UNESCO World Heritage Sights You’ve Probably Never Heard of: Part 1

Our planet is filled with heaps of amazing landscapes and historical areas. UNESCO, a part of the United Nations, aims to help preserve some of these areas by designating them as World Heritage Sights. These sights are selected based upon their natural and/or cultural importance to their countries and the world. There are currently over a thousand heritage listed sights around the world, including many well known places such as Machu Pichu, The Taj Mahal and The Great Barrier Reef. However, there are also plenty of lesser known places that are often overlooked. Here are just 10.

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Jiuzhaigou Valley, China

UNESCO World Heritage Sights Jiuzhaigou Valley China
Photo by alex hanoko
UNESCO World Heritage Sights Jiuzhaigou Valley China
Photo by jmhullot

Jiuzhaigou Valley is home to an incredible array of multi-level waterfalls, turquoise lakes, forests and snow-capped peaks. The valley spans over 72,000 hectares on the edge of the Tibetan plateau in China’s west.

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Timgad, Algeria

UNESCO World Heritage Sights Timgad Algeria
Photo by dantoujours
UNESCO World Heritage Sights Timgad Algeria
Photo by dantoujours

Timgad gained World Heritage status due to it being one of the best remaining Roman Ruin sights. Not only that, but it also has one of the best examples of grid planning, used in Roman cities.

Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou, Morocco

UNESCO World Heritage Sights Aït Benhaddou Morocco
Photo by amerune
UNESCO World Heritage Sights Aït Benhaddou, Morocco
Photo by Martin and Kathy Dady

Ait-Ben-Haddou is one of the most incredible examples of mud-brick cities in Morocco. The city played an important role as a former caravan route between the Sahara and what is now Marrakesh. Ait-Ben-Haddou has featured in many movies and tv shows including The Mummy, Gladiator and Game of Thrones.

Valdes Peninsula, Argentina

UNESCO World Heritage Sights Valdes Peninsula
Photo by longhorndave
UNESCO World Heritage Sights Valdes Peninsula
Photo by hood.jonathan

Selected for its importance as a nature reserve, the Valdes Peninsula is home to many different species of both marine and land animals. Here you can find Sea Lions, Elephant Seals, Whales, Penguins and Foxes, as well as over 180 different species of bird.

Historic Center of Urbino, Italy

UNESCO World Heritage Sights Urbino, Italy
Photo by Gareth1953 All Right Now
UNESCO World Heritage Sights Urbino, Italy
Photo by Jannes Glas.

Italy holds the title of most UNESCO World Heritage Sights at 51. It’s no surprise really, the Italy is filled with tons of historical and cultural landscapes. Most of it’s sights are well known, however Urbino flies under the radar. Urbino is known for its legacy of Renaissance Culture.

Røros Mining Town, Norway

UNESCO World Heritage Sights Røros Mining Town
Photo by randihausken
UNESCO World Heritage Sights Røros Mining Town Norway
Photo by aslakr

The old mining town in Norway bears an incredible facade, the blackened wood of the buildings give the town a medieval look and feel. To this day, the inhabitants still live and work in the 17th and 18th century buildings.

Châteaux of the Loire Valley, France

UNESCO World Heritage Sights Châteaux of the Loire Valley
Photo by Arnaud Scherer
UNESCO World Heritage Sights Châteaux of the Loire Valley
Photo by Pedro Szekely

The Loire Valley is filled with an incredible array of beautiful landscapes, stunning architecture and historic towns. Most impressive though are the Châteaux, houses that were the residence for the Lord of the Manor’s. There are multiple châteaux spread out over the valley.

Forts & Castles of Ghana

UNESCO World Heritage Sights Forts & Castles of Ghana
Photo by 300td.org
UNESCO World Heritage Sights Forts & Castles of Ghana
Photo by Nicholas McGee

The Forts and Castles were built along the coast mostly by the Portuguese back in the colonial period. These buildings were used as links in the trade route at the peak of the Portuguese maritime explorations.

Purnululu National Park, Australia

UNESCO World Heritage Sights Purnululu Nation Park, Australia
Photo by ciamabue
UNESCO World Heritage Sights Purnululu Nation Park, Australia
Photo by W. Bulach

Purnululu National Park is one of Australia’s lesser known beauties. The park consists of an incredibly unique bee-hive shaped sandstone karst that was moulded by the elements over the course of 20 years.

Historic Town of Ouro Preto, Brazil

UNESCO World Heritage Sights Ouro Preto
Photo by Andre Yabiku
UNESCO World Heritage Sights Ourto Preto
Photo by Raquel Mendes Silva

The historic town of Ouro Preto was made one of Brazil’s World Heritage Sights because of it’s baroque architecture. At one stage, the town was the most populous in the New World with almost 80,000 people living there, almost double that of New York at the same time.


How many of these sights had you heard of?

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