Old Town of Cáceres

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

It’s time to take a look at another UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Last week we were in Turkey as we visited the Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia.

Today we’re headed to Hispania as we check out the Old Town of Cáceres!

The city’s history of battles between Moors and Christians is reflected in its architecture, which is a blend of Roman, Islamic, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance styles. Of the 30 or so towers from the Muslim period, the Torre del Bujaco is the most famous.

Cáceres has been a trade route city and a political center of the local nobles for many centuries. Since prehistoric times, people from different cultures have gathered in Cáceres and have shaped its strong historical roots.

The influence and remains of these cultures can be observed and studied in the walled ensemble of Cáceres, with a wide typological and constructive variety ranging from popular architecture to palace-houses, with their characteristic sobriety and towers of the nobility of Gothic and Renaissance times. This property also includes noteworthy religious buildings such as churches, hermitages and convents.

Cáceres is an outstanding example of a city that was ruled from the 14th to 16th Centuries by powerful rival factions, reflected in its dominant spatial configuration of fortified houses, palaces and towers. This city in Extremadura bears the traces of highly diverse and contradictory influences.

Multidisciplinary research of the last decades has allowed to gain a better understanding of the evolution and substantial transformations of Cáceres, documented construction techniques in the walled city and identified a rare structural unity in the west of the historic ensemble.

We hope that you enjoyed today’s journey, and look forward to having you back again. Be sure to check us out again soon for we never know where or when we’ll end up.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

It’s time to take a look at another UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Last week we were in Romania as we visited the Wooden Churches of Maramureş.

Today we’re headed to Turkey as we check out the Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia!

Göreme town panorama

Located on the central Anatolia plateau within a volcanic landscape sculpted by erosion to form a succession of mountain ridges, valleys and pinnacles known as “fairy chimneys” or hoodoos, Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia cover the region between the cities of Nevşehir, Ürgüp and Avanos, the sites of Karain, Karlık, Yeşilöz, Soğanlı and the subterranean cities of Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu.

The area is bounded on the south and east by ranges of extinct volcanoes with Erciyes Dağ at one end and Hasan Dağ at the other. The density of its rock-hewn cells, churches, troglodyte villages and subterranean cities within the rock formations make it one of the world’s most striking and largest cave-dwelling complexes.

Though interesting from a geological and ethnological point of view, the incomparable beauty of the decor of the Christian sanctuaries makes Cappadocia one of the leading examples of the post-iconoclastic Byzantine art period.

It is believed that the first signs of monastic activity in Cappadocia date back to the 4th Century at which time small anchorite communities, acting on the teachings of Basileios the Great, Bishop of Kayseri, began inhabiting cells hewn in the rock. In later periods, in order to resist Arab invasions, they began banding together into troglodyte villages or subterranean towns such as Kaymakli or Derinkuyu which served as places of refuge.

Cappadocian monasticism was already well established in the iconoclastic period (725-842) as illustrated by the decoration of many sanctuaries which kept a strict minimum of symbols (most often sculpted or tempera painted crosses). However, after 842 many rupestral churches were dug in Cappadocia and richly decorated with brightly coloured figurative painting.

Those churches in the Göreme Valley include Tokalı Kilise and El Nazar Kilise (10th century), St. Barbara Kilise and Saklı Kilise (11th century) and Elmalı Kilise and Karanlık Kilise (end of the 12th – beginning of the 13th Century).

How This Relates to Rome:

The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in the East during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul, which had been founded as Byzantium). It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th Century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.

During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. Both Byzantine Empire and Eastern Roman Empire are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm. Its citizens continued to refer to their empire as the Roman Empire or Romania, and to themselves as Romans.

We hope you enjoyed today’s trip and look forward to having you back. Make sure to tell your friends and family about us on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Wooden Churches of Maramureş

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

It’s time to take a look at another UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Last week we were in Hungary as we visited the Old Village of Hollókő and its Surroundings.

Today we’re headed to Romania as we check out the Wooden Churches of Maramureş!

The Maramures wooden churches are outstanding examples of vernacular religious wooden architecture resulting from the interchange of Orthodox religious traditions with Gothic influences in a specific vernacular interpretation of timber construction traditions, showing a high level of artistic maturity and craft skills.

These 8 churches are outstanding examples of a range of architectural solutions from different periods and areas. They show the variety of designs and craftsmanship adopted in these narrow, high, timber constructions with their characteristic tall, slim clock towers at the western end of the building, either single- or double-roofed and covered by shingles. As such, they are a particular vernacular expression of the cultural landscape of this mountainous area of northern Romania.

How This Relates to Rome:

Romania derives from the Latin romanus, meaning “citizen of Rome“. Prior to the Roman conquest of Dacia, the territories between the Danube and Dniester rivers were inhabited by various Thracian peoples, including the Dacians and the Getae.

Roman incursions under Emperor Trajan between 101–102 AD and 105–106 AD resulted in half of the Dacian kingdom becoming a province of the Roman Empire called Dacia Felix. The Roman rule lasted for 165 years.

During this period the province was fully integrated into the Roman Empire, and a sizable part of the population were newcomers from other provinces. The Roman colonists introduced the Latin language.

According to followers of the continuity theory, the intense Romanization gave birth to the Proto-Romanian language. The province was rich in ore deposits (especially gold and silver in places like Alburnus Maior).

Roman troops pulled out of Dacia around 271 AD, then the territory was invaded by various migrating peoples. Burebista, Decebalus and Trajan are considered the Romanians’ forefathers in Romanian historiography.

We hope you enjoyed today’s trip and look forward to having you back. Make sure to tell your friends and family about us on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Last Spartans: The Survival of Laconic Greek

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

If you are reading this, then we have a language in common. A common thread and solid foundation amongst long lasting empires is language.

Whether it was our favorite empire (the Romans) to the more recent empire (the British), there was a dominant language spoken by all citizens. We all know that the Imperium Rōmānum was the perfect pairing of Latin with a healthy foundation of Greek.

It’s time to head back to the Battle of Thermopylae when the 300 was a real thing. Today we journey back to Sparta to discover a fight over the Greek language!

This is the story of a Greek town that supposedly still preserves the Spartan tongue. Why don’t modern Spartans speak like the rest of Greece? Why do they dig into their connection to Ancient Sparta? Will their Tsakonian language survive?

Ancient Greece was home to a variety of dialects. Athens and Sparta both put up a major fight.

Long story short, the dialect of 1 of those city-states won out. Guess which? Athens, of course.

Attic Greek combined with a hefty dose of Ionic to form the Koiné (Common) Greek, the ancestor of basically all modern Greek dialects. At least all but perhaps one.

Travel to a small town in the south of Greece, where a headmaster leads his students up the hillsides to record the words of their elders. These aging villagers speak Tsakonian (Τσακώνικα), a special remnant that may soon crumble into another Greek artifact.

Looking at pieces of the grammar and pronunciation of the language, it shows what sets it apart from Modern Greek. Search for any ancient holdouts it preserves.

Consider its connection to the Doric dialect of Ancient Sparta. Finally, ponder its place in modern Greece and how much longer it will be with us.

Why should we even care? The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets.

We hope you enjoyed today’s adventure. We look forward to having you join us again soon.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Old Village of Hollókő and its Surroundings

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

It’s time to take a look at another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today we’re headed to Hungary as we check out Old Village of Hollókő and its Surroundings!

The Old Village of Hollókő is a Palócz settlement located in the County of Nógrád in Northern Hungary, about 62 mi north-east of Budapest. The Old Village, which has been deliberately preserved, is a living example of rural life before the agricultural revolution of the 20th Century.

The rural architectural ensemble, which covers 358 acres, consists of 55 residential buildings, farm buildings and the church. Together, the traditional Palócz use of architectural forms and materials form a harmonious unit with the surrounding landscape and natural environment, characterized by strip-field farming, orchards, vineyards, meadows and woods.

The property also includes the medieval castle ruins situated on the hill perched above the village, which is mentioned as early as 1310. This castle played a decisive part in the feudal wars of the Palóc and the Hussite and served as protection for the village whose ruins have been found a little way from its walls.

At the end of the Ottoman occupation (1683) the castle and the village were finally abandoned and the present village established below. It developed gradually throughout the 18th and 19th Centuries.

As was customary in the region, the initial generation of inhabitants settled on either side of the main street. In this 1-street village, subsequent generations built their houses at the back of the narrow family plots, thus progressively enlarging the built-up area.

The barns were built apart from the village, on the edges of the fields, according to Palócz custom.

The development of the village and the agriculture can be traced from various documents. In 1782, Hollókő was still a typical 1-street village.

Later, another street developed to the east of the main street. A plan from 1885 shows that the topography was already like that of the present-day plan.

The amount of cultivated land had reached its maximum by the mid-19th Century and the village could therefore grow no further. Some limited growth started again in 1960 and is now strictly controlled.

The inhabitants of Hollókő never heeded a 1783 decree prohibiting the use of wood for building as the decree considered it to be too inflammable. Consequently, the village was periodically devastated by fire.

The last of these fires dates back to 1909, after which houses were rebuilt mostly according to the traditional techniques of Palóc rural architecture: half-timbered houses on a stone base with roughcast, white-washed walls, enhanced by high wooden pillared galleries and balconies on the street side protected by overhanging porch roofs.

The church with its shingled tower is simply a transposition of this domestic architectural style. Hollókő is a living community that provides an exceptional and maybe unique example of voluntary conservation of a traditional village.

How This Relates to Rome:

The Roman Empire conquered the territory west of the Danube between 35 and 9 BC. From 9 BC to the end of the 4th Century, Pannonia was part of the Roman Empire, located within part of later Hungary’s territory.

Here, a 600-strong Roman Legion created the settlement Aquincum in AD 41–54. A civil city grew gradually in the neighborhood of the military settlement, and in AD 106 Aquincum became the focal point of the commercial life of this area and the capital city of the Pannonia Inferior region.

This area now corresponds to the Óbuda district of Budapest, with the Roman ruins now forming part of the modern Aquincum museum. Later came the Huns, the Germanic Ostrogoths, Lombards, Gepids, and the polyethnic Avars.

We hope you enjoyed today’s trip and look forward to having you back. Make sure to tell your friends and family about us on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

The History of the Romans: Every Year

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

From the Foundation of Rome through the Fall of the Byzantine Empire, there has been constant growth and change in what was the Roman Empire. With so much going on, how could you possibly know everything?

That issue gets decided today as we witness the History of the Romans: Every Year!

See the entire history and progression of Roman civilization from the city-state Kingdom all the way to the last Byzantine successor state.

This video was originally published on 31 December 2015, with musical credits of “Majestic Hills”, “Hero Down”, and “Teller of the Tales” all by Kevin MacLeod.

We hope you enjoyed today’s adventure, maybe you even learned something new or exciting. We look forward to having you join us again soon.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louvière and Le Roeulx (Hainaut)

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

It’s time to take a look at another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today we’re in the countryside of Belgium as we explore The Four Lifts on the Canal du Centre and their Environs, La Louvière and Le Roeulx (Hainaut)!

The 4 hydraulic boat-lifts on the short stretch of the historic Canal du Centre are industrial monuments of the highest quality. Together with the Canal itself and its associated structures, they constitute a remarkably well preserved and complete example of a highly technical industrial landscape at the end of the 19th century.

The construction of the Canal du Centre to ensure the liaison between the Meuse and the Escaut basins was part of the opening-up programme of Hainaut, a rich industrial region, notably coal, but with very few natural navigable waterways for coal export. Digging work began in 1884 and the opening to navigation took place in 1917.

At the very beginning of the project, the architects were confronted with a 2-fold problem: the large distance in height over a short distance and the small quantity of water available. The most adapted technique to overcome these constraints was that of boat lifts, developed by English engineers using only hydraulic power.

Over a distance of 4.35 mi, a series of 4 boat lifts, unique worldwide, were built, each one covering a change in level of 23 feet. The stretch is bordered by a series of art works including 2 fixed bridges and 2 lift or swing bridges.

The property also comprises the ancient lock No.1 of Thieu, today disaffected, as well as 3 buildings housing the necessary hydraulic machinery for the good functioning of the lifts. Also, there are several 2-story houses to accommodate the work staff.

In 1911, at the time of the construction of the canal, a tree-planting program on the banks was initiated. Various types of trees were planted: American elm and white ash, oak, poplar, maple and sycamore, with copses of elder, sometimes mixed with willow, silver birch and false acacia.

A variety of  species (black pine, false acacia, maple, hazel, elderberry and poplar) were planted around the lifts. Today, the most common species are lime, maple, chestnut and ash.

Of the 8 hydraulic boat-lifts constructed at that time and at the beginning of the 20th century, the 4 lifts of the Canal du Centre are the only ones worldwide remaining in their functioning original state and still in use.

The canal that can accommodate 300 ton boats is currently used for leisure navigation.

How This Relates To Ancient Rome:

The name Belgium is derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northernmost part of Gaul that before Roman invasion in 100 BC, was inhabited by the Belgae (a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples).

A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th Century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings.

A gradual shift of power during the 8th Century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire and the Holy Roman Empire.


We hope you enjoyed today’s adventure. We look forward to sharing more World Heritage Sites, along with many other explorations.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Tips for Traveling Europe as an American

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

Since we have not been able to travel almost at all due to the birth of our son just over a year ago, we’ve been yearning to go somewhere. Before learning my wife was pregnant, we had planned a Christmas trip to Paris.

Due to this desire to travel to Europe again, we thought it best to at least share some tips for other Americans looking to journey abroad. With that, today we bring to you 3 different videos for traveling to Europe from 3 unique perspectives.

The 1st video is from a younger American presently living in Europe (Germany). Kristen from TIPSY YAK will now bring you How to Travel Europe as an American.

After watching Kristen, if you didn’t want to grab a drink and pack a bag then you may just want to stop here.

Next up is our personal favorite guide to Europe, both major tourist spots and cool sites/places to eat off the beaten path. This wealth of information is Rick Steves of the PBS Rick Steves’ Europe.

He has spent many years traveling and sharing his various experiences in travel books, on TV and online. Today he will share European Travel Skills: Packing Light.

Finally, we have Jess (another American living overseas – this time LondonEngland) who seems to split the age difference. As for advice, we think her 8 Mistakes Not to Make When Planning a Europe Trip really are worthwhile.

You can see more of Jess at Love and London. We think her mindset is very helpful.

We hope these videos have sparked something inside you. Whether you do end up traveling to Europe, or somewhere else entirely, we wish you the best of travels.

If you do happen to visit Europe, please let us know. We’d love to share your experience and let others know Do’s and Dont’s that you found to happen.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Wartburg Castle

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

It’s time to take a look at another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today we’re in the countryside of Germania as we explore Wartburg Castle!

Wartburg Castle blends superbly into its forest surroundings and is in many ways “the ideal castle”. Although it contains some sections of great antiquity, it acquired the current layout over the course of 19th Century reconstructions.

Today the castle continues to be a symbol of the nation’s past and present, standing as a splendid example of what this fortress might have been at the peak of its military and seigneurial power. What makes Wartburg Castle such a magnet for memory, tradition, and pilgrimage is that it stands as a monument to the cultural history of Germany, Europe, and beyond.

Wartburg Castle is perched at a height of some 1,312 feet above the delightful countryside, south of the city of Eisenach in Thuringia in central Germany. Its varied aspect and the sense of harmony it evokes are only 2 of its attractions for visitors.

Lutherans the world over know of the castle as the very place where Martin Luther made his translation of the Bible. The veneration of Saint Elizabeth, which extends far beyond the frontiers of Germany, includes Wartburg Castle where she lived and worked.


The patronage of Hermann I, Landgrave of Thuringia, occupies an extraordinary place in the creation of a national literary tradition. In poetry and in legends, Wartburg Castle, the medieval Court of the Muses, bears an undying reputation through the names of Walther von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach.


Wartburg Castle is also associated with the beginnings of a bourgeois and democratic nation, through the content and effects of the Wartburg festival of German students’ associations. From the very earliest days of its existence, this fortress of the Landgraves of Thuringia has repeatedly acted as a venue for and witness of historic events and activities worthy of renown as a monument to national and world history.


The artistic and architectural importance of the palace, built in the latter half of the 12th Century, is no less significant. In execution and ornamentation, it is unrivaled and represents one of the best-preserved secular constructions from the late Norman period to be found on German soil. Thanks to this broad range of religious content and historic data, and because of its significance in the history of the arts, Wartburg Castle attracts around half a million visitors every year, from all over the world.

How This Relates To Ancient Rome:

Germania was the Roman term for the geographical region in north-central Europe inhabited mainly by Germanic peoples.

It extended from the Danube in the south to the Baltic Sea, and from the Rhine in the west to the Vistula. The Roman portions formed two provinces of the EmpireGermania Inferior to the north (present-day Netherlands, Belgium, and western Germany), and Germania Superior to the south (Switzerland, southwestern Germany, and eastern France).

Germania was inhabited mostly by Germanic tribes, but also Celtsearly SlavsBalts and Scythians. The population mix changed over time by assimilation, and especially by migration. The ancient Greeks were the first to mention the tribes in the area.

Later, Julius Caesar wrote about warlike Germanic tribesmen and their threat to Roman Gaul, and there were military clashes between the Romans and the indigenous tribes. Tacitus wrote the most complete account of Germania that still survives.

The origin of the term Germania is uncertain, but was known by Caesar’s time, and may be Gallic in origin.

We hope you enjoyed today’s adventure. We look forward to sharing more World Heritage Sites, along with many other explorations.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!

Travel With Kids – Rome, Vatican City & the Amalfi Coast

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

After traveling with my wife and infant son to see family for Christmas, I got to thinking “What will traveling be like when our boy’s older? Where will we take him to make some wonderful memories?”

Last week we shared Travel With Kids – Rome to showcase all that can be seen and experienced in the Eternal City while traveling with children. We thought that was a good idea and looked for more videos to share.

Today we present to you Travel With Kids – Rome, Vatican City & the Amalfi Coast!

If you enjoyed today’s adventure and want to see more like it, and maybe even about different locations, check out their site here.

We wish you a great 2017 filled with endless possibilities. Come back soon to see what we have in store for you.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!