If you want to travel with a purpose, one of the best ways to achieve this is to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Let me share with you the must see places you should visit before you die and my experience visiting some of them.
1. UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), created this list that currently includes cultural, natural and mixed properties around the planet. Visiting the Heritage Sites will be for sure an experience that will surprise, amaze, or educate you in some unique way.
In the official UNESCO website, you can fin the complete list of World Heritage Sites, I recommend you to download the “World Heritage – The UNESCO World Heritage” App in your smartphone, it is free and has several functionalities:
- Map: a map showing the sites
- Around me: the list of sites ordered by proximity to your current location (very useful while traveling)
- List by state: complete list ordered by country
- Visited sites: your personalized list of sites visited
- List by year: each year new sites are added so you can see them by inscription date
- Wish list: your personalized list of sites you wish to visit
2. My experience
The following is the list of World Heritage Sites that I have already visited. The descriptions are the same as you can find in the official UNESCO website but I recommend you to visit the website for a detailed description.
Historic Centre of Vienna
Vienna was the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles, gardens, grand buildings, monuments and parks.
Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg
Salzburg’s most famous son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s name has been always associated with the city.
Palace and Gardens of Schonbrunn
The residence of the Habsburg emperors.
Historic Centre of Brugge
Has maintained its history over the centuries, its original Gothic constructions form part of the town’s identity.
A body of public and private buildings, dating mainly from the late 17th century.
Begun in 1248, the construction of this Gothic cathedral took place in several stages and was not completed until 1880.
Budapest (including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue)
It is one of the world’s most outstanding urban landscapes and illustrates the great periods in the history of the Hungarian capital.
This powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses, within its 2.5-km-long enclosure walls, the imperial city of the Mughal rulers.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus)
Designed by a British architect, the building became the symbol of Bombay as the ‘Gothic City’ and the major international mercantile port of India.
Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area
This National Park in the western part of the Himalayan Mountains in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh is characterized by high alpine peaks, alpine meadows and riverine forests.
Humayun´s Tomb, Delhi
Was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It inspired several major architectural innovations, culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal.
Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi
Built by the Ghorid Dynasty of red sandstone and marble, is a 73-meter tall tapering tower with a diameter measuring 14.32 meters at the base and 2.75 meters at the peak.
Red Fort Complex
Was built as the palace fort of Shahjahanabad – the new capital of the 5th Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan.
An immense mausoleum of white marble, built between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife.
Historic Centre of Florence
Symbol of the Renaissance, rose to economic and cultural pre-eminence under the Medici in the 15th and 16th centuries.
City of Luxembourg: its Old Quarters and Fortifications
Because of its strategic position, Luxembourg was, from the 16th century until 1867, when its walls were dismantled, one of Europe’s greatest fortified sites.
Historic Centre of Mexico City and Xochimilco
His old Aztec capital is now one of the world’s largest and most densely populated cities.
Historic Town of Guanajuato and Adjacent Mines
Founded by the Spanish in the early 16th century, Guanajuato became the world’s leading silver-extraction centre in the 18th century.
Pre-Hispanic City of Teotihuacan
‘The place where the gods were created’ is characterized by the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, laid out on geometric and symbolic principles.
Secenteenth-Century Canal Ring Area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht
This urban extension was a model of large-scale town planning, and served as a reference throughout the world until the 19th century.
Auschwitz Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp (1940-1945)
The largest concentration and extermination camp in the Third Reich.
Historic Centre of Kraków
The former capital of Poland has Europe’s largest market square and numerous historical houses, palaces and churches.
Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines
Both mines have hundreds of kilometers of galleries with works of art, underground chapels and statues sculpted in salt.
Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church
Rebuilt from the year 1840 on the site of important medieval remains.
United States of America
In Philadelphia Independence Hall the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States were both signed.
Statue of Liberty
The sculpture stands at the entrance to New York Harbour and has welcomed millions of immigrants to the United States.
Mosi-oa-Tunya / Victoria Falls
Among the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. The Zambezi River, which is more than 2 km wide at this point, plunges noisily down.
Associated with human occupation from the early Stone Age.
Most of the time I’ve been traveling with the help of scholarships or I have been participating in volunteer projects, I recommend you to read the posts How to find scholarships to study abroad and How to find paid volunteer projects abroad in which I talk about my experience and give you advice on the application process.