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Old February 23rd, 2012, 08:51 AM   #1

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Tourism for the People of the Past


What sites or attractions did people visit in history?

The Colossus of Memnon are two twin statues in ancient Thebes, Egypt (built to honour the pharaoh Amenophis) that were are 3400 years old and still stand today.

This site was a tourist site for many years and visited from people through out the then known world.

The reason they were such a great tourist attraction in ancient times is because one of the statues was known to 'speak' to which there were many witnesses. Some Roman Emperors visited the statues, Hadrian and Septimus Severus to name two. Apparently due to an earthquake the bottom half of the state developed a crack , then an hour or so after sunrise the crack would 'sing' or 'speak' most theories of explanation are the sounds came from the heat of the sun that was evaporating the overnight moisture that had collected inside the statue.

Septimus Severus ordered that the damage on the statue to be fixed, afterwards the statue stopped making the sounds, probably due to alterations of the said statue. Which in turn dried up the tourists that visited to see the site.

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Which tourist spots do you know of in history where people from our past visited as an attraction?
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 09:55 AM   #2

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I love this kind of folksy history Brisieis, nice job, it makes history seem more real. Plus, i love to travel.
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 10:10 AM   #3

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I love this kind of folksy history Brisieis, nice job, it makes history seem more real. Plus, i love to travel.
Thanks fred, I shamefully had not even heard about this until I read it in a book based on Roman Noble women... not Egypt.

A woman called Julia Balbilla of the Provincial royal house of Commagene who was an amateur poet, visited Egypt along with the Roman Emperor Hadrian and his wife Sabina, amongst others. It was tradition that people (of importance no doubt) wrote on the bottom of the statues a message to witness the sounds coming from the statue. Julia composed four poems recording the visit of Hadrian and his party, these were etched into the foot of the statue, along with offerings.

Here is a snippet.

"I, Balbilla, when the rock spoke, heard the voice of the divine Memnon or Phamenoth. I came here with the lovely Emperess Sabina. The course of the sun was in it's first hour, in the fifteenth year of Hadrian's reign...."
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 10:14 AM   #4

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I know that during the height of Roman peace and safety, wealthy citizens created the original "Grand Tour" - they traveled to ancient sites like the Acropolis and the Great Pyramids. However my searches aren't turning up any good sources or stories on this.
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 10:18 AM   #5

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I know that during the height of Roman peace and safety, wealthy citizens created the original "Grand Tour" - they traveled to ancient sites like the Acropolis and the Great Pyramids. However my searches aren't turning up any good sources or stories on this.
Romans actually visited Sparta as a novelty eventually, the Spartans actually encouraged it from what I have read. Many Romans were fascinated by Sparta.
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 10:29 AM   #6

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The tomb of Alexander the Great in Egypt was a great attraction for Roman generals and emperors.
I also know that the Greeks used to visit places related to their gods( an hybrid form between tourism and religious pilgrimage)
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 10:36 AM   #7

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Route 66 AD by Tony perrottet is a good book about the placee Romans used to visit. they liked to go to Greece and Egypt.
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 10:52 AM   #8
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Well I can not offer anything as exotic as ancient temples and monuments but here is an extract from, The Torrington Diaries: Containing the tours through England And Wales of the Hon. John Byng

A TOUR INTO KENT: 1790
http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/text/chap_page.jsp?t_id=Byng&c_id=3

John Byng was born in 1743, the younger son of George Byng, third Viscount Torrington, of Southill, Bedfordshire; he was the nephew of Admiral John Byng, controversially executed in 1757 for cowardice. He attended Westminster School, then served in the army from 1760 to 1780. Between 1782 and 1799 he served as a Commissioner of Stamps with the Inland Revenue. He was not well-known in his lifetime but is now known for his diaries, describing journeys by horse through England and Wales between 1781 and 1794. He described the buildings and landscapes he visited, and the people he met.

I am glad to say that he enjoyed his visit to Sittingbourne, my closest town. The Rose inn that he dined at is still there but now a very large shop, and what used to be the tap bar in now a whimpy bar
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 10:56 AM   #9

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Thomas Jefferson visited the Maison Carrée in Southern France and he loved it.
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Its design inspired him to work with Charles-Louis Clérisseau in the construction of the Virginia State Capital. In a letter to James Madison, he wrote,

"We took for our model what is called the Maison quarree of Nismes, one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful and precious morsel of architecture left us by antiquity."
-Jefferson to Madison, Paris, 20 September 1785
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 11:01 AM   #10

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Thomas Jefferson visited the Maison Carrée in Southern France and he loved it.
Click the image to open in full size.
Its design inspired him to work with Charles-Louis Clérisseau in the construction of the Virginia State Capital. In a letter to James Madison, he wrote,

"We took for our model what is called the Maison quarree of Nismes, one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful and precious morsel of architecture left us by antiquity."
-Jefferson to Madison, Paris, 20 September 1785
Eh, I'm not particularly impressed by the Greco-Etruscan style architecture. I'm a sucker for grandeur and opulence like St. Peter's or the Hagia Sophia.
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