Fascinating Historical Places that Deserve a Visit
The history of the world is a deep and neverending pool to dive into, and veteran travellers will know that the sites that are commonly known to everyone are just scratching the tip of a massive iceberg. The likes of the Pyramids of Egypt and Macchu Pichu in Peru are so recognisable that they are known to anyone with even a passing interest in world culture.
For that reason, we wanted to highlight some slightly more hidden pieces of history that deserve as much of a visit as the big names.
The Megalithic Tombs of Ireland
Far away from Dublin, nestled in the Boyne Valley are some of the most discreet but impressive human constructions ever to exist. Looking from the outside like man-made hills, the megalithic tombs in the valley are in fact some of the earliest examples of human architecture in the world. The most famous is the site at Newgrange, dated to around 5,500 years ago which makes the buildings there predate the Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge.
What makes these sites most impressive is not simply their longevity either, as the internal layouts of the major structures are specially designed both to take advantage of acoustic effects to amplify a speaker inside, but also align perfectly with the sun on the solstice.
The Hypogeum of Malta
Speaking of incredibly designed architecture, the Hypogeum at Hal Saflieni in Malta shares common blood with the Newgrange tombs, with rooms designed to produce an almost identical acoustic frequency in an ancient mystery that archaeologists still don’t entirely understand. It has been a specially preserved UNESCO World Heritage site for over 40 years already and, just like Newgrange, doesn’t immediately look as impressive as it is.
The Hypogeum is a series of underground rooms carved directly out of the local limestone around 6,000 years ago. While parts seem to have been used as some form of a temple, the main function of the complex is as a mausoleum and was in use for well over 1,000 years. As a note for travellers, make sure to book well in advance as there is a strict visitor limit per day.
Abydos in Egypt
The riches and mysteries of Ancient Egypt are some of the most enduringly appealing things in the world for so many people. They’ve inspired everything from movies to TV shows to epic novels, and casino game providers have dedicated hundreds of games to the theme in dozens of shapes and forms. With that said, many travellers look for something away from the crowds, and for that we suggest Abydos.
A temple complex similar to Karnak in function if not scale, Abydos is most well-known for the temple of Seti I. Apart from being a fascinating holy site by itself, the temple has been an archaeological gold mine thanks to the Abydos King List and the Abydos Graffiti, a time capsule of languages from across the ancient world.
Each of these is worth a visit in its own right, and each comes with the added bonus that, unlike the more well-known cousins, they are generally less crowded, especially if you time your visit right.