Whether or not we can identify them, we have all heard of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Today, thanks to UNESCO, modern explorers, be they novice or veterans, have access to an ever-expanding list of sites throughout the world that can enrich almost any travel experience.
UNESCO - the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - consists of 193 member states and 7 associate states; it "works to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values." It is an invaluable resource of places that are "must-see" destinations.
Many of UNESCO's locations are ancient sites familiar to us all, such as the Great Wall of China, the pyramids of Egypt and the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Others are more contemporary but equally recognizable - like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Taj Mahal in India, or even an entire city such as Venice.
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Not all UNESCO sites are in exotic foreign destinations. The United States has many that most Americans, as well as travelers from other countries, will recognize: the Grand Canyon, Monticello and, closer to home, the Great Smoky Mountains.
Many others may be unknown to you, but are every bit as fascinating - like the Plitvice Lakes of Croatia, the Fortress of Suomenlinna in Finland and Brimstone Hill on the island of St. Kitts.
As my travels have broadened, whenever I am near a place that features a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I make every effort to go there. I am sure to be rewarded with something new, exciting and educational. Three of my personal favorites are Petra in Jordan; the Alhambra in Granada, Spain; and the excavations of Delphi in Greece.
Check out the list yourself. You might be surprised at how many places you have already seen. Or you might discover bold new worlds of interest. UNESCO's "wonders of the world" are definitely sites for sore eyes. Details: whc.unesco.org/en/list.