Presidio Modelo, Cuba

Presidio modelo
Presidio Modelo, © I, Friman

The Panopticon Prison:
a prison model conceived in the 1780s by the British prison reformer Jeremy Bentham, where the inmates were constantly kept under surveillance. That model has considered innovative due to his efficiency despite the few staff and it was thought to improve the behavior of the inmates.

One example of the Panopticon prison was the Presidio Modelo, built on the Isla de la Juventud, in Cuba under President Gerardo Machado.

The five circular blocks, overlooked by a central watchtower with the capacity to house up to 6,000 prisoners, were inaugurated in 1926.
Raul and Fidel Castro were imprisoned there from 1953 to 1955 after their revolt against the Moncada barracks. After the victory against Fulgencio Batista, Fidel Castro used the prison to house his political enemies, but after various riots and hunger strikes due to the overcrowded conditions, the Presidio Modelo was permanently closed in 1967.

The prison is now declared a national monument and serves as a museum and a school & research center.

Orkneys Islands, Scotland

Skara Brae
photo © mytouristmaps
The Neolithic village of Skara Brae is located near the Bay of Skaill, 15 km North from the city of Stromness, on the west coast of Mainland island (Orkneys Islands, Scotland). 


Thanks to the layer of sediments that have hidden and protected the village until 1850, the Neolithic village is kept in perfect conditions despite 5000 years of age (its origins predate the construction of the pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge) and it is considered today one of the best-preserved prehistoric villages in the world.

In 1999 it was recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

In the movie
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), Indiana Jones talks about Skara Brae to his students during a class at Marshall College.
 

At Orkney Islands / Scotland’s Northern coast, you can watch orcas and whales and have a swim in awesome sandy beaches (…beware of the freezing water!).

Stirling, Scotland

Sir William Wallace (1270-1305) was a Scottish knight, member of the lesser nobility and the main leader during the wars for the independence of Scotland. He became the national hero and the symbol of the Scottish people’s freedom.

Wallace Monument
 National Wallace Monument, Stirling.

The execution of Wallace was one of the roughest of the history: after his capture by the English army (5th August 1305), on 23rd August 1305, at the Tower of London, he was stripped naked and dragged through the city at the heels of a horse, then he was hanged but released while he was still alive, eviscerated (his bowels were burned), beheaded and then cut into four parts.
His head was placed on a pike on the top of the London Bridge; his limbs were displayed, separately, in Stirling, Berwick, Newcastle and Perth.
William Wallace was the protagonist of Blind Harry‘s epic poem “The Wallace” (1479) and Mel Gibson‘s movie “Braveheart” (1995), winner of five Academy Awards. The English heavy metal band Iron Maiden dedicated to the story of Wallace the song “The Clansman” (1998) and the German band Grave Digger dedicated him their song “William Wallace (Braveheart)” (1996).

The Motorcycle Diaries, South America

One of the most fascinating trips through the South American continent is definitely the one undertaken by the medical students Ernesto “Fuser” Guevara de la Serna and Alberto “Mial” Granado, began with a motorcycle (nicknamed “la Poderosa”) in 1951 from Buenos Aires (Argentina), through much of the Latin continent, to Caracas (Venezuela).
It was after having embarked on this trip that Ernesto Guevara de la Serna knew what would have been his future…  becoming the revolutionary worldwide known as Ernesto “El Che” Guevara.

 

Che Guevara
 
Ernesto Guevara told this experience in the diary Latinoamericana (Notas de viaje) from which, in 2004, was made the cult movie “The Motorcycle Diaries”.
 
Today the remains of Guevara are kept at the mausoleum of Santa Clara (Cuba), where the following quote can be read:

 

“One thing I’ve learned in Guatemala of Arbenz was that if I had never been a revolutionary doctor, or just a revolutionary, first there should be a revolution” 
Ernesto “El Che” Guevara.
 
Che Guevara Itinerary

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik
photo © mytouristmaps
During the Yugoslavian civil war (1991-1992) Dubrovnik was hit by about two thousand bombs.
After the war the city was rebuilt with traditional techniques and original materials; now the splendor of Dubrovnik is reflected in the white marble of its old town, one of the medieval villages best preserved in Croatia and in the world.

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo eternal flame
photo © mytouristmaps
The peculiarity of Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is the multi-ethnicity and the coexistence among the various religions settled during his history: Muslims, Jews, Catholic-Orthodox and Christians live together with tolerance.
Among the most important places of worship, there are four mosques, a cathedral and two Orthodox churches, a cathedral and two Christian churches and two Jewish synagogues.
 
One of the most significant monuments, the eternal flame of Sarajevo, commemorates the liberation from the Nazis and the victims of World War II.