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The most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites

UNESCO's World Heritage designates natural and cultural properties of outstanding universal value to humanity. It was in 1972 that UNESCO created a Convention for the protection of World Heritage, and in 1978 the first sites were included on the list. One example is the superb Galapagos archipelago. Since then, every year, several countries propose elements of their heritage, monuments or natural environments, in order to obtain this prestigious cultural recognition. From Europe to Asia, Africa, America and Oceania, here are 10 of the most beautiful sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

1- The peaks of Saint Lucia

The Caribbean and its dreamy landscapes are the stuff of dreams for many a traveller in search of sunshine, heavenly beaches and lush green landscapes. In Saint Lucia, an island that is part of the Lesser Antilles, there are two pitons that are part of the Qualibou volcanic chain. Called Gros Piton and Petit Piton, they are 786 meters and 743 meters high and are connected by the ridge of Piton Mitan. There is a tropical rainforest, another subtropical rainforest, several varieties of plants and a fauna that flourishes there, including 5 endemic species of birds. It is possible to climb the peaks but beware, you must be in very good physical condition. The site has been listed by UNESCO since 2004

2- The Auvergne Puys chains

With 80 volcanoes lined up along a 32 km long fault, the Chaîne des Puys-faille de Limagne gathers in a small area a precious testimony of the rupture of a continent. The Puy de Dôme is the highest summit and reaches an altitude of 1,465 metres. Climbing it offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding volcanoes and valleys. Hiking is a major activity in the area, with trails suitable for all walkers. The Chaîne des Puys is also an opportunity to enjoy unusual experiences such as being guided into the heart of the Lemptégy volcano and thus to see the old volcanic chimneys and bombs. The site was included in the list of natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites on 2 July 2018

3- The Taj Mahal in India

The Taj Mahal is one of the monuments listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You have to go to the city ofAgra in India to have the chance to contemplate this mausoleum that was built between 1631 and 1653 under the orders of Shah Jahan. Listed by UNESCO since 1983, its architecture is flamboyant and combines elements of Islamic, Iranian, Persian and Indian styles. The Taj Mahal is not only the sumptuous marble mausoleum, but there are also other monuments on the site, including mosques, as well as gardens, water features and fountains with perfect symmetry

4- The Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve in Madagascar

The Integral Natural Reserve of Tsingy of Bemaraha takes place in the District of Antsalova, in the central western part of the island of Madagascar. The reserve reveals a great diversity of geomorphological structures, which appear like a great cathedral of limestone. The sharp ridges and crests are called tsingy in Malagasy. It is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. If the western part is covered with a dense and dry forest, the eastern part displays a forest interspersed with savannah areas. The place, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990, is also a centre of endemism, both in terms of fauna and flora

5- The ancient city of Timgad in Algeria

In Algeria, the old Roman city of Timgad has remarkably managed to cross the centuries to devour us all its splendor. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982, the city is quite simply one of the oldest on the African continent. One can admire the Arch of Trajan, a large theatre, thermal baths, a forum and temples. The theatre is one of the most impressive parts, because of its location on the side of a small hill, its 63 meters in diameter and its capacity of 3 500 people. Timgad is a sort of African Pompeii, and its vision will always be remembered

6- Lake Ohrid region in Northern Macedonia

The beauty of the Lake Ohrid region earned it a UNESCO inscription for its nature conservation values in 1979, and for its cultural heritage values the following year. The lake has existed for two to three million years and is home to many endemic species of freshwater flora and fauna. The city of Ohrid, built on the shores of the lake, is one of the oldest cities in Europe. It is a pleasure to stroll through the narrow streets of the old town, as well as to take a break at the foot of its key monuments, such as the fortress and the church of Saint Mary Peribleptos, which houses superb frescoes

7- Tongariro National Park in New Zealand

Although Tongariro Park was created in 1887, it has been on UNESCO's World Heritage List since 1993. It was inscribed not only for the beauty of its landscapes, but also because it is a highly sacred territory for the Maoris. Three active volcanoes make up the landscape: Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe. Every year, a large number of visitors flock to the park, to ski in winter, but also to enjoy the many hiking opportunities in summer. Tongariro National Park is best known for the famous Tongariro Crossing, a hike that takes place through some of New Zealand's most breathtaking scenery

8- The Giant's Causeway in Ireland

A gigantic volcanic formation located on the coast of Northern Ireland, the Giant's Causeway is one of the most breathtaking landscapes in the country and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1986. The site has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1986. There are over 40,000 columns side by side, which immediately resemble natural staircases. Some of the columns, made of grey basalt, are up to 12 metres high. For the walkers, the panorama offered is of any beauty, between the volcanic formations, the sea, but also the many birds which live there, more than 80 species! To visit this site of myths and legends, it is better to favour spring. The Irish climate can indeed be capricious

9- Rapa Nui in Chile

Located in the middle of the ocean, in Chilean Polynesia, Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is the most isolated territory in the world. This exceptional location contributes to making the place mysterious, authentic and fascinating. There are volcanoes, pink sandy beaches, green meadows and, above all, more than 1,000 moais, monumental statues of inestimable value. Built between the 13th and 15th centuries, one is immediately fascinated by these faces, bodies and busts sculpted in tuff from the quarry of the Rano Raraku volcano. The island's exceptional heritage is protected and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995

10- The Chelbacheb Islands in the Republic of Palau

The Chelbacheb Islands form an uninhabited archipelago of Palau and take place in the states of Koror and Peleliu, south of the city of Koror. Since June 2012, the Chelbached Islands South Lagoon site, where nearly 450 limestone islets are located, has been inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List. These islets, of volcanic origin, take the form of mushrooms of greenery surrounded by lagoons with translucent waters and coral reefs. This site also has the largest concentration of marine lakes in the world. Corals, birds, terrestrial and aquatic animals, the place is a paradise of biodiversity

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