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Founded in 1972, the UNESCO World Heritage Program aims to protect the world’s cultural and natural heritage, and, as of 2015, has a total of 1031 listed sites. To help you decide which ones to visit, OROGOLD is bringing you some of the top UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the world.

Taj Mahal, India.

Taj Mahal, India
Commissioned in 1632 and opened in 1648, the Taj Mahal was built to house the tomb of the favorite wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. In essence, it is a magnificent temple dedicated to love, and that is just one of the reasons why OROGOLD thinks it is worth the visit. Located in Agra, India, this mausoleum is built with white marble, and whether you look at it close-up, or from a distance, you will no doubt have your breath taken away.

Galapagos Island, Ecuador.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Lying off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands is a destination that you will find on many people’s bucket lists, and for good reason. This is where Charles Darwin developed the theory of evolution, largely due to the unique wildlife that is found on this volcanic archipelago. Comprised of 19 islands, the islands, and the surrounding marine reserve, have been referred to by many as a unique living museum. Thousands each year arrive on the islands to follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, and it is a trip that no one ever regrets taking.

Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
The oldest national park in the country, Tongariro National Park is located in the central North Island, and was established in 1887, making it the fourth national park in the world. The park has been awarded not one, but two UNESCO World Heritage designations, recognizing its cultural and spiritual significance as well as its unique volcanic features and spectacular natural beauty. The Emerald Lakes of Mt. Tongariro is one of OROGOLD’s favorite sights in the park, with the dissolved volcanic minerals in the water giving them a vibrant emerald color.

Grand Canal, Venice, Italy.

Venice, Italy
Considered by many to be the most romantic city in the world, the mere mention of Venice immediately conjures up images of canals, gondolas and colorful buildings. People are usually attracted to Venice for two main reasons. Firstly, Venetian cuisine is one of the best in the world, with a huge emphasis placed on fresh ingredients and local seafood. Secondly, the intricate Gothic architecture is truly inspiring, and a gondola ride down the canals is one of the best ways in which you can take all of this in.

Machu Picchu, Peru.

Machu Picchu, Peru
The ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu is set high in the Andes Mountains in Peru, and was built in the 15th Century but later abandoned. Although its exact former use is still unknown, it is famous for its sophisticated building techniques, which were years ahead of their time, as well as the positioning of the buildings, which make use of astrological alignments. During the busy season, the site is visited by over 2000 people each day, so OROGOLD highly recommends that you try to visit between September and May, as the area is significantly less crowded during those months.

UNESCO is continually adding to its list of World Heritage Sites, with new ones being recognized each year. The next time you are planning your vacation, take a look at our list of top sites and plan your holiday around one of these natural and cultural wonders.

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