UNESCO World Heritage Sites

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Machu Picchu
What are they and which ones should I visit?
Outside NY
Amy Tiernan

When researching vacations, you may have noticed mention of “UNESCO World Heritage sites” and wondered what they are.

“UNESCO” stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and this group selects and protects places in the world that hold a special cultural or physical significance in our history.

5 Popular UNESCO Sites:

Machu Picchu: It’s no surprise that the historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu in Peru is one of the most popular UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world. The Inca City of Machu Picchu attracts more than 2,500 visitors in its busy season between late May and September.

The Galapagos Islands: Being the world’s first historic site, the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador are at the top of many travelers’ bucket lists. While yes, the Islands of Galapagos are beautiful and stunning, it is the exotic wildlife that really draws people in.

City of Bath: In western England, the small town of Bath has become one of the most popular UNESCO World Heritage sites because it’s home to the world's best-preserved Roman bathhouses and stunning Georgian architecture. This UNESCO Heritage site has been drawing tourists in for years.

Thingvellir National Park: This park in Iceland sits atop the rift valley between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates - you can actually walk (or scuba dive) between the two continents in deep fissures within the rock! The Thingvellir National Park is also important to Iceland’s history because back in A.D. 930, the Vikings established Iceland’s first democratic parliament there.

Rani-Ki-Vav: The Rani-Ki-Vav, in India, is a stepwell that was built to look like an inverted temple with seven levels of intricate carvings along the walls and nearly 2,000 statues that demonstrate India’s Maru-Gurjara style. This structure was built in 1050 A.D. in honor of Bhimdev I, who was the ruler of the Solanki dynasty in India.

5 New UNESCO Sites – Added in 2017:

Aphrodisias: Located in southwestern Turkey, in the upper valley of the Morsynus River, this historical site was an ancient Greek settlement named in tribute to Aphrodite and dates back to the 3rd century BC.

The Historic City of Ahmadabad: This city is located in India and was founded by Sultan Ahmad Shah in 1411. This walled city is the largest city in India and has earned its UNESCO status for its rich architectural heritage, temples and numerous mosques and tombs.

Los Alerces National Park: This national park is located in the Andes of northern Argentina and coincides with the Chilean border. Due to glaciation that has molded the landscape, there are the Alpine Meadows under the rocky Andean peaks that are stunning and breathtaking.

Taputapuātea: Being the central point of the “Polynesian Triangle,” a vast portion of the Pacific Ocean, on Ra’iatea Island, the Taputapuātea is the last part of the globe to be settled by humans for 1,000 years by the Mā'ohi civilization.

Caves and Ice Age Art: Recently discovered in Germany, there are six caves that have ice age art dating back 43,000 to 33,000 years ago. The ice age art features several different figurative art forms of animals, musical instruments and items of personal adornment. These archaeological sites are some of the oldest figurative art worldwide.

5 UNESCO Sites to See in North America:

Independence Hall: By visiting Philadelphia, PA, you’ll be able to uncover the birthplace of our great nation. Independence Hall is where the Declaration of Independence was drafted and where America’s democracy began.

Statue of Liberty: It was a little gift given to us by the French in 1886 and is one of the most iconic statues in the history of America. The sculpture stands at the entrance of New York Harbor which has welcomed millions of immigrants to the United States ever since.

Taos Pueblo: Sitting in a small town in New Mexico, it is the only living Native American community that is both a UNESCO World Heritage site and a National Historic Landmark. Archaeologists estimated that this community was established in the late 13th and early 14th centuries and the ancestors of the Taos Indians lived there for thousands of years.

Yosemite National Park: Situated in California, it covers 1,200 square miles of beautiful valleys, grand meadows and vast wilderness areas. If you like waterfalls, this is the park for you.

Grand Canyon National Park: In Arizona, the Grand Canyon is 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide with unique combinations of geologic colors and stunning views due the Colorado River carving out stone for the past 2 billion years.

Interested in visiting one of these UNESCO World Heritages sites? Contact one of our Travel Consultants today and start planning your next vacation.