UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) is a division of the United Nations which, among other things, selects and designates properties around the world as World Heritage Sites. Nominations are made from the countries and are then considered based on the property’s historical, cultural, or natural value. With the UNESCO label comes responsibility to preserve the property and sometimes monetary incentives.
As of 2011 there are 936 properties around the world. Some of the places are rather obscure but many are major tourist destinations or attractions. To date, I have visited only about 10% of the World Heritage Sites (and I consider myself well-traveled).
In this series of posts, I will present my favorites, broken down into managable groups of ten. These groups are further subdivided into an A and a B section, each of which contains five (5) World Heritage Sites. Group 1 represents my all-time favorites, Group 2 the next-favorite, etc. Within each group the sites are presented randomly and are not ranked — it’s so hard to pick between excellent things. I will post daily in a countdown fashion so that I will begin with my least favorite places, and so on down to Group 1. Obviously you may disagree with the list but if you haven’t put some of these places on your Bucket List, you should. Many of these sites are on the majority of travelers’ “important places to visit” list.
Historic Center of Cordoba, Spain* — The walled city of Cordoba contains one of Spain’s most impressive and interesting attractions. La Mezquita is a mosque with a twist. When the Moors were defeated and thrown out of Spain, the Catholic monarchs decided to build a church within the mosque. Talk about two major religions living side by side!
City of Bath, England* — Bath is famous for its Roman Bath (surprise) and also its classic Georgian architecture. Stroll through this lovely city with hanging flower baskets bedecking the streets to appreciate its tourist appeal.
Historic Center of Siena, Italy* — The medieval city of Siena once rivaled Florence and Venice as major city-states. It is still popular with tourists who travel through Tuscany since it is conveniently located between Florence and Rome.
Historic Center of Vienna, Austria* — Vienna is certainly one of the world’s most beautiful cities. As the center of the Holy Roman Empire for many years, there was much money spent on the buildings and the architecture is thus striking.
Statue of Liberty, New York City, New York, USA* — This beacon of freedom and opportunity has greeted millions of immigrants to the United States and has become a world-wide symbol of all that is good and right with America.
* These properties are all included in my over 250 walking tours for cities around the world. You can purchase a digital walking tour for the small sum of $1.49 by clicking “Walking Tour Store” on my website..