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Archaeological and Historical Sites

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Having been a student of archaeology and a lover of all things classical since childhood, I've always felt that there is no better way to understand and connect with a place than by diving into its history, physically as well as figuratively.
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Piazza Venezia, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
The Monument of Victor Emmanuel II in Rome, nicknamed the Wedding Cake (and, alternately, the Typewriter) for its distinctive boxy shape, offers some of the most stunning panoramic views to be had of the Eternal City, in every direction. There is...
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Piazza Capitolo, 1, 33051 Aquileia UD, Italy
In the marshy, coastal lowlands east of Venice lies Aquileia. Founded as a Roman colony in AD 181, Aquileia soon grew to be the fourth largest city in ancient Italy. When the city’s Basilica Patriarcale was built in 313, the floor was paved with a...
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Piazza Giovanni Agnelli, 10, 00144 Roma RM, Italy
The Museo Della Civiltà Romana (Museum of Roman Civilization) is a fascinating destination. Made up largely of replicas of Roman artwork and scale models of Roman buildings (including an impressive scale model of the city of Rome as it appeared...
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Via Sacra, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
On the Via Sacra east of the Roman Forum, the Arch of Titus is a beautiful and imposing triumphal monument, commemorating Titus' victory following the Siege of Jerusalem in the first century, C.E. The south relief panel on the interior of the arch...
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Piazza del Colosseo, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
No matter how many postcards you've seen of Rome's iconic Colosseum, you just don't get it until you pass beneath its crumbling arches. Built by Emperor Vespasian in 72 C.E., the huge amphitheater held 50,000 spectators and marked its...
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Calle Real de la Alhambra, s/n, 18009 Granada, Spain
A visit to Granada, Spain isn't complete without a stop at the Alhambra. The Moorish architecture, robust gardens, and stunning views of Granada combine to make a truly memorable experience. Start your day with a tour of the Generalife Gardens....
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Eleven centuries into its existence, the elegant and sophisticated Alcázar is testament to the idea that good design transcends time. The palace, still the residence of the royal family when in Seville, invites wandering. You'll find...
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During our recent trip to Rome, we paid a visit to the incredible UNESCO World Heritage site of Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli. Minus the wooden fence in the photograph, you can almost envision how this gorgeous area of the property would have...
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00186 Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
The Roman Forum is where ancient Rome began. The sprawling archaeological park gives us just a hint of what the Roman Empire once was—a dominant and diverse society. The Forum itself was the political, social, religious, and commercial focal...
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Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City
No wonder the lines to get inside St. Peter's Basilica are some of the longest in Europe: It's home to world-famous architecture (many consider the dome atop St. Peter's Basilica to be Michelangelo's greatest achievement), one of the best views of...
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Via Labicana, 95, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
In 1857, the prior of the Basilica di San Clemente thought there might be something underneath his 12th-century church, already renowned for its relics and striking mosaic of the Crucifixion. When he excavated, he found not only the original,...
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Al Haram, Giza Governorate, Egypt
You may have studied them in school and seen a million pictures, but that has probably done little to prepare you for actually seeing the Pyramids of Giza in real life. Standing in the shadow of the 450 foot tall Great Pyramid is a humbling...
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Luxor City, Luxor, Luxor Governorate, Egypt
The ancient temple ruins at Karnak in Luxor, Egypt, are the second most popular tourist attraction in Egypt after the Pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx. Karnak was built starting more than 4,000 years ago and was constructed, destroyed, and...
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Latin America
Mitla is located in the Oaxaca Valley, just a short distance from Oaxaca City. However you get there, it’s worth the visit. It’s not a large site; an hour and a half will be more than enough time to walk around. There are so many things that set...
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Sayaxché, Guatemala
My friend Joan and I were staying at Ni'tun Private Reserve on Lake Petén Itzá near Flores, and planned to visit several Maya sites in the Petén region, but were most excited about visiting Aguateca. What an adventure it was! Our guide Bernie of...
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55800 San Juan Teotihuacán, State of Mexico, Mexico
While it's not in Mexico City proper, the sacred pre-Hispanic city of Teotihuacan is close enough–about 30 miles– for an easy day trip if you're interested in architecture, archaeology, and indigenous history. The site's primary structures, the...
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Machu Pichu, 08680, Peru
This month marks the hundred-year-anniversary of the "re-discovery" of this Inca citadel by Hiram Bingham. Machu Picchu deserves its clichés--'place of a lifetime,' 'bucket-list destination'...'mystical'...'amazing'... Sometimes, it's okay...
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Delphi 330 54, Greece
The belly button of the world lies eighty miles northwest of Athens, where the southern slope of Mount Parnassus, cut deeply by cascades feeding the River Pleistos, drops precipitously into the Gulf of Corinth. High above the ravine in a cleft...
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Dervişali Mahallesi, Kariye Cami Sk. No:8, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
According to Islamic tradition, only God can create images of holy beings, including angels and prophets. Therefore, when the Ottomans converted Chora Church into a mosque in the 16th century, they covered the 14th-century Byzantine mosaics and...
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Sultan Ahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı No:1, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Walk into Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) and look up to the heavens to see why so many conquerors and their respective religions claimed this basilica turned mosque turned museum as their own. Visitors will swoon over the Byzantine gilded mosaics,...
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Alemdar, Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
A city as ancient as Istanbul has many layers of history, and you’ll have to go below the surface to see the Basilica Cistern, the largest of the underground cisterns. Built in the sixth century for the Byzantine emperor Justinian, the...
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Vişnezade, Dolmabahçe Cd., 34357 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
This decadent palace, which overlooks the Bosphorus from the European side, holds great importance to Turkey. The late-19th-century sultans resided here and ruled the Ottoman Empire from here, and while the Turkish Republic's capital is in Ankara,...
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Athens 105 58, Greece

You can’t miss the Parthenon, the majestic ruin towering above Athens. Originally painted in vivid hues, this feat of architecture, engineering, and artistry is still as awe-inspiring as it was almost 2,500 years ago. Le Corbusier, pioneer of...

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Acropolis, Athens 116 36, Greece
Obviously, you can’t visit Athens without climbing up “the rock” (as locals fondly call the Acropolis) to commune with its crowning glory: the Parthenon. Although visible from most places in the city, getting up close to one of...
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80045 Pompeii, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy

Witness the destruction wrought by Mt. Vesuvius nearly 2,000 year ago at the archaeological site of Pompeii. The ancient village was frozen in time beneath a blanket of hot ash during an eruption in 79 C.E. Among the ruins that have been uncovered...

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Adare, Co. Limerick, V94 W8WR, Ireland
This castle was erected with an ancient ring-fort, around the early part of the 13th century. It became a strategic fortress during the following turbulent years. It was the property of the Earls of Kildare for nearly 300 years until the rebellion...
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Piazza Eremitani, 8, 35121 Padova PD, Italy
Built in 1307, Giotto's Arena Chapel, aka Scorvegni Chapel, should not be missed when visiting the Veneto. In Padua, it is often overlooked, which can mean smaller crowds during certain times and seasons. After a video in English and Italian...
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Epidavros Municipality, Greece
Traveling around Greece with a group of Theatre and Dance students has it's advantages. While visiting Epidaurus, a ancient spa with one of the most well-known Greek ampitheatres, we were entranced by the perfect acoustics of the theatre. A person...
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Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Adorned with more than 20,000 blue handcrafted İznik tiles, stained-glass windows, and the golden brushstrokes of a 17th-century calligrapher, the Blue Mosque is the legacy of Sultan Ahmet I (1590–1617). The young sultan audaciously wished...
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Av. Extremadura, 2, 41970 Santiponce, Sevilla, Spain
Located a short cab or bus ride (roughly 9km) outside Seville, the Roman city of Italica is well worth a visit for any and all interested in classical civilizations. Not only does it have a remarkable amphitheater in an excellent state of...
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17 Gough Square, Holborn, London EC4A 3DE, UK
No trip to London is complete without a trip to Dr. Samuel Johnson's House in Gough Square. It's impossible to leave without a strong sense for the man and for his life in London, and the house is a beautiful sight to behold in its own right (and...