Explore the Codex Zouche-Nuttall: A Rare, Accordion-Folded Pre-Columbian Manuscript

In the past two decades, the Latin American world has seen a tremendous resurgence of indigenous language study and literature. Some Mexican writers are “ditching Spanish,” Dora Ballew writes, for “Zapotec, Tzotzil, Mayan and other languages spoken long before Europeans washed up on the shores of what is now Mexico.” Large anthologies of such literature have been published since 2001. The move is not a recovery of lost languages and cultures, but an affirmation of “the number of people fluent in both an indigenous language and Spanish,” scholars and writers Earl and Sylvia Shorris explain.

“At least several million” indigenous language speakers in Mexico alone ensure that “literature has ample place in which to flourish.” Despite the incursions of both the Aztecs, then the Spanish, speakers of Mixtec, for example, survived and now “inhabit a vast territory of broad mountain ranges and small valleys that stretch across the modern-day states of Puebla, Guerrero and Oaxaca,” writes Dr. Manuel A. Hermann Lejarazu.

An expert on Mixtec codices, Lejarazu ties the contemporary culture of Mixtec speaking people back to the Postclassic past, “a period between the tenth and sixteenth centuries when political centres proliferated, filling the vacuum left after the collapse of large cities established in preceding centuries.”

Much of the little that is known of the indigenous Mixtec literary culture comes from the Codex Zouche-Nuttall, one of only a handful of pre-Columbian manuscripts in existence. Made of deer skin, the codex “contains two narratives,” the British Museum notes. “One side of the document relates the history of important centres in the Mixtec region, while the other, starting at the opposite end, records the genealogy, marriages and political and military feats of the Mixtec ruler, Eight Deer Jaguar-Claw.”

Although finished around 1556, the pictographic folding manuscript “is considered to be of pre-Hispanic origin,” Lejarazu writes, “since it preserves a strong indigenous tradition in its pictographic techniques, with no demonstrable European influence.” The codex was first discovered in 1854 in a Dominican monastery in Florence. It’s unclear exactly how and when it arrived in Europe, but several such codices “reached the Old World as gifts or as part of the documents submitted to Spanish courts that handled legal matters in the Indies.”

Though severed from its origins, the Codex Zouche-Nuttall is now freely available online in a scanned 1902 facsimile edition at the British Museum and the Internet Archive. You can learn much more about these incredibly rare documents from Lejarazu’s article and Robert Lloyd Williams’ Complete Codex Zouche-Nutall, which explains how the pictographic record functions like a storyboard, or outline, for a complex narrative tradition that tied Mixtec rulers to the gods, to each other, and to the past and future.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

The Story Behind the Iconic Photograph of 11 Construction Workers Lunching 840 Feet Above New York City (1932)

Dorothea Lange’s "Migrant Mother"...

Nick Ut’s Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Terror of War"...

Richard Drew’s "The Falling Man"...

Throughout the years, a number of iconic photographs have tapped into the collective unconscious, shaping our view of historic events, sometimes to a degree that leads to social change.

These images are not dependent on knowing the subjects’ identities, though it’s always interesting when more context leaks out, often as the result of some serious sleuthing by reporters, archivists, or other interested parties.

1932’s "Lunch atop a Skyscraper (New York Construction Workers Lunching on a Crossbeam)" is one of the lighter-hearted photos to create such a lasting public impression.

Eleven workers are depicted enjoying their break, relaxing on a girder a dizzying 840-feet above New York City, unburdened by safety harnesses or other protective gear.

In the words of Rockefeller Center archivist Christina Roussel, who narrates the TIME Magazine 100 Photos episode above, they are the “unsung heroes of construction.”

The unusual designation may lead you to rack your brains for a sung hero of construction.

Grandpa’s cog-in-the-wheel contribution to the erection of an iconic landmark can be a source of anecdotal pride for families, but it rarely leads to greater renown.

Looming over this image is John D. Rockefeller, Jr, who masterminded a 22 acre complex of 14 commercial buildings in the Art Deco style. The project was a boost to the economy during the Great Depression, employing over 250,000 people—from truckers and quarrymen to glaziers and steelworkers and hundreds of other jobs in between. It created an enormous amount of goodwill and patriotic pride.

The Rockefeller organization capitalized on this positive reception, with a steady stream of staged publicity photos, including the daring eleven sharing a nosebleed seat on what was to become the 69th floor of the RCA Building (now known as 30 Rock.)

As film critic John Anderson, reviewing the documentary Men at Lunch in The New York Times, wrote:

The popularity of the picture, which has been colorized, satirized, burlesqued with the Muppets and turned into a life-size sculpture by Sergio Furnari, is partly about the casual recklessness of its subjects: The beam on which they sit seems suspended over an urban abyss, with the vastness of Central Park spread out behind them and nothing, seemingly below. But in fact a finished floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza was probably just a few feet away.

The documentary helped confirm the identities of several of the men.

Irish immigrants Maddy O’Shaughnessy and Sonny Glynn hold down either end, as verified by their sons.

William Eckner, third from left, and Joe Curtis, third from right, were named in a similarly spirited annotated photo taken around the same time.

The man seated to Curtis' right may or may not be John Charles Cook of the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation.

The photographer’s identity is also debatable. It’s most often credited to Charles C. Ebbets but Tom Kelley and William Leftwich were also on hand that day, leather satchels of glass plates slung across their backs, as they, too, defied gravity, documenting the completion of architect Raymond Hood’s master plan.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Hand-Colored Maps of Wealth & Poverty in Victorian London: Explore a New Interactive Edition of Charles Booth’s Historic Work of Social Cartography (1889)

Mapping has always been contentious, no matter where you look in time. Maps preserve ideological assumptions on paper, rationalizing physical space as they render it in two dimensions. No matter how didactic, they can become political weapons. In the case of Charles Booth’s visually impressive Maps Descriptive of London Poverty, we have a series of maps whose own assumptions can sometimes seem at odds with their ostensible purpose: to improve the living conditions of London’s poor.

Booth’s “colourful poverty maps were created between 1886 and 1903,” Zoe Craig writes at Londonist, as part of a “ground-breaking study into the lives of ordinary Londoners.” A philanthropist born into wealth in the shipping trade, Booth took it upon himself to study poverty in London in order to initiate social reforms.

He succeeded. The study, conducted by Booth and a team of researchers, led to the creation of Old Age pensions, which Booth called “limited socialism,” as well as school meals for hungry children. He was clear about that fact that he saw such reforms as a bulwark against socialist revolution.

The study’s seventeen volumes are filled with picturesque accounts. “Picking through the tidbits of information from these people’s lives will make you feel a bit like a Victorian costume drama police detective,” Craig remarks. This reference to policing feels pointed, given the role of the police in maintaining class hierarchies in Victorian London. As an American, it can be hard to look at Booth’s map and not also see the 20th redlining practices in U.S. cities. Consider, for example, the categories Booth applied to London’s classes:

Called 'Inquiry Into the Life and Labour of the People in London', the epic work studied families and residents living across London, and coloured the streets according to their financial situation: between black for 'lowest class, vicious, semi-criminal' through pink for mixed 'some comfortable, some poor' to orange for 'wealthy'.

As in Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s paternalistic 1965 report on the Black underclass in the U.S., the language reinforces Social Darwinist ideas that deem the “lowest class” unfit for full participation in civil society—“vicious, semi-criminal…”

Of course, the social and historical context differs markedly, but we might also consider Feargus O’Sullivan’s observations at Bloomberg CityLab. A new published edition of the map, he writes, “accompanied by compelling if bleak period photos, reveals a city that possesses echoes of London today. It depicts, after all, a densely-packed metropolis with a cosmopolitan population where immensely wealthy people lived just around the corner from neighbors who were struggling to make ends meet.”

Maps may not create the social conditions they describe, but they can help perpetuate them, rendering people visible in ways that allow for even more control over their lives. Criticisms of Booth’s study claimed that not only did the proposed reforms not go far enough but that the report described London’s class structure while offering little to no analysis of the causes of poverty. In language that sounded less objectionable to Victorian ears, the poor are mostly blamed for their own condition.

None of the study’s particular limitations take away from the graphic achievements of its maps and explanatory charts. They are, the London School of Economics writes, a striking “early example of social cartography.” The LSE hosts an incredibly detailed, searchable, high-resolution interactive version of the maps, assembled together and overlaid on a modern GPS map of London. They also detail the various editions of the maps as they appeared between 1898 and 1903.

Hand-colored and based on the 1869 Ordnance Survey, the maps seemed “sufficiently important” to Booth to warrant “comprehensive revision.” Here, the police appear in person to guide the process. “Social investigators accompanied policemen on their beats across London,” the LSE writes, “and recorded their own impressions of each street and the comments of the policemen.” You can read the police notebooks from these surveys at the LSE and learn more about the 12 district maps and the demographic data they represent at Mapping London. The LSE printed a hardcover print edition of Booth's work in 2019, complete with 500 illustrations. You can purchase a copy here. Or visit the interactive edition here.

via Messy Nessy

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Watch Chilling Footage of the Hiroshima & Nagasaki Bombings in Restored Color

"You saw nothing in Hiroshima. Nothing," says Eiji Okada in the opening of Alain Resnais' Hiroshima mon amour. "I saw everything," replies Emmanuelle Riva. "Everything." The film goes on to show the effects of the American atomic-bomb attack that devastated the titular city nearly fifteen years before. This was the first many viewers had seen of the legacy of that unprecedented act of destruction, and now, six decades later, the cultural image of Hiroshima has conflated Resnais' stark French New Wave vision with actual wartime documentary materials. By now, we've all seen contemporary photographs (and even film clips) of the fate of Hiroshima and subsequently atomic-bombed Nagasaki. Can we regard this world-historic destruction with fresh eyes?

A Youtuber known as Rick88888888 offers one way of potentially doing so: almost half an hour of colorized (as well as motion-stabilized, de-noised, and otherwise enhanced) footage of not just the explosions themselves, but the ruined Japanese cities and their struggling survivors, the airplanes that performed the bombing, and the United States President who ordered it. "The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor," says Harry Truman in a broadcast on August 6, 1945, the day of the attack on Hiroshima. "They have been repaid many fold. And the end is not yet." From the President, the American public first learned of the development of an atomic bomb, "a harnessing of the basic power of the universe. The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East."

As we know now, this was the fruit of the Manhattan Project, the secret U.S.-led research-and-development effort that created the first nuclear weapons. Its success, Truman says, prepared the Allies to "obliterate more rapidly and completely every productive enterprise the Japanese have above ground in any city. We shall destroy their docks, their factories, and their communications. Let there be no mistake; we shall completely destroy Japan’s power to make war." That they did, although military historians argue about about the justifiability of dropping "the bomb" as well as the exact extent it played in the ultimate Allied victory. But nobody can argue with the striking vividness of these "color" motion pictures of the event itself and its aftermath, which reminds us that the era of potential nuclear annihilation doesn't belong to the distant past — rather, it's a chapter of history that has only just begun.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

Is Mail-In Voting New in the United States?: It Actually Goes Back to the Civil War

Let’s say you go home for the holidays. Anything’s possible, who knows. It’s a wild world. Let’s say you get there and someone starts laying on you that trip about how Q Continuum said mail-in voting was orchestrated by satanic cables from Anarchist HQ. Let’s say you overhear something more down-to-earth, like how if mail-in voting happens, billions of people will vote illegally... even more people than live in the country, which is how you’ll know….

Maybe you’ll want to speak up and say, hey I know something about this topic, except then maybe you realize you don’t actually know much, but you know something ain’t right with this talk and maybe it’s probably good to have a functioning Postal Service and maybe people should be able to vote. In such situations (who can say how often these things happen), you might wish to have a little information at the ready, to educate yourself and share with others.

You might share information about how mail-in voting has been around since 1775. It has worked pretty well at scale since “about 150,000 of the 1 million Union soldiers were able to vote absentee in the 1864 presidential election in what became the first widespread use of non-in person voting in American history,” Alex Seitz-Wald explains at NBC News. Since the federal government has managed to make mail-in voting work for soldiers serving away from home for over 150 years, “it’s now easier in some ways for a Marine in Afghanistan to vote than it is for an American stuck at home during the COVID-19 lockdown.”

“Some part of the military has been voting absentee since the American Revolution,” Donald Inbody, former Navy Captain turned political science professor at Texas State University, tells NBC News. Inbody refers to one of the first documented instances, when Continental Army soldiers voted in a town meeting by proxy in New Hampshire. But history is complicated, and “mail-in voting has worked just fine so shut up" needs some nuance.

In the very same election in which 150,000 Union soldiers mailed their ballots, Lincoln urged Sherman to send troops stationed in Democratic-controlled Indiana—which had banned absentee voting—back to their home states so that they could vote. The practice has always had its vocal critics and suffered accusations of fraud from all sides, though little evidence seems to have emerged. Absentee voting helped win the Civil War, Blake Stilwell argues at Military.com, in spite of a conspiracy theory alleging fraud that might have unseated Lincoln.

There are several remnants from the time of careful record-keeping, like the pre-printed envelope above that “contained a tally sheet of votes from the soldiers of Highland County the Field Hospital 2nd Division 23rd Army Corps,” notes the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. (The drawing at the top shows Pennsylvania soldiers voting in 1864.) And this is all fascinating stuff. But soldiers are actually absent, which is why they vote absentee, right? I mean, if you’re at home, why can’t you just go to the polling place in the global pandemic in your city that closed all the polling places?

It’s true that civilian mail-in voting often works differently from military absentee voting. While every state offers some version, some restrict it to voters temporarily out of state or suffering an illness. Currently, only “30 states have adopted ‘no-excuse absentee balloting,’ which allows anyone to request an absentee ballot,” Nina Strochlic reports at National Geographic. State laws vary further among those 30.

“In 2000,” for example, “Oregon became the first state to switch to fully vote-by-mail elections." Things have rapidly changed, however. "In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, voters in every state but Mississippi and Texas were allowed to vote by mail or by absentee ballot in this year’s primaries.” If you live in the U.S. (or outside it) and don’t know what happened next… bless you. It involves defunding the post office instead of the police.

Voting by mail has expanded to meet major crises throughout history, says Alex Keyssar, history professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. “That’s the logical trajectory” and “we are not in normal times.” If a highly infectious disease that has killed at least 200,000 Americans on top of ongoing voter suppression and an election security crisis and massive civil unrest and economic turmoil aren't reasons enough to expand the vote-by-mail franchise to every state, I couldn’t say what is.

Should only soldiers have the ability to vote easily? I imagine someone might say YES, loudly over the centerpiece, because voting is a privilege not a right!

You, empowered purveyor of accurate information, understander of absentee voting history, change-maker, will pull out your pocket Constitution and ask someone to find the word “privilege” in amendments that start with “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State,” etc. That'll show 'em. But if the gambit fails to impress, you've still got a better understanding of why voting by mail may not be one of the signs of the end times.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

A Long, Guided Tour of New York City Captured in Original Color Film (1937)

So much classic black and white footage has been digitally colorized recently, it’s hard to remember that the Eastman Kodak Company's Kodachrome film debuted way back in 1935.

The above footage of New York City was shot by an unknown enthusiast in and around 1937.

Dick Hoefsloot, the Netherlands-based videographer who posted it to YouTube after tweaking it a bit for motion stabilization and speed-correction, is not averse to artificially coloring historic footage using modern software, but in this case, there was no need.

It was shot in color.

If things have a greenish cast, that’s owing to the film on which it was shot. Three-color film, which added blue to the red-green mix, was more expensive and more commonly used later on.

Hoefsloot’s best guess is that this film was shot by a member of a wealthy family. It's confidently made, but also seems to be a home movie of sorts, given the presence of an older woman who appears a half dozen times on this self-guided tour of New York sites.

There’s plenty here that remains familiar: the Woolworth Building and the Metropolitan Museum of Arttrussed up Christmas trees propped against makeshift sidewalk stands, the New York Public Library’s lions, Patience and Fortitude.

Other aspects are more a matter of nostalgia.

Over in Times Square, Bulldog Drummond Comes Back starring John Barrymore was playing at the Criterion (now the site of a Gap store), while the Paramount Theater, now a Hard Rock Cafe, played host to True Confession with Barrymore and Carol Lombard.

Oysters were still food for the masses, though records show that locally harvested ones had been deemed too polluted for human consumption for at least a decade.

A bag of peanuts cost 15¢. A new Oldsmobile went for about $914 plus city tax.

Laundry could be seen strung between buildings (still can be on occasion), but people dressed up carefully for shopping trips and other excursions around town. Heaven forbid they step outside without a hat.

Though the Statue of Liberty makes an appearance, the film doesn’t depict the neighborhoods where new and established immigrants were known to congregate. Had the camera traveled uptown to the Apollo—by 1937, the largest employer of black theatrical workers in the country and the sole venue in the city in which they were hired for backstage positions—the overall composition would have proved less white.

The film, which was uploaded a little over a year ago, has recently attracted a fresh volley of attention, leading Hoefsloot to reissue his request for viewers to “refrain from (posting) political, religious or racist-related comments.”

In this fraught election year, we hope you will pardon a New Yorker for pointing out the legion of commenters flouting this polite request, so eager are they to fan the fires of intolerance by expressing a preference for the "way things used to be."

With all due respect, there aren’t many people left who were present at the time, who can accurately recall and describe New York City in 1937. Our hunch is that those who can are not spending such time as remains rabble-rousing on YouTube.

So enjoy this historic window on the past, then take a deep breath and confront the present that’s revealing itself in the YouTube comments.

A chronological list of New York City sites and citizens appearing in this film circa 1937:

00:00 Lower Manhattan skyline seen from Brooklyn Heights Promenade

00:45 Staten Island steam ferry

01:05 RMS Carinthia

01:10 Old three-stack pass.ship, maybe USS Leviathan

01:28 One-stack pass.ship, name?

01:50 HAL SS Volendam or SS Veendam II

02:18 Westfield II steam ferry to Staten Island, built 1862?

02:30 Floyd Bennett Airfield, North Beach Air Service inc. hangar

02:43 Hoey Air Services hangar at  F.B. Airfield

02:55 Ladies board monoplane, Stinson S Junior, NC10883, built 1931

03:15 Flying over New York: Central Park & Rockefeller Center

03:19 Empire State Building (ESB)

03:22 Chrysler building in the distance

03:26 Statue of Liberty island

03:30 Aircraft, Waco ZQC-6, built 1936

03:47 Reg.no. NC16234 becomes readable

04:00 Arrival of the "Fly Eddie Lyons" aircraft

04:18 Dutch made Fokker 1, packed

04:23 Douglas DC3 "Dakota", also packed, new

04:28 Green mono- or tri-engine aircraft, type?

04:40 DC3 again. DC3's flew first on 17 Dec.1935

04:44 Back side of Woolworth Building

05:42 Broadway at Bowling Green

05:12 Brooklyn across East River, view from Pier 11

05:13 Water plane, Grumman G-21A Goose

05:38 Street with bus, Standard Oil Building (R)

05:40 Truck, model?

05:42 Broadway at Bowling Green

05:46 Old truck, "Engels", model?

05:48 Flag USA with 48 stars!

05:50 Broadway at Bowling Green, DeStoto Sunshine cab 1936

05:52 Truck, "Bier Mard Bros", model?

05:56 Ford Model AA truck 1930

05:58 Open truck, model?

06:05 Standard Oil Building

06:25 Bus 366 & Ford Model A 1930

06:33 South Street & Coenties Slip

06:35 See 07:19, Black car?

06:45 Cities Service Building at 70 Pine St. right. Left: see 07:12

06:48 Small vessels in the East River

06:50 Owned by Harry F. Reardon

07:05 Shack on Coenties Slip, Pier 5

07:12 City Bank-Farmers Trust Building, 20 Exchange Place

07:15 Oyster bar, near Coenties Slip

07:19 South Street, looking North towards the old Seaman’s Church Institute

07:31 Holland America Line, Volendam-I, built 1922

07:32 Chrysler Plymouth P2 De Luxe

07:34 Oyster vendor

08:05 Vendor shows oyster in pot

08:16 Wall st.; Many cars, models?

08:30 Looking down Wall st.

08:52 More cars, models?

09:00 Near the Erie Ferry, 1934/35 Ford s.48 De Luxe

09:02 Rows of Christmas tree sales, location?

09:15 Erie Railroad building, location? Quay 21? Taxi, model?

09:23 1934 Dodge DS

09:25 See 09:48

09:27 Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad

09:29 Clyde Mallory Lines

09:48  South end of West Side Highway

09:4910:0810:1110:45 Location?

10:25 Henry Hudson Parkway

11:30 George Washington Bridge without the Lower Level

12:07 Presbyterian Hospital, Washington Heights

12:15 Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research

12:49 New York Hospital at 68th St. & East River

13:14 ditto

13:35 ditto

13:42 Metropolitan Museum of Art

14:51 Rockefella Plaza & RCA building

16:33 Saint Patrick's Cathedral

16:50 Public Library

17:24 Panoramic view, from ESB

17:45 RCA Building, 30 Rockefeller Plaza

18:16 Original Penn Station

19:27 Movie True Confession, rel. 24 Dec.1937

19:30 Sloppy Joes

20:12 Neon lights & Xmas

26:34 Herald Square

29:48 Police Emergency Service (B&W)

31:00 SS Normandie, French Line, Pier 88

32:06 RMS Queen Mary, White Star Line, Pier 92

32:43 Departure Queen Mary

33:45 Italian Line, Pier 84, Terminal, dd.1935

34:00 SS Conte Di Savoia, Italian Line, Pier 84

34:25 Peanut seller, near the piers

34:35 Feeding the pidgeons

34:52 SS Normandie, exterior & on deck

35:30 View from Pier 88

35:59 Interior

37:06 From Pier 88

37:23 Northern, Eastern, Southern or Western Prince, built 1929

37:32 Tug, William C. Gaynor

38:20 Departure

38:38 Blue Riband!

39:15 Tugs push Normandie into fairway

39:50 Under own steam.

40:00 Statue of Liberty

40:15 SS Normandie leaves NYC

View more of Dick Hoefsloot’s historic uploads on his YouTube channel.

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

High-Resolution Walking Tours of Italy’s Most Historic Places: The Colosseum, Pompeii, St. Peter’s Basilica & More

The global tourism industry has seen better days than these. In regions like western Europe, to which travelers from all parts have long flocked and spent their money, the coronavirus' curtailment of world travel this year has surely come as a severe blow. This goes even more so for a country like Italy, whose stock of historic structures, both ruined and immaculately preserved, has long assured it touristic preeminence in its part of the world. So much the worse, then, when Italy became one of the countries hardest hit by the virus this past spring. But its recovery is well underway, as is Europe's reopening to travelers.

Or at least Europe is reopening to certain travelers: much of the continent has remained closed to those from certain afflicted countries, including but not limited to the United States of America. Of course, the U.S. has also banned entry to travelers who have recently been in many of those European countries, and however you look at it, this situation will take some time to untangle.

Until that happens, those of us who've had to indefinitely suspend our planned trips to Italy — or even those of us who'd never considered going before the option was removed from the table — can content ourselves with this set of high-resolution journeys on foot from the Youtube channel ProWalk Tours, all shot at length in real tourist spots amid visitors and locals alike.

Whether the Colosseum and Palatine Hill in Rome, St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, and the towns of Pompeii (in two parts) and Herculaneum both ruined and preserved by Mt. Vesuvius, ProWalk's videos show you all you'd see on an in-person waking tour. But they also include features like maps, marks in the timeline denoting each important site, and onscreen facts and explanations of the features of these historic places. Combine these with the immersive virtual museum tours previously featured here on Open Culture, as well as the recreations of ancient Rome in its prime and Pompeii on the day of Vesuvius eruption, and you'll have the kind of understanding you couldn't get in person — and with no danger of being whacked by your fellow tourists' selfie sticks.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

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