Top 10 Antique Highways
If you would like to learn more about the old ways and ancient pathways, you should definitely visit these antique highways, which give you the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the ancient nomad people. To help you in this endeavor, we devised a list of the world’s 10 most amazing pathways, which were used in ancient times by traders, pilgrims and armies alike.
1. Japan’s Nakasendo Highway
This narrow highway was built in the 17th century with the purpose of linking Edo (Tokyo) with Kyoto. The road was named Nakasendo (central mountain route) because it traveled inland, and because it was so well developed, many famous personalities walked on it, including the haiku master Matsuo Bashō. The road spans approximately 310 miles, and it was intended to be used by horses and pedestrians, since the Japanese people did not travel by cart.
2. North America’s Old North Trail
Traveling was a very important part in the Blackfeet Indians’ way of life. The Old North Trail stretched from Canada all the way to Mexico for about 2,000 miles, as it ran along the “backbone of the world”, which is now commonly known as the Rocky Mountains. The Blackfeet would spend about 4 years on this road as they traveled across the continent, undergoing sacred journeys or searching for a wife.
3. The Khmer Highway in Cambodia and Thailand
Many parts of this ancient road are now overgrown with jungle and can only be observed from above, but a long time ago it used to represent a very important roadway that connected Angkor (in Cambodia) with Phimai (now in Thailand). The highway measures 140 miles, and it was frequently used by the Cambodian “god-kings”, who used it to travel to various temples where they performed rituals and religious ceremonies. Most of the buildings found alongside the road date back to the reign of King Jayavarman VII.
4. Hong Kong’s Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail in China
The Yuen Tsuen Ancient Trail is also known as the Yuen Tsuen Traditional Footpath, and it represents a very old road linking Yuen Long and Tsuen Wan in the New Territories of Hong Kong. Part of the road is reserved as a natural trail for hikers.
5. Australia’s Old Great North Road
The Old Great North Road was built to link Sydney to Hunter Valley to the north, and it was constructed between 1825 and 1836 by men sentenced to forced labor. Some sections of the road boast great quality, and as such, the route was seen as a major architectural achievement. Because of its great historical significance, the highway was included in UNESCO’s World Heritagelist and in the Australian National Heritage List.
6. Spain’s Via Augusta
Via Augusta was a Roman road that crossed the entire province of Hispania, from Cadiz to the Pyrenees, beforejoining the Via Domitia. This road stretched for about 900 miles and it was named after Emperor Augustus. Used mainly as commercial route, thishighway is also known as Via Exterior or Via Herculea.
7. The Via Egnatia in Albania and Turkey
This famous highway was built by the Roman proconsul GnaeusEgnatius in the first century B.C. with the purpose of linking the Bosphorus with the Aegean and the Adriatic Sea. The road crossed the Roman provinces of Thrace, Macedonia and Illyricum, running through areas that are now part of European Turkey, Greece, Republic of Macedonia and Albania. It covered a total distance of 696 miles, and it was 19.6 feet wide, paved with stone slabs and covered with sand.
8. The Amber Road from Russia to Italy
Amber, also known as “the gold of the north” was transported along this ancient route that connects the Baltic with the Adriatic. Nowadays, tourists are able to follow this trail from St. Petersburg all the way to Venice.
9. The Persian Royal Road from Turkey to Iran
The Persian Royal Road’s construction can be attributed to the famous king Darius the Great. The king needed a way to facilitate communication across his vast empire fromSusa to Sardis. The road connected the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf, and it was traveled by famed historical personalities such as Alexander the Great, Queen Esther, Herodotus and King Midas.
10. The King’s Highway from Egypt to Syria
The King’s Highway represented one of the most important trade routes in the ancient Middle East. The road began in Egypt, and stretched across the Sinai Peninsula to Aqaba, turning northwards towards Syria. This pathway is very popular with pilgrims, since it passes Mount Nebo, where it is said that Moses had his vision about the Promised Land.