Take a Virtual Tour of 5 Historic Sites

From the celebratory to the commemorative, visit sites where historic moments took place

By Google Arts & Culture

Rosa Parks Bus (1948) by General Motors Corporation. Truck & Bus GroupOriginal Source: Digital Collections

History doesn't just take place in books. Many iconic and era-defining moments are tied to everyday places which you can still visit today. Scroll on to take a virtual tour of some historic sites and learn about what took place there, from the horrifying to the inspiring. 

Azincourt, France

Why does the Union Jack fly over a French village? It was here on 25 October, 1415, against all the odds, that the small, half-starved English army of King Henry V defeated the superior army of Charles II, King of France, on the fields of Agincourt.

The battle took place right here, on the flat ground between Azincourt and nearby Tramecourt. The English army, mostly archers, lined up and waited. The French knights advanced slowly through the thick muddy fields - it was a disaster - they were cut down in a storm of arrows.

This historic victory has been commemorated in art ever since. And no-one has put this better than William Shakespeare's Henry V in his rousing speech, "From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be rememberèd - We few, we happy few, we band of brothers".

Franz Joseph Street, Sarajevo

An unassuming street, just off the banks of the Miljaka in Sarajevo. On the 28th of June, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was assassinated here by Gavrilo Princip, the political fallout of which led rapidly to the First World War.

LIFE Photo Collection

The Archduke and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were visiting Sarajevo to inspect the army and officially open the new museum. Princip, along with his co-conspirators, had planned to attack the Duke's open-top car as it paraded, but one-by-one failed to do so.

LIFE Photo Collection

Princip held out, and waited by a deli on Franz Joseph Street. As he stood there, the Duke's car took a wrong turn and stalled, right in front of him. Princip stepped up and fired at the Duke and his wife. This photo of his arrest was taken seconds after he fired the fatal shots.

Hiroshima, Japan

On Monday, August 6, 1945, at 8:15 a.m, the world's first atomic bomb exploded directly above Shima Hospital in Hiroshima, Japan. Within seconds, the city was destroyed, and by the end of the day nearly 80,000 people were dead.

This building was just 100 metres away from the explosion's hypocentre. It had been built by Czech architect Jan Letzel, and now it was one of the very few buildings left standing in the city. It remains preserved today as it appeared in the moments after the dust settled.

Just over the river is the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall, inscribed with the names of the dead, and dedicated to commemorating the horrifying events of that day, and building a peaceful world free of nuclear weapons.

Montgomery, Alabama, USA

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a seamstress and secretary of the local NAACP, boarded a bus. Parks, an African American, sat in the 'white only' section and refused to give up her seat. She was arrested on this spot, and her act of defiance has gone down in history.

Rosa Parks by Library of CongressNational Women's Hall of Fame

Within days, a plan was formed to boycott the city's buses until three demands were met: for respect from white drivers, for an end to segregated seats, and jobs for Black drivers. 382 days later, racial segregation on Alabama's buses was ruled unconstitutional - they won.

And this was the bus. For many years, it languished in a field, used as an improvised shed. Rumour said it was the Parks bus, but it was decades before documents were found proving the tales. The infamous bus was restored and is now held at The Henry Ford museum, Michigan.

Kennedy Space Center

In the 1960s, the uninhabited coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida was the perfect location for the USA's new rocket launch centre. Here, they would have the space to build the enormous rockets needed to carry humans to the moon and back - the mammoth Saturn V.

Following the Apollo missions, the center was chosen as the base of the new shuttle programme. Between 1972 and 2011, five shuttles launched 135 missions from this site, sending supplies and astronauts to space stations, and performing vital experiments in low gravity.

Far away from the Space Center is Launch Pad 39A. This was used for both the Apollo missions and Shuttle missions, and saw the last take-off of Space Shuttle Atlantic on 8 July 2011. It's now been refitted for SpaceX launches, ready for a new era of space travel.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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