World Historical Places To Visit

For centuries or even millenniums, some of the most astounding sites of ancient times were forgotten or hidden from the world, buried under jungles, deserts, or farmers’ fields around the globe. Rumors of lost cities or chance discoveries by people going about their everyday lives have led to unimaginable finds that are today open for the world to see. Many of these have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Some incredible sites have been around and attracting tourists for hundreds of years and are as fascinating now as they were when they were first uncovered. It may be a cliché to say there has never been a better time to explore the greatest sites on the planet, but it is also true.

While they’re all significant, some are arguably more impressive than others. Below is our list of the best World Heritage Sites.

Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Pyramids, Egypt

One of the most iconic sites in the world, the Pyramids of Giza, just outside Cairo, is a surreal sight rising from the barren desert landscape. Standing guard nearby, and almost as impressive, is the Sphinx, gazing blankly out over the land.

The pyramids were built as tombs for the Pharaohs, the largest of which was constructed between 2560 and 2540 BC. To put their age in perspective, they were already more than 2,600 years old when the Colosseum in Rome was being built. Today, these giant monuments are the sole surviving member of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan, Myanmar

Thousands of ancient temples and stupas stretch endlessly across the landscape at Bagan, where the silhouette of the temple spires against the sky in the early morning or late day is a magical sight. The area is known for having the largest concentration of Buddhist temples in the world, many of which were built in the 1000s and 1100s when it was the capital of the Pagan Kingdom.

Some of these have been restored, and others are little more than ruins. They also range in size and level of sophistication, creating an intriguing mix of structures that make visitors want to keep exploring the site. You can tour the area on rickety old bicycles, hire a horse and cart, take a hot air balloon ride over the site, or simply hire a taxi. Each of these methods has its own appeal.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

In a unique jungle setting, not far from the city of Siem Reap, Angkor Wat is known for being the world’s largest religious monument, but it is more than sheer size that makes the Angkor complex so interesting. The site was built by the Khmers in the 12th century, and the architecture is nothing less than stunning.

The site has an intriguing mix of excavated and unexcavated temples in varying shapes, sizes, and states of decay, with some buildings taking on a mystical appearance as they’re swallowed up by trees and roots. Huge stone-carved faces peer out in all directions. Extensive and intricate bas-reliefs line the walls and doorways. Crumbling passageways and steep stone stairs call out for exploration.

Before its fall in the 15th century, Angkor Wat was the largest city in the world. The complex is huge, and you may want to spend a couple of days taking in the site.

Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

Stretching almost 6,000 kilometers as it snakes its way through forests and mountains, the Great Wall of China is one of those undeniable bucket list sites that have long inspired great adventures. This massive wall, connecting battlements, and watchtowers was built over the centuries, with the oldest sections dating back to the 7th century BC.

Today, you can opt to simply visit the wall on a day trip from places like Beijing, or tackle whole sections of it on organized, multi-day trips. Some sections of the wall have been restored, while other sections are badly in need of repair.

Roman Colosseum, Italy

Roman Colosseum, Italy

One of the most recognizable structures in the world, the Roman Colosseum is the largest building remaining from Roman times. Its imposing presence in the city center of modern-day Rome is a testament to the incredible history of the city and the achievements of the Roman Empire.

Visitors popping up from the nearest subway stop or turning a corner and seeing it for the first time can’t help but be stunned by its immense presence. Construction began on the structure in 72 AD and today, it is still one of the greatest tourist attractions in the world.

Acropolis of Athens, Greece

Acropolis, Greece

Towering over the city of Athens from its hilltop perch, the Acropolis stands as a proud monument to Ancient Greece. Dating from between the 5th and 4th century BC and dominating the site, the Parthenon is the largest and most recognizable structure from this period and symbolizes the extensive history of this country.

Just steps away from modern-day Athens, the Acropolis is a powerful sight, glistening in the Mediterranean sun during the day and lit for dramatic effect at night. For first time visitors to the city, it is an awe-inspiring sight and sets the stage for travelers carrying on to other parts of Greece.

Terracotta Army, China

Terracotta Army, China

Standing guard over the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, the Terracotta Army is like no other archeological site in the world. Thousands upon thousands of life-sized warriors, each with a unique face, stand in rows, where they have stood since they were buried here in the 3rd century BC. It is estimated that some 700,000 workers were involved in the creation of the site, which is thought to have approximately 8,000 clay warriors.

The site remained undiscovered for millenniums until a farmer was digging a well in the 1970s and uncovered the treasure. Some of the site remains intentionally not excavated, but you can’t help but be more than impressed by the massive army that stands before you.

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