Getting Your Fix of Culture and History on Your Travels

Want more from a vacation than just sandy beaches and tourist attractions? Maybe you plan on going traveling, and want a really life changing and incredible experience? Either way, visiting a destination that’s full of culture will really allow you to learn and grow, and is far more rewarding than merely skimming the surface as a tourist. When travel is one of the most fulfilling things we can do in life, it makes sense to mix it up a bit when possible and so if you’re looking for alternatives this is a great place to start. Here are some of the best places around the globe to visit that are heavily influenced by culture, perfect if you want to learn new things.

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Italy

Home to some of the most interesting and cultural destinations in the world, Italy is an excellent choice. You could visit Venice, the incredible floating city and discover what it’s like to live in an entirely different way. Let’s face it, getting around by water is much different to the way you live now, plus it’s a fantastic way to learn and understand more about this historic city. You could go to Rome (once the most powerful city and civilization in history) and steep yourself in Ancient Rome’s culture. There are many fascinating historical sites and ruins to give you a look into years gone by. You have the Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps are just a few. Modern day Rome with its eclectic fashion, love of the arts and historic architecture reflects its past- while still having a foot firmly in the modern day. There’s no shortage of gorgeous hotels, shops, and eateries- everything you could want in a vacation. The Catholic religion is also an important part of Italian history, the Catholic Church is based in Rome and headed by the Pope. The Vatican and various churches and chapels are all incredible places to explore with places like the Sistine Chapel being available to be seen by the public. There are different Vatican tours you can book for while you’re away, perfect for finding out more and giving you more information about this powerful religion.

 

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India

As one of the world’s most populated nations (second after China) as you can imagine, India is very diverse. With over a billion people living in India the culture changes based on the region, but colorful, extravagant clothing, vibrant spices, singing, dancing, and celebration is something they all have in common. Food is an important part of the culture, and while Indian food is now tremendously popular in the west, nothing beats seeing it prepared and tasting it using traditional methods. Curries, biryani, tandoori cooked meats and different breads are all popular. However the variety of dishes is immense, even if you think you’re clued up on Indian food you’ve not seen anything until you go and visit! Religion is another large influence, and in fact many of the world’s modern religions such as Buddhism, Sikhism, and Hinduism all started here. Plus there are many sites of historical interest; Mahatma Gandhi’s birthplace, Humayun’s Tomb and awesome Indian architecture including the Taj Mahal and various other palaces and religious buildings. The film industry, music, and theater in India is also a large part of the culture. Referred to as Bollywood, these traditions span back over two thousand years and feature extravagant singing, dancing, costumes, and colors.

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The Middle East

Many historical movements have influenced the culture of the middle east, and over the twenty-two countries of the Arab world, the culture is diverse. However, there are a few things that tie it together such as cuisine, language, and religion. Middle Eastern cuisine commonly uses ingredients like olives and olive oil, pita bread honey, sesame seeds, dates, chickpeas and various herbs and spices. The language most commonly spoken is Arabic, although different regions do have different dialects. However, the written form remains consistent throughout. And religion is a huge influence, with many other aspects of the culture stemming from this. Islam is the predominant religion, with just Israel being different since the main religion is Judaism. Due to conflict in the middle east, there are a number of places that it’s not advisable to visit or travel to in the middle east. These include Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen. However, there are others which are deemed safe for tourists and can give you an incredible dose of culture and history. Jerusalem, for example, is one of the world’s most ancient cities, and it is packed full of cultural events. There are various religious and nonreligious festivals such as those in art and music.  Places of interest include the Old City, the Via Dolorosa, the Wailing Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Other places to visit in the middle east include Cyprus, Qatar, and Oman. Even glamorous and glittering Dubai with it’s huge shopping malls, and tourist attractions is full of culture if you scratch the surface. There are a number of cultural places of interest and religious buildings you could discover. In the middle east, it’s customary to dress in conservative clothing, which is something to consider when you’re planning your trip as it will heavily influence what you need to pack.

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If you’re bored of the same kinds of trips and want to do something a little different, want to educate yourself and immerse yourself in a culture that’s completely different to your own- why not visit one of these places? Travelling is always fulfilling, but even more so when you’re pushing boundaries, stepping out of your comfort zone and learning new things. So give sunbathing on the beach a miss, and leave the retail therapy for another time. Go and visit ancient buildings, find out about religion, music, and discover life that’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before.

 

Have you visited any of these destinations? Where’s your favorite place to go for a fix of history and culture?

 

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