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Where History Comes to Life

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

One of the great joys of travelling is that occasionally you come across a place where you can not only hear about history but can actually feel it, see it and touch it. Rather than in dry museums, where the past can seem remote, vague and as dusty as the exhibits, these are places where the past comes to life and assaults your senses, imbuing you with a greater understanding of history and a much better travelling experience. These are three such places.

Rome Colosseum

Rome, Italy

Rome must be first on this list. It is easy to be overwhelmed here by not just the significance of the history all around you but also by the sheer amount of it. It seems that every corner you turn brings you to another world famous monument towering above the cluttered streets. As if the Roman remains from the BC period were not enough the Vatican and its surroundings continue the story right up to the present day. Of course the conditions of the Roman remains do demand a little imagination, but the impressive size of the Colosseum and character of the Forum cannot but enchant the visitor and transport them back to the glory days of the Roman Empire. Children especially find Rome a magical place as it can be the first realisation that history is not just a collection of stories but a fragile link with our collective past.

Top 2 hotels in Rome Colosseum area

Globe Theatre, London

The Globe Theatre in London has a few similarities with the Colosseum in Rome, but primarily the ability to create an atmosphere that makes the modern city surroundings melt away. A tour of the theatre is a good way to get an idea of the natural home of Shakespeare plays, but nothing can compare to seeing one performed there. The educational potential of the Globe can hardly be overestimated, especially for those who believe that education should never end. Whether in developing a wider understanding of the Elizabethan world or a more focused literary exploration, the theatre can provide young and old alike with an experience more rewarding than textbooks and more satisfying than a museum.

Top 2 hotels near The Globe, in London

Lidice, Czech Republic

Acting as a chilling comparison to the Colosseum and the Globe Theatre is the remains of the village of Lidice, outside Prague in the Czech Republic. In 1942 the Nazis came to Lidice and vowed to wipe it from the face of the earth in revenge for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague a few days earlier. The men were rounded up and shot, the women were taken to concentration camps and the children were either sent to live with German families, or, if they were too old to be assimilated, they were gassed. Today a peaceful field is left where Lidice once stood, with an understated museum overlooking the sight from a memorial complex. When people use the phrase ‘where history comes to life’ they usually have something less oppressive in mind than this, however, if you want to witness the results of the last century’s bloody ideological conflicts this is one of the best places to do it, and it will leave you with a renewed desire to ensure that our new century does not go the same way.

Top 2 hotels in Prague, Czech Republic

Photo of the Roman Colosseum, Rome, by vgm8383.

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer will joce

Will Joce is a recent graduate from the London School of Economics who has a morbid fear of working in an office. As well as travelling and writing he has worked in the UK Parliament and as a press monitor. Refusing to follow advice and get a real job he will soon be beginning a Masters degree at St Petersburg State University

One response to “Where History Comes to Life”

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  1. Susan Geraeds says:
    February 4th, 2010 at 16:11

    I saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Globe Theatre, it was great! Do rent one of those cushions to sit on, the wooden benches are very hard.

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