People create history. And so does places. It is not surprising that tourists still flock to a palace or a tower or a bridge – sites where moments stand frozen and time stops ticking. Places which created history still echo voices with great words etched onto them. Destinations where history left a mark with pomp and galore are major tourist attractions to this day. However, there are unusual destinations where time tiptoed sneakily and created a moment for history to follow. Here’s to destinations that changed the world – one moment at a time.
Mainz – the destination that changed the way we read
Mainz is known for three things – its fine wine, its divine cathedral, Johannes Gutenberg. For those who coolly ignored history in school, Johannes Gutenberg is the reason that every home in the world today can read a newspaper or a novel. It was in Mainz that Gutenberg – who invented the printing press – lived.
Mainz, its cathedral, and its archbishop held central positions in the Holy Roman Empire during the Middle Ages. It was in Mainz that a mammoth number of monks would laboriously replicate the Church’s manuscript by hand. This led to an unequal distribution in the demand of the manuscripts and the supply of the same around Germany. Johannes Gutenberg observed this, and it was in Mainz that he resolved to find a solution to the problem. Once Gutenberg invented the press, his printed Bible sold like hot cakes. Everyone had access to the Word of God, and within a century and a half, the Reformation had begun in England, France, and Germany. The Reformation Movement changed religion, science, and the world. And it all began in Mainz.
If you love books, Mainz is one of the unusual destinations that will give you a warm welcome. Visit the Gutenberg Museum and witness a demonstration of how the first printed page turned around so that Europe could enter modernity. Marvel in wonder at the first printed words in Europe – ‘In the beginning was the word’ to understand how religion, faith, and science intersected at Mainz to gift the world a priceless treasure.
Siccar Point –A cliff that turned around the world – and time – on its head
This cliff in Edinburgh is one of the destinations that changed the world and time at the same time. Siccar Point is the reason behind our knowledge of Earth itself. This cliff helped a 62 year old James Hutton that the Earth is far older than we actually think it is. Until 18th century, people believed that the Earth is somewhere between 4,000 years to 10,000 years old. But a geological observation by a farmer changed all that.
Siccar Point’s striking visual contrast – of red sandstone mud and oceanic rocks – offered evidence of how Earth gradually developed over time. He understood that metal, soil, and rocks take millions and millions of years to form. This idea inspired Charles Darwin to study the theory of evolution. And the rest is history.
Visit Siccar Point in Edinburgh to witness one of the most iconic places which created history and which changed the way we thought about time.
Roebling – One of the best destinations that changed the world by rewiring history
For the passionate engineers and architects in you, visit Roebling. It is a small town in New Jersey, US, but without this town, you would probably not be able to go to the top of most of the popular buildings in the world. Roebling is the town that gave the world the cables to ‘lift’ up architecture.
Right from the elevators and ski lifts to the cables that hold up some of the major bridges in the US (like the Golden Bridge), the cables from Roebling are present everywhere. They were there even in the first solo transatlantic flight that flew non-stop. Roebling is a place that changed the world – one cable at a time.
A visit to the Roebling Museum will allow you to witness just how grandly the town and the business has occupied a place in everyday places that we visit, the occasional flights that we take, and the long stretched walks we make. For history lovers, the museum has two original pieces of the Roebling cables on display. These were a part of the Golden Bridge. For sport addicts, the museum has on display Mercer Automobiles – a company that Roebling created in the 20th century to create sports cars and offer competition to Ford. A gallery, exclusively exhibiting the history of the creation of the Brooklyn Bridge will delight everyone.
Zytglogge – The clock that redefined time
This iconic clock in Bern, Switzerland is the reason why the world today studies the theories of relativity. When Albert Einstein was wondering about the paradoxes of his study on time, this grand clock struck his attention after striking once. Einstein looked at it and suddenly imagined a scenario that would change time forever: What if a streetcar breezed away from the tower at the speed of light? The clock inside the streetcar would keep ticking, but the one outside – this Zytglogge – would stop its motion. Six weeks after that, history was created.
This clock is one of the most unusual destinations that the tourists flock to every day from all around the world. The clock – with its jester, parading bears, and a figure (gilded) whose function is to flip the hourglass and drop his jaws with every strike of the bell – is captivating to see the least. This clock, it feels like – is the place where time resides.
Unusual destinations that changed the world are hidden beneath the thick layers of mainstream history. But once they are discovered, they prove to be magical. From the Iron Bridge in Shropshire that gave the Industrial Revolution its most vital push to a town named Tordesillas, that tore the world apart with the knife of a language – places which created history need to be remembered and honored. So, which place that changed the world are you going to visit this year?