As you might realize, there are certain countries that are considered “no-go’s” for American travelers, be it for political or economic or other reasons. Publication Foreign Policy took a closer look at this question of prohibited places, recently creating a list of the “Top Tourist Spots Americans Can’t Visit,” a rundown of the top tourist attractions in otherwise “taboo” locations like Iran, Somalia, Burma and Cuba. Who knew Mogadishu had coral reefs teeming with fish just off the shore? Too bad you’re likely to be kidnapped by warlords if you try to visit.
While this sort of list is a deterrent for many, others eat common sense for breakfast, bringing back some fascinating stories in the process. It’s not that they can’t see the danger – these countries can be violent, unstable, and often downright nasty places. But that doesn’t mean they have nothing to offer. Many have distinguished histories as centers of culture, great monuments and great natural wonders. As Foreign Policy points out for instance, the vast ruins of Persepolis in Southern Iran offer a breathtaking view of the tombs and palaces of Persian rulers Xerxes I and Darius the Great. In Cuba, the settlement of Baracoa was the colonial home of Spanish Conquistadors, and also one of the first places Columbus set foot in the New World.
Check out the list. Nobody is suggesting you should/can make a visit, but these places can offer us further insight into the many subtleties that truly define a location’s identity.