In this extract from Lonely Planet's new title In Her Footsteps, we profile three inspiring places that are connected to incredible women.
The history of the world is filled with the names of men, and their stories are easy to find, adorning countless monuments. The landmarks of female achievement, on the other hand, are often not so simple to find.
There might not always be a towering obelisk to mark their contribution, but look a little closer and you can find monuments to female educators, artists, activists, warriors and more all over the globe. Some are household names; others have been overlooked for too long.
Matilda of Tuscany (1046-1115) was one of the most powerful figures of the Italian Middle Ages. Her dominion covered a swath of Northern Italy, including Modena, Reggio, Mantua, Ferrara and Tuscany.
After the death of her father, a nobleman, and two older siblings, young Matilda became the heir to their great holdings. A devout Christian, she supported the papacy in its struggle against the Holy Roman Emperor, a conflict now known as the Investiture Controversy.
Matilda's life was filled with adventures, from being held hostage with her mother by Emperor Henry III, to donning armour to fight in battles against Henry IV. She gave immense support to her close friend Pope Gregory VII, and it was at her castle Canossa that Henry IV bent a knee to the pope.
Matilda's personal life was drama-filled as well, with two marriages, including one to 17-year-old Welf V, Duke of Bavaria and Carinthia, when she was 43. Unusually for her era, Matilda was a broadly educated intellectual, who spoke many languages and was a powerful arts patron.
Visit Matilda's seat of power in the Apennine Reggiano hills at the ruins of Canossa Castle, which now also houses a museum.
Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, Luxor, Egypt — Hatshepsut
The temple of Hatshepsut stands on the Nile's west bank, framed by sun-scoured cliffs. It's a fittingly timeless monument to the first woman to obtain the full powers of the pharoah title. Hatshepsut (1508-1458 BC) became regent after the death of her husband, Thutmose II.
Taboos of the era meant the pharaoh role was considered male but Hatshepsut's royal blood — she was the wife, daughter and sister of a pharaoh — strengthened her case when she demanded full coronation. Hatshepsut's rule was characterised by peace and prosperity; her two decades as pharoah were a boom time for construction and trade.
To immortalise her rise to power, Hatshepsut commanded that the story of a woman pharaoh's birth be carved into the walls of her mortuary temple. To ancient Egyptians, the afterlife was as vivid as life itself.
Hatshepsut modelled her own monument on the temple of monarch Mentuhotep II but insisted it be built on a much grander scale. In Hatshepsut's day, landscaped gardens and frankincense trees would have granted welcome shade. Today, visitors feel the full force of desert heat as they approach the temple.
It was common for pharaohs to chisel away the achievements of their predecessors; after her death, carvings honouring Hatshepsut were smoothed out of the temple walls on the orders of her stepson. Nonetheless, it has been impossible for history to forget her.
Hatshepsut's Memorial Temple, also called Djeser-Djeseru, is 8km northwest of Luxor Temple; get a taxi.
Parque Nacional Pumalin Douglas Tompkins, Chaiten, Chile — Kristine Tompkins
In 2019, Kristine Tompkins finalised the largest land donation in history as she and the Tompkins Conservation trust gifted Parque Pumalin and Parque Patagonia to the Chilean state.
A United Nations patron of protected areas (and a former Patagonia CEO), Tomkins is an environmentalist and philanthropist. She and husband Doug — who died in a kayaking accident in 2015 — began working on the Pumalin Project in 1991, when they acquired the 17,000ha Renihue Field to protect the native virgin temperate forest from logging.
Parque Pumalin eventually grew to more than 402,000ha, extending from the Andes to the misty Pacific fjords, and comprising volcanoes, waterfalls, centuries-old alerce trees and other native vegetation and wildlife.
Its location, at the top of the Carretera Austral in northern Patagonia, makes it a favourite stop for visitors to enjoy the pristine natural environment.
Parque Nacional Pumalin Douglas Tompkins and the other big Tompkins project, Parque Nacional Patagonia, are now the crown jewels of the Chilean national park system. Trekkers here can hike glaciers and the rim of an active volcano.