There are many historical sites and places across the world, which gives us insight and evidence of the past civilizations. For those who are unaware of what is a world heritage site; ‘A World Heritage Site is any place listed by the UNESCO as a location of special cultural or physical significance.’ These sites are of great significance as they help us learn about our ancestors, their lives and culture. For those of you love travelling, you would definitely want to consider these beautiful world heritage sites while making your next travel plans.
1. Iguazu National Park
Where is it? Brazil and Argentina
What’s special? The semicircular waterfall at the heart of this national park is 80m high and 2700m in diameter. It is situated on a basaltic line along the border between Argentina and Brazil. It is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world and is made up of many cascades producing vast sprays of water. The waterfall is surrounded by subtropical rainforest which is the home for over 2000 species of vascular plants and wildlife including tapirs, giant anteaters, howler, monkeys, ocelots, jaguars and caymans.
Where is it? Cambodia
What’s special? Scattered in the Cambodian jungle, this site contains the remains of Khmer Empire capital which was present between 9th and 15th centuries. The site is dedicated to the Hindu god, Vishnu. Amongst the most famous of over 100 group of monuments are the Temple of Angkor Wat and the sculptural Bayon Temple ar Angkor Thom.
3. Goreme National Park and Rock Sites of Cappadocia
Where is it? Turkey
What’s special? The spectacular landscape entirely sculpted by erosion, the Goreme valley and its surrounding rock-hewn sanctuaries provide unique evidence of Byzantine art in the post-Iconoclastic period dating back to the 4th century.
Where is it? Athens, Greece
What’s special? Looming over the city of Athens in Greece, this ancient citadel was built in the 5th century. Despite being attacked several times from the Byzantines, who converted temples to churches, and the Venetians, who later bombed the area, the site still stands erect providing an important insight into the Greek mythology.
Where is it? Myanmar
What’s special? While it is still on the tentative list to be brought under as a World Heritage Site, the importance of protecting its monuments is greater than ever. This enormous Buddhist complex, which was the capital city of the first Myanmar kingdom, is made on the Irrawaddy River and has over 2500 intricate monuments dating back to the 10th century.
6. Galapagos Islands
Where is it? Ecuador
What’s special? The islands were the first sites to be listed by UNESCO un 1970s. This archipelago located in the far reach of Pacific ocean was described as a ‘little world in itself’ by British naturalist, Charles Darwin. Apart from being the home of several endemic species, the island also has a confluence of three ocean currents attracting a diverse array of marine life. It is also listed on your places, which may soon disappear.
7. Great Barrier Reef
Where is it? Australia
What’s special? Home to over 3000 individual reefs with more than 600 topical islands, the world’s most extensive coral reef can be seen from space. Coral bleaching and climate change however has caused an irreparable damage to its delicate ecosystem. No wonder it features on our list of places to visit before they disappear.
Where is it? Karnataka, India
What’s special? While Taj Mahal is undoubtedly India’s most famous World Heritage Site, but only few visitors can deny the magic of lesser-known, Hampi. Nestled between the banana plantations in eastern Karnataka, this enormous group of monuments was the former capital of the last Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagara which dates back to the 14th century. The major highlights of the place include the elephant stables, Kallina Ratha or the Stone Chariot and the Virupaksha Temple.
9. Los Glaciares National Park
Where is it? Argentina
What’s special? One of the best places to observe glacial activity, this is the largest ice mantle outside Antarctica bordering Chile. The most famous ice mass is the cool blue, Perito Mereno Glacier from which giant glaciers can be seen crashing into the turquoise waters of Lake Argentino.
Where is it? Sri Lanka
What’s special? One of the most breathtaking sites in Sri Lanka, this ancient Ceylon city has been inhabited since 3rd century. Also known as the Lion Mountain, the site also features some breathtaking frescoes and lashings of ‘Sigiri graffiti’, which is one of the most ancient texts of the Sinhalese language.
11. Yellowstone National Park
Where is it? United States
What’s special? Yellowstone National Park is among the best places to visit in United States for its sheer diversity. Home to an impressive array of wildlife; wolves, grizzlies and bison, the park contains half of the world’s geothermal features.
Where is it? Normandy, France
What’s special? It is an island commune in Normandy, France at the mouth of Couesnon River near Avranches. This fortified village was built in a Gothic-style Benedictine abbey and was dedicated to the archangel St. Michael. The picturesque little village dates back to the 11th century.
Where is it? Malta
What’s special? Valletta is one of the world’s rare urban inhabited sites. Strategically placed into a tiny peninsula, the site had over 320 monuments and is one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world.
Where is it? Italy
What’s special? Founded in the 5th century, Venice is an extraordinary architectural masterpiece containing the works of world’s greatest artists such as Giorgione, Tintoretto, Titian and Veronese.
Where is it? Jordan
What’s special? Petra has acted as the capital of the Nabataean caravanning kingdom around the 6th century BC. The desert city was carved from red limestone and is strategically positioned between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea.
16. Serengeti National Park
Where is it? Tanzania
What’s special? The largest remaining animal migration in the world, this iconic savannah hosts the migration of over a million wildebeest, zebra, gazelle and their predators. It is located in northern Tanzania and extends to nearby Kenya.
17. Pyramids of Giza
Where is it? Egypt
What’s special? Providing a glimpse into one of the world’s most fascinating civilizations, the Pyramids of Giza comprises the pyramid fields from Giza to Dahshur, including the majestic Great Sphinx.
Where is it? Mexico
What’s special? Situated on a rocky cliff facing the Caribbean Sea, Tulum was one of the last cities to be built and inhabited by the Mayans.