Celebrating World Heritage Day


Talia Salem

In Washington, DC, everyday I walk past many sites and monuments commemorating the history of the U.S. In your respective hometowns you have probably passed many important sites that form part of national and collective history without thinking twice about them. Today is the day to call attention to these important sites, and for people and organizations around the world to celebrate these sites. Why, because today is the International Day of Monuments and Sites. This is not just another international holiday, in my opinion, this is an important day to remember our collective heritage and the sites, which have survived to remind us of them.

As our society advances at a break-neck pace, we struggle to hold onto our past. Important cultural monuments and heritage sites around the world lay in ruin, and programs like this and UNESCO call attention to these monuments and place value on them. As a traveler I know that when I visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site it carries some weight not only for the local population, but for the entire human race. This past summer I had the opportunity to visit Machu Picchu in Peru, a historic and sophisticated town from the Inca Empire. This site along with many others in the Cusco region, are relics of a time gone by and an important civilization that greatly impacted the era. I sat in wonder as our certified guide spoke of the area as it once was, a thriving city in the Andes Mountains with a bustling community and advanced technologies.

UNESCO-accredited sites like these are important features on our PlanetWildlife Tours. We feel that wildlife goes hand-in-hand with world culture, and that tourism is a great way to garner support for these important sites and grant greater awareness of their importance. Not only does it draw attention to famous heritage sites like Machu Picchu, but it also places importance on the lesser known historical attractions that might not be recognized otherwise.

We selected some of our favourite tours featuring UNESCO Heritage Sites. It was a difficult choice, but here are our four favourites:

  • Inca & Amazon Tour: Discover the mysteries of the ancient Incan empire and unlock the secrets of the Amazon jungle in Peru. Visit Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas, all nestled high in the vast Andes Mountains.
  • Northern India: Visit Northern India on this nine-day tour spanning India’s rich cultural and natural heritage. Explore the bustling metropolis of Delhi, go on safari drives to sight the majestic tiger in Ranthambore National Park and pay a visit to one of the wonders of the world, Taj Mahal in Agra. In addition to the famous UNESCO site of the Taj Mahal, visit three other important sites: Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, and Jantar Mantar in Jaipur.
  • Discover Sri Lanka: The ecological and cultural diversity of Sri Lanka awaits you on this enchanting 13-day tour that traverses the island nation. Not only will you see blue whales off the coast of Mirissa, you will explore the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Galle Fort and Sigiriya Rock Fortress.
  • Best of Tanzania: Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro: Experience the ultimate African Safari on this six-day tour where you will spot the Big Five at Serengeti National Park, see the migratory birds and tree-climbing lions of Lake Manyara, and trek down to the crater floor of Ngorongoro Conservation Area for a picnic lunch! Due to the biodiversity and ecological significance of the area, both the park and conservation area are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

I am definitely adding these spots to my new list of travel destinations. What UNESCO Heritage sites are on your must-see list? We would love to hear from you. Weigh in on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ or LinkedIn.