Three vacation destinations for history buffs

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  • Published on August 22, 2022
  • Last Updated March 10, 2023
  • In History

From prehistory to modern history, these trips promise educational opportunities for history-lovers.

When it comes to your vacation, it makes sense to invest in a one-of-a-kind experience. While some itinerary items like beaches and hiking trails can be found in cities across the globe, markers of human history are extremely localized, full of cultural merit and can leave you with a sense of wonder and perspective for the journey that is our collective human existence

Prehistory: Alta Rock Art, Alta, Norway

Offering a peek into the ways of life taken up by man before the modern practice of recording history, the rock art etchings in Alta, Norway, are dated back to a time between 2,000 to 7,000 years ago. The depictions of ceremonial rites, big game tracking excursions and dance processions shows a robust level of cultural development among the hunter-gatherers who occupied the area at the time. They also depict a level of spiritual communication, giving insight into the worldview and cosmology held by prehistoric peoples of the region.

Alta Rock Art
Decorated rocks of the Alta Museum in Alta, Norway within the Arctic Circle. The rock art is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Shutterstock

Ancient History: Mogao Caves, Gansu Province, China

A cultural jewel along China’s Silk Road, the Mogao Caves represent the most significant collection of Buddhist art in the world. The caves, which include over 500 unique caverns, boast more than 45,000 square meters of murals, over 2,000 hand-painted statues of the Buddha and nearly 50,000 cultural relics. Collected over a time period spanning over 1,000 years, the caves, with their extensive depictions of political and cultural life, create a window into ancient China that will thrill any history-lover.

Magao Caves
The Magao Caves of Dunhuang, Gansu Province, China. Courtesy of Allan Grey/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0 []

Modern History: Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, California

The cultural iconography surrounding this coastal island-turned-prison-turned-national-park usually surrounds the gangsters of the 1920s like Al Capone and Robert Stroud; however, the history of the island is also shaped by a history of resistance. In 1969, six years after the prison facilities had closed, the island was occupied by Native American activists, a group called the Indians of All Tribes, for 19 months in protest of Congress’ proposed Termination Policy, which sought to eliminate formally organized tribes and assimilate Native American people into the general population. This history, as well as the history of mass incarceration, is commemorated through in-depth walk-throughs that are part of the island’s tour.

Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island of San Fransisco, Ca. Shutterstock

This story was created by Detour, a journalism brand focused on the best stories in Black travel, in partnership with McClatchy’s The Charlotte Observer and Miami Herald. Detour’s approach to travel and storytelling seeks to tell previously under-reported or ignored narratives by shifting away from the customary routes framed in Eurocentrism. The detour team is made up of an A-list of award-winning journalists, writers, historians, photographers, illustrators and filmmakers.ew Embed

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