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Rich Carriero
Created byRich Carriero
Rich Carriero is a freelance writer who has backpacked...

Greatest Hits of a History Geek

Featured Guide
Here's the custom guide that accompanies the article: http://www.gogobot.com/blog/2013/02/15/confessions-of-a-history-geek-the-ancient-worlds-greatest-hits/ 
A handful of the most significant and singular European historic sites that I have yet visited.  These sites are lurking in the backstreets or a road trip away and are places where the veil between past and present is thinnest.
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Kos Island (Iraklides)

In 2009 I visited Kos on a ferry from Bodrum. The island is only a few miles from mainland Anatolia. The ferry docked in Kos Town, which is a small downtown area with an agora, an orthodox church and, interestingly, a cafe located in a former single-minaret mosque. The biggest attraction on the island...

Basilica of Saint John

Turkey simply does not get enough credit for it's role in Christian history. The Basilica of Saint John was built by the Byzantines on the final resting place of Saint John the Evangelist. Today it's kind of a marvelous open air ruin on top of the hill overlooking town but it's visited by almost no one...

Ephesus

Ephesus was an ancient Greek city built on the Ionian Coast that managed to survive to the present day because it's harbor silted over and the city was cut off from the sea. The ruins of Ephesus are some of the most comprehensive ancient Greek ruins in Turkey. The main highlight is the Library of Celsus...

Visegrad

Visegrad is, without a doubt, one of the most dramatic sites that I have seen in central Europe. This fortress and castle, set on a curve of the Danube that throughout ancient and medieval times held military significance, is both beautiful and fascinating. Dracula was actually held here for over...

Plovdiv Roman Theatre

Plovdiv's ancient theater is the city's best preserved architectural ruin. It was originally built by the Emperor Trajan during the early 2nd Century (the golden age of the Five Good Emperors). It sits atop a hill overlooking downtown and the mountains in the distance. The marble steps are...

Temple of Segesta

The Temple of Segesta may be the best preserved Doric temple in the entire world. Built around 2400 years ago on a grassy hill overlooking the countryside of northwestern Sicily, Segesta is magnificent in terms of both scenery and architecture. If you find yourself driving anywhere between...

Mozia

The small island of Mozia, which lies in a brackish lagoon off the western coast of Sicily between Trapani and Marsala, is home to the best preserved Phoenician ruins in the world. The Phoenicians and Carthaginians were mostly wiped out by the Romans. The island of Mozia, which was destroyed by...

Asklepion Temple

The Asklepion was an ancient Greek temple dedicated tot he healing arts located on Kos Island, in Greece. It has an idyllic setting with a view of the Aegean and Asia Minor beyond. The walk from the ferry is about 4km through villages and orchards.

Chora Church

Ironically, because of the iconoclastic period during which the Byzantines destroyed much of their own religious artwork, the best Byzantine frescoes can be found in Venice and Sicily. However, for the intrepid visitors who are willing to venture out to the city walls, Chora Church definitely...

Temple of Artemis

The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was once an imposing structure of marble until a fame-seeking lunatic torched it. The temple was rebuilt until either the Christians or an earthquake destroyed it for good. Today the site is...