Unless you’re a streaming or home delivery service, no business has found itself untouched by the impact of the current pandemic. And among the worst affected has been the travel industry.
But at some point, this pandemic will end and we’ll all be eager to get away to different places again. And while the social and cultural fabric of our societies may change due to the impacts of the crisis, one thing will be exactly the same:
The world is full of rich and fascinating history, which will always remain exactly the same (albeit may vary depending on the perspective it’s told from!).
So if you’re disheartened by what the future travel experience may be – don’t be. There will always be the opportunity to travel through time, by diving into each country/culture’s unique history.
Here are some of our favorites.
Historic Places to Visit (Around the World) Once the Pandemic is Over
Tokyo’s Blend of Ancient and New
Japan is a fantastic place to immerse yourself in ancient history, and Tokyo in particular presents the chance to combine the comforts of modern culture while exploring ancient traditions.
Ancient temples, palaces, and historic Japanese gardens sit under the glow of neon lights here in Tokyo, and traditional Japanese culture is still very much alive despite a passion for futuristic technology and embracing everything new.
Spring is the opportunity to take part in festivals such as Hanami (cherry blossom season), which is a centuries old celebration (an ancient custom that started during the Nara period of 710 – 794), and foodies can enjoy the authentic and bustling Tsukiji Outer Market.
Set along the world’s most active earthquake belt, earthquakes are also a big part of Japanese history, and a visit to Tokyo is a chance to see how the city has evolved to have the best earthquake proof buildings in Japan (earning the reputation of being “the world’s safest city”).
When in Rome …
Ancient history is well and truly alive in Rome, despite the city bursting with a modern, energetic soul. With landmarks dating back nearly 2,000 years, Rome should be near the top of any list of historic cities!
Whether it’s the Colosseum at which gladiators would once have fought to their deaths or the Pantheon temple, a monument to old pagan gods (entry is free!), there’s enough to keep entire families intrigued for weeks.
You don’t have to be Catholic to be blown away by the sheer beauty of St Peter’s Basilica either, so don’t miss out on a visit to the Vatican City. The great Michelangelo himself painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling, which is one of the greatest installations in art history.
For some ‘living’ history, the most authentic part of Rome is the Trastevere neighborhood. The houses here are ancient, yet people still live in them, showcasing a way of life than has barely changed for centuries.
With its cobbled streets and crumbling archways, it can feel a little like you’re walking through a living museum, and the neighborhood really comes alive at night, with many restaurants, and bars that offer a menu of Italian food and wine!
Washington DC: Center of American History
More than just a place from where the US federal government operates, Washington DC has great historical tourist destinations that puts it at the very center of American History.
This includes the National Museum of American History, where you can see Thomas Edison’s first lightbulb from 1879, ruby slippers worn by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz or Bob Dylan’s jacket, on top of the political monuments of course like the White House.
Washington DC is very pedestrian friendly, and while there are many historic walking tours you can book onto with a guide, it’s also easy to do your own walking tour of history, DIY.
Starting near the White House (which is incredibly beautiful at night), head south towards the Washington Monument. You can then head west to the WWII Memorial and continue west toward the Lincoln Memorial, walking past the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial along the way.
From there, hit the Korean Veterans Memorial, and walk eastward down Independence Avenue towards the Martin Luther King Memorial. Heading south along the Tidal Basin, it’s then possible to walk to the Franklin Roosevelt Memorial and continue in that same direction to the Jefferson Memorial.
Other locations not to be missed are the Library of Congress and the sobering Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Smithsonian also has a massive 17 museums in DC alone, bringing history, science, art and culture alive.
Travel Through the Ages in London
London is another ancient city, despite having a distinctly modern soul! Founded back in 43AD by the Romans, London is a perfect balance between history and modernity.
Many tourists are attracted by Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey but don’t forget the world-famous British Museum or the ominous Tower of London, a defensive fortress until the late 19th century.
A rather hidden gem that not too many people are aware of, if you head to 12 Walbrook, London, you’ll be able to actually see a piece of ancient Rome, and one of the oldest and most significant archaeological sites in the country.
Dating back over 1,000 years, the Temple of Mithras was discovered by accident in 1954 on a World War II bomb site, and while it was originally taken apart and moved, you can now visit it where it originally stood.
Having been fully restored it now looks just as it did when it was first discovered; the thousands of locals and tourists who pass by the Bloomberg skyscraper in the City often have no idea there’s an ancient temple next door!
Cairo: Where Middle East and Africa Meet
Egypt is one of the world’s oldest and culturally rich civilizations, and it brings together both Middle Eastern and African culture. But when you think of Cairo the first thing that comes to mind is probably the 5000-year-old Pyramids.
After you’ve ridden a camel alongside the Great Pyramids of Giza, and spent time wondering how on earth they were built, it’s also worth checking out the Egyptian Museum or the bustling markets of Islamic Cairo.
Khan el-Khalili is a must-visit bazaar, and while you may have visited markets before, this one is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Dating back to the 14th century, and staying true to its traditional roots, loud and boisterous Arabian merchants call you to their stalls, selling statuettes, souvenirs and silver jewelry.
If the hustle and bustle of trade gets too much, there are many historic cafes serving tea and soulful music where you can relax and soak up the culture. And, people watch.
If you’re stopping for food make sure you order Koshari. This is the national dish of Egypt, made of macaroni, lentils, rice, and tomato sauce. It also has chickpeas and fried onions toppings, all mixed with garlic and vinegar.
The world is full of destinations with rich and fascinating history which go well beyond the small number we’ve mentioned here; which are your favorites?