Since the pre-historic times, the continent of Europe has nurtured some of the most mighty and impressive civilizations known to mankind. It is the birthplace of the finest artists, musicians, and architects that have walked this earth. These supremely talented souls have been immortalized in the form of their spectacular creations that have been preserved in Europe for centuries. These cultural marvels make Europe the perfect destination to indulge in the rich traditional heritage of the medieval ages. Here are some of the most phenomenal locations that are replete with ancient art and architecture and are bound to transport you back in time.
An ancient Polish port city on the Baltic Coast, Gdansk is enriched with influences from travelers and merchants that frequented its seashores over the years. The elegant buildings, the red-brick churches, and the amber shops are some of the unique features of this city that make it stand apart from the other parts of Poland. The colorful buildings and intriguing stalls of the market at Dlugi Targ make for a pleasant afternoon of exploration. The St. Mary's Church and the St. Bridget's Church can be spotted from afar, owing to their unique brick red exteriors. Many of the buildings are restored versions of their predecessors that were destroyed in the Second World War. The City of Gdansk is truly a phoenix that has risen from its ashes with a glowing cultural splendor.
Popularly known as a spa destination, the city of Aachen in Germany also holds innumerable treasures from the medieval times. The ancient Romans frequented the mineral springs of this region that are believed to cure several maladies. The magnificent cathedral of Aachener Dom is one of the most majestic monuments of the city that has been the venue for the coronation of generations of German kings. The cathedral also holds the shrine of Charlemagne, one of the most significant rulers of this region who is hailed for putting Aachen on the map of Europe. The Rathaus displays the life-size statues of German kings in its beautiful hall, whereas the Centre Charlemagne is a museum dedicated to this powerful ruler and the rich history of the city.
Sheltered from the outside world by colossal stone walls, the city of Dubrovnik is home to some of the finest relics from ancient Croatia. The imperial Lovrijenac Fort that once protected the city from marine invaders still looks over the sea from its elevated position atop a boulder. The Sponza Palace and the St. Blaise's Church are excellent examples of the craftsmanship of the Croatian ancestors, while the main street of Stradun paints an accurate picture of the local culture of this region. The slanting red roofs that lead to the sparkling sea shores are reminiscent of medieval architecture. The Dubrovnik Summer Festival transforms this city into a large open-air theater, with mesmerizing performances of music, dance, and drama. Nearby island Lokrum, reachable by yacht charter, is another cultural and historical resort worth visiting. The city of Dubrovnik has retained its wonderful culture in the face of urbanization in a commendable manner.
The Provencal town of Avignon in France served as the residence of the Pope for several years in the 14th century. In the present day, the city is most famous for its annual arts festival which is the largest of its kind in France. The imposing palace of Palais des Papes was the center of the Catholic world in the 1300's, but still, retains its grandeur and its fascinating Gothic design. The Musee du Petit Palais is an Archbishop's Palace turned museum that exhibits stunning paintings created by the greatest artists produced by Europe. The perfect arches of the bridge of Pont St. Benezet and the rustic buildings that dot the landscape offer an old world vibe to this idyllic town. Avignon is indeed a cultural hub nestled amidst lavender fields.
Home to the oldest university in the world, the city of Bologna offers a myriad of medieval flavors. The terracotta buildings of this region impart a rosy glow to the city while the awe-inspiring architecture leaves the beholders captivated. The labyrinth of religious structures at the Abbazia di Santo Stefano combines a variety of styles of architecture. Originally a set of seven churches, this religious monument has managed to retain four of the churches till date. The Basilica di San Petronio is one of the grandest buildings of Bologna and houses a massive sundial dating back to the 17th century. The museums, palaces, and galleries that are ubiquitous in this city offer a glimpse of the glorious chapters of history. But it's important to mention that the Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio simply steals the show with its intricately decorated interiors.
These less known cultural hotspots of Europe have remained untarnished by modernization and still glow with a historical resplendence. They are the best locations to explore the diverse cultural heritage of this amazing continent. A visit to these splendid cities is no less than a pilgrimage for the aficionados of history.