Europe is the second smallest of the seven continents and covers a tiny 2% of the Earth’s surface but while it is small, it has a mighty and rich history that more than makes up what it lacks in surface area.

European culture is thought to have existed since 20,000 BC as evidenced in cave paintings in what we now refer to as modern day France and by 5,000 BC hierarchical societies began to emerge. It’s no wonder that Europe holds some of the most historic buildings, structures, artworks and artifacts than anywhere else in the world. The following 5 places in Europe are commonly referred to as some of the most historic in the world, let alone Europe. They not only retain powerful memories of the past, but also represent the wars Europe fought and barriers broken down.

With European unity being under extreme scrutiny of late, learning about the following historical sites could make all the difference in preserving Europe’s cultural heritage and should be top of everyone’s bucket list. Prior to booking your historic European journey, be sure that you and your travel party have completed an E111 renewal form. The E111 has been replaced by the European Health Insurance Card and entitles the bearer to free or reduced cost healthcare, should it be needed in countries part of the EEA.

The Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall
East German border guards stand on a section of the Berlin wall with the Brandenburg gate in the background on November 11, 1989 in Berlin. (AFP Photo / Gunther Kern) / AF

After its division during the days of Hitler’s reign, Berlin responded in a dramatic and eternally memorable way on the 9th November 1989. The major political upheaval at the time led to the Berlin Wall being pulled down and the border between East and West Germany being opened for the first time in 28 years. This momentous occasion leg to the reunification of Germany in 1990 and they have never looked back since.

Auschwitz and Birkenau

Auschwitz and Birkenau
The main gate entering the Nazi Auschwitz death camp. Image Via: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/jewish-man-gets-trapped-in-auschwitz-then-arrested-when-he-tried-to-escape-30947801.html

Auschwitz and Birkenau in Krakow is perhaps the most notorious of all the concentration camps and remains as one of the key symbols for genocide in the 20th century. Both sites offer free admission and a 15 minute documentary film from the liberation of the camp leads on to allow you to explore the grounds, which can include a guided tour. Birkenau is 3km from Auschwitz and is even more devastating in its size- the incomprehensible level of human extermination is one that visitors never forget.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon
Image Via: http://romeonsegway.com/10-facts-about-the-pantheon/

Even after 2,000 years having passed since its construction, the pantheon stands proudly in the Italian capital of Rome. It’s incredibly detailed design; elegance and harmony of its shape is a stark reminder of the advanced level of skill of the Roman Empire. Michelangelo is said to have thought the building was created by angels rather than humans.

Stonehenge

Stonehenge
Image Via: tallbloke.wordpress.com

Stonehenge is certainly one of the most famous monuments in the world and can be seen standing proudly on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. Work on Stonehenge began in around 3,000BC in the Neolithic Age and experienced many changes made to it over the years, until the Bronze Age in 1,500BC.

The Colosseum

The Colosseum
Image by Storm Crypt via Flickr.

Even compared to buildings constructed today, the Colosseum is still impressive and stands proudly as a memory of Roman imperial power and cruelty. Romans had used the Colosseum to kill thousands of people they thought as being criminals as well as inviting in professional fighters and animals.