Top five breathtaking landmarks in the Mediterranean - June 2018
GoCruise – 11/06/18
The Mediterranean is often considered the birthplace of modern culture, with an array of spectacular historical landmarks offering a fascinating insight into the extensive culture and heritage the continent has to offer. A cruise offers a unique opportunity to see a range of these landmarks in a short period of time, providing you with a relaxingly insightful way to explore the continent. This week, we take a look at five of the best historical landmarks in Europe that are easily-accessible via a cruise holiday.
Alhambra | Granada
Granada can be accessed via a short excursion out of the southern Spanish ports of Motril, Malaga or Almeria. The name derives from the Arabic “Al-Hamra”, for which the literal English translation is “The Red One”. This impressive structure was originally built in 889 AD as a small fortress atop of former Roman fortifications.
Following the conquest of southern Spain by the Moors prior to 1333, it was later converted into a royal palace with towering walls and this structure remains standing today. After the Christians regained southern Spain, it became a residence for members of the Spanish royal family. Over time, many palaces were added to the complex and these collectively warrant a day visit to the site. This is arguably the most significant remaining landmark of the Moorish influence on southern Spain.
Dubrovnik | Croatia
Situated in the extreme south of Croatia is one of the most spectacular walled cities of the Adriatic – a landmark settlement that receives thousands of visitors every year. Historically, the city rose to prominence as a maritime trader and a rival to Venice – providing a home to some of Croatia’s best poets, playwrights, painters and scholars throughout the 15th and 16th centuries.
The city has become a significant film location in the Game of Thrones series and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, with its imposing location by the sea proving to be impressive. You can choose to wander the city walls and admire the red-roofed buildings from above, or walk along the gleaming pathways and navigate the maze-like pathways to the many hidden monuments, churches and other hidden gems this city has to offer. Be sure to keep an eye open for the ‘hole in the wall bar’, which offers mesmerising views out to sea.
Colosseum | Rome
It goes without saying that the Roman Colosseum is one of the most iconic landmarks in the Mediterranean. It is often featured in images showcasing Mediterranean holidays and with good reason. This impressive site, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, was built between 70-80AD and once housed a series of events throughout the era of the Roman Empire including gladiatorial combats and animal fights to an audience of between 50,000 and 80,000.
80 arched entrances around the building provided a means for the audience, usually poorer members of society, to attend. A visit to this spectacular landmark will give you a sense of the scale of these events and the imposing culture of the Roman Empire.
Sagrada Familia | Barcelona
Despite not being the cathedral of Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia has gained status as a UNESCO Work Heritage site and was consecrated as a minor basilica in 2010. It’s imposing height and intricate design leaves a lasting impression on people. Perhaps, even more interestingly, despite current construction work on La Sagrada Familia elapsing 136 years, it remains under construction to this day.
Designed by architect, Antoni Gaudi, the structure combines Gothic and Art Nouveau elements that have blended to form an extraordinary structure. Areas that are open to the public include the nave, crypt and the Passion and Nativity towers. This is a landmark that should unquestionably be factored into your visit to Barcelona.
Topkapi Palace | Istanbul
Istanbul is considered by many to be the last frontier of the Mediterranean, where warm beaches and a relaxing environment combines with impressive landmarks from Islamic culture. Situated within the vicinity of Sultanahmet Square is Topkapi Palace – an impressive building which dates back to the 15th century and has served as the main residence and headquarters of Ottoman sultans.
Today, it serves as a museum and is open to the general public and is one of the only known places on earth to contain relics of the Islamic prophet Mohammed. These include a piece of his tooth, hair from his beard, the Seal of Muhammed, an autographed letter from Muhammed, and his swords and bow in their beautifully-crafted reliquary made by Ottoman goldsmiths.
The Mediterranean is just one of a range of destinations you can visit on board a cruise close to home, with other regions including the Norwegian fjords, Baltic nations and the Canary Islands. For more information about the full range of sailings or to make a booking, contact our friendly GoCruise sales team via: 0800 121 8250 or by completing the online enquiry form.