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18 Premier Global UNESCO Sites

Discover the World's Greatest Heritage Sites

Throughout history, remarkable structures and cities have been lost to nature, only to be rediscovered and recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These sites, ranging from ancient cities to cultural landmarks, offer a glimpse into the past and draw tourists from all corners of the globe.

Now is an excellent time to explore these wonders, each with its own unique story and significance.

1. Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru

Perched above the Urubamba River, the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu is a breathtaking archaeological site set against a dramatic mountainous backdrop. Visitors can hike the Inca Trail or take a bus from Aguas Calientes to experience its well-preserved ruins and terraces.

2. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Pyramids, Egypt

The iconic Pyramids of Giza, including the enigmatic Sphinx, are the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. These tombs for Pharaohs date back over 4,500 years and continue to be a source of awe and mystery.

3. Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan's landscape is dotted with thousands of ancient Buddhist temples, the largest concentration of its kind in the world. Visitors can explore this sacred site by bike, horse cart, or even hot air balloon.

4. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, the world's largest religious monument, is a stunning complex of temples built by the Khmers in the 12th century. The site features carved stone faces and intricate bas-reliefs, inviting exploration.

5. Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China stretches nearly 6,000 kilometers, offering a historical journey through forests and mountains. Parts of the wall date back to the 7th century BC and can be explored via day trips or multi-day treks.

6. Roman Colosseum, Italy

Roman Colosseum, Italy

The Roman Colosseum, an iconic symbol of ancient Rome, is the largest amphitheater from the Roman era. Its restoration, expected to be completed in 2023, will allow visitors to experience the grandeur of the gladiatorial arena.

7. Acropolis of Athens, Greece

Athens Acropolis

The Acropolis, with the famous Parthenon, stands as a testament to Ancient Greece, offering panoramic views over Athens and a connection to the city's rich history.

8. Stonehenge, England

Stonehenge, England

Stonehenge is a prehistoric marvel, its massive stones arranged in a mysterious circle that has captivated the imagination of visitors for centuries.

9. Borobudur, Indonesia

Borobudur, Indonesia

Borobudur, a significant Buddhist site, is set against a backdrop of mountains and volcanoes. This grand temple complex was rediscovered in the 1800s and is now a key Indonesian attraction.

10. Mesa Verde, USA

Mesa Verde, USA

Mesa Verde showcases some of North America's most well-preserved Indian ruins, including cliff dwellings that offer a glimpse into the lives of the Ancestral Puebloans.

11. Terracotta Army, China

Terracotta Army, China

The Terracotta Army, guarding the tomb of China's first emperor, is a vast collection of life-sized clay warriors, each with a distinct face, standing in formation since the 3rd century BC.

12. Petra, Jordan

Petra, Jordan

Petra, the stone city of the Nabataeans, is accessed through a narrow gorge and is renowned for its rock-cut architecture and rose-colored stone.

13. Mayan Ruins of Tikal, Guatemala

Mayan Ruins of Tikal, Guatemala

Tikal, an ancient Mayan city, is an archaeological treasure with over 3,000 structures set amidst a lush jungle in northern Guatemala.

14. Lascaux and Lascaux II, France

Cave paintings at Lascaux Cave

The Lascaux Caves boast extraordinary Paleolithic cave paintings, with Lascaux II offering a meticulously recreated experience to protect the original artwork.

15. Chichen Itza, Mexico

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Chichen Itza, a major Mayan city, is famous for its massive pyramid and is one of Mexico's most visited archaeological sites.

16. Leshan Giant Buddha, China

Leshan Giant Buddha

The Leshan Giant Buddha, carved from a cliff face, is the tallest stone Buddha in the world, overlooking the convergence of three rivers.

17. Easter Island

Easter Island

Easter Island is renowned for its mysterious Moai statues, created by the Rapa Nui people and scattered across the island's landscape.

18. Cappadocia

Uchisar village in Cappadocia

Cappadocia's surreal landscape features unique rock formations and ancient cave homes, with hot air balloon rides offering a bird's-eye view.