Asian locations dominate top spots on Unesco sites ranking

Angkor Wat is the largest religious structure ever built. Source: Sean Heatley

ASIA’S significant historical and cultural landmarks Angkor Wat, the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China dominate the list of the best Unesco world heritage sites among tourists.

They occupy the top three spots when it comes to the TripAdvisor’s list of Unesco cultural and natural heritage sites.

First overall was the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia – one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia.

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Angkor Wat’s immense intricate detail includes more than 300 individually carved Celestial nymphs, as well as carvings that depict stories and myths for by-gone times. “The best views are at dawn or dusk when the crowds have gone, and the lighting reveals its true majesty,” TripAdvisor said.

Source: Shutterstock

In second was the Taj Mahal in India. In 1632, the reigning Mughal Emperor of India, Shah Jahan, commissioned the majestic white marble mausoleum in Agra to commemorate his late wife after she died giving birth to their 14th child.

The Taj Mahal is the centrepiece of the 42-acre (17ha) complex, which includes a guest house and mosque. The recognized landmark is estimated to have cost approximately INR52.8 billion in today’s money, the equivalent of US$827 million.

“You can find hundreds of tours and experiences to visit this mesmerising site, from a private tour with a guide and visit at sunset or sunrise, to a visit including a home-cooked meal at a local home in Agra,” TripAdvisor said.

The Great Wall of China, constructed by Xu Da of Northern Qi Dynasty in 1368, also made it into the top three. The wall stretches for 21,196km and can be seen from space.

The wall was originally built to protect the silk road trade and ward off invasions; it is now one of the world’s leading tourist attractions with more than 80,000 visitors walking parts of the wall every day.

Source: Yuri Yavnik / Shutterstock

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Peru’s Machu Picchu was awarded the fourth spot on the list. The 15th–century Inca settlement stands 2,430m above sea level and travellers are recommended to book guided hike tours up to the summit to gain the fullest experience.

Here’s the full Top 10 list:

1. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

2. Taj Mahal, India

3. The Great Wall of China

4. Machu Picchu, Peru

5. Iguazu National Park, Brazil/Argentina

6. Sassi di Matera, Italy

7. Auschwitz Birkenau, Poland

8. Old City of Jerusalem, Israel

9. Historic areas of Istanbul, Turkey

10. Historic Krakow, Poland

This article originally appeared on our sister website Travel Wire Asia

Categories: CambodiaChinaIndiaNewsTravel and Life
Tags: Angkor WatCambodiaChinagreat wallindiaTaj MahalTravelUNESCO