Who says you can’t travel back in time? These roads, some of which date back to biblical times, do just that, and you won’t even need a hefty time machine! If you’re quite the roadie and like to explore the world on four wheels, this is the perfect excuse for you to take on the road! By Shubhanjana Das
1. The Khmer Highway, Cambodia/Thailand
Running for as long as 225 km between Angkor (Cambodia) to Phimai (in Thailand), and even though the existence of the road in the 12th and 13th century have been proven, we can’t rule out the possibility of it being even older. The highway was considered sacred to Cambodia’s kings who used it to perform religious practices and ceremonies. While most of the road is now overgrown by jungle, only the section leading up to Phimai is still drive-able.
2. The Old North Trail, North America
Another trail, which is now only partially drive-able, the Old North Trail has quite a history to its name. Stretching for a whopping distance of 2,000 miles all the way from Canada to Mexico, also known as the ‘backbone of the world’, this is no ordinary road built by some ancient ruler/king. It took the Blackfeet Indians as long as four years to complete the whole stretch to do trade, make sacred journeys, or even find a wife! Phew!
3. The Persian Royal Road, Turkey to Iran
The Persian Royal Road, built by Darius the Great of Persia, seems to have been the then red carpet of roads. Connecting the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf, this road covers a distance of over 1,500 miles! It is said that it was this route that Alexander the Great took while on his way to conquer the Persian Empire. Among others are King Midas, the prophet Daniel, Queen Esther, and Herodotus who have travelled through this historic route.
4. The King’s Highway
Self-explanatory name, right? Running from Egypt, across Sinai to the Gulf of Aqaba and then into Syria, this road was hailed as one of the great trade routes during the biblical times. Many parts of this biblical route are still accessible, and it will thrill you to know that it passes various significant pilgrimage sites like Mount Nebo, Jordan, and where Moses is said to have seen the Promised Land.
5. The Nakasendo Highway, Japan
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Japanese are not the ones who break their culture and traditions and this is visible even in the ways they preserve their centuries-old highways. The Nakasendo Highway was built back in the 17th century to connect Kyoto to Edo (present Tokyo) for pedestrians and horses as the Japanese did not use carts. The preserved parts of this scenic route, which runs for 310 miles along the shores of Lake Biwa, beautiful mountain ranges and then into the Kanto plan around Edo, can only be walked.