Now, we are really going back in time. These places date to the 1000’s, and yet they are still present in our consciousness and in our memories if we travel. Imagine! These structures have lasted, some with restoration, of course, for a thousand years, an eternity to humans. Check out my list below and then look for the photo album to follow.
1. Abbey of Mont-St-Michel, France (1023) – This is one of the most recognized travel icons on the planet. Approaching this island, from the mainland, is one of the most unforgettable experiences in the world. It seems to rise from the sea and then dominates the landscape as you get nearer. The incredible construction helps you realize how it has lasted this long.
2. Westminster Abbey, London, England (1040) – One of the most hallowed places in all of Great Britain, this church has witnessed some of the greatest events in history, and has become a mausoleum to England’s greatest. Most of her kings and queens are buried here, and there are also memorials to many famous literati.
3. St Mark’s Basilica, Venice, Italy (1063) – This remarkable church is done in Byzantine style and recalls the days when Venice was a crossroad between East and West. It presides over one of Europe’s greatest gathering places, St Mark’s Square.
4. Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, Spain (1075) – This church has been a major stop on pilgrimage routes for Christians, since the Middle Ages. The church reputedly contains the remains of St James, one of Christ’s apostles. It is still a major tourist attraction in this country with many significant sites.
5. Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, England (1077) – This is another of Europe’s magnificent religious structures. It is the home base of the Anglican religion and was made even more famous (and infamous) when it was the setting of the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170, on the orders of King Henry II.
6. Hohensalzburg, Salzburg, Austria (1077) – This prominent white fortress sits above the city of Salzburg and is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. It is also one of the best preserved, partly due to the fact that it was never taken by assault.
7. Tower of London, London, England (1078) – This important complex is one of the most popular tourist sites in London, a city with a wealth of attractions for visitors. Over its long and storied history, it has served as a fortress, a royal palace, a prison, a place of execution, a treasury, an armory, and a zoo. Today, personnel dressed as the famed "beefeaters" take visitors on a grisly and informative tour.
8. City Walls of Avila, Spain (1090) – These extensive medieval fortifications are among the best preserved walls in all of Europe. Even the city’s cathedral is incorporated into the walls. Visitors can walk along the ramparts for excellent views of the ancient city and its surroundings.
9. Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland (1093) – Dominating the west end of the Royal Mile and Old Edinburgh, this ancient complex has played a part in many events over the course of Scottish history. It has been besieged a number of times, both successfully and unsuccessfully, and today is the site of the annual Military Tattoo, an extremely popular event.