The world has had a tumultuous history. Along with all the beautiful landscapes, the amazing architectural feats, and incredible people and stories that have been… the world has had its fair share of heartache and heartbreak and gut wrenching stories of war and/or natural disasters. Memorials are sometimes set up to mark the lives lost. We always find these memorials very haunting and moving.
But memorials are not only for sad events, they also mark important people and events. In this post, we’ve rounded up the memorials that we have visited that made an impact on us. Not that any of the others were less notable or less important, we particularly wanted to share these 6.
And in no particular order,
1. The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania, we’ve previously shared a photo essay of it and still get goosebumps thinking about this place. The information around its history is a little hazy but in essence it is a memorial to lives lost. The number of crosses erected in this place is unknown but is estimated to be around 100,000. We’ve never seen anywhere else quite like it.
2. The Memorial Cenotaph framing the peace flame and the A-Bomb Dome as part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Japan. The park itself is dedicated to Hiroshima, the first city ever to suffer a nuclear attack, in memory of the victims.
The A-Bomb dome that you can see in the distance, is what remains of the former Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. This building was at the centre of the where the bomb exploded.
3. In 2011, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch in New Zealand, killing 185 people. This is a temporary art installation commemorating the lives lost on that February day. There was 185 different chairs painted white, each marking one of the lives lost.
4. Seeing the one in Christchurch, reminded us immediately of the one we saw in Krakow, Poland. Thirty-three chairs on deportation site, each one representing the 1,000 Jewish victims of the Krakow Ghetto during World War II.
5. The Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, USA is something we had only ever seen in TV shows and movies. This statue is probably one of the most notable things that we wanted to see during our visit to DC and it certainly did not disappoint. Honouring the 16th President of the USA, it stands at about 5.8 meters. The walls inside the monument are inscribed with Lincoln’s inaugural speech and Gettysburg speech.
6. And possibly the most significant one for us as Australians was the Memorial by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli in Turkey.
“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives…
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours…
You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace, after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”
– Ataturk, 1934
What memorial have you visited that made an impact on you?
We don’t normally capitalise our headings but for this one, we had to! To be inducted into the UNESCO World Heritage List is no easy feat.
Following a vote on July 5, Ephesus was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List and so this called for us to cheer!!
A visit to Turkey is usually bound to include a visit to Ephesus. And for us, UNESCO collectors, it was no different except the fact that back in 2013, Ephesus was NOT on the list yet. This came as a great surprise to us back then as to how it could not already be.
Every year, it brings in about 2 million visitors and seriously on the day we were there, we were sure half of that number was there. There were apparently three cruise liners in for the day at Kusadasi, which explained the crowd numbers. Maybe it’s always like that but for us, it felt like we were at a theme park.
The sun was up and there was little shade so apart from the crowd and the heat, we had nothing to “truly” complaint about.
We were wow-ed from the start when we could see the ruins of the pillars and amphitheatres.
Then to walk the old stone streets, see the mosaic art, admire the different sculptures and structures all the while weaving past the wandering local cats.
The most famous structure and probably the epitome of Ephesus is the Library of Celsus. We could see it from the distance and we couldn’t wait to stand below and gawk at it!
And gawk at it we did…
Congratulations to Turkey for getting Ephesus recognised as a UNESCO Heritage Site 🙂
Ephesus was listed as a UNESCO Heritage site in 2015.
To see the other UNESCO sites we have visited, visit our unofficial bucket list
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Today marks the beginning of Lent. And to acknowledge it, we thought we would share a sacred place that we visited in Turkey. We’re also sharing a story that we haven’t told anyone as yet.
The last home of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, although it has not been officially pronounced as so by the Vatican. There is an information board before heading down the path abut the archeological evidence.
The stone house is now a chapel. It is located in very peaceful surroundings. We walked along a footpath, lined with lush green trees before lining up outside the doors of the chapel to enter. Despite the number of visitors there, it was respectfully quiet.
We stepped foot inside and we were welcomed with complete silence. Everyone was walking down the middle towards the altar, in pairs or in single file. There were people kneeling to the sides, people with their heads bowed, people kissing the tips of their fingers, people doing the sign of the cross. There’s a deep sense of serenity in the modest-sized chapel.
Respectfully, we wanted to make a donation and true to our clumsy selves, we broke the silence embarrassingly. Amongst the peace and quiet, the coins decided to fly out of our wallets, clanking and rolling around the chapel. Our initial reactions were to hang our heads, let out a sigh and mutter “Oh no!”, wishing for that split second the ground below would swallow us up.
Quickly and as quietly as possible, we gathered the coins and placed them in the donation box before we made a beeline for the exit. We didn’t even want to stay a second longer and disrupt any more of everyone’s tranquil moment in Mary’s House.
Once outside, there is a “wishing wall” where pilgrims can tie their wishes onto. We didn’t actually tie up any intentions because our only wish right then, was to wish we could forget the commotion we created inside.
Mary’s House was a significant spiritual place for us to visit, an experience we would never forget for more reasons than one.
Can you make us feel better by telling us about a time you created a scene unintentionally while travelling?
With the New Year almost a week in, we are back to regular blogging again. We had a festive/silly season break and it feels good to be back.
Towards the end of last year, we wrote a piece about our most disappointing travel sites and to introduce this year, we are sharing our top 5 unexpected travel highlights – places which we fell in love but hadn’t expected to.
In a world where information is so readily at our fingertips and the internet can reveal so much about a place – we avoid “researching” too much into a place we want to visit. We look for inspiration, we read about safety and basic introductory information, but we don’t read or look at everything we can about the place because we find that creates expectation and takes away some of the “unknown”. We tend to like the element of surprise. And these are our top 5 unexpected travel gems.
Enter through the gates of Pingyao and we were transported back to centuries ago. There are no cars inside, it is all pedestrian and bicycles. Chinese history is oozing out of the walls and rooftops of this city and we LOVED it. It was our most favourite city during our time in China. As we walk along the alleyways and admire the well-preserved architecture, the only giveaway that we are in the 21st Century are the tourist shops.
Before arriving in Lyon, we did little research as we were using it more as a stopover before we headed into Switzerland, not expecting to be so blown away by it. The history and its Roman past had us fascinated for hours. We have written only about a couple of the places we visited in Lyon; the Museum of Miniatures and Cinema and the street murals. There is so much there to see and still more we are yet to share about our time in Lyon. Do yourself a favour and add it to your list for next time you are in France.
When it comes to anything history, we love it! Visiting ancient ruins is one of our favourite things to do when travelling. Whilst travelling through Turkey, there are a LOT of ancient ruins to the point of possibly being fatigued by them. But there is no fatigue when it comes to riding a cable car and then exploring the ruins of Pergamum. The views from the top are just unbelievable across the countryside. What we found to be the biggest treat was walking amongst the columns and stones and remnants of life from thousands of years ago.
Often left off maps and forgotten as belonging to Australia, it is one of the places in the world where we want to come back to as soon as we have left. There is just something about it that makes us just want more. There is delicious, fresh local food! There is jaw-dropping stunning scenery. There is an abundance of wildlife and there is a touch of history. Whoever comes to Australia and doesn’t put Tassie on their list is crazy!!
(1) Weliczka Salt Mines
Hands up if you thought “salt mines? – how special can they be?” We knew they were UNESCO Heritage, we knew they were important and a must-see. We knew about the history behind it but we were NOT by any means expecting to see what we saw. Climbing into a 3-storey shaft lift was only the beginning of one of THE MOST incredible places we have visited. An underground city, quite literally, that was carved out of salt.
We love having these surprises so we try not to look at too many photos of a place just before we visit!
Now it’s your turn! We would love to hear about places that you didn’t expect to be so AWESOME 🙂