From Angkor Wat to Taj Mahal, here are the world’s top Unesco heritage sites, as per a list compiled by TripAdvisor.
From Angkor Wat to Machu Picchu, here are the world’s top Unesco heritage sites, as per a list compiled by TripAdvisor.
Great Wall of China, Mutianyu
In 1368 AD, Mutianyu Great Wall was built by Xu Da who was the main general for Zhuyuanzhang in the Great Wall ruins of northern Qi Dynasty. Linked to Gubeikou in the east and Juyongguan in the west, the section of the Great Wall is the military hub of the capital since ancient times. The Mutianyu Great Wall is also one of the best preserved and best-known Great Wall sections. Compared with the top-notch Badaling, Great Wall at Mutianyu is less crowded, thus a good destination on the hot holidays list.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Dating to the mid-1400s, Machu Picchu is a marvel of mortar-free limestone architecture perched on a high plateau deep in the Amazonian jungle. Whether you visit it during the day travelling from Aguascalientes or engaging on the full experience hiking the five-day Inca Trail, you will be left speechless arriving at one of humanity’s most stunning landmarks. This awe-inspiring ancient city was virtually forgotten until the early part of the 20th century. During peak season, from May until early September, around 2,500 people arrive daily. Despite this great tourist influx, the site manages to retain an air of grandeur and mystery, and is a must for all visitors to Peru.
Iguazu National Park, Argentina
This massive forested park, with rare species of birds, pumas, tapirs, monkeys and other wildlife is best known for housing the world’s largest and most extraordinary waterfalls—the Iguazu Falls—that extend for miles. Ask an Argentinian and they will say their side is the best; ask a Brazilian and they will say theirs is remarkable. The park was created in 1934 to provide forest connections between conservation units in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. Draw your own conclusion by taking the tour from both sides for the Iguazu Falls.
Sassi of Matera, Italy
The Sassi is breathtaking in its scale. History is carved into its landscape from Neolithic times until the present day. At first glance it may look like an abandoned ancient town with buildings piled high on top of each other. But as you begin to explore its cobbled alleyways and steep winding streets you discover stories of human endeavour stretching back through the centuries—from caves turned into homes, from 13th-century frescoes to the magnificent gilded Cathedral. You can discover the fascinating site with a walking tour or if you prefer to get a global view of the region, you can also purchase a Puglia Full day tour, including not just Matera, but also Bar, Trulli of Alberobello and Castel del Monte.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Whilst one could be in danger of being ‘templed out’ due to the sheer number of temples in Siem Reap, Angkor Wat should not be missed and is best toured with a knowledgeable guide to provide you with fascinating facts on the building process, history of it and Cambodia generally. The best views are at dawn or dusk, when there are fewer people and the lighting reveals its true majesty. You can even take a helicopter tour over this famed site, discovering the ancient constructions from above.
Taj Mahal, Agra
Prepare to be wowed when you see it for the first time. Every year, over eight million people visit this great mausoleum, a true monument to love, constructed by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan while mourning the death of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. On TripAdvisor, you can find several experiences to visit this mesmerising site—from a private tour with a guide to a visit, including a home-cooked meal at a local’s house in Agra.
Auschwitz Birkenau, Poland
Established by the Nazis in 1940, Auschwitz-Birkenau has become a symbol of terror, genocide and the Holocaust. Although the exact number of victims is unknown, many Jews, Poles and gypsies died here. More than 7,000 Nazi personnel are thought to have served at Auschwitz but just a few hundred have been prosecuted for the crimes committed there. The museum consists of two parts: Auschwitz I, the first and oldest camp (the number of prisoners fluctuated around 15,000, sometimes rising above 20,000) and Auschwitz II, Birkenau (which held more than 90,000 prisoners in 1944).
Old City of Jerusalem, Israel
Characterised by narrow, winding streets and alleyways, this ancient part of the city is filled with shrines and attractions holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims, including the Western Wall, Temple Mount and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Old City is home to the Western Wall (or Wailing Wall) which is the last remaining wall of what was the Jewish Temple, and is today the holiest site in the world for Jews. Above the Western Wall lies the Dome of the Rock which is important for Muslims as the site where the prophet Muhammad is said to have risen to heaven.
Historic areas of Istanbul, Turkey
This World Heritage Site includes structures such as the Sarayburnu, the Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sophia, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the Hagia Irene, Zeyrek Mosque, Süleymaniye Mosque, Little Hagia Sophia and the Walls of Constantinople. Head back in time and discover the old world of the Sultanahmet area during a full-day small-group guided walking tour through TripAdvisor. You can explore Hagia Sophia Museum and the Blue Mosque, which exemplify why Istanbul is the city where east meets west. Enjoy a walk through the famous Topkapi Palace, where Sultan’s roamed and harems flourished, spend time observing the Hagia Irene’s Byzantine architecture and stroll through the Grand Bazaar to witness handicrafts created by local artists.
Historic Krakow, Poland
The Historic Centre of Kraków, the former capital of Poland, is situated at the foot of the Royal Wawel Castle. According to the legend the name Krakow comes from the prince, called Krak, who used to rule the city. The 13th-century merchants’ town is home to Europe’s largest market square and offers numerous historical houses, palaces and churches with magnificent interiors, 14th-century fortifications, ancient synagogues, Jagiellonian University and the Gothic cathedral where the kings of Poland were buried. The value of this urban complex is determined by the extraordinary density of monuments from various periods, preserved in their original forms and with their authentic fittings.