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 Town of St George and Related Fortifications, Bermuda, United Kingdom — The cute little town of St George is the oldest part of Bermuda and preserves a section of the island which harkens to a simpler time.
Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky, USA — This national park includes part of the world’s largest cave system. The subterranean wonderland is accessed by tour only.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park — Tennessee/North Carolina border, USA — This wonderful national park is extremely popular because of its proximity to major eastern population centers. Newfound Gap Road cuts through the center of the park from north to south.
Taos Pueblo, Taos, New Mexico, USA — This working pueblo sits a the source of the Rio Grande River in the mountains around the quaint little town of Taos. Some tribal members still live here and others sell their wares to tourists.
White City of Tel Aviv — the Modern Movement, Israel — This site includes some early 20th century architecture, the German Bauhaus style, which has been preserved throughout the city.