Traveling to a historical site such as a medieval fortress represents a great opportunity for me to immerse myself in the history of that place and to try to imagine to live in such a citadel during its glory days.
Whenever I travel to old citadels who were restored thanks to the hard work of people fascinated by history and archaeology I experience a strange, but wonderful feeling of living in the present and the past at the same time. I can see tourists like me walking in the citadel yards and admiring the vestiges of the past while taking as many memories as they can with their fancy cameras and smart phones, but in the meantime my mind takes me back in time centuries ago, as I try to paint my own mental pictures of how life was then.
The more time I spend in an old city or medieval fortress, the more vivid those pictures are in my mind. Knights all wrapped up in heavy metal armors, merchants negotiating with buyers, people of different social statuses filling the streets of a citadel, some of them so wealthy that they afford to throw coins to the poor dirty people dressed in rags who can barely earn their living, all these images of a vibrant, but also troublesome past keep my mind occupied while visiting any place of great historical significance.
I have experienced these unique feelings and states of mind when I had the chance to explore several historical and cultural sites of my country, such as the Rasnov Citadel, the wonderfully preserved medieval town of Sighisoara or the Neamt Citadel, to mention just the ones which impressed me the most, but there are many other fabulous places that have unique stories to tell, stories of feud, blood thirst and power struggles, but also of more positive ideals of chivalry, honor or bravery. Only limited time and lack of financial resources prevent me from doing such explorations on a regular basis, but the rare occasions in which I manage to get out of my cage and go to such places offer me some truly unforgettable memories and stimulate my imagination like nothing else can do.
Of course, when we don't have the possibility to travel we can always resort to the substitutes represented by historical movies and documentaries on television and the internet, but even if a Youtube presentation of an ancient citadel seems to reveal all its secrets, I still consider that nothing compares to the real thing; watching images from remote historical sites I haven't visited yet isn't enough to satisfy my hunger for knowledge, on the contrary it can only increase it. Unfortunately, there is still a huge gap between dreams and reality, so at the moment only a combination of videos and pictures of distant historical objectives and my imagination can take me there.
I think the possibilities are unlimited when it comes to letting our imagination wander back in time, and the role of the visual elements represented by those ancient walls, ruins, bridges or bastions in stimulating our creative thinking is highly significant. That is why I love visiting them so much and I think that examining an ancient building is often a much more culturally experience than being on a busy city avenue surrounded by modern skyscrapers.
Any visit to such a unique place represent an invaluable history lesson for me!
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