IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.
Describe a historic place that you know about.
You should say:
- what the place is
- where it is located
- what is the significance of the place
and describe your experience of the place.
• What do you think of the future trend of historic places?
• Will government strengthen its protection toward historic places?
• What are the changes brought about by the historic place in the local economy and people?
• What is the effect of tourists to such a place?
Model Answer 1:
I love to visit popular places whenever I get free time and historic places have special appeal to me. I have visited a few historic places including Machu Picchu in Peru, The Pyramids at Giza, Taj Mahal in India, and the Parthenon in Greece. The historic significance and the grandeur of these places mesmerise me. The place that I would like to talk about today is Colosseum (also known as Coliseum, or as the Flavian Amphitheatre) which is situated in Rome, Italy. I would like to thank you for the time you have allowed me to talk about it.
It is basically an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, which is the largest amphitheatre in the world and is made of concrete and stone. The construction of Colosseum began under emperor Vespasian in 70 AD and was completed under Titus in 80 AD.
The Colosseum could hold approximately 50,000 to 80,000 spectators at the time when it was used as an amphitheatre. Perhaps it is well-known for its use for the gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of many famous battles. The Colosseum was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980 and was also included among the New Seven Wonders of the World. It is 189 meters long, and 156 meters wide, with a base area of 6 acres. The height of the outer wall is 48 meters. The Colosseum nowadays is one of the major tourist attractions in Rome with thousands of tourists each year paying to view the interior arena.
I have heard and seen of this famous place a lot and when I witnessed it for the first time, I became speechless. The huge architect, the overwhelming interior and exterior decoration were beyond appreciation. The place kept reminding me of the classical mythological and historical facts I have read and heard about. Visiting this site was like travelling to the past. I would always like to get back to this place due to its prominence in history and incredible appeal.
IELTS Cue Card Topic: Describe a historic place that you know about.
Sample Answer 2:
I am going to talk about an amazing historic place that I know about, even though I’ve never visited it. I’ll tell you what it is, where it is, about the historical meaning of the place as much as I can and finally my own experience and reactions regarding it.
I want to tell you about Stonehenge. This is an ancient set of standing stones, arranged in a circle. It is located in Wiltshire, in England, but I think it would be fair to say the image of it would be recognised worldwide, as it is possibly one of the most famous historic sites in the world.
In terms of the meaning of the place, it’s really impossible to say. It is so very old, even archaeologists aren’t sure exactly when it was built, estimates go back to as long ago as 3000 BC, which is mind-boggling to me! It is certainly accurate to describe it as a prehistoric monument. Some people think it might have started as a burial mound and be even more ancient than 5,000 years. The colossal slabs are arranged like huge door frames, no-one really knows how they were erected without the technology of modern times, but everyone agrees it was an incredible feat of engineering and showed foresight and tenacity in spaces! However, it is certain that they were somehow aligned so that at key stages of the lunar (moon) and solar (sun) cycles, the way the light strikes the stones is of some significance. Apparently, it was deliberately constructed so that the rising sun only reached the middle of the stones for just one day of the year.
Lots of people like to try and imagine what sort of ceremonies and importance the stones might have had for the people who built it, but the truth is we can’t say. Even today, modern-day druids have for many years gathered at the stones for the summer solstice (longest day of the year) and winter solstice (shortest day of the year) to watch the sunrise and mark the event with their own celebrations.
For me, I think this is the ultimate historical place, even though I have yet to visit it. It is just so remarkable to think it was constructed all those thousands of years ago just by physical labour. Even the stones themselves – the largest of which are up to 30 feet and weigh about 25 tons, had to be brought to the site from about 20 miles away, how on earth was that possible? For me, the stones prove that with determination, tenacity and working together it is sometimes possible to achieve what seems impossible. At the same time, the way they have endured over time gives perspective on our place in the world. Time passes, people and generations pass too, but they can leave a legacy behind even if it only one of many unanswered questions for future people to ponder over!
[ Written by – Lucy Marris | Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher (Vietnam) ]
Tips for answering this cue card topic:
This cue card is different from the cue card ‘describe a historic place you have visited’. For the later one, you should pick a historic place which is usually located in your country and you have visited. In this case, you need to say when you visited and what you enjoyed there. But for the cue card ‘describe a historic place that you know about’, you can talk about any historic place located anywhere in the world. Not necessarily you need to visit a place to know about it.
Do not pick a place which has very little historical significance or the places that store historical evidence but not itself is a historic place. For instance, you can learn a lot about history from a museum but the museum is not a historic place unless there are other facts to consider related to history.
A historic place can be part of national history or international history. For instance, some places in your country may be a part of the history of your country but not well-known to the world. So you can pick such a nationally recognised historic place as well.
There is a subtle difference between a famous place and a historic place. A place or landmark has to be qualified and registered for a historic place by history.
Don’t pick a broad area or a whole city as a historic place, rather pick a particular place. There are many historic places in Rome like Colosseum, The Pantheon, St Peter’s Basilica etc. and if you pick Rome as a historic place, you won’t be able to cover all the historical significances of this city. Alternatively, picking only Colosseum or The Pantheon would give you better options to describe it.
Part 3: Details Discussion:
Q. What do you think of the future trend of historic places?
Answer: This is somewhat difficult to answer, I guess, as the future is often unpredictable. Many people believe that historic places should be preserved because they depict a country’s overall tradition and history. These places constitute an integral part of a nation’s history, culture and heritage. On the other hand, others disagree with that. I think that some historic places would be retained either for usage, if possible, or for posterity in the future. However, the future is uncertain and depends, many times, on the decisions of political leaders and the powerful people. However, I believe that some significant historical places would become more important and would be preserved more carefully in the future. More tourists would be interested in visiting such places.
Tips: A good way to fully answer the question is to say something general about historic places and then justify your opinion. For example, you could say that you want them to be preserved or not. Give examples and predictions to put more articulation.
Q. Will government strengthen its protection toward historic places?
Answer: I can’t really know for sure, but I would say that these places must be protected no matter what. As mentioned, historic places reflect a country’s history and culture and they are a nation’s brand. To illustrate, Greek authorities make significant efforts to preserve and renovate the structure of the Acropolis and every year they perform programmes for the restoration of the Hill. They also work to make different monuments approachable by the tourists and also maintain their initial identity. So I believe, governments, all over the world, would be more careful to preserve and protect important historic sites.
Q. What are the changes brought about by the historic place in the local economy and people?
Answer: When I think of changes brought by the historic places, the first thing that comes to my mind is ‘benefits’. Firstly, these places provide employment and income to many people, not only in some particular seasons with many tourists but also throughout the year. In addition, as these places are famous and a country is characterised by those, locals and foreign visitors will pay them a visit and this results in the popularity of the country. Furthermore, as a result of these visits, the whole economy will develop and these countries will flourish and prosper. People would learn diverse cultural aspects and would be able to present their own cultures and custom to the visitors.
Q. What is the effect of tourists to such a place?
Answer: Influx of tourists to these places might lead to both positive and negative consequences. Visitors would help create more jobs among the local people and help raise the budget to the government. Through the internet and social media, those tourists will share photos and videos of their activities and their friends will learn about those places. The visiting tourists bring many foreign cultures and customs which are often unknown to the local people. The growing tourists often increase the business opportunity in the local area.
Apart from the beneficial aspects, there are some negative implications as well. As these places are very crowded with the tremendous number of visitors, they become less tidy. It is not uncommon that foreign customs and culture brought by the tourists often threaten the local culture and the way of life.
[The part three answers are written by Mary, UK]
With your ability to answer this cue card topic, you should be able to answer following cue cards as well:
1. Describe a place you have recently visited.
2. Describe a worth visiting place you know about.
3. Talk about a place you would recommend others to visit.
4. Describe a famous place in your country.
5. Talk about a place you have planned to visit in the future.