10 historic places you can visit
Tourism has become more accessible to people in recent years. With more and more cheaper airfare options, more than ever, people can travel and experience places they had previously only seen in books. Seeing up close where the important events for humanity took place can be quite exciting and, without a doubt, enriching. Find out which are some of the 10 historic places open to visitors.
1. Bernauer Strasse, Berlin, Germany
In 1961, the Germans in Berlin woke up with a barrier that divided their lives. A wall was in fact built, dividing the city between the communist side, dominated by the Russians and the capitalist, dominated by England, France and the United States. The Berlin Wall divided lives – if you had woken up on one side of the wall, and your family, job or girlfriend was on the other side, well, it was time to get a new life. At Bernauer Strasse you will find a large memorial in the area where the barrier was built. It is possible to relive the adventure of those who died trying to escape through clandestine tunnels. The Bernauer Strasse memorial tells much of the history of Europe that took place between 1961 and 1989.
2. Gandhi Memorial, New Delhi, India
The capital of India is home to the leader of the peaceful revolution, Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi was betting on nonviolence and civil disobedience as ways to fight British occupation in the country. In favor of peace between Hindus and Muslims, he also helped divide India and Pakistan. His house was transformed into a museum and memorial. There, Gandhi was murdered by an Indian who was against the creation of Pakistan. The museum tells the story of Gandhi from his birth to his role as leader of a country. At the memorial, it is possible to follow the last steps of the leader, before taking the shots in 1948.
3. Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France
The Palace of Versailles was built by King Louis XIII, but it really reached its peak with the absolutist Louis XIV, King Sol, in 1682. But all wealth and ostentation has a price, and that price was paid two generations later, when Louis XVI and his wife Maria Antonieta inhabited the palace. The French Revolution took them out of there, in 1789. When visiting the palace, it is possible to see a small door through which Antonieta supposedly tried to escape. But the story doesn’t stop there. Napoleon also lived in Versailles. Years later, in the same palace, the Treaty of Versailles was signed by world leaders after the end of the First World War, in the Hall of Mirrors. The document officially ended the end of the war and defined that Germany should suffer several sanctions for starting the conflict.
4. Twin Towers Memorial, New York, United States
You may remember exactly where you were on September 11, 2001, the year the great empire of the 21st century was attacked. The crash of the planes against the Twin Towers, a symbol of New York, shook the Western world, created widespread fear against terrorism and, as a result, started two US wars against countries in the Middle East. If the image of planes hitting buildings is still a recent memory for many, those who visit NY today can go to the memorial where the towers were, Marco Zero. Today, the site has been transformed into a complex of buildings: some of them have already been opened and the tallest tower, as well as a museum reminding victims, is due to be completed in 2014.
5. Auschwitz, Poland
No one has any doubts: the Holocaust was one of the most terrible episodes in human history. During the rise to power, the Nazis built concentration camps that would serve, in principle, to place their political enemies. But such places ended up becoming extermination camps for whoever the Nazis wanted to eliminate, especially the Jews. Auschwitz, Poland, was the concentration camp that received the most prisoners. It was so big that it was divided into three areas: I, II and III. Over 1 million people died there. Today, the concentration camp is a memorial, where only guided tours are possible.
6. Cape of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa
In Cabo da Boa Esperança there are no buildings, besides a beautiful view and a national park full of wild animals, such as seals, penguins and baboons. Even so, one of the southernmost points on the African continent, bordering the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, the cape changed the history of the world. After all, it was only after the Cape of Good Hope managed to be circled by Commander Bartolomeu Dias, in 1488, that the way to the Indies was discovered and America, as a consequence. The name of the place, given by the first navigators who saw it, was Cabo das Tormentas, due to the amount of storms that Dias and his ship went through to get there. However, the Portuguese king was so happy with the achievement that he changed the name to Boa Esperança.
7. Tower of London, England
Built in 1078, the Tower of London followed the history of one of the most important cities in the world from the medieval period to the contemporary era. It was there, for example, that Ana Boleyn, King Henry VIII’s second wife, was beheaded. They say that his spirit roams the corridors, head in hand. In addition to murders, arrests, conspiracies and wars, the Tower of London was a royal residence until Oliver Cromwell’s government, between 1640 and 1649, was a zoo and today holds the crown jewels. The visit to the buildings tells the stories of the rulers, servants, prisoners and traitors, interesting historical figures. It is worth checking out the crows in the gardens. Legend has it that when all the crows in the tower are gone, the British Kingdom will fall.
8. Discovery Landmark, Bahia, Brazil
In 1500, Pedro Álvares Cabral and the Portuguese caravels arrived in Brazil, in the region where today is Bahia, close to the city of Porto Seguro. They went down, made contact with the Indians, said mass, stayed 12 days and embarked again, leaving for India. And then Brazil was officially discovered. Today, you can visit the Marco do Descobrimento and see the place where the history of this land crossed with that of the Portuguese.
9. Plaza de La Constituición, Santiago, Chile
Among dictatorships in South America, Chilean was one of the most violent. That is why, in the country’s capital, Santiago, it is possible to find several buildings that reveal a little of this history. Plaza de La Constituicion, for example, was the scene of the coup. Supported by the United States, the Chilean military bombed La Moneda Palace, which is in the square and is still the seat of government. The president at the time, Salvador Allende, was inside. In the square, today, there is a memorial for the deposed former president. Next to the square is also the National Historical Museum, which tells the story of the 1973 coup.
10. Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China
On June 4, 1989, the third largest public square in the world, in Beijing, China, was the scene of a violent confrontation between protesting students and the Chinese government, which sent tanks of war to fight the protesters. According to the Red Cross, nearly 3,000 people died in the action. The image of a young man alone preventing the tanks from moving around the world. Tiananmen Square or Tian’anmen is still a hot topic in China. For example, Google searches on the subject in China are censored. And on the 4th of June, the concentration of military personnel increases a lot in the square, to avoid any other type of demonstration.