Updated: Aug 20
It’s only when you stand amongst the great ruins of civilizations past that you really gain perspective into what life actually can be. In today’s day and age, a lot of our hours are wasted doing monotonous tasks that serve little else than to fill a void within ourselves. What better way to fill this void than to gaze upon history’s most impressive landmarks? Stepping into the past certainly provides a useful corrective for the present. So here are five UNESCO World Heritage Sites that absolutely need to be on your travel bucket list.
1. Machu Picchu, Peru
Hidden deep within misty mountainous forests, Machu Picchu dates back to the mid-15th century and is aptly known as the most famous ancient city in the world. It’s one of the only cities in Peru to have bravely escaped plunder by the Spanish colonizers and it remains well-preserved to date. The revered city is considered to be the sacred religious homeland to the Incas. This magnificent citadel surrounded by lush green valleys and imposing peaks is sure to leave any traveler in awe.
2. Colosseum, Italy
Rome is one of the only places that offers ancient treasures surrounded by an abundance of urban luxury. This is a timeless city, never seeming to lose the coveted title of most-visited travel destination in Italy. The Colosseum stands in the middle of it all, serving as a memory of arguably the best-known ancient civilization in history. The Colosseum was the beating heart of a vast empire that once stretched from Scotland to the Persian Gulf. It’s a privilege to still be able to visit this timeless wonder in the Eternal City.
3. The Grand Canyon, USA
A physically challenging, visually breathtaking landmark brimming with historical and cultural significance, The Grand Canyon is one of the most magnificent encounters you can have in this lifetime. Sustained by the Colorado River for 6 million years, The Grand Canyon is now about 1500 meters deep and spectacular as ever.
4. Borobudur Temple, Indonesia
Located in Central Java, Borobudur is the largest Buddhist Temple in the world. It was constructed in the 9th century and stands as an excellent example of Javanese Buddhist architecture. The temple is crafted with almost 1500 intricate artistic reliefs found along the pilgrim trail. Viewed from above, the temple resembles an incredibly elaborate mandala. There's no better place to find enlightenment than at the oldest Buddhist temple known to man.
5. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Initially built as a Hindu Temple, Angkor Wat was later converted into a Buddhist Temple in the 12th century. It’s the largest religious monument in existence, taking up over 1.5 million square meters. The vastness of this temple and the intricate architecture is sure to leave travelers awestruck.
Heritage sites exist as a way to remind us of the glorious past while also reminding us that glory can be ephemeral. These tourist destinations give us important lessons about life, greed, success, and gratitude.