Once upon a time people travelled the world, too, like we do nowadays. Our trips are like theirs, as a matter of fact, and if you continue reading below I will try to assure you that we take nomad trips like them and we have inherited and adopted their style of travelling but we’ve developed it through the centuries.
How did ancient people travel and where did they have a rest during their journeys?
The ancient Romans built roads which we’ve still been using like Via Appia (connecting Rome with Brindisi) or Via Egnatia (running through Albania, FYR Macedonia, Greece and European Turkey) and many others (the examples are too many). They also had special post stations along the roads which could be compared to, let’s say, today’s rest areas Autogrill in Italy, food parks Olympus Plaza in Hellas or motorway restaurants Landzeit in Austria. 😛 Moreover, their post stations gave mainly ancient “civil servants and missioners” the opportunity to sleep there which makes them similar to our motels.
Who travelled in Antiquity?
There were Homo sapiens on the road even in ancient times. Surely, they were less in number in comparison to the travellers of today. Principally, they were intellectuals and philosophers with a strong interest in culture. Sometimes they were doctors and physicians, or clerks and civil servants, sent on business trips.
Which parts of the Roman Empire did they prefer to visit?
There is no doubt about that unlike our modern tendency to Go West most of them preferred the Eastern parts of the Mediterranean region. Their tourist scope included and was headed by Hellas, Asia Minor (today’s Turkey) and Egypt simply because the East possessed “everything” – from mythology to history although it was too far away from Rome and too exotic for the ancient Romans. When travellers took a trip to the East, their route lead to islands such as Samothrace, Delos and Rhodes, continuing to Ephesus and Knidos. Of course, a must-visit was the city of Troy in honour of Aeneas who left the burning city in order to reach Latium. Thus he laid the foundation of the dynasty that would establish Ancient Rome later.
Which were their top three most visited destinations?
And even ancient people had popular tourist destinations, the three top being Rome, Alexandria and Antioch. Apart from them, there was one more place worth visiting – the island of Sicily where it was a great adventure for travellers of 2000 years ago to climb up Mount Etna. It is comparable to today’s feeling of reaching the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Which regions did they avoid to travel to?
Drawing analogies between ancient and present times, there’s one more thing to be mentioned. The ancient Romans totally ignored some regions like Africa and India, which are preferred destinations nowadays. They considered them too distant and dangerous and that’s the reason why they were visited mainly by traders, salespersons and merchants instead of ancient tourists.
Which were the Seven Wonders of Antiquity?
In the end, I have to mention that the ancient world possessed 7 wonders as well. They were an inspiration to any enthusiastic traveller as it is nowadays and they were notably admirable and beautiful places. By the way, some of them are some of today’s Seven Wonders of the World and the rest are simply the places which make us imagine how they looked like in Antiquity. If you want to take a short trip like a true antique traveller, just watch the short video and “visit” The Temple of Zeus in Olympia, The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus,The Colossus of Rhodes, The Pharos of Alexandria in Egypt, The Pyramids of Giza, The Mausoleum of Miletus and The Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Didn’t I tell you in the beginning that we’re antique travellers living in modern times? 😉 It’s because the passion for travelling is always alive and there’s one everlasting proverb on travels: “The world is a book and those who don’t travel, read only one page.”