Like doors, staircases suggest a connection between two things, places, ideas, and a passageway, but they add to this the sense of a journey through a [liminal] space from one point to the other. Ascending implies a positive, hopeful, or purposeful journey, however, descending suggests the journey might be negative, confusing, or depressing. The style of the staircase carries some significance as well. A traditional one suggests an uncomplicated route, a spiral staircase might imply mystery and disorientation .
The intellectual journey might be from one state of mind to another; a better understanding, new knowledge, an appreciation of another culture. Heritage tourism might lead to a better understanding of ones self by discovering the place of ones ancestors.