UNESCO, an arm of the United Nations, has established a list of the World Heritage Sites, the Earth’s most significant places, based on historical, cultural, and aesthetic considerations. These places should be preserved so that all mankind can appreciate their legacy, their significance, and their beauty. The United States is blessed with many (20) places, most of them natural areas, which fit the criteria and are included on the list. I have visited almost all of them and so will present them in three (3) installments.
This group consists of the primarily historic places on the list:
Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA — This building is located within Independence National Historical Park in downtown Philadelphia is where the Declaration of Independence was created, discussed, and signed. It signaled the beginning of this incredible nation (A walking tour of this part of the city is available for $1.49 on the website).
Statue of Liberty, New York City, NY — A beacon and symbol of freedom to people around the world, this spectacular statue of Liberty has welcomed countless immigrants who came and still come to America to seek a better life.
Monticello and the University of Virginia — Thomas Jefferson’s house and the college that he founded and designed have both become symbols of this great patriot who drafted the Declaration of Independence and eventually became the nation’s third president.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park, northwestern NM — This extensive collection of Native American sites has been occupied since about 500 AD but its zenith was reached between 950 and 1200 AD when it became an important ceremonial city. The site is sacred to the Hopi and Pueblo Indians.
Pueblo de Taos, Taos, NM — This is one of the few multi-story pueblos in the United States which is still occupied by Native Americans. The site is approximately 1,000 years old and takes visitors back to a much simpler time when life revolved around the community.
La Fortaleza and San Juan Historic Site, Puerto Rico — The charming and delightful city of Old San Juan captures the essence of a Spanish colony in the New World. A lasting symbol of the Spanish influence in America can be found in El Morro, the prominent fort at the entrance to the city. Spain’s fragile hold in the New World was under constant threat of attack.