The Top 10 Ancient Roads - Page 2
|The ancient site of Palmyra, Syria (Getty Images)|
From Nimes' remarkable first-century Roman gladiator ring of Les Arenes, head 12 miles (19 km) northeast to the Roman aqueduct of Pont du Gard and, to the west, Via Domita—the original Roman road—which passes through vineyards. Continue southwest to Arles to visit the amphitheater and the Roman necropolis of Les Alyscamps.
Many ancient artifacts from Merida are now in the town's National Museum of Roman Art, yet the Temple of Diana and the Arch of Trajan still mark the city's edge. From here, take a three-hour drive south toward Cadiz to reach Prado del Rey and the ancient Roman site of Ocuri, which includes a theater from 45 B.C.
Hadrian's Wall, England
Hadrian's wall is 73 miles (117 km), or 80 Roman miles, measured in “milecastles” —small garrisons along the wall. Begun in A.D. 122, this vast barrier, which is the largest ancient monument in northern Europe, held more than 30 forts and lasted through many years of change as a frontier of the Roman Empire. Start from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the east and head west along the wall's mammoth length all the way to Bowness-on-Solway, along the A69 and B6318.
PLANNING: Hadrian's Wall has a website that offers itinerary ideas—you can pick a title, such as Forts and Ports, and then use their interactive map to make plans. www.hadrians-wall.org
Tripoli—Leptis Magna—Cyrene, Libya
Libya's natural harbor capital, Tripoli, has always been an important city, and bears the marks of various historical cultures, such as the well-preserved Roman Arch of Marcus Aurelius. Around 81 miles (130 km) to the east, the famous first- century Roman city of Leptis Magna has some of Africa's best ruins, such as the beautifully decorated baths. Also along the Mediterranean coast, 14 hours' driving from Leptis Magna, is the Greek and Roman city of Cyrene, its ruins sprawling through the Green Mountains.
PLANNING: To visit Libya you must be part of an organized tour. www.libyan-tourism.org
Carthage—Bulla Regia—Douga, Tunisia
After the Romans destroyed Carthage in 146 B.C., they built from its leveled ruins great buildings, theaters, and the impressive Antionine Thermal Baths to make the city a suitably grand administrative capital for Africa. Drive from Carthage back through Tunis and 105 miles (107 km) west to visit Bulla Regia, which has impressive mosaics in cool underground caves. Head into the mountains to see one of ancient Rome's best-preserved African towns at Douga.
PLANNING: Visit the Bardo Museum in Tunis, which holds original pieces removed from each of the ruins. www.tourismtunisia.com
Reproduced with permission from Drives of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Most Spectacular Trips, 2010, National Geographic. All rights reserved.