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Guest Specialist Trips in Europe

  • Guest Specialist Trips in Europe

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The history of Europe begins with the arrival of the first Homo sapiens sometime after 45000BC. From those prehistoric times to the present day, great civilizations have come and gone, wave upon wave of migrations washed across the continent and numerous wars been fought. The story of Europe has left behind a rich and fascinating legacy of archaeological sites, imposing castles, inspiring cathedrals and diverse cities. 

The two dominant and probably the most studied civilisations of the Ancient World, are the empires of Ancient Greece and Rome and they left behind many interesting sites that can be visited today. Whilst the archaeological splendours of ancient Rome spread far beyond the shores of Italy, the magnificent Colosseum, Forum and Parthenon in Rome itself are still seen as some of the finest Roman antiquities. The cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii near Naples were buried and then preserved by the volcanic ash from Vesuvius which erupted in AD79, and they also make for a highly memorable visit. Important sites of Ancient Greece include the Parthenon temple on Athens’ acropolis, Delphi, Olympus and further afield in Sicily is the splendid Valley of the Temples at Agrigento. 

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During the Middle Ages, the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire survived and moved its capital to Constantinople, modern day Istanbul in Turkey. In Western Europe, Germanic peoples moved into positions of power and established kingdoms and empires of their own. The Medieval period saw the building of great cathedrals whose towering gothic spires still dominate the skyline and draw worshippers and visitors alike today. Notre Dame in Paris, York Minster and Cologne Cathedral are all notable medieval cathedrals. Religion has always played a major part in shaping Europe’s history with many wars fought in its name such as the Crusades (11th to 13th century) and Iberian Reconquista (8th to 15th century) and milestones such as the 16th century Protestant Reformation all having a significant impact.

Twentieth century history is a subject of interest to many as it is the story of our own families. Paying a visit to the battlefields and cemeteries from the last century’s two World Wars provides a sobering reminder of the fragility of the peace that we live in today and sacrifices made by so many. 

This is just a tiny sample of the rich history of Europe. Joining a trip led by a specialist expert whose knowledge and passion will bring the history to life with in depth lectures and discussions, can really add to your understanding and appreciation of the region and makes for an absorbing and enjoyable holiday.