Since 1995, I’ve been fortunate to experience significant travel: first as green graduate student on my first (of many) trips to Chile; followed by the opportunity to live and work in 3 countries on 3 continents inside a span of 10 years. I didn’t give much thought about their relative importance at the time, but I’m lucky to have visited a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (WHS).
I’ve written about 5 UNESCO sites in Germany and there’s more to come. Meanwhile, here below are a list and short descriptions of 20 additional UNESCO WHS from around the globe:
- Australia: Blue Mountains (Katoomba)
- Australia: Fremantle Prison
- Australia: Sydney Opera House
- Argentina: Iguazú Falls, Iguazú National Park
- Brazil: Iguaçu Falls, Iguaçu National Park
- Brazil: Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves (Curitiba)
- China: Historic Centre of Macao
- Czech Republic: Historic Centre of Prague
- Czech Republic: Kutná Hora
- Denmark: Kronborg Castle (Helsingør)
- France: Historic Site of Lyons
- Italy: Cinque Terre
- México: Historic Centre of México City
- México: San Miguel de Allende
- New Zealand: Te Wāhipounamu (South Island)
- Spain: Alhambra, Generalife, & Albayzín (Granada)
- Spain: Cathedral, Alcázar & Archivo de Indias in Seville
- Sweden: Skogskyrkogården (Stockholm)
- United Kingdom: Old & New Towns of Edinburgh (Scotland)
- USA: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Big Island)
Australia: Greater Blue Mountains Area
After moving to Chile in 2006, I traveled across the southern Pacific to Australia several times over the subsequent five years. My friends in Sydney were very kind to take me on the drive west from Sydney for a weekend in Katoomba and the Blue Mountains National Park. Surrounded by the eucalyptus mist, there’s good reason why there’s a big blue aura.
Australia: Fremantle Prison (Australian Convict Sites)
Many first-time visitors will focus on Sydney, Melbourne, Uluru, or the Great Barrier Reef, which means I’ve made my way to the Perth area in Western Australia, fulfilling a promise I made to friends years before. There is great maritime history and tradition in Fremantle outside of Perth, and I’ve gone on a remarkable guided historical tour of the city’s prison which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site on Australian Convict Sites.
Australia: Sydney Opera House
I have to see the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge (a.k.a., “The Coathanger”) whenever I’m in Sydney. They’re not going anywhere, but whenever I’m in the city, I always take the train to Circular Quay, because when I disembark onto the station’s platform, the view immediately assures me they’re still there …
Argentina: Iguazu National Park
Personal tip: spend at least two days, with the 1st day on the Brazilian side at Foz do Iguçu (Iguacu Falls), and the 2nd day on the Argentinian side at Las Cataratas del Iguazú (Iguazu Falls).
Brazil: Iguaçu National Park
Personal tip: spend at least two days, with the 1st day on the Brazilian side at Foz do Iguaçu (Iguacu Falls), and the 2nd day on the Argentinian side at Las Cataratas del Iguazú (Iguazu Falls).
Brazil: Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves
Visiting portrait-and-fashion photographer and friend Paula in Curitiba in southern Brazil, I’m taken on a drive east from the city into the Atlantic rain forest next to the Serro do Mar mountains to Santuário Nhundiaquara and Morretes. The forested area is a protected area and recognized heritage location.
China: Historic Centre of Macao (澳門)
It’s less than one hour on the ferry from Hong Kong, and I’m in the other former European colony bordering China next to the South China Sea. In Macau, I see signs in Chinese, English, and Portuguese. Called 澳門 (“Oh-moon”) meaning “gates to the bay or inlet”, Macao (also, Macau) is the other Special Administrative Region of the P.R.C.
Czech Republic: Historic Centre of Prague
I’ve visited this open-air museum of a city over a dozen times. When I’m away for too long, I ache for her, like a lost lover, and it’s why I wrote this love letter to Praha.
Czech Republic: Kutná Hora
It might surprise some to know the famous “bone church” in Sedlec is not included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site listing for Kutná Hora. The listing includes the Church of St Barbara in the old town’s centre and the Cathedral of Our Lady in Sedlec (shown below).
Denmark: Kronborg Castle (Helsingør)
In the Danish town of Helsingør (Elsinore), Kronborg Slot or Kronborg Castle keeps watch over the narrowest portion of Øresund Strait between Denmark and Sweden, and is the inspiration for Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, which gives this castle its unofficial name of “Hamlet’s castle”.
France: Historic Site of Lyons
Lyon is a home of French gastronomy and the historical home to French cinematography with the Lumière brothers. As an introduction to southern France, I’m completely charmed by the city, her people and their neighbourhoods, and traditional French cuisine.
Italy: Cinque Terre
After a week-long workshop in Rapallo on the Ligurian Riviera, I have the entire Saturday to travel along the Cinque Terre route and coastline by train and on foot. I’m at all five key stops: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore; I easily envision spending a few days in each of the five villages.
México: Historic Centre of México City
By all accounts, there are as many people packed into the metropolitan region of the Mexican capital city as there are people in all of Canada. It’s something to wrap around in my brain, until I realize there’s no other place I’d rather be when I think of Mexico, her living history, and satisfying early-morning munchies in a taquería in the city’s Coyoacán.
México: San Miguel de Allende
Thanks to my friends in the D.F., we take off northwest from Mexico City for a weekend in this historical town with beauty, charm, and a lot of expats from both Canada and the US.
New Zealand: Te Wāhipounamu
Te Wāhipounamu (Māori for “the place of greenstone”) is located in the southwest corner of New Zealand’s South Island, and includes Westland National Park, Mount Cook National Park, and Fiordland National Park. For me, this place is pure magic, especially under clear skies, with her unbelievably deep blues and greens. Even now, I hear from afar her calls with anthems in both Māori and English.
Spain: Alhambra, Generalife, & Albayzín (Granada)
One of my first introductions to Spain and Andalucía is Granada. What better way for me to see this place is the Alhambra illuminated in the golden hour with the snow-covered Sierra Nevada mountains in the background. I followed this view for some special magic with a nighttime tour of the Alhambra.
Spain: Cathedral, Alcázar & Archivo de Indias in Seville
Sweden: Skogskyrkogården (Stockholm)
I’d been reading about Great Garbo, and it felt like a special moment to visit Stockholm’s forest cemetery and to pay silent respect at her final resting place.
United Kingdom: Old & New Towns of Edinburgh (Scotland)
Were 2 days in Edinburgh enough time? The answer is a big no; I want a full week to explore more of the little side alleys, nooks, and crannies in the old town.
USA: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Big Island)
This was once parkland. This was once a paved highway. Now, it’s all covered by pahoehoe from a recent eruption and lava flow. It’s real, it’s happening; the Big Island is still getting bigger through powerful internal forces from inside our planet.
What is your favourite or must-see UNESCO World Heritage Site? Please leave your comment below!
April 18 is International Day for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) as approved by UNESCO. The day is also commonly called “World Heritage Day.”
I made all of the photos above between 2007 and 2013. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-nr.