The Top 5 Must-See Historical Sites In South America

The Top 5 Must-See Historical Sites In South America

From ancient cities to colonial era towns, South America is a continent awash with history and mystery. Here are 5 must-see historical sites.

South America is a continent rich in history. From ancient civilisations, to European conquests and struggles for independence, this diverse continent has earnt a varied, turbulent and all-encompassing place in the history books. For both the sight-seeing traveller and the history-buff, South America has much to offer in the way of awe-inspiring historical sites. From colonial architecture and antiquities to ancient cities and unsolved historical mysteries, South America has more than enough to fill up the itinerary of any sightseer.

Here are 5 must-see historical sites to visit on your trip across South America.

5): Machu Picchu, Peru

Sitting at a whopping 2,430 metres above sea level, Machu Picchu is an old Incan living quarters in the Cusco region of the Andes Mountain Range. This site is one steeped in history.

Having supposedly been built for the Incan emperor Pachacuti, it was abandoned during the Spanish Conquest, and remained widely unknown until 1911, giving rise to its title as ‘the lost city of the Incas’.

A well-known symbol of the Inca civilisation, Peru, and South America in general, Machu Picchu takes pride of place on many a traveller’s bucket list, and for good reason.  Once you complete one of the many treks through the mountains to reach the site, not only are you rewarded with a guided tour of the Incan city, but you also bear witness to one of the most celebrated views in South America. For the bravest of travellers, climb along narrow and near vertical trails up neighbouring Huayna Picchu for the best views of this fascinating historical site.

4):The Pelourinho, Salvador, Brazil

Known as the ‘Historic Centre’ in English, the Pelourinho was the centre of Salvador during the Portuguese colonial period, and remains a hub of colonial architecture. A former slave market, the centre is now home to cafes, churches and restaurants and has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status, a must see for any traveller with an interested in the Portuguese colonial history of Brazil.

3): Walled City Of Cartagena, Colombia

Another colonial historical centre, the walled old city of Cartagena is an outdoor museum dedicated to the Spanish colonisation of Colombia. The old city was home to the wealthy of Cartagena and is to this day full of colonial-era churches, monasteries and mansions. Much of the surrounding wall, which was built to protect the city from enemy assaults, remains intact, as do the cobbled streets and colonial statues. Again, this historical site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and another to tick of the bucket list of any traveller with an interest in Spanish colonialism.

2): Easter Island, Chile

The image of a line of human-like stone statues with out-of-proportion heads has become synonymous with Easter Island. Carved over 500 years ago by the islands native Rapu Nui people, the Easter Island statues, or Moai, are believed to be commemorative statues built in the image of deceased ancestors. The Moai are one of the last remaining links to a society which has all but died out, leaving few traces to their existence. A must-see for anyone travelling through the region.

1): Nazca Lines, Peru

The mysterious Nazca Lines in Peru are a series of ancient lines in the Nazca desert which form over 70 large images of various animals. The exact purpose of the lines remains a mystery, but it is believed that they were designed at least 1500 years ago by the people of the Nazca Province in the Ica Region of Peru.

If you travel to Peru, be sure to pay a visit to the lines, one of the oldest remaining unsolved mysteries in South America, if not the world. From Ica, travellers can book tours to the lines and witness first hand a number of the designs from high-up viewing towers. For a more comprehensive viewing of the lines, tour operators run short flights above the lines which will enable you to see all the many designs, which include spiders, monkeys and birds, a sure-fire way to spice up your historical adventure in South America.

South America has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for photo opportunities to fill your Facebook or looking to learn about the history of this diverse continent, with such a range of historical sites – many of which are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites, South America never disappoints.

Roxanne Seabourne is the Marketing Executive for Avanti Travelcare, who specialise in travel insurance for those with pre-existing medical conditions, and are one of very few that have no upper age limit on their policies.
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