Have you not at least once in your life thought of how cool it would be to visit either the past or the future? Well, I have certainly thought so, especially when I watch some movies that depict historical times. Even when technology is evolving at a rapid pace, there is something that still remains as a big question, can we ever time travel?
Unfortunately, I’ve read some physics-based articles that tell that time travel, if possible, can only be achieved in the future. This is sad because that means at the present moment, it is impossible.
However, as travel lovers, we needn’t lose complete hope. There are so many exceptional and distinctive places in this world that offer us a chance. A chance to relish our past and come face to face with our future. Yes, that does mean that we can time travel.
Now we may not be able to travel back to the past or forward into the future. But nobody can certainly stop us from catching glimpses of it anyway.
We were quite wonderstruck by some of these places and thought of sharing them with you too. So here goes.
Places that delineate the past.
So, it’s probably no surprise that the ‘Town too Tough to Die’ made it to our list of these places. It’s definitely one of those cities where you feel like you’re walking through streets of the Wild West era(1865 – 1895), wearing a cowboy hat all armed for a gunfight that may commence any time.
Considering that Arizona is an open-carry state, you probably should watch out for those guns. But don’t let that misguide you. The place is an actual town with normal residents, their homes, good schools, et cetera, all of which make it a great place to live.
This also means that even with the Covid pandemic restrictions, the place is currently open and most of its attractions, shops, and restaurants are operating too. There are even reenactments of the Gunfight at O.K. Corral.
Allen Street, Boothill Graveyard, Historic Gleeson Jail, and the Rose Tree Museums are some of the best places to visit here.
French Colony, Pondicherry
Definitely, a must-visit place if you are planning to travel to India or within India. And yes, just walking through the streets looking at the signboards would give you a nostalgic feeling.
Pondicherry was one of the last French colonies in India and they made a lot of changes to the place while still possible. Most of the buildings are built in typical French colonial styles with their colorful fronts and elegant architecture. INTACH in Pondicherry has done a great job in preserving these buildings.
If you are planning to stay in Pondicherry, White town is a great spot. The beach is nearby, the hotels are amazing and the locals are very polite as well.
Most of the places are converted into restaurants and inns. There are also many older locals who speak a bit of French. This place is unique because of the interesting fusion of the French and South Indian cultures, hence making sure of the charm and good food.
Also, I would personally suggest you visit Auroville and Matrimandir (They aren’t places that would let you travel back in time but there is something special about them both that you might enjoy). Let us know how you felt after visiting them both. Paradise beach is another amazing place to visit here.
Williamsburg is known for its historical tone set in the colonial period. It offers so many activities based on the restoration and 18th century America. And although there is a museum here, this isn’t anything like the ones they take us to at school.
In fact, the entire town is like an extension of a huge interactive museum. History is depicted so beautifully with many reenactments and the Yorktown battlefield which is well preserved.
Some of the best places to visit here would be Virginia’s capitol building, the revolutionary city, the College of William and Mary, Busch Gardens, and the Governor’s Palace. October is often mentioned as the best time to visit here.
These caves are some of the most beautiful monuments in India. The oldest among these caves date back to about the 1st or 2nd century BC! India is a country with a lot of rich history. Almost all the states in India have their own historical importance. And the Ajanta Caves ranks among the top historical sites in India.
In the olden times, the caves were a sanctuary for anyone who needed it. It was mostly monks, traders, and pilgrims who required the refuge. But these monuments along with the murals painted on them tell us of a past that we can only imagine.
The architectural, as well as artistic skills that have manifested inside these caves, are enough to inspire anyone. Moreover, the paintings in the caves also present a very direct contrast between the spirituality of the monks who lived in them once and the worldly lives of the ones outside.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and situates in the Ajanta Village, north-central Maharashtra, India.
So, what says ancient like ancient Greece and their mythology?
Delphi is the place of the oracle of Apollo. It is where the high priestess sat, foretelling one’s future. Actually, that already sounds like the perfect place for people who wanna be time travelers. The place is so mysterious that it gives me goosebumps.
The beautiful ruins in an even more beautiful mountainside should definitely be on your list if you’re visiting Greece.
The ancient Greeks considered Delphi to be the center of the world. They even marked the place by a stone called the Omphalos (which means ‘the navel’). Considering its importance in the ancient Greek culture, UNESCO has recognized the place as a World Heritage Site.
Rome, the Center of the Roman Empire that ruled the world once upon a time. Not only are they known for their countless battles but also for their stunning architecture.
It contributed so much to all aspects of life like language, religion, philosophy, art, literature….the list just goes on. This is why visiting Rome once in your life is definitely a must for all travelers.
We can feel the countless gladiators’ battle simply by visiting its architectural feat, the Colosseum, despite the modern developments of the place. The Pantheon and the Trevor fountain are also major attractions in Rome.
And of course, this feeling is not just applicable to the Colosseum either. I think when it comes to me, all places in Rome signify a Biblical time period. That’s not unreasonable, you know. There are more than 900 churches just in Rome. (On a side note: the gelato and pasta also make Rome a visit that will be worth it.)
Also here, you will find the smallest country in the world, Vatican City.
Talking of the Biblical period, Petra in Jordan is another beautiful architectural wonder. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and was actually considered mythical before being rediscovered in the 1800s.
The architecture and the water supply system that made it a man made oasis, made Petra famous.
A visit to Petra always includes a two-day exploration of the Ancient City. And the fascinating part is that most of what we can explore is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s more to the city which is buried away underground out of reach.
The Nabataean Arabs who lived there constructed the city and the place is rich with their cultural heritage. It’s partly constructed and partly carved from a beautiful red sandstone. Hence it is known as ‘the Rose City’.
Petra was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO and in 2007 it was also named as one of the new seven wonders of the world.
The Old Town in Aarhus
The Old Town is one of the main attractions of Denmark. Here, the open-air museum can definitely be considered as one of the best ways to travel back into the past. The museum lets you glance into the days of the past as you see how things were in the last century.
There are about 75 buildings, countless exhibitions, indoor museums, and even an apothecary garden. The buildings are designed with different time periods in mind.
This includes scenes from the days of Hans Christian Anderson, the Viking age, streets of the year 1974, and so on. There are also actors who are hired to dress up as common people and to go about doing simple everyday tasks leading to the pretense that it’s indeed an actual town.
However, it’s those simple additions like the post office, the bakery, or the bookstore that give it that old town charm.
Old Delhi, India
It was founded in 1639 by Shah Jahan, the emperor of Delhi at that time. It serves as the heart of Delhi and have got a few advancements with the migrations but it still got its charm. There are beautiful monuments and architectural feats that date back to the age of the Mughal Empire. The famous Akbar and Birbal duo belonged to that age.
The Jama Masjid, Red Fort, Qutub Minar are all some of the most famous sites here. There are even a few Havelis, which are basically old mansions belonging to the ancient emperors, that have been maintained through the years.
Delhi is also told to be the famous old city, Indraprastha. The city of the Pandavas from the Mahabharata. ‘Chandni Chowk‘ is the best market here for you to do shopping. There is also a ‘Chor Bazaar‘ that literally translates to Thieves market.
But for me, all these are not the best part. Old Delhi is heaven in terms of food. It is almost a religion here. Varieties of Parathas, sweets and a lot lot more are available in almost all the streets. Recipes that even date back to the Mughal age are also available here.
A Glimpse Into The Future
I don’t know why but even when talking of the future or time travel, I always imagine Dubai. I have lived in Dubai for my entire childhood and with every visit, there is something new that Dubai surprises everyone with. It always races to be the number one in everything.
I have visited a lot of places in the world but I feel Dubai just tops a lot of them by a large margin. It has amazing architectural structures, fabulous food that is often not discovered by a lot, thrilling adventures to experience, and a lot lot more.
It even has a ministry for looking after its people’s happiness and if that is not what the future needs, I don’t know what else. Even imagining Burj Khalifa, Desert Safari, Sky Dive Dubai or even the Dubai Frame can make me feel excited for tomorrow.
Moreover, Dubai is also leading in transportation facilities and other technological aspects. It has already started attempts to become greener with less consumption of paper, more solar power use, and more technology.
And the best part is that through all of this advancement, Dubai’s number one priority still hasn’t changed. The happiness of their people.
Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, UAE
If you aren’t fascinated by the UAE government yet, then this should definitely do it. Masdar City is one of its finest urban developments up to date. It is a leading pioneer in sustainable living. It’s attempting to transform everything into a much greener space with low carbon emissions, better waste disposal, and efficiency in each aspect of life.
In fact, there are not even light switches or water taps in the whole city and are instead working via motion sensors to reduce water and energy consumption.
The entire city is a great example of state-of-the-art technology and the best part is, it’s almost entirely dependent on solar energy and other renewable sources. If that’s the future, I think we can still hold hope.
Songdo, South Korea
Songdo in South Korea is a sustainable city with low carbon emissions and technology that can blow your mind. Some might even call it the smartest city in the world, with its efficient garbage disposal systems and hundreds of sensors that are used to monitor temperature, energy use, and even traffic.
The city is a polished version of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. It’s home to dozens of beautiful skyscrapers and it’s hard to believe how this city has risen up like a phoenix from the ashes of what once used to be just rubble. It’s almost too clear, that Songdo is indeed a model of what’s to come in the future.
It is described as the Global Business Hub and is racing to the future faster than almost all the cities in the world.
Shenzhen in China is one of the megacities in China which grew to its current state in just 40 years. It is also a city where the average age is 33 which makes it one of the youngest cities in the world, and definitely the youngest city in China.
Every year, it applies for countless patents and it helps that it’s a highly competitive city. It was also declared as the first special economic zone in China which has helped it to increase its revenue. This is why it’s China’s richest city.
Moreover, now Tencent has announced plans to transform Shenzhen into an entirely car-less city, thus prioritizing pedestrians and self-driving vehicles.
Shenzhen also has good air quality, unlike some other Chinese cities, great transportation facilities, lots of attractions in form of theme parks, and visa-free access. So, is Shenzhen a place to visit at least once in your life? Totally.
It is also preferred by a lot to Hong Kong because of its inexpensiveness and space when compared to the Mega-City.
Amsterdam is yet another smart city that provides a model of the future for the rest of the world. Even though their initial plans were to make the city a zero-carbon one, they haven’t quite achieved this goal yet. But they’re definitely striving for it and quite successfully have decreased their carbon emission by almost 20% already.
Moreover, did you know that all the data in the city is public and accessible to anyone? They do that to ensure the quality of life. Floating houses? Check. Plastic-free rivers? Check. Hundreds of windmills for renewable energy? Check. A sustainable city with reduced air pollution? Check. Oh oh, and most importantly super speedy Wi-Fi? Check.
As a coffee lover, the love for this place is quite understandable. It also has some amazing canals, pathways, beautiful houses, and a lot to do for thrilling adventures as well as a lazy day. You can also check out Amsterdam’s past at the Stadsarchief.
The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain has attracted hundreds of tourists since its inauguration in 2005. The complex is mainly devoted to scientific and cultural diffusion. It’s also known as one of the 12 treasures of Spain.
The entire area was once a dry riverbed but the development in the area was incredible and almost unbelievable. Not surprisingly, the place has been cast in many films and TV shows as a futuristic representation of the world.
Some of these are Tomorrowland, Doctor Who, Bill and Ted Face the Music and Sivaji.
Starting with its futuristic cityscapes to its high-tech accessibility in every aspect of life, Singapore is a superbly functioning modern city. It offers insights into the future so clearly that we do not even need to wonder anymore.
It’s also ranked as Asia’s most eco-friendly city. A special shout-out goes to Gardens by the Bay, which is almost a simultaneous look both into the future and the past.
It has over 200 different species of plants and flowers that recreate the effect of our rainforests and yet, in such a unique perspective. The most famous among these are the Supertrees.
These structures allow us to take a skywalk and admire the handiwork more closely. And although Gardens by the Bay is said to be its most futuristic creation, I’d say that the rest is not far behind.
Singapore is highly dedicated to its people, giving them robots to clean floors, cards for senior citizens, and smart devices that allow the disabled and elderly to cross the roads at ease.
You might not believe me if I say that Singapore also has a company that has given umbrella sharing services. It functions with a mobile app and is present at a number of locations in Singapore.
Also, if you don’t like waiting for the bus, Singapore might just change your opinion. It has a lot of trees and the air is very fresh too here. And the food, well it is top-notch.
I’m betting that you knew Tokyo was coming up. And of course, how can it not be when we’re talking about cites that give us an insight into the future? Even reading or watching what they offer from more than 6000 miles away makes me feel like I’ve entered into the future.
There are robot shows offered while having dinner. You can order your food on touchscreens and have it offered to you on belts. The toilets will play music, give you massages, and provide heaters. There are tiny pods you can sleep in to save money and yet they give you an awesome touristy feel.
The trains ride at an insane speed of 150 mph. And if nothing else, you can visit Miraikan, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation which is simply a fancier way of saying ‘Future Museum’.
The city is so clean that the thought of littering will not even pass your mind. Also, if you are an anime lover, then Tokyo is simply a place you must visit.
Akihabara is the epicenter of video games, anime, electronics, and a lot more. It is filled with lights at night and there is nothing here that will not impress you. Personally, I love Tokyo because of the quality of life here. But it is hard not to if you visit the city or even watch it on youtube.
The Past, The Present, The Future
Our world has it all. Some love the ways of the past while some always look forward to the future. There is an exception of people who just enjoy the quality of life today and think about the present. Every way of living has its own perks and drawbacks.
But when you learn to see the beauty that is present in everything around you, we understand the true meaning of a lot of things. Time travel surely will be a boon if invented one day, but that doesn’t mean we have to hold back now till it is invented.
There were a lot more places that we wanted to write about but we didn’t want to go on and on. But still, there are some countries such as Japan, France, Portugal, Indonesia, India et cetera that holds on to their values of the past while evolving rapidly. These countries are not just places to visit but places to experience their true beauty from.
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