Throughout history, cities have arisen around easily defended locations. The result is a world of impressive castles and other fortifications dominating old towns and harbours everywhere – and now offering visitors impressive insights into the past, coupled with marvellous views.
The massive ruins of Golconda Fort just outside modern Hyderabad are the remains of what was more than just a fort: an ancient regional capital and once the centre of a thriving diamond trade. Its mighty ramparts, five kilometres in circumference and studded with eight gates, are now worn down by the passage of time and filled with weeds. The fort repelled all sieges until 1687, when it was razed by the great Emperor Aurangzeb. Visitors now clamber over the battlements and through the scattered remnants of barracks, bazaars, Turkish baths, and camel stables. The central palace complex features glazed tiles and floral emblems, but just as fascinating is the original, highly sophisticated plumbing system. Views from the top of the citadel are splendid, as are nightly sound-and-light shows, narrated by Bollywood great Amitabh Bachchan.
A mighty fort and impressive Islamic monuments give Hyderabad a rich history beneath its modern reputation for high-tech business.
Golconda Fort is six kilometres west of the city on the rocky, elevated Deccan Pla-teau.
HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has daily flights from Doha to Hyderabad.
The Acropolis has relied on its naturally fortified position since at least 5000 BC; the word acropo-lis simply means ‘upper town’. At the 156-metre summit you’ll find one of the world’s most impressive cultural sites, including the 4th-century BC Theatre of Dionysus, the elegant Temple of Athena Nike, and the Erechtheion, a small but beautiful temple of graceful columns and statuary. The highest part of the Acropolis is dominated by the Parthenon, the largest Doric temple ever completed in ancient Greece, and one of its greatest remaining glories. A magnificent view stretches as far as the Saronic Gulf in one direction and the mountains of the Peloponnese in the other. Don’t miss the newly opened Acropolis Museum, which displays the best of ancient Greek culture and Acropolis artefacts in a superb ultra-modern setting.
The epicentre of all Western civilisation is also one of the world’s most beautiful archaeological sites.
The Acropolis is one of a number of hills on the Attic Plain, overlooking the Saronic Gulf, over which modern Athens sprawls.
HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has twice daily non-stop flights from Doha to Athens.
Sitting on one of the southern Mediterranean’s best natural harbours, Tripoli has a history dating from Phoenician times, and is defended by its Ottoman-era Red Castle (Al-Saraya al-Hamra). The huge citadel, which dominates the skyline of the old town, is a maze of alleys and courtyards surrounded by massive walls. The fort now houses Jamahiriya Museum, which displays ancient artefacts, most notably Roman mosaic work.
Layered with the remains of Mediterranean superpowers from centuries past, the Red Castle is history in stone.
The Red Castle presides over Tripoli and the beaches and lagoons of Tripolitania along the western Libyan coast.
HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has daily flights from Doha to Tripoli.