Wonders of the medieval world

From Byzantine mosaics to grand cathedrals, explore these awe-inspiring works of art and feats of engineering

Topics: Trazzler, Travel,

Medieval Europe is often portrayed as a dark time of pestilence, filth, violence, intolerance and ignorance — a disconnect between the splendor of the Roman empire and the cultural explosion of humanism during the Renaissance. The truth is far more complicated.

Geniuses like Fibonacci, Averroes, Aquinas and Dante didn’t exist in a vacuum. Universities that are still in existence today were founded during this time, Aristotle was revived, books came into their own, and the mathematical and scientific advances of the Muslim world filtered into art, design and architecture from the periphery of the continent. These 11 spots reveal a glimpse of the cultural and artistic splendor of the Middle Ages. You can find more medieval travel spots on Trazzler.

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    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

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    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

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    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

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    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

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    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

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    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

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    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

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    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

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    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

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    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

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    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

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    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

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    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

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    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

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    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

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    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

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    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

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