With the launch of Voyages to Antiquity’s inaugural season of cruises, its historical advisor and author John Julius Norwich, has selected his top ten historical sites from around the Mediterranean.
“To list one’s ten favourite places in the Mediterranean and its hinterland is a tall order indeed,” states John Julius Norwich, “No other area on earth possesses a tenth of the quantity of superb historical sites to be found between the Pillars of Hercules and the coast of the Levant; and if we extend our range – as Voyages to Antiquity does – to cover Upper Egypt and St Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai, Petra and Palmyra, the task becomes more difficult still.”
The ten ‘never-to-be-forgotten’ sites listed below are all destinations offered to travellers in Voyages to Antiquity Inaugural Season brochure and is available to book now:
1. Palermo, Sicily - Visit the Sicilian capital to experience the dazzling Palatine Chapel and the Cathedral of Monreale, with its almost unbelievable 12th-century mosaics and equally magical cloister.
2. Cefalu, Sicily - The mosaic of the Pantocrator in the apse of Cefalu Cathedral is among the greatest portraits of Jesus in all Christian art.
3. Istanbul, Turkey - Istanbul is home to the Church of St Sophia, one of the greatest buildings in the world. And don’t miss the Harrowing of Hell fresco in the 14th-century Church of St Saviour in Chora.
4. Venice, Italy - You could single out St Mark’s Square or any one of a number of churches, but the ultimate miracle is the city itself.
5. Petra, Jordan - To come upon the ‘Treasury’ – a spectacular example of rock-cut architecture probably dating from the first century BC – is one of the great coups de theatre that the world has to offer.
6. Palmyra, Syria - The ruined capital of Queen Zenobia, far out in the Syrian desert, is a site as mysterious as it is beautiful.
7. Krak des Chevaliers, Syria - The most complete Crusader castle to be found anywhere, and the most impressive. To step into this fortress atop a 650-metre-high hill is to return to the 11th century.
8. Aphrodisias, Turkey - Thanks to its remoteness in the hills surrounding the valley of the Meander River, this remarkable ancient city is relatively free of tourists and utterly unspoilt.
9. Luxor and Karnak, Egypt - Ancient Egypt exerts an extraordinary spell on all visitors. The temples open at 6am, so get up early and enjoy the cool of the morning. (You will also have them virtually to yourselves.)
10. Leptis Magna, Libya - Roman ruins don’t come more magnificent than these – and they remain utterly unspoilt by the modern world.
The Aegean Odyssey will be sailing around the Mediterranean from May to November 2010. Fares start from £1995 for a 15 day cruise, including shore excursions, gratuities, wine with dinner and scheduled flights on British Airways.
Voyages to Antiquity are also offering these special launch offers:
· COMPLIMENTARY FLIGHT UPGRADE TO CLUB EUROPE
when booking in Concierge Class (categories A to G)*
· COMPLIMENTARY CABIN UPGRADE
on board when booking a cabin in categories N to I
· NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS
*in selected categories
Note: * These special launch offers are strictly capacity controlled, are subject to availability.
Commenting on the top ten, David Yellow, Managing Director of Voyages to Antiquity said, “Lord Norwich’s knowledge and experience of this part of the world has been invaluable in helping us to create a series of cruises that bring to life the exciting and inspiring classical civilisations of the Mediterranean.’’