I’ve compiled a list of a few different “crossroads” to be found around the world, steeped in history, and well worth a visit.
5. Panama Canal
This near 50 mile long man made waterway connects two major continents (North and South America) and the two largest bodies of water on the planet (Atlantic and Pacific). This is the largest engineering effort ever undertaken by mankind. It took nearly 100 years of planning and negotiating to get the wheels in motion on this project and over 30 years and two different countries (France and the United States) to finish the project. How much did this crossroads site cost, you ask? $8.6 billion buckeroonies! This place is worth the visit as a reminder of what man and woman-kind can achieve when they put their mind to something.
4. Times Square
Located at the intersection of Broadway and 7th ave in New York, the money capital of the world, Times Square has both a seedy and exciting past. Named after the New York Times publication headquarters which used to reside here, this is a major hub for fashion, arts, and entertainment. It brings people from all around the world together each and every day. Local and global visitors kick each year off with a bang at one of the largest New Year’s bashes found anywhere! There’s no shortage of lights and billboards here.
Two things come to most people’s minds when Afghanistan is mentioned — war and endless desolate sandscapes. Few who’ve never visited would envision this as the 42nd most populated country in the world with close to 31 million inhabitants. Before its recent war-torn history, Afghanistan thrived for centuries as a trade hub that brought Asia and the Middle East together. There is so much geographical contrast surrounding the sands, with the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges and their melting winter snow feeding the numerous plentiful waterways throughout the country. With president Ashraf Ghani committed to restoring the countries image, this sprawling mix of weather and cultural contrasts may one day be deemed safe for travel. Though we’re not there yet sadly: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/afghanistan-travel-warning.html
Istanbul is just magical isn’t it? Such a strange confluence of cultures in this crossroads city; the 6th largest in the world. It’s officially located in the middle eastern country of Turkey, but this transcontinental city also straddles Europe and Asia. The Bosphorus Strait separates the Euro Thracian side of the city from the Asian Anatolian side — the Strait itself used to be a major thruway in the Silk Road days and connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmora. The waterways surrounding the city made it virtually impenetrable during ship-faring and horse and buggy days. Definitely put Istanbul on your travel bucket list if you haven’t already done so!
Africa has all sorts of crossroads worth mentioning. Depending on whether you’re god-fearing or choose to believe the science; Adam and Eve were dropped here by god or modern man made the switch from ape to Homo sapiens some 200,000 years ago. This is another country that’s often associated with arid conditions, but places like Madagascar pictured below are anything but. This, the largest continent on the planet straddles the equator, making it a crossroads of the northern and southern temperate climates. While much of the country lives in poverty, there are plenty of youth here to help cement a better future for the birthplace of man — over 50% of the population is 19 years or younger. Can’t wait to get there someday soon!
Main image by Neal Wellons