Flight to the U.K.
Salisbury | Orientation | Days 1–2
We will begin our program with an intensive orientation outside of London in Salisbury, that will help us to create a community of culturally aware traveling scholars. We'll get acquainted with each other and learn the ground rules for ECHP and our unique approach to study and travel. There will also be essential introductions to the academic subject areas and the interdisciplinary framework we will use throughout the program. We plan to visit the site of Stonehenge as well as sites within Salisbury. Specific instructions for arrival will be available after enrolling.
London | Days 3–7
The Tower of London will bring the Middle Ages to life, while St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey will introduce us to one of Europe's most magnificent cathedrals and one of the world's most important monuments. We will see the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace on walking tours.
The British Museum is a vast storehouse of treasures from every period of civilization; of special interest to us will be the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon in Athens and the Rosetta Stone, which provided the key to deciphering ancient Egyptian writing. The National Gallery, one of the great art collections of the world, will be a highlight of the many art museums we have visited. Included in our stay will be theater or concert performances.
Paris | Days 8–12
Paris, one of the oldest cities in western Europe, is considered to be the art capital of the world. You will be introduced to Paris through a cruise on the Seine. Our art professor will schedule visits to the Musee du Louvre ("Mona Lisa," "Venus de Milo," Delacroix's "Liberty Leading the People" and many other priceless art treasures); the Musee D'Orsay (the world's finest collection of Impressionist paintings), the Musee Rodin, and to the Centre National d'Art et Culture Georges Pompidou (a fine collection of modern art).
A discussion on Napoleon will take place at Les Invalides, where he lies in the crypt of the Eglise du Dome, within the innermost of six successive coffins. Your history professor will also guide you through the Musee de l'Armee where you will view such fascinating artifacts as Napoleon's favorite horse and the room in which he died at St. Helena.
We will also visit Notre Dame, the Gothic chapel of Sainte Chapelle and the nearby Conciergerie, where Marie Antoinette, Robespierre and many others spent their last days in prison during the French Revolution.
Tickets also will be provided to chamber music concerts at at one of the following venues: Sainte Chapelle, Saint Severin, or at the Church of Saint Julien le Pauvre.
Chartres and Versailles
We will make excursions outside of Paris to Versailles, the magnificent palace of Louis XIV with its Le'Hameau, where Marie Antoinette and her friends used to play peasant, and to Chartres with its majestic Gothic cathedral, Notre Dame des Chartres.
The Rhine Valley: Rudesheim to Cologne | Days 13–14
We will board a steamer for a cruise on the Rhine River and glide past vineyard-covered hills and cliffs, including the Lorelei Cliff from which, as Heinrich Heine relates, beautiful sirens lured weary sailors to the treacherous rocks.
We will spend the night in a castle with an impressive view overlooking the Rhine, in Bacharach.
Munich | Days 15–17
Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is a cultural center of Germany. Our art professor will take us on a tour of the Alte Pinakothek, famous for works by Dürer, Rubens, Rembrandt, and its large collection of Dutch, French and Italian masters. We will also visit the Neue Pinakothek with works by 18th and 19th century artists and the German Expressionists, the State Gallery of Modern Art with works by Courbet, Cezanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh, and the Glyptothek with its fine collection of classical sculptures.
We also plan to travel to Dachau on the outskirts of Munich, to visit the concentration camp which was established there by Nazi Germany.
Venice | Days 18–20
Our first view of the city called "the bride of the sea" will be as we exit the train station and stand at the edge of the Grand Canal. On a walking tour, we will cross a few of the more than 200 bridges that connect the archipelago of small islands that form the city. We will visit the Piazza San Marco, called by Napoleon "The most beautiful drawing room in the world."
We will tour the Basilica, and see the 10th century Bell Tower. Our art professor will guide us through the Galleria dell Accademia, with its rich collection of Venetian paintings, including Bellini's "Madonna," Giorgione's "Tempest" and Tintoretto's magnificent cycle depicting the life of St. Mark. Nearby, we will see the Scuola San Rocco with Tintoretto's masterpieces.
We will also visit the Collezione Peggy Guggenheim, a magnificent canal-side palazzo which houses outstanding works by many modern masters including Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, Constantin Brancusi, Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollack. Evenings will be spent at leisure, exploring the hidden treasures of the city as twilight edges into darkness, or just sitting at a cafe along the Canal watching gondolas glide by.
Florence | Days 21–25
Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance, is an essential component of our study program. Located in the center of Tuscany, it offers art lovers a unique opportunity to study the accomplishments of an age within the geographical confines where they were produced. Our art professor will guide us through the Uffizi, which includes the best of the Italian Renaissance: Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Michelangelo, da Vinci and Titian, along with some superb examples of Northern art.
We will visit the Duomo and have an opportunity to climb up Brunelleschi's structure for a panoramic view of the city. We will also visit the Baptistery and see Ghiberti's "Gates of Paradise," and the Bargello, with its magnificent collection of Florentine sculpture including works by Donatello, Verrocchio, Michelangelo and Cellini.
In Florence, we will visit the Piazza della Signoria and discuss aspects of the Florentine Renaissance. The Loggia dei Lanzi houses sculptures by Benvenuto Cellini and Giambologna, and affords us an opportunity to stand under the arcade and survey the civic heart of Florence. Situated across from the Loggia is the Palazzo Vecchio-the administrative center of the city.
Of course, we cannot miss the Galleria dell'Accademia, which houses Michelangelo's "David" and a number of his other works.
No tour of Florence would be complete without a look at its famous churches. We will visit Santa Maria del Carmine with Masaccio's frescoes in its Brancacci Chapel; Santa Maria Novella with Masaccio's "Holy Trinity" and important frescos by Ghirlandaio; San Marco with Savonarola's cell; and Santa Croce, where our historian will discuss famous Italians who are buried there.
Evening classes may be held in one of the hotel balcony rooms overlooking the city, or at leisure in the cafes near the Mercato Centrale. We will travel by morning train to our next destination, Rome.
Rome | Days 26–31
On our arrival in Rome, we will go on a walking tour of the ancient city. Among the many sites of Rome, we will view; the Castel Sant' Angelo, the Pantheon, Trajan's Column, the Colosseum, the Arch of Constantine, and the Roman Forum. In the ruins of the Forum our historian will deliver a lecture on the history of Ancient Rome.
We plan to visit the Vatican Museum with its famous sculptures such as the "Laocoön Group" and the "Apollo Belvedere," the great Egyptian Art Collection, the Raphael Rooms, the Greek Vase Collection, the Chapel of Nicolas V with frescos by Beato Angelico, and the Sistine Chapel, the jewel of Renaissance art in the heart of the Vatican. Of course we will visit Saint Peter's Basilica with Michelangelo's famous "Pieta" and Bernini's "Baldacchino."
We will also experience some of Renaissance and Baroque Rome. We plan to visit the Galleria Borghese with Bernini's greatest early sculptures and a priceless collection of Titians and Caravaggios. We will do a walking tour to see Loyola's Chiesa del Gesu, Santa Maria della Vittoria with Bernini's "Santa Teresa in Ecstasy," Piazza Navona with three Bernini fountains, and the Spanish Steps. Before leaving we will stop at the Trevi Fountain to drop in a coin, which according to tradition will assure our return to the Eternal City. We will depart for Naples by early morning train. Naples will be our base for a day-long excursion to Pompeii.
Naples | Pompeii Excursion
In Pompeii, covered in 79 CE by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, we will view the layout of a Roman city from the first century CE. Plaster casts of some of the unfortunate victims of the volcanic eruption are preserved in the buildings of the Forum. An archaeologist discovered that pouring plaster into the hollows left in the hardened volcanic ash produced casts of the bodies that had perished in the city. Besides these more ghastly reminders of the destructive power of Vesuvius, an amazingly well-preserved city gives us an idea of what life was like in 79 A.D. Of particular interest will be the Forum, the House of Vetii and the Villa of Mysteries with its well-preserved frescoes.
We will fly from Rome to Istanbul
Istanbul | Days 32–35
Istanbul has a rich history stretching from its origins as the Greek colony of Byzantium to its present status as the cosmopolitan metropolis of Turkey. Named Constantinople by the Emperor Constantine, who made it the capital of the Roman Empire, it flourished as the capital of two other empires as well, the Byzantine and, following its conquest by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453, the Ottoman.
In Istanbul we will visit Hagia Sophia, the largest church in Christendom for a thousand years following its construction by the most powerful of the Byzantine emperors, Justinian.
We will also visit the great mosques of the city, the Suleymaniye Mosque built by the most powerful Ottoman emperor, Suleyman the Magnificent, and the Blue Mosque. We will also tour Topkapi Palace, heart of the Ottoman Empire from its completion in 1478 to the early 19th Century when the Ottoman emperors began to prefer the more European palaces they had built up the Bosphorus.
If time allows, we may visit the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art with its rich collection of Ottoman calligraphy and its instructive displays on rug-making and nomadic habitats. Our trip to the Underground Cistern will show us the impressive architecture of the cistern built to water the Byzantines. The Medusa Head capitals used as bases for columns remain mysterious reminders of the confluence of cultures in this remarkable city.
There will be time to visit the famous Bazaar and to enjoy the cafes that dot both shores of the Bosphorus. At this point we will have our final review for Europe, finish all course work, say goodbye to the ECHP people and journey on to India.
Return Home or Journey Onward | Day 36 | Return Home for European Cultural History Program (Around the World in 80 Days continues to India)
Night Flight to India | Day 36
Delhi | Days 37-39
A city of approximately six million people, Delhi has been a capital city for Moslem sultans, the Mogul dynasty, the British viceroys, and the modern state of India. In Old Delhi we will visit the amazing 12th-century Qutab complex with the first mosque in India and the oldest and tallest minaret.
We will also see a number of 16th- and 17th-century monuments to Mogul power such as India's largest mosque, and the Red Fort, a fortress and palace built by the powerful Emperor Shahjahan, featuring public and private audience halls.
In addition, we will visit the Raj Ghat, a simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi built over the place of his cremation in 1948.
Although street names and monuments have been changed since the end of British rule in New Delhi, the neo-classical architecture and the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the former Viceroy's residence and present Presidential Palace, will give us a feel for this former colonial capital. Here also is Connaught Place, the modern commercial center of Delhi. We will visit the National Museum, with its impressive collection of old Hindu sculpture, and the Nehru Memorial Museum dedicated to the first prime minister of independent India. In the evenings we hope to take part in sound and light shows at the Red Fort and the Nehru Museum. From Delhi we will travel by train or bus to Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal.
Agra | Days 40-41
Agra was the capital of India in the 16th and 17th centuries under the Moguls. We will visit the Red Fort of the Moguls and the world famous Taj Mahal. We will also take a short journey out of Agra to Fatehpur Sikri, a city built by Akbar, the great Mogul emperor in the 16th century and abandoned soon after for unknown reasons.
Varanasi | Days 42-44
Varanasi, located on the banks of the sacred Ganges River, is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in India. We will take a short boat ride on the Ganges, where we will see the pilgrims purifying themselves on the ghats leading down to the water. We will also pass the burning ghats, where bodies are cremated and thrown into the river. In the city we will visit the Golden Temple and the Durga Temple. We hope to make a trip to Sarnath, where Buddha first preached his message of enlightenment.
Night Flight to Hong Kong / Day 45
Hong Kong | Days 46-48
In Hong Kong we will meet the new students of the Asian Cultural History Program which will be with us until the end of our program in Beijing.
Hong Kong is an impressive example of Western economic development in the Third World. Ever since the British forced the Chinese to grant them control over the Island and part of the mainland around Kowloon in the 19th century, Hong Kong has been under Western influence. The Colony was returned to China in 1997 by an agreement reached in 1984.
We will attempt to discover how Hong Kong has been able to make such incredible steps in modernization and try to assess the changes being made. We will ride the Star Ferry across the beautiful harbor from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island and then take the Peak Tram to the top of the Peak for a view of the harbor and city. Naturally, we will visit the Hong Kong Museum of History and the Museum of Art.
Flight to Hanoi, Vietnam
Hanoi | Days 49-52
Hanoi, the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is a beautiful city of boulevards, parks and lakes. Our major concentration will be the Hanoi of Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnam War. We plan to visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum with its glass sarcophagus, the Ho Chi Minh Museum, the Army Museum with models of the battle of Dien Bien Phu and the taking of Saigon, and the "Hanoi Hilton," the prison where American POWs were held during the war. We will also visit some earlier historical and artistic sites such as the 11th-century One Pillar Pagoda and the Temple of Literature, the site of Vietnam's first university. In one evening we will enjoy a performance of Hanoi's famous water puppets. After our stay in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay, we will travel by an overnight train to Hue.
Excursion to Halong Bay | Day 53
From Hanoi we will make an excursion to Halong Bay where we will take a boat tour overnight to see the fabulous scenery of the bay. We will then fly to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City).
Flight to Saigon
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) | Days 54-57
Saigon was the capital of South Vietnam from 1956-1975. After the North Vietnamese took the city in 1975, its name was changed to honor the communist-nationalist founder of North Vietnam. Our sightseeing tour begins with a visit to the Reunification Palace which was the former residence of the President of South Vietnam until end of 1975. Close to the palace are some striking French colonial structures including the Notre Dame Cathedral and the old Saigon Post Office. We also visit the War Remnant Museum to see how some of the Vietnamese view the U.S. participation in the war.
Excursion to Cao Dai Temple and Cu Chi Tunnels
We will make an excursion out of town to the ornate Cao Dai Temple. This religion, a curious combination of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, was founded in 1923 and today has over 2 million members. We will attend the noon service when the followers fill the hall wearing very colorful robes. Afterwards we continue to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, an incredible underground network constructed by Vietnamese fighters during the long struggle for independence. The tunnels contained hospitals, accommodations, and schools; and were used as a military base for the Vietcong in the war.
Bus to Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Phnom Penh | Days 58-59
Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, was the center of atrocities during Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge. Today it is a modern city with renovated French colonial buildings and trying to forget its past. We will visit the National Museum with its wonderful collection of Angkor sculpture; the Royal Palace, the site of the Silver Pagoda with five tons of silver covering the floor; and the Tuol Sleng Museum, a school that was turned into a security prison by Pol Pot's security forces.
Time permitting we will make an excursion out of town to see the Killing Fields or Choeung Ek. Then we will travel by bus to Siem Reap.
Siem Reap | Days 60-61
Siem Reap, formerly a sleepy village, is now a base for exploring the world famous temple complex of the ancient city of Angkor. Angkor was the capital of the powerful Khmer Empire from 802 AD to 1350 AD. With the fall of the Khmers, the temples were slowly recaptured by the lush forest and remained hidden until 1861 when they were re-discovered by a French naturalist.
Our guide will take us through Angkor Thom, which is famous for its series of colossal human faces carved in stone, the Bayon Temple, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas (celestial temple), the Elephant Terrace, and the Terrace of Leper King. Then we will visit Angkor Wat, the largest as well as most complete temple complex. We stroll around this massive monument with its many galleries with columns, libraries, pavilions, courtyards and ponds full of water reflecting the towering temple. We will also explore the jungle covered temple of Ta Prohm as well as some of the surrounding temples.
Time permitting we will take a short cruise on Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia's biggest natural lake. Along the way we will stop to visit a floating village and catch a glimpse of fishermen at work.
Flight to Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok | Days 62-64
Our stay in Bangkok will begin with a visit to the Grand Palace complex, which includes the magnificent Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew). From there we will walk to Wat Pho, the oldest and largest Wat in Bangkok with its large reclining Buddha representing the passing of the Buddha into nirvana. We will also examine Thai art at the National Museum, visit the Royal Barges, and take a boat ride on the Chao Phraya River.
Night Flight to Shanghai, China / Day 65
Shanghai | Days 66-68
From the Opium Wars of the 1840's to the 1930's, Shanghai went from a provincial fishing and weaving community of 50,000 people to a western metropolis of over a million people with skyscrapers owned by western bank and trading houses, western cinemas and more cars than any other city in Asia. It became the largest manufacturing city in Asia based on the slave labor of Chinese boys and girls. Foreign business interests dominated the city and were guarded by the armies of their home countries. Along with the colonialists came gambling and dance halls, opium dens, and brothels.
When the communists took over in 1949 they got rid of the slums, child labor, and opium dens, but the economy also declined. Then with the economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping and his successors, Shanghai has had a resurgence
We will tour the remnants of the International Settlement including the British, French, American and Japanese concessions and the Huangpu River embankment, called the "Bund." The Bund is lined with the western buildings constructed in the1930's in a mixture of colonial, neo-classical, and even Egyptian architectural styles. Here we will see where the foreigners and Chinese met and still congregate to talk and see street performers and hawkers.
Of course, we will also visit the Shanghai Museum with its collection of bronzes, ceramics and paintings; the site of the 1st National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party attended by Mao Zedong; Sun Yatsen's residence; and the wonderful Jade Buddha Temple with two Buddhas from Burma.
We will cap off one day with an evening performance of the famous Chinese acrobats.
Night Train to Xian / Day 69
Xian | Days 70-73
Known as Chang An in earlier times, Xian has been inhabited since Neolithic times and was one of the early capitals of China. Here we will visit the Ban Po Neolithic Museum, which is built on the site of a village from the period 6080-5600 BCE. The Museum contains interesting implements, weapons, and models of the village. In the city of Xian we will also visit the archaeological exhibit at the Xian Province Museum, the Great Mosque of Xian, and a number of sites from the Tang and Ming Dynasties such as the Drum and Bell Towers, the City Walls and the Big Goose Pagoda.
Excursion to Terra Cotta Warriors
Xian was particularly important during the Qin Dynasty. We will take a bus tour to the Tomb of Qin Shi Huang, the first Qin Emperor, and his amazing burial vault with its 7,000 life-size terra-cotta warriors, armed and in battle order. Nearby we will see the Huaqing Hot Springs, a favorite spot of the emperors and site of the "Xian Incident" where Chiang Kaishek was kidnapped by one of his own generals in the struggle with the Communists in 1936.
We will also take a tour of the Western Tombs in the countryside. Our evenings will include a Chinese traditional dance program and free time to socialize with Chinese students.
Night Train to Beijing | Day 74
Beijing | Days 75-80
Although Beijing was not a major player in early Chinese history, from the 13th century to the present it has been the capital under the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties as well as the Communist regime.
It was the Mongols who first made it their capital when they conquered China in the 13th century and established the Yuan Dynasty. When the Ming Dynasty took power in the 1300's its first capital was Nanjing, but the Emperor Yong Le moved the capital to Beijing in the early 1400's and started the construction of the Forbidden City. Later when the Manchus conquered China, they kept Beijing as capital and enlarged the Forbidden City. In 1949 the Communists chose Beijing as their capital and set up headquarters right next to the Forbidden City.
One of our first stops in Beijing will be Tiananmen Square, site of the 1989 student demonstrations and subsequent bloodbath. Around the square we will visit the Museum of the Chinese Revolution, the Museum of Chinese History, and Chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Hall containing the preserved body of Chairman Mao, the first leader of Communist China.
Then we will pass through the Tiananmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace) into the Forbidden City, where twenty-four emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties ruled from their palaces for hundreds of years. Here there are six major palaces including the Palace of Ci Xi, the last Empress Dowager who dominated China in the early 20th century.
In Beijing we will also see the beautiful Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace of the Emperors with the famous marble boat built by Ci Xi with funds to build a navy. In the evenings we will attend a performance of selections from the Beijing Opera and other cultural events.
Excursion to the Great Wall, Ming Tombs and Eastern Qian Tombs
The Great Wall was begun in the 5th century BCE and completed by Qin Shi Huang, founder of the Qin dynasty in 221 BCE. Being approximately 3750 miles long, it is surely one of the wonders of world. The Tombs of the Ming Dynasty Emperors date back to the 15th and 16th centuries.
Beijng concludes our program. We will complete coursework, reflect on our experiences and have our last celebration. Of course, we will provide time for preparation for the return home.
Return Home | Day 81