took the Ferry and Metro from there to go to Sultanahmet where my stay for the next two nights were booked.

Soon I realized that three days is not at all going to be sufficient to see Istanbul, so I need to pick what I really want to see in these three days.

So the plan I made was, one day I will spend in Prince Island, second day I will spend exploring the historical side of Istanbul, and on the final day I will spend exploring the modern side of Istanbul around the Taksim Square area.

Clock Tower in Izmir

Prince Island

Prince Island is the group of 9 small islands about two hours ferry ride from the mainland of Istanbul. Out of the 9 islands, only 4 islands are inhabitable and the rest remain unexplored.

Büyükada is one of biggest island and considered the most beautiful among all 9 islands. So I took an early morning ferry for this island and spent the rest of that day mesmerizing over this totally mystical and unique side of Turkey.

Sultanahmet

Sultanahmet is the area where major historical attraction of Istanbul is centered. The beautiful and well known blue mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazar are all here.

All these historical places are so beautiful that you can spend entire day just visiting one of them, since I had just a day time to explore I made sure that I could manage my time in such a way that I don’t miss any of these famous attractions.

Taksim Square

For the last two nights I had booked my hostel near the Taksim Square which is the ultra-modern side of Istanbul where all-night parties are common. My morning started with walking around the famous İstiklal Caddesi and visiting the Galata Tower and enjoying the Turkish delight and my evenings ended with a couple of beers in a local pub.

On the last day, I woke up with a sad face thinking my wonderful time is about to end now. I had my breakfast, took a walk of İstiklal Caddesi for the last time, and got into the metro for the airport to catch my flight back home.

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Cost of Travel

The myth about travelling is “it is an expensive thing” needs to be broken. In my view, traveling at times is cheaper than staying home. The longer you travel the cheaper it is.

In my Turkey trip I wanted to make sure that I spend on things which is needed and not things which good to have.

For any kind of travel, the major expenses can be categorized in three categories: Food, Accommodation, and Transportation. Let me put this little bit more in detail from Turkey travel perspective.

 

Turkish Cuisine

Turkish food is indeed a delight whether you are a vegetarian or non-vegetarian or continental or authentic country food lover. It has variety of options available and suitable for everyone.

An average meal in a decent mid-range restaurant cost anywhere between 12-20 TL ($5 USD). So in less than $20 USD, I was able to survive for a day in Turkey eating three meals which is way less than what normally people think. Not to be missed is their famous “Turkish delight” desserts, which is mouthwatering.

Accommodation in Turkey

In my entire trip to Turkey, I stayed in hostels where average cost was no more than $15 USD per night and in many cases it even included free breakfast. And trust me, it was without compromising the cleanliness and location in any manner.

Izmir View

Transportation in Turkey

Your international flight tickets consumes the major part of travel expense and it really differ from which city/country you are taking your flight. So I will not be able to give a correct estimation on that but what I can share is an average travel expense once you land in Turkey.

I took two domestic flights in turkey and one overnight bus and a train. Both of my flight tickets were less than $50 USD each, and the overnight bus ticket was about $25 USD and the four hour long train journies were not more then $10 USD each.

So transportation of any mode is relatively very cheap compare to anywhere else in Europe. Specifically in Istanbul you can take the prepaid Istanbul card which acts as a ticket for all city transport system including ferry in very basic cost.

Additional Information on Expenses

  1. Museum pass is available that covers all major historical sites in Istanbul at the cost of 125 TL which will cover around 6 attractions in the city and if you buy ticket individually it will cost you about 40 TL each.
  2. Istanbul card is like a prepaid card which you can load it with cash at once and use it for all public transport in city in lesser price than paying in cash. So highly recommended to take this card.
  3. Apart from the places which I visited there are few other very good places which you can visit in Turkey based on time available. Few of my recommendation few are Konya, Antalya, Fethiye, etc.
  4. In my entire trip I had not used private Taxi anywhere, so if you are someone who would prefer exclusive taxi service then expense will go higher.

Finally all I can say is, Turkey is defiantly one of the best country I have visited so far and I would recommend all travelers to plan for it.

 

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Author Bio

Hi, I am Chandan Sharma. Working as a full-time job for a financial firm but still making a time to travel across different countries is my passion. This passion had taken me through 21 countries so far, mainly in Asia, Europe and just a glimpse of east Africa. The goal is to make it at least 50 countries before I turn 50.

Feel free to visit my Instagram page ‘Travel Freak Mr Sharma’ to a walkthrough of my travel journey. Do not hesitate to drop me a message in case if you need any further information on Turkey or any of the country which I visited.

Visit the 38 World Heritage Sites in India

Today we are going to list all of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. As of 2020, India has 38 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the 6th most of any country.

Sit back tight and enjoy the photos from some of the magnificent sites ever built. Or better yet, plan your next trip. If you are into bucket lists, then you can even attempt to visit all 38 sites.

World Heritage Sites in India

The sites are grouped and listed based on geographical proximity, so if you are planning an India visit, you can plan your itinerary accordingly to cover some or all of them in the most efficient and cheapest way possible.

Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi

Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi was the precursor monument to the Taj Mahal (built a century later). Set at the center of luxurious gardens with water channels, it was built by the second Mughal Emperor Humayun’s widow Biga Begum (Hajji Begum).

Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi

Its Mughal architectural style has been acclaimed as the “Necropolis of the Mughal dynasty” for its double-domed elevation provided with Chhatris.

Apart from the tomb of Humayun, the funerary also has 150 tombs of various members of the royal family. It has a number of water channels, a pavilion, and a bath. The tomb set on an irregular octagonal plinth has a raised dome, covered by marble slabs and decorated with Chhatris.

Qutb Minar, Delhi

Qutb Minar is located south of Delhi. It is a tall red sandstone tower. Built at the beginning of the 13th century, the complex of structures comprises the Alai Darwaza Gate, the Alai Minar (an incomplete mound of the intended tower), the Qubbat-ul-Islam Mosque (the earliest existing mosque in India), the tomb of Iltumish, and an Iron Pillar without any rusting.

The complex is a testimony to the Islamic depredations during the period as seen from the materials used for building the complex which are those that were removed after destroying Hindu and Jain temples.

Red Fort, Delhi

Red Fort (Lal Qila) is a palace fort built in the 17th century by Shahjahan, the fifth Mughal emperor as part of his new capital city of Shahjahanabad.

Located to the north of Delhi, it represents the glory of the Mughal rule and is considered the Highpoint of Mughal architectural, artistic aesthetic creativity. The architectural design of the structures built within the fort represents a blend of Persian, Timuri and Indian architectural styles.

Isfahan, the Persian Capital is said to have provided the inspiration to build the Red Fort Complex.

The planning and design of this complex, in a geometrical grid plan with pavilion structures, was the precursor of several monuments which were built later in Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and other places.

The palace complex has been fortified by an enclosure wall built with red sandstone (hence the name Red Fort).

Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, Chandigarh

Chosen from the work of Le Corbusier, the 17 sites comprising this transnational serial property are spread over seven countries. Urban and Architectural Work of Le Corbusier in Chandigarh is home to numerous architectural projects of Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Matthew Nowicki and Albert Mayer.

Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks

Both Nanda Devi National Park and Valley of Flowers National Park are nestled high in Western Himalaya. Valley of Flowers National Park is renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and outstanding natural beauty. This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear and blue sheep.

The gentle landscape of the Valley of Flowers National Park complements the rugged mountain wilderness of Nanda Devi National Park. Together, they encompass a unique transition zone between the mountain ranges of the Zanskar and Great Himalaya.

Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh

Great Himalayan National Park, in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, is characterized by high alpine peaks, alpine meadows, and riverine forests. The Upper Mountain glacial and snow melt water source origins of several rivers, and the catchments of water supplies that are vital to millions of downstream users.

It is part of the Himalaya biodiversity hotspot and includes 25 forest types along with a rich assemblage of fauna species, several of which are threatened.

Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World is a mausoleum – a funerary mosque. It was built by Emperor Shahjahan in memory of his third wife Begum Mumtaz Mahal who had died in 1631. It is a large edifice made in white marble in typical Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Islamic, and Indian architectural styles.

This much-acclaimed masterpiece was built over a 16-year period set amidst vast Mughal Gardens on the right bank of the Yamuna River. It has an octagonal layout marked by four exclusive minarets at four corners with a pristine elevation of a central bulbous dome below which the tombs are laid in an underground chamber.

Calligraphic inscriptions in-crusted in polychromatic pierra dura, decorative bands, and floral arabesques glorify the monument’s graphic beauty and provide a picture-perfect impression to the viewers.

Agra Fort, Uttar Pradesh

Agra Fort, also known as the Red Fort of Agra, which represented Mughal opulence and power as the centerpiece of their empire. The fortress located on the right bank of the Yamuna River, built in red sandstone, and surrounded by a moat, encloses several palaces, towers, and mosques.

It is very close to the famous Taj Mahal with a buffer zone separating the two monuments. These monuments are remarkable for the fusion of Persian art of the Timurid and the Indian art form.

Agra Fort was built from the 16th century onwards till the early 18th century. The impressive structures within the precincts of the fort are the Khas Mahal, the Shish Mahal, Muhamman Burje (an octagonal tower), Diwan-i-Khas, Diwan-i-Am, white marble mosque or the Pearl Mosque, and the Nagina Masjid.

Fatehpur Sikri, Uttar Pradesh

Fatehpur Sikri, “the City of Victory”, was built during the second half of the 16th century by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. It was the capital of the Empire and seat of the grand Mughal court for 14 years.

Despite bearing exceptional testimony to the Mughal civilization at the end of the 16th century, it had to be abandoned due to the twin reasons of lack of water and unrest in north-west India, leading the emperor to shift the capital to Lahore.

The complex of monuments and temples, all uniformly in Mughal architectural style, includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid, the Buland Darwaza, the Panch Mahal, and the Tomb of Salim Chishti.

The English traveler Ralph Fitch considered the city in 1585 as “considerably larger than London and more populous.”

Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Maharaja Jai Singh at his then new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1734. It is modeled after the one that he had built at the Mughal capital of Delhi.

He had constructed a total of 5 such facilities at different locations, including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur. The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved of these and has a set of some 20 main fixed instruments built in masonry.

Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan

Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur is located within the Indus-Ganges Monsoon Forest Biogeographical Province. The area of the wetland of the park shrinks to a mere 2500 acres during most part of the year.

It has a human-built environment created partly by embankments dividing the area into 10 units, and has sluice controlled arrangement to maintain the water level. It is famous for 364 species of wintering birds that flock in large numbers, arriving from distant countries of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China, and Siberia.

Hill Forts of Rajasthan, Chittorgarh

Hill Forts of Rajasthan, are a series of sites located on rocky outcrops of the Aravallis mountain range in Rajasthan. They represent a typology of Rajput military hill architecture, a style characterized by its mountain peak settings, utilizing the defensive properties of the terrain.

These hill forts in Rajasthan represent Rajput military strongholds across a vast range of geographical and cultural zones. They enclose large territories and even complete villages in walled compounds.

The property consists of Chittor Fort, Kumbhalgarh Fort, Ranthambore Fort, Gagron Fort, Amer Fort, Jaisalmer Fort. These fort complex includes palaces, Hindu and Jain temples, urban centers and trading centers.

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Gujarat

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is situated in Panchmahal district in Gujarat, India. There is a concentration of largely unexcavated archaeological, historic and living cultural heritage properties cradled in an impressive landscape which includes prehistoric sites, a hill fortress of an early Hindu capital, and remains of the 16th-century capital of the state of Gujarat.

The site also includes, among other vestiges, fortifications, palaces, religious buildings, residential precincts, agricultural structures and water installations, from the 8th to the 14th centuries.

The Kalikamata Temple & Jain Temple on top of the Pavagadh Hill is considered to be an important shrine, attracting large numbers of pilgrims throughout the year. The site is the only complete and unchanged Islamic pre-Mughal city.

The Queen’s Stepwell, Gujarat

Rani ki vav (The Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat, is a famous stepwell. It is famous for its size and sculpture. The length of Rani ki Vav is more than 64m long, 20m wide, and 27m deep and there are more than 500 sculptures of god.

Most of the sculptures are in devotion to Vishnu, in the forms of Dus-Avatars Kalki, Rama, Mahisasurmardini, Narsinh, Vaman, Varahi and others representing their return to the world. Also it has Nagkanyas, Yoginis, Apsaras (beautiful women) showcasing 16 different styles of makeup to look more attractive called “Solah-shringar”.

Historic City of Ahmadabad, Gujarat

The walled city of Ahmadabad, founded by Sultan Ahmad Shah in the 15th century, on the eastern bank of the Sabarmati river, presents a rich architectural heritage from the sultanate period, notably the Bhadra citadel, the walls and gates of the Fort city and numerous mosques and tombs as well as important Hindu and Jain temples of later periods.

The urban fabric is made up of densely-packed traditional houses in gated traditional streets with characteristic features such as bird feeders, public wells, and religious institutions. The city continued to flourish as the capital of the State of Gujarat for six centuries, up to the present.

Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra

Ajanta Caves are Buddhist caves that were built in two phases. The caves depict richly decorated paintings, frescoes, which are reminiscent of the Sigiriya paintings in Sri Lanka and sculptures. As a whole, there are 31 rock-cut cave monuments which are unique representations of the religious art of Buddhism.

Ellora Caves, Maharashtra

Ellora Caves are a cultural mix of religious arts of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. These are 34 monasteries and temples sculpted contiguously into rock walls of a high basalt cliff, which are seen along a length of 2 km (1.2 mi). Dated to 600 to 1000 AD, they are a reflection of artistic creation of the ancient civilization of India.

Elephanta Caves, Maharashtra

The Elephanta Caves are a network of sculpted caves located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri (literally “the city of caves”) in Mumbai Harbour, 10 km (6.2 mi) to the east of the city of Mumbai.

The island, located on an arm of the Arabian Sea, consists of two groups of caves — the first is a large group of 5 Hindu caves, the second, and a smaller group of 2 Buddhist caves.

The Hindu caves contain rock cut stone sculptures, representing the Shaiva Hindu sect, dedicated to the god Shiva. The rock-cut architecture of the caves is dated to between the 5th and 8th centuries, although the identity of the original builders is still a subject of debate.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is a historic railway station in Mumbai, which serves as the headquarters of the Central Railways. It is one of the busiest railway stations in India, and serves Central Railway trains terminating in Mumbai as well as the Mumbai Suburban Railway.

This famous architectural landmark in Gothic style was built as the headquarters of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway. It took ten years to complete.

Churches and Convents of Goa

Churches and Convents of Goa are monuments built by the Portuguese colonial rulers of Goa between 16th and 18th centuries. These monuments are mainly in the former capital of Old Goa.

The most significant of these monuments is the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which enshrines the tomb containing the relics of St. Francis Xavier. These monuments of Goa, known as the “Rome of the Orient,” were established by different Catholic religious orders.

There were originally 60 churches of which some of the surviving monuments are the Saint Catherine’s Chapel, the Church and Convent of Saint Francis of Assisi, the Jesuit Borea Jezuchi Bajilika, Asisachea Sanv Fransiskachi Igorz, the church of Saint Cajetan and its seminary, Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, and Church of Saint Augustine.

Western Ghats of India

Western Ghats, also known as the Sahyadri Mountains, a mountain range along the western side of India and one of the world’s ten “Hottest biodiversity hotspots.”

A total of 39 biodiversity hotspots (including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests) were designated as world heritage sites – 20 in the state of Kerala, 10 in Karnataka, 5 in Tamil Nadu, and 4 in Maharashtra. Some of the key ones are:

  • Agasthymalai Peak
  • Periyar
  • Anamalai Mountains
  • Nilgiri Hills
  • Talakaveri Valley
  • Kudremukh Hills
  • Sahyadri

Group of Monuments at Hampi , Karnataka

The Group of Monuments at Hampi comprise a somber but ostentatious Hampi town, on the banks of the river Tungabhadra in Karnataka. Hampi, as an important Hindu & Jain religious center.

Dravidian temples and palaces abound in Hampi. These won the admiration of travelers between the 14th and 16th centuries. Hampi subsumes the ruins of Vijayanagara, which was the former capital of the powerful Vijayanagara Empire.

Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, Karnataka

The Group of monuments in Pattadakal cover a remarkable series of nine Hindu temples, as well as a Jain sanctuary in northern Karnataka.

In this group of temples, the Virupaksha Temple, built in 740 AD by Queen Lokamahadevi to commemorate her husband’s victory over the Pallava kings from the south, is considered the most outstanding architectural edifice.

These are a remarkable combination of temples built by the Chalukya Dynasty in the 6th to 8th century at Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal, the latter city was known as the “Crown Rubies”. The temples represent a remarkable fusion of the architectural features of northern (Nagara) and southern (dravida) India.

Pattadakal is considered a Hindu holy city and within the heritage complex are eight temples dedicated to Shiva, a ninth shaivite sanctuary called the Papanatha Temple, and a Jain Narayana temple.

Great Living Chola Temples, Tamil Nadu

The Great Living Chola Temples, built by kings of the Chola Empire stretched over all of Tamil Nadu. This cultural heritage site includes three great temples of 11th and 12th centuries namely, the Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Brihadisvara Temple at Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram.

The temples testify to the brilliant achievements of the Chola in architecture, sculpture, painting and bronze casting. You can visit all three of these:

  • Brihadeeswarar Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Tamil Nadu
  • Airavateshwarar Temple, Darasuram, Tamil Nadu
  • Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu

Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu

The Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, in Tamil Nadu, about 58 km from Chennai, were built by the Pallava kings in the 7th and 8th centuries. These monuments have been carved out of rock along the Coromandel Coast.

The temple town has approximately forty monuments, including the largest open-air bas-relief in the world. The monuments inscribed are the Ratha Temples: Temples in the form of chariots, Mandapas, 11 Cave sanctuaries covered with bas-reliefs, rock relief of Descent of the Ganges, which is the largest open air Rock relief also known as Arjuna’s Penance or Bhagiratha’s Penance.

Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, Bihar

Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya is a unique property of cultural and archaeological importance. The first temple was built by Emperor Ashoka in 260 BC around the Bodhi Tree Ficus religiosa (to the west of the temple).

Revered and sanctified as the place where Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was enlightened in 531 BC at age 35, and then propagated his divine knowledge of Buddhism to the world, it has been the ultimate temple for reverential worship, over the last several centuries, by Buddhists of all denominations, from all over the world who visit on pilgrimage.

The main temple is 50 m in height, built in Indian architectural style, dated between 5th and 6th centuries, and it is the oldest temple in the Indian sub-continent built during the “Golden Age” of Indian culture credited to the Gupta period.

Nalanda, Bihar

The Nalanda Mahavihara site in Bihar comprises the archaeological remains of a monastic and scholastic institution dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE. It includes stupas, shrines, viharas (residential and educational buildings) and important art works in stucco, stone and metal.

Nalanda stands out as the most ancient university of the Indian Subcontinent. It engaged in the organized transmission of knowledge over an uninterrupted period of 800 years. The historical development of the site testifies to the development of Buddhism into a religion and the flourishing of monastic and educational traditions.

Sundarbans National Park, West Bengal

The Sundarbans National Park, the largest estuarine mangrove forest in the world is a national park, tiger reserve, UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a biosphere reserve located in the Sundarbans Ganges river delta bordering the Bay of Bengal, in West Bengal.

This region is densely covered by mangrove forests, and is one of the largest reserves for the Bengal tiger. It is also home to a variety of bird, reptile and invertebrate species, including the salt-water crocodile.

Sun Temple, Konark, Odisha

Konark Sun Temple is a 13th-century Sun Temple in Odisha. Located on the east coast of the Bay of Bengal in the Mahanadi Delta, it is built in the form of the chariot of Surya, the sun god with 24 wheels, and is heavily decorated with symbolic stone carvings and led by a team of six horses.

It was constructed from oxidizing weathered ferruginous sandstone and is one of the most renowned temples in India.

Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh

Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi, located 45 km (28 mi) from Bhopal in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh are a group of Buddhist monuments dated between 200 BC and 100 BC. The site, however, has been conjectured to have been developed in the 3rd century BC, when Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire ruled.

The principal monument is a Stupa dated to the 2nd century and 1st century BC. These Buddhist sanctuaries were active Buddhist religious monuments, which flourished till the 12th century. The sanctuary has a plethora of monolithic pillars, palaces, temples and monasteries in different status of preservation.

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka described in the UNESCO Inscription as “a magnificent repository of rock paintings within natural rock shelters” is located in the foothills of the Vindhya Hill Range in the Central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

It is spread in sandstone formations. The rock shelters comprise a group of “five clusters of rock shelters” with paintings that are inferred to date from the “Mesolithic period right through to the Historical period”, with the 21 villages surrounding them reflecting the traditions displayed in the rock paintings.

The unique rock art has been discovered in 400 painted shelters spread over a vast area amidst a forest with high diversity of flora and fauna, with some of the shelters dating back to 100,000 BC to 1000 AD.

Khajuraho Monuments, Madhya Pradesh

Khajuraho Group of Monuments belong to both the Hindu and Jain religious practices with striking fusion of stone sculpture and architecture. The best example of this outstanding feature is seen in the Kandariya Temple.

Of the 85 temples built, only 22 temples have survived. Located in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, it is renowned for its unique original artistic creation and proof of the Chandela Culture that existed prior to the Muslim invasion of India in the early 12th century.

The stone walls of temples are decorated with a profusion of sculptures with intricate details, tantric symbolism, and sexual expressiveness of ancient Indian art.

Kaziranga, Assam

Kaziranga, located in the Northeastern state of Assam in the flood plains of the Brahmaputra River’s south bank. It was established as a reserved forest in 1908 to protect the dwindling species of rhinoceros.

This large park, which covers 106,250 acres of land has the distinction of being home to the largest population of the great Indian one-horned rhinoceros. There are many other mammals and birds species protected in the sanctuary.

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the northeastern state of Assam. It is in the plains of the Manas River in the foot hills of the Himalayas, on the border with Bhutan (contiguous with the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary in Bhutan).

The sanctuary is the habitat of several species of plants, 21 most-threatened species of mammals (out of 55 mammal species in the sanctuary), 36 reptile species, 3 amphibians and 350 species of birds.

Endangered species include tiger, pygmy hog, clouded leopard, sloth bear, Indian rhinoceros, wild buffaloes (the only pure strain of buffalo in India), Indian elephants, golden langur and Bengal florican.

Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim

Located at the heart of the Himalayan range in northern Indian State of Sikkim, the Khangchendzonga National Park includes a unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers and spectacular, snow-capped mountains covered with ancient forests, including the world’s third highest peak, Mount Khangchendzonga.

Mountain Railways of India

The Mountain Railways of India represents a collective listing of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, and the Kalka-Shimla Railway under the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Two railways, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (1881) and the Kalka-Shimla Railway (1898) are located in the rugged hill regions of the Himalayas of Northern India and the other two, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (1908) and the Matheran Hill Railway (1907) are located in the rugged hill regions of the Western Ghats of Southern India.

Scenic Train Rides in India that are also UNESCO sites:

  • Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
  • Kalka-Shimla Railway
  • Nilgiri Mountain Railway
  • Matheran Hill Railway

These mountain railways of India has been stated as for being “outstanding examples of bold, ingenious engineering solutions for the problem of establishing an effective rail link through a rugged, mountainous terrain.”

So, which of these UNESCO Sites in India have you visited? Which ones are on your list? Please share your travel stories and tips in the comments below.

 

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Read Next

What Are Ley Lines? A Mystical Travel Route Across Earth

The ancient wisdom and old tales always hold a mysterious lure for common folk. One such myth is the Ley lines which supposedly covers the entire Earth. It’s invisible to the human eye but a special magnetic field or earth’s energy can be sensed if one walks over it.

What is a Ley Line? What is its significance? And above all, what is the reason for the existence of it?

Ley Lines

Scientifically speaking, Ley lines are like an energy grid system. They are often straight and move along in all directions. They connect various places of ancient religious and spiritual significance, often including human-made megastructures.

Spiritually speaking, these paths were known to almost all ancient civilizations. For example, to the Germans, these were known as “Heilige Linien”, to the Irish, “Fairy paths”, to the Chinese, “Dragon Lines”,  to the Peruvians, “Spirit Lines”, and to the Australian Aborigines, “Song Paths”. These routes and landscapes are believed to have spiritual significance.

In 1929 the term Ley lines first held its importance. If you take a closer look at the world map then you can see that many important structures are at a straight line path from each other. Not only that the distance between them is also geometrically meaningful. For example the Stonehenge, Great Pyramids of Egypt, and Great Wall of China.

Many people believe that Ley Lines are grid lines of Earth which hold the energies of Earth. There are many theories behind the puzzle of Ley Lines or The Old Straight Track. Below are a few to sate your curiosity.

 

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Magnetic Field of Earth

According to the Chinese Art of Feng Shui, every building, every stone, every tree, every object should be in a position of harmony with the Earth’s magnetic and spiritual energy field. They believed that the dragon currents or the Earth’s magnetic field flowed in the grid of Ley Lines.

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Earth has its own magnetism, and maybe the Ley Lines are the imaginary lines along which the magnetism of the Earth flowed. It is also a belief that the dragon currents determine the routes of sun, moon, and planets.

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Astronomical Alignments

Astronomical alignments of the Ley Lines is not a common hypothesis. The first significant Ley line to be traced was determined from crossing through Stonehenge.

To our ancient ancestors, the earth’s landscape was a canvas upon which humans connected points on the ground with points in the sky. The Sun, Moon, Stars, and the change of seasons was critical to our species survival. Most megalithic constructions are connected in a straight line or triangular pattern.

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This St. Michael’s Ley Line runs from Great Yarmouth to Penzance. The interesting fact about it is – it follows the path of midsummer sunrise, and connects Stonehenge, Glastonbury, and Avebury which are all ancient Megalith sites.

 

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Spirit Ways or Death Roads

Spirit ways or Death Roads is the most mysterious theory of all. In most of the cultures, there are beliefs that the soul takes it path after death. We had seen evidence in history when the dead bodies got buried with valuable goods that were required in after-life.

 

There are many Funerary English traditions in which the paths of the dead get marked. Mourners carry pebbles which they threw at certain spots on their way to the grave. And it was a way for souls to know the route (as believed).

British also followed –no going over a bridge twice holding a corpse. All these traditions point towards the existence of an unseen spiritual path, something like the Ley Lines.

Dream Time

The Aborigines of Australia believe that there was a time in history called the – Dream time. It is at this time that the Creative Gods came to this land and traversed the country.

 

And they laid certain paths called “Turingas” which hold energies. At certain times of the year, the energy in this paths gets revitalized and fertilizes the countryside.

Spirit Lines of Inca

The Incans believed the presence of supernatural energy on Earth, that is why they created “Ceques” or “Spirit Lines”. These lines were sacred pathways and often marked by stones, springs, and temples. Most of them ended at the foot of Holy Mountains.

 

 

You will not find the explanation of Ley Lines in any geography book because officially they do not exist. But the idea of a hidden network of energy lines across the earth is intriguing enough to fire the imagination, and hence it became a New Age interest.

What do you think about these ancient energy tracks? Will you walk one of these to seek what you may be seeking?

 

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A Vintage Photo Story of Modern Travel

Imagine the world a century ago, when there wasn’t a fast metro connection, nor was convertible an entity yet. An age of black and white photographs, which people still treasure today.

We bring you a series of the vintage photos to paint the story of modern travel: from how stewardess became flight attendant and how convertibles came to play. We hope you enjoy this series as much as we did.

This is how a bustling street in the Cairo Open Market (Egypt) looked like in the year 1911, with the camels gracing the roads along with the crowd.

Posing is an art as old as the civilization itself, and this man does it like a pro. Dressed like an Arab in front of the Great Sphinx back in 1913.

The travelers of the 20th Century admire the fortifications of a building from the 18th century in Acapulco, Mexico in 1916. Two Centuries captured in one vintage photo.

Read: The Ultimate Travel Bucket List

The Atlantic City Boardwalk was a perfect place for an evening stroll, back in the days of 1920. And by the looks of it, we can see it was very popular among the folks.

A beautiful sight is hard to look away from. That is what passengers of the Oriental Limited Train are doing. As they go from the Skykomish county, Washington in 1923. The passengers are just peering down to admire the view of the river across them.

Related: World’s 10 Most Beautiful Train Rides

Our genes are forever the same, throughout the ages. Then how can we ignore the hawker trying to sell souvenirs? Image of the French Riviera in 1926.

 

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The Islanders are all set to offer their daily offerings to the temple in 1927, Bali, Indonesia

40 long years after its construction the once hideous tower was now the emblem of Paris. A man soaks up in the majestic view of the Eiffel Tower in 1929.

Composing a photograph to bring the iconic half dome of Yosemite National Park, might be hard. But we had talented photographers back in 1933. Two visitors pose in the Glacier Point Hotel against the background of half dome of Yosemite National Park, California.

A Pan Am flight landing in Brownsville, Texas in 1938. You can see the flight’s comfort clothes were not hoodie and sneakers but traditional dresses.

 

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A Pan Am plane docked at the Manila Bay as curious children look at it in awe in 1940.

A stewardess putting together the meal for the passengers. Don’t be surprised by ” Stewardess” because 1940 was long before the use of ” flight attendant” which was used after the rise of the third wave of feminism around the 1970s.

A woman just getting out of her car to admire the gorgeous landscape ahead of her in South Africa, 1941.

Shreds of evidence in history show us that fine dining came from the French. Guests dining al fresco in Dives-sur-Mer in 1943.

This image calls out epicness on many levels: a woman, on a horseback, calling out to  an eagle. Image clicked in 1944.

Dark and desolate landscape sometimes makes for an amazing photo. This image captured in 1945 is of the rocky landscape of Costa Rica.

It was the year of the independence of India – 1947. The sightseers revel in the beauty of a wooden float boat ride.

Before hiking became a hype these two men, stop and stare at the Grand Falls, Arizona by leisurely sipping their coffee in 1951.

A convertible rides from Anacapri, Italy in 1970. Convertibles were first manufactured in the 1940s and the first ever was Chrysler Thunderbolt.

This gorgeous image was taken at the Ionian Islands, Greece, 1973. The boats wind through the narrow cliffs of Cephalonia.

All Photo Credits go to the National Geographic Photo Archive.

 

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A Brief Overview of the American Civil War in Photos

On April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House in northern Virginia, marking the end of more than four years of hostilities that split the United States in two camps.

Here is a black and white photo story of the American Civil War.

This is Fort Sumter, South Carolina on April, 1861, under the Confederate flag. It is here that The first shots of the Civil War took place, on April 12, 1861, as Confederate batteries opened fire on the Union fort, bombarding it for 34 straight hours.

On April 13, Union forces surrendered and evacuated the fort. Union forces tried to retake the fort throughout the war, but only took possession on February 22, 1865, after Confederate forces had evacuated Charleston.

Civil War Battles

This picture is of the 150th Pennysylvania Infantry camp, Belle Plain , Virginia  on March 1862, just three weeks before the Battle of Chancellorsville.

War draws blood and American Civil War was no exception. This picture shows the aftermath of  Battle of Spotsylvania in 1864 where the wounded soldiers rest near Marye’s Heights, Fredericksburg, Virginia.

The Battle of Seven Pines also known as the Battle of  Fair Oaks , took place on May 31st and June 1st. This picture shows the Union Forces standing guard against the Confederate groups.

The Battle of Antietam also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg was a battle fought on September 17, 1862. This picture shows the bodies of dead soldiers strewn across the Hagerstown road.

Civil War Leaders

President Abraham Lincoln flanked by Major Alan Pinkerton and General John McClernand at a Union camp in Sharpsburg, Maryland in 1862. 

Opposite to the Union Forces was the Confederate states of America. Jefferson Davis, a former United States Secretary of War and Senator from the State of Mississippi, served as the President of the Confederate States of America from 1861-1865.

After the American Civil war, he was captured, indicted for treason, and imprisoned for two years — after which he was freed on bail. His case was eventually dropped in 1869, and he lived another twenty years, passing away at the age of 81.

How did such a long war end? It was the surrender of Robert E. Lee, Confederate General to General Ulysses Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865 which led to the end of the American Civil war. Above is a picture of  General Robert E.Lee posing for a portrait by Mathew Brady.

Secession

Morris Island, South Carolina. The shattered muzzle of a 300-pounder Parrott Rifle after it had burst, photographed in July or August of 1863

A photo of the USS Essex on  March, 1863. The 1000-ton ironclad river gunboat, originally a steam-powered ferry, was acquired during the American Civil War by the US Army in 1861 for the Western Gunboat Flotilla.

She was transferred to the US Navy in 1862 and participated in several operations on the Mississippi River, including the capture of Baton Rouge and Port Hudson in 1863.

 

 

Fortifications at Yorktown, Virginia, during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862.

Reconstruction

General Sherman’s men destroying the railroad before the evacuation of Atlanta, Georgia in 1864.

A group of Contrabands at Haxall’s Mill, Richmond, Virginia, on June 9, 1865. The slaves that were imported were called as contrabands.

Soldiers boxing in a Union camp in Petersburg, Virginia, in April of 1865.

The photo credits go to Rare Historical Photos.

20 Amazing Life Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

Airplanes are the safest way to travel. Still, 40% of passengers claim that they are terrified of flying because of the possibility of a plane crash. The thing is, the odds of a plane crash are 1 for every 1.2 million flights, with odds of dying one in a million.

Even more surprising, if you’re ever in a plane crash, you’ll have a 95.7% chance of survival.

That said, ‘more than half’ of pilots have slept at least once while flying.

You are 1 in a million even when you are ‘normal’ in as many as 265 traits (such as height, weight, eye color, etc.) that define you! You are indeed unique and so is your life’s journey!

To be in the world’s top 50% by wealth, you only need $3600 USD in net-assets. To be in the world’s top 25%, you only need $55,000 USD in net-assets (house, car, cash, stocks, jewelry, land, etc.)

Read: How to save money strategically for your travel goals

Speaking of net worth, close to 15% of the world’s population have a negative net worth.

The % of the world that’s extremely poor has more than halved since 1950. In 1970, an estimated 2.2 billion people lived in extreme poverty. In 2015, this number was a little over 700 million. The total number of people in “extreme poverty” is a third of what it was 35 years ago.

 

During World War 1, ~ 65% of Britain’s glass optics (used in military binoculars) came from Germany and ~ 70% of Germany’s rubber came from Britain. Think about that. Human interdependence is a natural condition.

Speaking of wars, only 20% of the males born in the Soviet Union in 1923 survived World War 2. Why go to war with one another?

The world produces enough food for 12 billion people, enough water for 16 billion, and enough energy for 20 billion. The only problem is the unsophisticated distribution. Fixing the distribution problem alone might eliminate world poverty forever.

On this planet, some 21,000 people die EVERY SINGLE DAY due to starvation. However, on the very same planet, obesity costs us a combined total of $2 TRILLION USD dollars a year!

Between 1984 and 1999, 10% of the Indian Army’s defense budget and 15% of the Pakistan army’s went to supplying less than 4000 troops occupying a remote glacier called the Siachen Glacier.

Belarus is the most alcohol consuming country with an average of more than 17 liters per person per year. So it means some people are drinking way, way more than that to bring the average this high.

The fertility rate in Niger was estimated to be over 6 children per woman which is the highest in the world. In 2015, it was 6.7 children per woman.

Japan, on the other hand, is having trouble keeping up the birth rates and the net population is rapidly shrinking while the median age of the population is over the age of 50.

Over 47% population of Palau is obese which is highest in the world.

Australia is the world’s biggest gambling nation with $1288 AUD gaming losses per adult.

Mauritius has the highest diabetes population with 22.30% population aged from 20 and 79.

If you earn $12,000 USD in a year then it means it would take the average laborer in Ghana about 75 years to earn the same amount.

Always, try to look at the bright side of life.

Our body has roughly 30 trillion human cells and 40 trillion microbes. So, statistically speaking, we are 40% human, 60% microbes! Yikes!

Bonus:

Sitting around for a day and a half (36 hours) burns more calories than running a marathon. If you don’t believe it, consider this:

Running a mile burns about 100 calories in an average person. A marathon is about 26.22 miles.

26.22 x 100 = 2622 calories

Say, a typical person needs about 2000 calories per day to maintain weight.

2000 x 1.5 days = 3000 calories

How is this possible?

Your heart never sleeps. It is always on the job. And your brain is also always on the job (including when you sleep). In some ways, your brain is even more active when you sleep. And then there is a basic metabolism where your muscles burns calories to perform day-to-day activities.

In summary, your muscles, heart, and brain run their own kind of a marathon every day and the calories add up to something significant, something on the scale of major athletic events. Impressed yet?