Filed under : Editors Choice

Seniors Take A Look At World Heritage Sites

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There are 21 historical sites in the US declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. Eight of these sites are Cultural and the rest are considered Natural. 13 more are on a list called Tentative. Being a guide at Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ, this senior was pleased to note that 11 of Frank Lloyd Wrights Buildings are on that list.

The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage is an international agreement that was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1972. It is based on the premise that certain places on Earth are of outstanding universal value and should therefore form part of the common heritage of mankind.

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Myself, I am real big on World Heritage Sites. It’s a great way to fill up any itinerary wherever you travel. UNESCO notes that a World Heritage Site is “a natural or man-made site, area, or structure recognized for its outstanding international importance and therefore deserving special protection.”

Sites are nominated to and designated by the World Heritage Convention, an organization of UNESCO. Sites can be a forest, a mountain, lake, island, desert, monument, building, complex or even an entire city.

The Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef, Versailles, Galapagos Islands, Victoria Falls, Machu Picchu, Taj Mahal, Grand Canyon, Eiffel Tower and the Acropolis are examples. They simply “stand out”. Thousands and thousands visit each of these sites annually.

Seniors Enjoy World Heritage Sites

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Wikipedia states that “As of 2013, 981 sites are listed: 759 cultural, 193 natural, and 29 mixed properties, in 160 states parties. By sites ranked by country,  Italy is home to the greatest number of World Heritage Sites with 49, followed by China (45), Spain (44), France and Germany (both 38).

Senior travelers, if you have personally seen some of these, were they not a highlight of your visit? UNESCO references each World Heritage Site with an identification number; but new inscriptions often include previous sites now listed as part of larger descriptions.

As a result, the identification numbers exceed 1,200 even though there are fewer on the list. They are everywhere in the world. While each World Heritage Site remains part of the legal territory of the state or country where the site is located, UNESCO considers it in the interest of the international community to preserve each site.

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There is an additional listing of World Heritage Sites considered to be in danger. The list is intended to increase international awareness of these threats and to encourage counteractive measures. Threats to a site can be either proven imminent threats or potential dangers that could have adverse effects on a site.

What makes the concept of World Heritage exceptional is its universal application. World Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located. So, next time you travel, input into a search engine where you want to go, then add World Heritage Sites and note what comes up. Bon Voyage! jeb

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