For many tourists, there is nothing more fascinating than arriving in a new city and discovering that it was built atop an ancient metropolis or another site of historical significance. Although many cities have reinvented themselves several times over the course of history, the following five stand out rather significantly and have become must-see destinations.
1. Mexico City, Mexico
Established by the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes in the sixteenth century, Mexico City is located on the site of an even older metropolis, the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. Once the center of the mighty Aztec empire, Tenochtitlan fell to ruin after the Spanish conquest, all but forgotten. Visitors can marvel at remnants of the Templo Mayor, a house of worship dedicated to the gods Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc. They can also visit the Palace of Eagle Warriors, a once-stunning edifice that played host to the Aztec elite.
2. Damascus, Syria
Syria’s capital city has been inhabited since at least the third millennium B.C. and even today, is home to a plethora of historically significant locations. The Great Mosque of Umayyad, built in the 8th century, is a favorite with tourists who come to marvel at its stunning architecture, including the ornate Dome of the Treasury and Dome of the Clock. Nearby, the 11th century Citadel of Damascus stands as a testament to the city’s influence in the medieval Arab world. Although it is now solely a museum, the citadel served as a prison and military barracks as recently as 1986. In short, Damascus is definitely a must-see city for history lovers.
3. Korinthos, Greece
A thriving seaport in antiquity, the Greek town of Korinthos was built largely on the remains of ancient Corinth, which enjoyed its heyday during the Hellenic and Roman eras. Originally constructed in 550 B.C., the Temple of Apollos is world-renowned for its stunning columns and is a popular attraction for visitors. Tourists can also take a leisurely stroll on a pathway once used to transport ships from one end of the Corinthian isthmus to the other, and marvel at the Roman-era Peirene Fountain.
4. York, United Kingdom
Situated approximately 200 miles north of London, the city of York in northern England is home to a number of historically significant tourist attractions. In ancient times, York was known as Eboracum, a major center of power and culture in Roman Britain. Remnants of the Roman metropolis can be found throughout the distinctive, ten-sided Multiangular Tower still stands guard in the gardens outside the Yorkshire Museum. It is also a home to a variety of Roman artifacts. Beneath the Gothic cathedral of York Minster are ruins of the Roman army headquarters at Eboracum. For visitors who prefer a pint or two along with their history lesson, the ruins of a centuries-old bathhouse at the appropriately named Roman Bath pub are a sight that cannot be missed.
5. Bitola, Macedonia
Macedonia is a country rich in history, from Greco-Roman times to today. Near the town of Bitola, the ancient city of Heraclea Lyncestis beckons to those fascinated by the stunning and historically significant structures spanning hundreds of years. The Great Basilica is an artistic wonder; its elaborate mosaics are some of the earliest examples of Christian art. Visitors can also explore the ruins of a bishop’s residence and a marvelous Roman amphitheater. Additionally, the portico of a former courthouse attracts interested tourists. Needless to say, vacationers touring ancient Heraclea feel as though they are in another world.