Cool Website of the Week! April 18, 2022

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There is a whole lot to history. Think about it, modern humans have been around for nearly 300,000 years. The oldest known tools, from before modern humans, dates back 3.3 million years. Even if we only consider written history, that gives us over 5,000 years to look at. That’s a whole heck of a lot of history.

I know that I could never even touch a single tenth of a percent of that history. There’s just way too much! So every week I like to highlight a useful or cool website that others may find interesting or helpful. These websites help cover everything I can’t. These websites don’t reach out to me- I find them on my own at this point. I’m not paid to write about them. These are just some cool websites I think my readers may find interesting, useful, or just plain neat. Many of these you would have a hard time finding on Google. Since they’re not major players, they often don’t rank high enough to be noticed., though many deserve to be ranked higher than they are.

This week I found a great site for people who want to visit monuments but are unable to for one reason or another. If you’re anything like me, there are plenty of places you’d love to visit but can’t. This week’s cool website will let you visit far-flung places.

Cool Website: Virtual Vacation’s Monument Tour!

I actually found this site during one of the Covid lockdowns and it was a lifesaver. Virtual Vacations overall was created during the Covid lockdowns. This site features videos and photos from over 50 countries. This section, the Monument Explorer, focuses only on the famous monuments from around the world. The videos are all donated to the site, but most of the ones I’ve watched are fantastic. Some of them will stop and focus on the signage around the monument as well.

The process is simple. You go to the site and select a monument. It will take you to a new page where the video will open. Most of the videos are very high quality and include sound. The quality can be affected by your internet connection.

I love how the videos expand to fill the whole browser, and if you know to change your display settings, you can get it to fill your whole screen.

Normally I don’t enjoy videos with tourists in them, but given the circumstances, it’s almost comforting seeing so many other people.

You get the whole experience in some videos, including waiting in line and passing security. I highly recommend headphones.

The one thing I don’t like is that there is no way to pause or rewind the videos. You can refresh the page to restart the video, but if you miss something there is no easy way back to it.

Some videos don’t go into the monument or don’t focus on the signage around, but it’s still fascinating to be able to see historical monuments in places I’ll most likely never be able to go.

The one thing you won’t find here is narration. These aren’t tours, just people donating videos of the monuments they live near so others can see them.

What do you think?

So, what do you think of the Monument Explorer? If you’re having issues with the link above, you can try here:

https://virtualvacation.us/monument

There are other aspects to Virtual Vacation site, like live streams and guess the city, but the monument explorer is definitely my favorite. You can donate your videos if you live near a monument and want to share it with the world.

This isn’t a traditional cool history website, but it’s certainly one of the most engaging. It works best if you have the background knowledge of the monument and why it’s historical. Thankfully the videos are normally short enough to fit into a normal lunch break, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to check out the Great Wall of China.

Want more historical places you can visit in person? Check out these 5 Historical Lighthouses in New Jersey!

By Jackie Standaert

I'm an office worker by day, a historian by night. At some point, I'll have enough money saved to get my Ph.D. in History, but for now, my B.A. will have to do.

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