Travel website offers a whole new way to discover history makes planning a visit to historical sites a one-stop adventure.

October 2, 2011 02:52

Historvius_311. (photo credit: Courtesy: Historvius)

From history fans to vacation sightseers, it seems that we all flock to see historic sites on our travels. Yet, while many of us follow the traditional tourist trail, one website is offering a simpler way to discover more of the world’s historic wonders, whether they be national landmarks or hidden gems. maps the world’s top historic sites online, making it simple and easier for people to gather information and ‘visit’ great historic places across the globe.

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Users can search for historic sites according to a holiday destination or resort as well as indulging a particular passion they may have and searching by period of history or historic figure.

Planning a trip to Cancun? You could explore all the historic places within reach of the resort. Or, instead, you could expand the search and look for all the sites of the Roman Empire on a map and plan your trip from there.

In fact, this kind of search can pull in some of the most interesting discoveries – for instance the Roman arena in Nimes that makes the Colosseum look like a wreck, or the ruined city of Ostia Antica which contains the oldest known synagogue site in Europe. You can even plan a trip following in the footsteps of history’s most iconic people – say, grabbing your rucksack and chase Alexander the Great across Asia.

Beyond this you can even break down your search to narrow in on one key passion – focusing in on French Revolution sites in Paris or seeking out London’s Norman heritage.

According to the website’s founder, Mike Lewis, Historvius intends to make historic sites more accessible to all.

“There are so many amazing historic sites out there that people love to visit, but before we built Historvius there was nothing that could let you discover these places quickly and effortlessly and in an easy-to-use way,” he said.

“By mapping the world’s historic sites, providing all the practical information you need and letting people find historic places according to their own interests, we’re helping to break out of the ‘top-ten’ mentality and bring amazing hidden treasures into the same light as recognized national gems.”

With a key aspect of the site built around the idea of sharing knowledge, Historvius allows users to submit their own favorite historic sites for inclusion in the database. In fact, as a community based service, users can upload, expand or comment on every historic site. According to Lewis, this is part of what makes it so special.

“Historvius allows those who are passionate about history or a specific place to share their knowledge and to learn from others,” he said.

“There’s also the opportunity to rate sites, add photos and comment on them, so people can participate as much as they like.”

The number of sites that Historvius covers is growing all the time – and it’s not just restricted to the major cities. You can find abandoned Siberian gulags, lost African cities and ruined Viking strongholds.

Closer to home, the site continues to expand its coverage of Israel’s wealth of historical treasures.

“Our coverage of Israel’s historic heritage is growing all the time,” explains Lewis.

“We’ve had some amazing places submitted to the site but there’s huge potential to grow. With a history that spans kingdoms and empires, cultures and civilizations, Israel has so much to offer those seeking history on their travels. By helping people discover these amazing locations we’d hope that more people will be encouraged to seek out these sites for themselves.”

For those who like to explore Jewish heritage sites around the world, the website can reveal some hidden treasures. The small seven-room Green House museum in Vilnius which tells the story of the once flourishing Lithuanian Jewish community, and the remains of the Jewish temple at Heraklea Linkestis in Macedonia, originally a thriving multicultural ancient metropolis are just two of the sites given ample coverage on the website.

“There are so many strands to the narrative of Jewish history,” comments Lewis. “So many different elements that come together. Of course, there are terrible tragedies, times of persecution, but there are also incredible places which tell of perseverance and joy.

These historic sites reflect the true diversity of Jewish heritage.”

The website contains a number of fun and useful features that allow people to discover more about these historic destinations from the comfort of their computer. One such aspect is the integration of Google’s Streetview map-exploration system, letting you take a virtual stroll through hundreds of the world’s historical attractions.

You can take a walk through the gardens of Versailles or wander the ruined streets of Pompeii, all without even having to leave home.

Another useful feature on the website allows people to plan out their vacation and set up an itinerary. The drag-and-drop system enables a ‘build your day-by-day’ plan. You can then add any notes and print a free PDF guidebook which contains useful information and a local map for each site you wish to visit.

You can even save you trip for later without the need to register and come back to update it at any time.

Ultimately the true aim of the website is to help people find interesting places to visit on their travels and share their experiences with the wider community.

As Lewis explains: “It’s all about making visiting history more practical, not just in learning about the background of different sites, but also making it simpler to actually see them.

“Some of the most amazing historic places I’ve visited are barely mentioned by travel guides – if at all – and getting recommendations from other people can lead to the most fantastic experiences.

“Within seconds of visiting Historvius, you can find fascinating historic places to see on your trip, with all the key information you need to make it happen.”

Those seeking to start their explorations can visit the site at Those seeking sites of Jewish interest can view the Jewish history map at

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