Historical Landmarks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites: A Journey Through Time

online casino

You’ve probably heard of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), which recognises and legally protects sites as World Heritage sites for their cultural, historical, scientific or other significance. These sites are usually historical landmarks of outstanding universal value to humanity. 

I have compiled a list of the best known and most visited sites of this kind, but before I get started, I think it is worth taking a more specific look at what are the historical landmarks and UNESCO World Heritage sites. 


What Are Historical Landmarks?

Historical landmarks that mark historically important events, achievements and eras. Places where you can take a deep dive into the past. Whether they are ancient ruins, battlefields, the homes of important historical figures, or entire neighbourhoods, they represent educational and cultural values, but they are also attractive for tourism. And tourism helps to boost the economy of a place. 

It is no accident that governments and historical organisations designate these sites as monuments. In this way they can ensure that they remain intact in the face of modern development and neglect. 

What Are UNESCO World Heritage Sites?

In 1972, UNESCO signed an international treaty on the protection of the world’s cultural and natural heritage, which aims to encourage humanity to protect cultural and natural heritages. This treaty protects all monuments of cultural, historical, natural or scientific interest which are of exceptional value to humanity. 

Thanks to UNESCO’s work, there are now more than 1,100 World Heritage sites around the world, each of which has been inscribed on the list for its unique significance. Here are the 10 most famous of these. 

The Great Wall of China, China

This series of fortifications, stretching through 15 northern Chinese provinces from the Bohai Sea to the Gobi Desert, was built to protect the historical northern borders of China against the raids and invasions of nomadic groups. It attracts tens of millions of visitors annually, which contributes significantly to the local and national economy. It’s one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. 

Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru

In the Cordillera de Vilcabamba of the Andes Mountains you will find this Incan city on the top of the mountains, looking over the Urubamba River valley. It’s basically a stone construction put together based on astronomical arrangement, without the use of mortar and the panoramic views are fascinating. It’s no coincidence that it’s the most iconic and visited tourist destination in South America, seeing an average of over 1.5 million visitors annually, making it a vital part of Peru’s economy. It’s also one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. 

The Pyramids of Giza, Greater Cairo, Egypt

Being the only remaining wonder of the original Seven Wonders of the World, the pyramids are significant from the point of human history, showing a testament to the architectural skills of ancient times. It’s hard to say how many visitors it has, but it’s around 5 million a year. This is a tremendous support for local businesses and creates job opportunities for the residents of Egypt.

Petra, Valley of Moses (Wadi Musa), Jordan

Carved into and out of sandstone cliffs, this ancient city amid desert canyons and mountains, boasts almost 1 million visitors a year. Originally the capital of the Nabataean Kingdom between 400 B.C. and A. D. 106, it was once a bustling trading centre, which is now renowned for it’s architecture and water conduit system. It benefits Jordan for many reasons: employment, economic impact, cultural preservation, international recognition and even community development. 

The Roman Colosseum, Rome, Italy

With an average of 7-8 thousand visitors daily, this symbol of Imperial Rome contributes greatly to the economical and cultural value of Italy. Being the largest amphitheatre ever built it was mainly used for gladiator contests and public spectacles, and occasionally filled with water to improvise naval battles. 

Grand Canyon National Park, Mohave county, Arizona, United States

With its immense size and stunning, colourful erosion-carved landscapes, the Grand Canyon is perhaps one of the most iconic and best-known landmarks in the United States. You can even find such landscapes on online casino platforms. This geological wonder attracts around 5 million visitors a year from all over the world, which is not only an economic benefit for the country, it also creates jobs, raises awareness of environmental preservation, provides cultural and educational insights, and the infrastructure built around it is profitable for locals. 

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, eastern Pacific Ocean

These chains of volcanic islands were studied by Charles Darwin during his voyage in 1835, and the diverse ecosystem found here contributed to his theory of evolution by natural selection. The islands are approximately 1,000 km away from the closest Ecuadorian coast, and this isolation led to unique and frequent endemism. Due to this, great efforts have been made to protect the species here, and the enormous number of visitors coming here each year provides financial support for the conservation of this spectacular location. 

Angkor Wat, province of Siem Reap, Cambodia

This temple complex is the largest religious monument in the world and the most important archaeological site in Southeast Asia. It covers an area of more than 400 square kilometres, including not only the buildings themselves, but also the surrounding Angkor Archaeological Park, which contains various ruins of buildings from the Khmer Empire from the 9th to the 15th centuries. These were originally Hindu temples, which began to be converted into Buddhist temples towards the end of the 12th century. No wonder that this location attracts more than 2 million visitors a year. 


There may be more than 1,000 World Heritage sites on the UNESCO list, and each of them would deserve a separate article. All of these sites contribute to promoting understanding and appreciation of the planet’s heritage, so protecting and conserving them is our shared, international responsibility. We need global cooperation and commitment, which means more countries need to ratify preserving these sites. They are all unique and there is only one from each of them.