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Versailles, 28 June 1919 For much of the past five centuries, the history of the European continent has been a history of chaos, its civilization thrown into turmoil by ferocious wars or bitter religious conflicts - sometimes in combination - that have made and remade borders, created and eliminated entire nations, and left a legacy that is still influencing our world. Events would happen not only on history's bloodiest battlefields but also in quieter settings.

The 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, negotiated at the first great diplomatic conference of modern times, not only brought to a close the ordeal of the Thirty Years' War but also overthrew existing ideals and claims of universal authority to create the European system of independent sovereign states, setting into motion new concepts of international law that would codify the new politics of power. The 1815 Congress of Vienna - amidst the exuberance and glitter of great balls and banquets - responds to the defeat of Napoleon with its creation of the so-called Concert of Europe, a new order opposed to revolution and based on conservative solidarity that would keep Europe from general war for nearly a century. In Paris in 1919 the victorious allies gather to draft a comprehensive Paris Settlement - including the Treaty of Versailles - meant to build a new and lasting European order on the ruins of the old.

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Cities have played an important role in human history for over 9,000 years. Jericho, the oldest city on record with a population of 2,000, was the center of commerce and learning in its day. So was Uruk, Mari and other great cities through history to Tokyo, which is the largest city today.

Greece, known as the birthplace of democracy, has many well-preserved ancient monuments throughout its cities and on its islands. Remnants of the Greek and Minoan civilizations provide destinations for travelers along with an intimate glimpse into how people lived in ancient times.

Architecture has existed since the recognition of civilization. Like fashion, the architecture of today wouldn't be what it is if we didn't get inspiration from the architectural past. Stone Age influenced the Egyptian, Egypt influenced the Greeks, Greeks influenced the Romans, and Romans influenced the timeless elements of today's architecture.

Established in 1350 by King U-Thong, Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam and one of the largest cities in the world, with a population that peaked at about one million inhabitants, around the year 1700. Ayutthaya was originally known as "Ayothaya" which refers to the capital of King Rama. When King Naresuan the Great defeated the Burmese, he changed the name of the city to "Aytthaya" meaning "the undefeatable city". During the period of Ayutthaya being the Siamese capital for 417 years, 33 kings of different dynasties ruled the kingdom. It was also one of the most beautiful cities on Earth, with three great palaces and over 400 temples. Ayutthaya was burned down by the Burmese armies in 1767.

Located near Naples, in Italy's Campania region, Pompeii is a ruined Roman city, buried under lava and ashes during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, in the year 79 AD. Pompeii was rediscovered by accident in 1748 and the archeological findings that followed, offered great insight into the life of the Roman Empire at its peak. Rome's control over Pompeii was distant - the city was allowed to retain its own language and culture, but was required to admit itself subject to Rome without benefiting from the status of Roman citizenship. Pompeii reluctantly accepted this situation for centuries; finally, when the Social War began in 90 B.C., they saw a chance at freedom and joined forces with other Roman "allies" against the city that oppressed them. The rebels and Rome fought for two years but one of Rome's most brilliant generals, Sulla, eventually defeated the Campanians. He took Pompeii and Herculaneum in 89 B.C.

One of the finest examples of Maya architecture, Chichen Itza is a large ruin site located in the northern Yucatan Peninsula. Although archeological findings have shown this once great city fell sometime around 1000 AD, the paved roads linking all the major structures and the complex architecture prove just how advanced this ancient civilization was. El Castillo, also known as the Temple of Kukulkan, was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Chichen Itza means "at the mouth of the well of Itza". Chichen Itza was a major regional focal point in the northern Maya lowlands from the Late Classic through the Terminal Classic and into the early portion of the Early Postclassic period. While there is some archaeological evidence that indicates Chichén Itzá was at one time looted and sacked, there appears to be greater evidence that it could not have been by Mayapan, at least not when Chichén Itzá was an active urban center. While Chichén Itzá "collapsed" it does not appear to have been completely abandoned. According to post-Conquest sources, both Spanish and Maya, the Cenote Sagrado remained a place of pilgrimage.

Machu Picchu was constructed around 1450, at the height of the Inca Empire. It was abandoned just over 100 years later, in 1572, as a belated result of the Spanish Conquest. It is likely that most of its inhabitants were wiped out by smallpox before the Spanish conquistadores arrived in the area, and there is no record of the Spanish having known of the remote city. One of the earliest theories about the purpose of the citadel, by Hiram Bingham, is that it was the traditional birthplace of the Inca of the "Virgins of the Suns". At an altitude of 2400 meters above sea level, and located just 50 miles northwest of the old Inca capital city, Cusco, Machu Picchu was never discovered by the conquistadors and was never looted. It was rediscovered in 1911, when Hiram Bingham, an American historian, was led to the city ruins by residents of Cusco.

The greatest and finest sanctuary of ancient Athens, dedicated primarily to its patron, the goddess Athena, dominates the centre of the modern city from the rocky crag known as the Acropolis. The most celebrated myths of ancient Athens, its greatest religious festivals, earliest cults and several decisive events in the city's history are all connected to this sacred precinct. The monuments of the Acropolis stand in harmony with their natural setting. These unique masterpieces of ancient architecture combine different orders and styles of Classical art in a most innovative manner and have influenced art and culture for many centuries. The Acropolis of the fifth century BC is the most accurate reflection of the splendour, power and wealth of Athens at its greatest peak, the golden age of Perikles. The Parthenon, the Erechtheon, the Propylaea, and the small temple Athena Nike, although damaged by natural decay and human intervention, still stand as symbols of Greek culture and art.

Most pyramids were built as tombs for the country's Pharaohs and their consorts during the Old and Middle Kingdom periods. The earliest known Egyptian pyramid is the Pyramid of Djoser which was built during the third dynasty. This pyramid and its surrounding complex were designed by the architect Imhotep, and are generally considered to be the world's oldest monumental structures constructed of dressed masonry. The best known Egyptian pyramids are those found at Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo. Several of the Giza pyramids are counted among the largest structures ever built. The Giza pyramids are especially impressive. They are among the largest buildings ever built and the Pyramid of Khufu is the only one of The Seven Wonders of the World, still standing.

Troy is a city which existed over 4.000 years and known as the center of ancient civilizations. Troy appeared in Greek and Latin literature. Homer first mentioned story of Troy in Iliad and Odyssey. Later, it became the most popular subject in Greek drama. The book of Virgil's Aeneid contains the best known account of the sack of Troy. In addition, there are untrue stories under the names of Dictys Cretensis and Dares Phrygius. In the Bronze age, Troy had a great power because of its strategic location between Europe and Asia. In the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC Troy was a cultural center. After the Trojan War, the city was abandoned from 1100 to 700 BC. About 700 BC Greek settlers began to occupy the Troas region, Troy was resettled and named as Ilion. Alexander the Great ruled the area around the 4th century BC. After Romans captured Troy in 85 BC, it was restored partially by Roman general Sulla and named as New Ilium. During the Byzantine rule, Troy lost its importance.

Ruins of the frigidarium at the baths, on the shore of the Mediterranean, at Carthage, Tunisia.

Various traditions concerning the foundation of Carthage were current among the Greeks, who called the city Karchedon; but the Roman tradition is better known because of the Aeneid, which tells of the city's foundation by the Tyrian princess Dido, who fled from her brother Pygmalion (the name of a historical king of Tyre). The inhabitants were known to the Romans as Poeni, a derivation from the word Phoenikes (Phoenicians), from which the adjective Punic is derived. The date of the foundation of Carthage was probably exaggerated by the Carthaginians themselves, for it does not agree with the archaeological data. Nothing earlier than the last quarter of the 8th century bc has been discovered, a full century later than the traditional foundation date. The site chosen for Carthage in the centre of the shore of the Gulf of Tunis was ideal: the city was built on a triangular peninsula covered with low hills and backed by the Lake of Tunis with its safe anchorage and abundant supplies of fish. The site of the city was well protected and easily defensible. On the south the peninsula is connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land. The ancient citadel, the Byrsa, was on a low hill overlooking the sea. Some of the earliest tombs have been found there, though nothing remains of Carthage's domestic and public buildings. The standard of cultural life enjoyed by the Carthaginians was probably far below that of the larger cities of the classical world. Punic interests were turned toward commerce.

Petra (Jordan) achieved its greatest importance under the Nabateans, an ancient people whose original homeland was in northeastern Arabia. They migrated westward in the 6th century BC and eventually settled at Petra. Little is known about the Nabateans' history before 312 BC, when Petra was unsuccessfully attacked by Seleucid forces. As the Seleucid kingdom weakened in the 2nd century BC, the Nabataean kingdom increased in strength. The chief source of the Nabataeans' prosperity and power was their monopoly on the caravan spice trade that involved such distant places as China, Egypt, Greece, and India and passed from the Arabian interior to the coast. By the 1st century BC the rich and powerful Nabataean kingdom that extended from Damascus in the north to the Red Sea in the south, and Petra was home to as many as 30,000 people. A significant key to the city's success was the Nabataeans' ability to control and conserve water. Conduits and the remains of terracotta piping can be seen along the walls of the Outer Siq, which was part of an elaborate system for channelling water around the city.

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