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.
Bridgetown Historic Area, Barbados — The capital of the island of Barbados is a pleasant place to stroll. The area that made the UNESCO list is known as the Garrison Historic Area and includes a house where George Washington slept.
Flemish Beguinages, various cities in Belgium — Beguinages are alms houses where the poor were housed and fed usually by nuns or clergy. They are found in older cities like Brugge.
Historic City of Lyon, France — Lyon is one of the larger cities in central France. It has many historic sites in its Old Town which should be experienced by the traveler.
Regensburg, Germany — The medieval city of Regensburg lies on the Danube River in southern Germany. It is the home of one of Germany’s premier universities and has a lovely Old Town, tailor-made for walking.
Canals of Amsterdam, Netherlands — Canals are an important part of life in Amsterdam. Besides ferrying tourists from place to place, much commerce is accomplished via these waterways..