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UNESCO World Heritage Site

A site maintained by the international World Heritage Programme

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World Legacies

  • Feb 11, 2010
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Over the course of the last decade, I've traveled a great deal to many countries. One of the guidelines I've used to determine what to explore and discovery, other than magazines and online sites, is a list compiled by UNESCO.

Commonly known as UNESCO World Heritage Site, the list is maintained by a body known as UNESCO World Heritage Committee. Generally, the site selected is either a place of cultural or physical importance. For example, the Vatican & the Grand Canyon.

According to Wikipedia, there are a total of 890 sites as of 2009 (689 cultural sites, 176 natural sites & 25 mixed ones). The country with the most number of sites (44 to be precise) is Italy. UNESCO World Heritage Sites served as a good guideline as to what to go after when in a new country. Check out the list to discover what's considered UNESCO World Heritage Site in your country.

Below is a list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites I've visited around the world:
  1. Argentina :  Los Glaciares
  2. Australia :  Great Barrier Reef, Tasmanian Wilderness, Greater Blue Mountains Area, Sydney Opera House
  3. Austria :  Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg, Palace & Gardens of Schonbrunn, Hallstatt-Dachstein Salzkammergut Cultural Landscape, Wachau Cultural Landscape, Historic Centre of Vienna.  
  4. Belgium :  Grand-Place (Brussels), Historic Centre of Brugge
  5. Brazil :  Iguazu National Park
  6. Cambodia :  Angkor
  7. Canada :  Historic District of Quebec, Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks
  8. Chile :  Churches of Chiloe, Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaiso
  9. China :  Imperial Palace of the Ming & Qing Dynasties, Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, The Great Wall, Mount Huangshan, Huanglong Scenic & Historic Interest Area, Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic & Historic Interest Area, Wulingyuan Scenic & Historic Interest Area, Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace (Lhasa), Mountain REsort & its Outlying Temples (Chengde), Lushan National Park, Mount Emei Scenic Area (including Leshan Giant Buddah Secnic Area, Classical Gardens of Suzhou, Old Town of Lijiang, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Dazu Rock Carvings, Mount Wuyi, Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui - Hongcun & Xidi, Imperial Tombs of the MIng & Qing Dynasties, Longmen Grottoes, Yungang Grottoes, Historic Centre of Macao, South China Karst
  10. Croatia :  Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian, Old City of Dubrovnik, Historic City of Trogir
  11. Cuba :  Old Havana & Its Fortifications, Trinidad & the Valley de los Ingenios, Urban Historic Centre of Cienfuegos
  12. Czech Republic :  Historic Centre of Cesky Krumlov, Historic Centre of Prague, Historic Centre of Telc, Kutna Hora: Historical Town Centre with the church of St. Barbara & the Catheral of Our Lady at Sedlec
  13. Denmark :  Kronborg Castle
  14. Ecuador :  City of Quito, Galapagos Islands
  15. Egypt :  Memphis and its Necropolis - the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur, Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis, Nubian Monuments from Abu Simbel to Philae, Islamic Cairo 
  16. Estonia :  Historic Center (Old Town) of Tallinn
  17. France :  Chartres Cathedral, Palace and Park of Versailles, Paris - Banks of the Seine, The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes
  18. Germany :  Hanseatic City of Lubeck, Palaces & Parks of Potsdam & Berlin, Cologne Cathedral, Upper Middle Rhine Valley 
  19. Greece :  Acropolis (Athens), Archaeological Site of Delphi, Meteora, Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus, Archaeological Site of Olympia, Archaeological Sites of Mycenae and Tiryns, Old Town of Corfu
  20. Holy See :  Historic Centre of Rome - the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo, Fuori le Mura, Vatican City
  21. Hungary :  Budapest, Early Christian Necropolis of Pécs (Sopianae)
  22. Iceland :  Pingvellir National Park
  23. India :  Agra Fort, Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Humayun's Tomb, Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Red Fort Complex
  24. Indonesia :  Borobudur Temple Compounds, Prambanan Temple Compounds 
  25. Ireland :  Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne
  26. Italy :  Historic Centre of Florence, Venice and its Lagoon, Piazza del Duomo - Pisa, Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights, and San Paolo Fuori le Mura 
  27. Japan :  Himeji-jo, Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities), Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome), Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara, Shrines and Temples of Nikko
  28. Jordan :  Petra
  29. Laos :  Town of Luang Prabang
  30. Malaysia Kinabalu Park, Melaka & George Town - Historic Cities of Straits of Malacca
  31. Mexico :  Pre-hispanic city of Chichen-Itza
  32. Morocco :  Medina of Marrakesh
  33. Nepal :  Kathmandu Valley
  34. New Zealand :  Te Wahipounamu - South West New Zealand
  35. Norway :  Bryggen, Urnes Stave Church
  36. Peru :  City of Cuzco, Historic Center of Lima, Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu
  37. Poland :  Krakow's Historic Center, Wieliczka Salt Mine, Warsaw's Historic Center
  38. Portugal :  Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belem in Lisbon, Monastery of Batalha, Monastery of Alcobaca, Cultural Landscape of Sintra 
  39. Russia :  Historic Centre of St. Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments, Kremlin and Red Square, Cultural and Historic Ensemble of the Solovetsky Islands, Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad 
  40. San Marino :  San Marino Historic Centre & Mount Titano
  41. South Africa :  Robben Island
  42. Spain :  Historic Centre of Cordoba, Alhambra, (Generalife and Albayzin, Granada), Monastery and Site of the Escurial, Madrid, Parque Guell, Palacio Guell and Casa Mila in Barcelona, Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct, Historic City of Toledo Cathedral, Alcazar and Archivo de Indias in Seville, The Palau de la Musica Catalana and the Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona 
  43. Sweden :  Royal Domain of Drottningholm
  44. Switzerland :  Old City of Berne, Three Castles, Defensive Wall and Ramparts of the Market-town of Bellinzone, Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn 
  45. Thailand :  Historic City of Ayutthaya and Associated Historic Towns 
  46. Turkey :  Historic Areas of Istanbul, Goreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia, Hierapolis-Pamukkale 
  47. United Kingdom :  Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites, City of Bath, Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Saint Margaret's Church, Tower of London, Canterbury Cathedral, St. Augustine's Abbey and St. Martin's Church, Old and New Towns of Edinburgh 
  48. United States :  Yellowstone National Park, Everglades National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Independence Hall, Redwood National & State Park, La Fortaleza and San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico, Statue of Liberty, Yosemite National Park, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Carlsbad Caverns National Park
  49. Vietnam :  Halong Bay

I haven't seen as many as I'd have liked as some of those on the list (even if I did visit the country) is not that easy to get to. For example, the Uvs Nuur Basin in Mongolia. Although I did visit Mongolia in 2009, the World Heritage Site is not only out of the way, it's expensive to get there! All in all though, most of the sites on UNESCO list are truly awesome and must-sees for most travelers. In addition, having been nominated entails the parties concerned to be more conscious of what's needed to maintain and upkeep the site for preservation & thus accountable for proper management. It is afterall the UNESCO's aim to conserve for heritage of humanity.

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Sharrie ()
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I'm a traveler at heart & have been nicknamed Travel Queen by friends & colleagues alike. Traveling has been my life passion for the last decade or so. As we enter a new decade, I'm excited … more
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UNESCO World Heritage Site is a site (such as a forestmountainlakedesertmonumentbuilding, complex, or city) that is on the list that is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 state parties[1] which are elected by their General Assembly for a four-year term.[2] A World Heritage Site is a place of either cultural or physical significance.

The program catalogues, names, and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund. The programme was founded with the Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage,[3] which was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on November 16, 1972. Since then, 186 state parties have ratified the convention.

As of 2009, 890 sites are listed: 689 cultural, 176 natural, and 25 mixed properties, in 148 states.[4][5] Italy is home to the greatest number of World Heritage Sites to date with 44 sites inscribed on the list. UNESCO references each World Heritage Site with an identification number; but new inscriptions often include previous sites now listed as part of larger descriptions. As a result, the identification numbers exceed 1200 even though there are fewer on the ...

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