10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

UNESCO World Heritage List: Points of Interest

For centuries or even millennia, some of the most striking sites of ancient times have been forgotten or hidden from the world, buried under jungles, deserts or farm fields around the world. Rumors of lost cities or accidental discoveries have led to unimaginable finds that can be seen today in different parts of our planet. All of these places are of great historical and cultural significance, which has led to their inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List. We have chosen the most interesting and impressive of them.

UNESCO World Heritage List: Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, built in a mountainous area high above the Urubamba River, is one of the most stunning archaeological sites in the world. This ancient Inca city slopes down steep mountain slopes, and its terraced steps disappear along the edges of the bluffs into the valley below. These incredible ruins have been restored and are in good condition, giving visitors a glimpse of what the city might have looked like when it was inhabited – in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

One of the most iconic sites in the world are the Pyramids of Giza, located near Cairo. Nearby is the equally impressive Sphinx, staring silently into the distance for centuries. The largest of the pyramids that are the tombs of the pharaohs, the Cheops pyramid, was built between 2560 and 2540 B.C. By comparison, they were already more than 2,600 years old when the Colosseum in Rome was built. These gigantic monuments are the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing.

The Pyramids of Giza

The Pyramids of Giza

UNESCO World Heritage List: Pagan, Myanmar

Thousands of ancient temples and stupas stretch endlessly across the landscape in Pagan, where the silhouette of a temple against the sky in the early morning or at sunset is a magical sight. The area is known for the largest concentration of Buddhist temples in the world, many of which were built in the 1000s and 1100s when Pagan was the capital of a pagan kingdom.

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Pagan

Pagan

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

The unique temple of Angkor Wat, located in the jungle near the city of Siem Reap, is known as the world’s largest religious monument. Angkor Wat was built by the Khmer people in the 12th century and today the magic of its architecture is highlighted by the trees and their roots that frame the structures.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

UNESCO World Heritage List: The Great Wall of China

Stretching almost 6,000 kilometers through forests and mountains, the Great Wall of China is one of those undeniable places that make you marvel at your surroundings. This massive structure of jagged walls and watchtowers has been under construction for centuries, and its oldest parts were erected in the 7th century BC.

Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

Roman Colosseum, Italy

One of the most recognizable sights in the world! The Colosseum in Italy’s capital city is the largest building that has survived since Roman times. This imposing structure in the center of modern Rome is a testament to the incredible history of the city and the achievements of the ancient Romans.

Roman Colosseum Roman Colosseum

UNESCO World Heritage List: Acropolis, Greece

Located on a hilltop, the Acropolis towers majestically over the capital of Greece. The proud monument of ancient Greece was built between the 5th and 4th centuries BC, and the largest and most recognizable structure from this period is the Parthenon, which symbolizes the country’s long history.

Acropolis

Acropolis

Stonehenge, UK

This incredible prehistoric monument is one of the most visited attractions in the United Kingdom and certainly one of its most unique sites, which attracts a huge number of visitors every year. It is believed that the megalith Stonehenge was established between 3000-1500 BC, but there is no information about its origin or purpose, which leads to all sorts of speculation and myths.

Stonehenge

Stonehenge

UNESCO World Heritage List: Borobudur, Indonesia

Borobudur is one of the most important Buddhist sites in the world and certainly one of Indonesia’s most famous landmarks. Set in a lush tropical setting with mountains and volcanoes, it is both breathtaking and soothing at the same time. Located on the island of Java, near Yogyakarta, this massive temple complex was built in the 700s, but was abandoned centuries later and remained relatively untouched for centuries. The complex was discovered in 1800 by the British and later restored.

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Borobudur

Borobudur

Mesa Verde National Park, United States

Mesa Verde is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the United States which is a well-preserved Native American settlement ruin. Most impressive are the ancient dwellings, spectacularly set right into the cliffs. The plateau of the same name was inhabited by the ancestors of the modern pueblos until the end of the 13th century.

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

UNESCO World Heritage List: The Terracotta Army, China

The Terracotta Army, standing guard over China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, is unlike any other archaeological site in the world. Thousands of life-size warriors, each with a unique face, have stood in rows since they were created here in the 3rd century B.C. According to some estimates, some 700,000 workers were involved in the creation of the army, which is believed to number about 8,000 clay warriors.

Terracotta Army

Terracotta Army

Petra, Jordan

A unique ancient stone city with dwellings carved into walls of sandstone! This ancient Nabatean capital was inhabited as early as the 4th or 5th centuries BC. Discovered in the early 1800s, Petra was nicknamed the “Pink City” because of the color of the rock and understandably, the “Carved City”.

Petra

Petra

UNESCO World Heritage List: Tikal National Park, Guatemala

The ancient Mayan city of Tikal is one of the greatest archaeological sites in Central America. Located in northern Guatemala, surrounded by jungle, the park includes more than 3,000 structures of the city, which existed from 600 to 900 AD. Ancient pyramids, temples, plazas and foundations of all kinds of buildings give a vivid picture of a complex community that was inhabited by tens of thousands of people.

Tikal National Park

Tikal National Park

Photo: DEZALB / pixabay (Pixabay License)

Lascó and Lascó II Caves, France

The Lascaux Cave (Dordogne region, France) contains unusual cave paintings from the Paleolithic period, considered to be among the best in the world. These primitive images, which appeared more than 17,000 years ago, mainly show animals believed to have lived here during that period of time. The rock art was discovered in 1940, but was later recreated at a nearby site known as Lascaux II to protect the original images from damage. In creating Lascaux II, painstaking work was done to reproduce an exact replica of the original cave and drawings.

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Lascó Caves

Lascó Caves

Photo: Lascaux (Public domain)

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Chichen Itza, Mexico

In the jungle of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, just outside Cancun, lies the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza, which was an important center from the 7th to the 13th centuries and for a time even served as the regional capital. Today it is one of the most well restored Mayan cities and one of Mexico’s biggest tourist attractions.

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza

Photo: Makalu / pixabay (Pixabay License)

Buddha statue in Leshan, China

The giant Buddha statue in Leshan, 71 meters tall, was carved into the rock and is the tallest stone Buddha in the world. Created in the 8th century, the statue overlooks the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers and was built with the hope that it would provide calm waters for the boats that traverse this arduous journey.

Buddha Statue in Lashan

Buddha Statue in Lashan

UNESCO World Heritage List: Easter Island

Easter Island, located in the South Pacific, is famous for the giant statues known as Moai. Created by the Rapa Nui, who are believed to have inhabited the island since the 12th century, hundreds of stone statues are scattered across the island. Some are partially rubble, others stand on giant stone platforms, and many still remain in the quarry where they were created. The statues range in size from 1 to 20 meters, with each statue being unique and considered a symbol of an ancestor.

Easter Island

Easter Island

UNESCO World Heritage List: Ayasofya

One of the main attractions of Istanbul – Ayasofya Sophia or Hagia Sophia Cathedral was built almost 1500 years ago and has rightly become the symbol of the ancient city. During the construction were used columns from the temple of Artemis of Ephesus, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. The building was consecrated in 360.

Where is Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (Aya Sofia)

Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (Ayia Sophia). Photo: Dennis Jarvis / flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (Ayia Sophia). Photo: Jorge Láscar from Australia (CC BY)

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UNESCO World Heritage List: Cité de Carcassonne

The Cité de Carcassonne is a unique fortification is one of the most famous and popular sights in France. The vast and utterly unique complex includes over 50 towers crowned by massive concentric walls, a moat, heavy barbicanes, lattice pillars, and drawbridges. Inside these fabulous fortifications is a castle, a basilica and a small town. It is all situated on the top of a hill, with magnificent views of the modern city of Carcassonne to the west, the River Aud and the Canal du Midi to the north, and the often snow-covered Pyrenees to the south.

Where is the Fortress of Carcassonne

Fortress of Carcassonne. Photo: Chensiyuan (CC BY-SA) Fortress of Carcassonne. Photo: JosepMonter / pixabay (Pixabay License)

UNESCO World Heritage List: Malbork Castle (Zamek w Malborku)

Malbork Castle is located in the Polish city of the same name near the Baltic Sea. It was built by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century and was originally called Marienburg Castle. Built and rebuilt over the centuries, it is now considered the largest brick structure in the world, and the entire complex occupies more than 20 hectares of land.

Where is Malbork Castle

Malbork Castle. Photo: DerHexer; derivate work: Carschten, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) Malbork Castle. Photo: Diego Delso, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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