Peles Castle, Romania, by Dennis Jarvis (CC 2.0)
The incomparable history of the Balkans is virtually inseparable from the rise of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations through the Dark Ages to the Holy Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, Habsburg Empire, Christian Crusades and Ottoman Empire along with intermittent influences and social upheavals associated with the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution followed by two apocalyptic World Wars that forever changed life on the continent.
Thus, the richly coloured tapestry of Balkan history woven by a mosaic of cultures and countries reflects the tumultuous and incredible journey undertaken by successive generations who modernly have awakened to the critical understanding that peace and security along with a commitment to economic and social cooperation are indispensable for the health, safety and well-being of its citizens and residents.
History travel in the Balkans therefore encompasses a broad range of interests and memorable periods of the past as visitors are guided to unforgettable archaeological treasures as well as landmark locations highlighted by specially designed and well preserved sculptures, statues, gardens, cemeteries, museums and architectural monuments that honour or remember those who fought and perished but whose deeds, whether noble or otherwise, will never be forgotten.
It is an inescapable fact that the rippling effects of human history will eventually touch everyone’s life in one way or another. As a result, history travel remains one of the most important cornerstones of Balkan tourism, and equally as important is its relevance in our modern world. The history of the Balkans, when understood, holds the key that unlocks the secret to resolving many of today’s social and political issues in the peninsula and even beyond its borders. Once thought to be well and truly relegated to history books and long forgotten archives, certain periods of the Balkan past remain unsettled in the minds and hearts of some and, therefore, reappear from time to time in the context of modern political and social life. These simmering embers from fires believed to have been put out unwittingly continue to impact the lives of modern Balkan citizens as today’s generation writes its own chapters of history and will inevitably leave its footprint in the sands of time.