What is a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
From magazine articles and tour brochures to travel TV shows, it’s common to read and hear about the unique UNESCO World Heritage Sites that exist around the world.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites are a collection of places with outstanding universal value and cultural or physical significance. They have been given a special designation, so the sites are preserved and maintained for future generations to come.
These sites are not only made up of notable ruins and historical monuments but also things of cultural and intangible value like Flamenco dancing in Andalusia, Spain as well as natural significance like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and even cities like Liverpool and Havana.
There are 1,121 monuments listed with UNESCO — which stands for The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — across 167 countries… and this number continues to increase.
Here’s a deeper look at five vastly different World Heritage Sites you can visit on future trips:
The city of Bath makes a splash
Long before the City of Bath garnered attention as a filming location for the hit Netflix show Bridgerton, the city in South West England was founded by Romans who used the natural hot springs as a thermal spa back in the 1st century AD.
Bath later became an important hub for the wool industry in the Middle Ages. Today visitors can step back in time to witness well-preserved examples of the Roman and Georgian eras, set among a modern city.
Travelers will be able to enjoy natural thermal waters just like the Romans did over 2000 years ago — or choose to trace the footsteps of Daphne and the Duke of Hastings.
The writing is on the wall in Twyfelfontein
Twyfelfontein in Namibia is known for its impressive collection of petroglyphs, considered one of the largest concentrations of rock engravings in Africa.
The petroglyphs depict animals like rhinoceros, ostrich, and giraffe and showcase the history of hunting and gathering that prevailed across communities in southern Africa for over two millennia. It’s truly remarkable to witness these rock engravings, which are steeped in history, in person.
History collides in Cuzco
Walking through the streets of Cuzco, Peru, travelers will be able to uncover different layers of its past.
Set in the Peruvian Andes, the starting point for most journeys to Machu Picchu developed under Incan rule. After being conquered by the Spaniards in the 16th century, Baroque churches and palaces were built over ruins and Inca structures.
Cuzco is a fascinating city to visit as historic buildings are steps away from coffee shops, bars and family-run restaurants — 3,400 meters above sea level.
Pro tip: make sure to get acclimated to the elevation before trying to do any major touring. There are many tricks to this, including leaving Cuzco to the end of your trip, instead of the beginning.
Take in the view from above in Athens
Standing watch above the city of Athens, Greece is a fortified area that provides a glimpse into life during another era. The ancient Acropolis of Athens is a complete ancient Greek monumental complex, which holds great architectural and historical significance.
While Athens was once considered the gateway to the Greek islands, the capital city is full of wonder and a thriving contrast of where old meets new.
Pro tip: book a hotel with views of the Acropolis, or just spend an evening at a roof-top bar with views - absolutely amazing all it up at night!
Soak up the blues in Belize
The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, comprised of seven protected areas is the largest reef complex in the Atlantic-Caribbean region. It represents the second largest reef system globally with approximately 450 sand and mangrove caves, including the scenic Blue Hole Natural Monument. Belize’s Barrier Reef Reserve System has a unique array of reef types within one self-contained area, distinguishing itself from other reef systems. Belize’s Barrier Reef Reserve System has a unique array of reef types within one self-contained area, distinguishing itself from other reef systems.
How many UNESCO sites have you visited? I just counted and my total is 42 so far! (the Cuzco & Bath pictures are my own!) Let me help you decide which one you will visit next. Schedule a free consultation by CLICKING HERE.
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