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The History Fangirl Podcast

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An interview show about historic places for history lovers and travel enthusiasts. Stephanie Craig is a history and travel blogger. She travels full time and writes at

An interview show about historic places for history lovers and travel enthusiasts. Stephanie Craig is a history and travel blogger. She travels full time and writes at
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An interview show about historic places for history lovers and travel enthusiasts. Stephanie Craig is a history and travel blogger. She travels full time and writes at






The Boston Witch Trials

The Salem Witch Trials are one of the most (in)famous events in American history. There are plays, movies and books about it, and no American schoolkid made it to junior high without learning about them. But did you know that there were actually witch trials held about 30 miles to the south of Salem, in Boston? My guest today is Nancy Mades-Byrd, host of The Witch Hunt Podcast, who lives in Salem, and who has studied the period her entire life. Nancy tells me about what happened in the...

Duration: 00:32:27

The Civil War Defenses of Washington, D.C.

For American history buffs, the Civil War can feel like covered ground. But if you put aside the big battles and turning points, there are still so many smaller, fascinating stories deserving to be told. And there truly is no one better to dig into those lesser-known stories than my guest, CEO of Atlas Obscura David Plotz, whom you may also know as the co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest. In this episode, we talk about how the city of Washington D.C. defended itself during the Civil...

Duration: 00:38:48

Banqueting House: The Place to Kill a King

Visiting London can be overwhelming, with the list of must-see locations stretching as high as Big Ben. But my guest today, author Leanda de Lisle, takes us deep into a lesser-known but historically vital London locale: Banqueting House. We talked about how Banqueting House fits into the rich history of London, its famous architect Inigo Jones, and the gorgeous painting by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens. And because Leanda is the author of the fantastic book, The White King: Charles I,...

Duration: 00:33:22

The Painted Churches of Moldavia

At this point, there aren’t be too many “hidden gems” left in the world for savvy travelers and history geeks alike, but the Painted Churches of Moldavia may just be one of the last. My guest today is Ciprian Slemko, a guide with Hello Bucovina, which provides tours to the historical region that splits between the northern region of Romania, and the southern region of Ukraine. The eight churches that make up the core of the painted churches were all built in the late 15th century through...

Duration: 00:32:25

The Lost City of Cahokia

If you ask most Americans about the history of their country, they’ll start somewhere around 1492, or maybe even 1776. But before the pilgrims and before John Hancock, of course there were large, thriving civilizations of American Indians. One of the most notable communities was in Southern Illinois, not too far from St. Louis: Cahokia, a Mississippian community of some 10-20,000 Indians, with perhaps twice as many living around the urban area. Who were the people who lived there? What...

Duration: 00:45:37

New York's Central Park

Though it may seem like Central Park has always been a landmark for visitors and native New Yorkers alike, that’s not actually the case. The park, like much of the city, was very carefully mapped and planned out. But unlike the rest of the city, which was aligned to a strict and orderly grid, Central Park was designed to be wild: To mimic the untouched wilderness in other parts of America. Why was the park designed this way, how did its designers create such an unusual urban space, and...

Duration: 00:30:10

Istanbul's Grand Bazaar

Traveling throughout Europe, you can find the legacy of the Ottoman Empire just about everywhere. But if you want to experience a place that has lived through the ebbs and flows of the empire, and connects us through more than 500 years of history, you need to visit the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul. My guest on today’s show is Chris Mitchell, of the Traveling Mitch blog, who until recently lived in Istanbul, and knows his way around its landmarks. As Chris told me, while some things have...

Duration: 00:45:46

The Beaches of Normandy

We all know the basic story of the Allied Forces storming the Beaches of Normandy in World War II. It’s one of the most dramatic and harrowing events in modern warfare. But my brain couldn’t comprehend the size and scale of the allied forces’ operation, and the sheer number of casualties taken on those beaches of France. I had the honor of traveling to Normandy with Liberation Route Europe, a nonprofit that helps travelers interested in history connect with savvy tour leaders, and which...

Duration: 00:55:02

Iceland's Thingvellir

If you’ve ever visited Iceland, you know the natural beauty of the planes of Thingvellir is something special. But what you may not know, is that this open field was once home to perhaps the oldest governing body of Western Civilization. That’s why this week, I chatted with Lee Accomando of The Viking Age Podcast. Lee is as entertaining as he is informative about the history of Iceland, and what makes Thingvellir such an amazing historical site. The Thing About Thingvellir The open-air...

Duration: 00:49:05

The UNESCO World Heritage Site List

Gary Arndt is a renowned travel blogger and photographer who has made it his mission to travel to all of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, from the big names like the Great Wall of China to the most remote islands of the Pacific Ocean. In 2007, Gary sold his home and decided to travel the world, and in this episode, he tells me all about how the UNESCO program got started, what are some of the craziest places where his mission has taken him, and what ones ended up being slight...

Duration: 00:34:41

The Walls of Constantinople

Patrick Wyman is a historian and podcaster I hold in great regard and I’ve invited him on the show today to discuss the history and prominence of the great Walls of Constantinople and the role they’ve played in the history of the city of Constantinople, now modern day Istanbul. This was a fun conversation where we got to talk not only about the walls themselves but also the history surrounding why they became necessary, which world powers have made attempts to destroy them by laying siege...

Duration: 00:58:53

The Acropolis and the Golden Age of Athens

The Acropolis of Athens, Greece, is one of the most recognizable landmarks in all of the world. But to hear Ryan Stitt of The History of Ancient Greece podcast tell it, depending on when you were born, you won’t recognize the same Acropolis as the people who came before. The Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis were built around 460 B.C., and as Ryan tells me in this episode, the controversy over who the Acropolis is for and what it means is still raging on. The Not-so-Humble...

Duration: 01:11:01

Reinventing the Dragon City of Ljubljana

On one of my recent trips, I did some backpacking through central Europe and I had a wonderful time. But my trip became dramatically better if that’s possible when I entered the city of Ljubljana in Slovenia. The city is magical in the way it is laid out and has the most interesting architecture. I soon found a bookstore and picked up a few books by my guest today, Dr. Noah Charney. He’s an American who now lives in Slovenia and has written several novels set in that part of the world. But...

Duration: 00:36:37

Discovering The Lost City of Petra

The story of the Lost City of Petra begins with the story of the Nabataeans, nomadic traders who eventually settled in Edomite territory around 2 B.C. The Nabataeans had traveled everywhere and picked up architectural ideas from the Persians, Greeks, and Romans, and adapted these ideas into something that was uniquely their own. We don’t have a lot of information about the Nabataeans because no self-written history has been found. My guest on today’s podcast, Jane Taylor, describes what we...

Duration: 00:42:45

Agamemnon’s Mycenae

Most of us have read Homer’s “Iliad” either in high school or college, but few are likely to remember the details of the characters and places it mentions. It may seem surprising to you that I’d be talking about Homer on a history podcast. The reason I am is that Homer used real historical figures as characters in his writing which leads us to the place in the world I'm covering on this episode: Mycenae, or as it’s often referred to, “Agamemnon’s Mycenae.” In this episode, my guest is John...

Duration: 00:39:45

The West Bank Separation Wall

The West Bank Separation Wall has not been as famously identified to those who live in other parts of the world as the Berlin Wall was, but it’s just as obvious a reminder of the history of hostility and tension that exist in the West Bank. It’s a dividing wall that cuts through the landscape, separating Palestine from Israel and has a very long and complicated history. In this episode I chat with Tamer Halaseh of Tamer Tours about the West Bank Separation Wall, why he includes it and...

Duration: 02:29:51

The Birthplace of "Gone with the Wind"

There seem to always be interesting intersections between history and art, and in this episode of The History Fangirl, we dig a bit into one of those crossings, the life of Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With The Wind. Margaret wrote her landmark novel in the 1930s, a time when women did not have the right to vote and race relations in her hometown of Atlanta were at a very low point - and she used her book to address the issues the nation was facing, to great acclaim. In this...

Duration: 00:38:53

Rila Monastery

It’s hard for me to describe how much I love Rila Monastery. I sat down with Eric Halsey, the host of the “Bulgarian History Podcast” to talk about this amazing 10th century Byzantine Monastery, located in the Rila Mountains, near Sofia, Bulgaria. I have visited Rila Monastery on several occasions, so I welcomed the chance to hear more about the history of Bulgaria, how this place came to be, and how the monastery became a symbol of pride and resiliency for the Bulgarian People. I hope...

Duration: 00:53:23

The Roman Forum

One of the places I toured while in Italy was the area in and surrounding the Roman Forum. It’s a central part of early Roman history that is sadly little more than a pile of ruins today. But the Forum was once the center of Roman life, both politically and socially. My guest today is Mike Duncan, host of two great podcasts - “The History of Rome” and “Revolutions.” Mike is a history buff like me who began learning the history of the Roman empire through pleasure reading. When he started...

Duration: 00:52:35

Start Here

This episode is a quick intro to the History Fangirl Podcast, an interview podcast about great historic places for the history enthusiast or future traveler. Stephanie Craig is a history and travel blogger. She writes at

Duration: 00:02:09