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The 2013 Hot List

From art and architecture, films and anniversaries, cultural events and urban adventures, our 2013 Hot List brings you best of next year’s main attractions

The 2013 Hot List

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Looking forward to the New Year? We’ve selected the places, people and trends expected to make it big this year, as well as highlighting films, sporting events and attractions that should influence the way we travel.

Next year will see new flights to the likes of Phuket, Moscow, Dar es Salaam, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and more; anniversaries, from the London Underground to 50 years since Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech; and a wide range of celebrations.

The cultural ‘European capitals’ continue to excite and perplex, putting the likes of Kosice, Marseille and Nantes to the fore. Then there are the places you know should be on your radar — with Brazil warming up for its future football and Olympic odyssey, South Africa readying to celebrate 20 years of democracy in 2014, and calls to visit Burma, North Korea, Thailand and Russia too — either to ensure you get in there before they’re old hat or to be party to their reinvention.

Here’s our selection — not entirely comprehensive, perhaps, but what better way to begin your travel plans for 2013?

People: JFK
By Chris Leadbeater

Who: John Fitzgerald Kennedy (or JFK, as he is more generally known): 35th President of the United States, playboy politician, shining example of 1960s glamour, friend of Marilyn Monroe — and bloody victim of the 20th century’s most notorious assassination.

The anniversary: Fifty years since Kennedy was shot in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, while on a meet-and-greet tour of the Texas city — on 22 November 1963, at 12.30pm local time.

Why will it draw attention? Because here, arguably, is the biggest unanswered question in living memory. Half a century may have passed since the murder, but Kennedy’s death is as controversial a topic today as it was in 1963. The arrival of this landmark anniversary is sure to revive speculation as to whether the official verdict — that dissident sniper Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman — is the whole truth or pure whitewash.

Where will it be celebrated? It won’t be. The execution of its elected leader is hardly an event that has the US hanging out the bunting. But 2013 will be an ideal year to delve into the legend of a flawed but brilliant man whose charismatic image changed the way politicians portray themselves — and whose demise had huge ramifications, not least in Vietnam, where war blazed to life under the subsequent regime of President Johnson.

Where is the key site? The Texas School Book Depository — the infamous brick warehouse from which Oswald is deemed to have fired the fatal bullets — is now home to The Sixth Floor Museum (www.jfk.org), an institution that offers remarkable insight into both the killing and Kennedy’s career. Visitors expecting a place that meekly trumpets the findings of the Warren Commission (the 1964 government investigation that pointed the finger firmly at Oswald) will be surprised at the breadth of the exhibits, which, over two floors, examine the conspiracy theories as well as the hard facts.

Guests can stand next to the window where Oswald had his ‘sniper’s nest’, and look (almost) down the line of fire before heading outside to inspect the ‘grassy knoll’, the ‘picket fence’ and the other Dealey Plaza sites that are now woven into our collective memory.

Are there other JFK locations? Yes. The John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site (www.nps.gov/jofi) looks at his early years in his home town of Brookline in Massachusetts, while Arlington National Cemetery (www.arlingtoncemetery.mil) in Washington DC is a must-see for any Kennedy devotee. His grave, marked by an ‘eternal flame’, gazes across the US capital from a quiet slope.

Four alternatives

Martin Luther King
The American Musical Salute to Freedom will mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s ‘‘I Have A Dream’ speech with a series of events from March 2013.www.nps.gov/linc

Jane Austen
The timeless Pride And Prejudice turns 200 in 2013. Explore the much-loved novelist’s tale at her former home in Chawton, Hampshire — now the Jane Austen’s House Museum. www.jane-austens-house-museum.org.uk

Henry V
The reign of England’s most eulogised medieval king began 600 years ago, in 1413. Find him at Monmouth Castle, his Welsh birthplace — and at his tomb in Westminster Abbeywww.westminster-abbey.org
cadw.wales.gov.uk/daysout/monmouthcastle

The Queen
After the extravaganza of last year’s Jubilee, this year (2 June) sees the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation, marking her accession on 6 February 1952. Expect further celebrations. www.royal.gov.uk

Read more in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)