unesco world heritage sites (10)

Petra, the Mysterious Jewel of Jordan

12391716060?profile=RESIZE_930xAhmad Qaisieh

In southern Jordan, just under three hours from capital Amman, one of the most recognisable ancient sites in the MIddle East - and indeed, the world - was rediscovered by archaeologists in 1812. But it dates back to at least the 2nd century BCE and probably earlier, settled by an ancient Bedouin Arab tribe called the Nabataeans, who spoke Aramaic rather than Arabic and grew into a wealthy, powerful kingdom which at its height - and until it was absorbed by the Roman Empire in the

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The Allures of Ivory Coast/Côte d´Ivoire


A bit smaller than England and a bit larger than New Mexico this chunk of West Africa (formally known in French as Côte d'Ivoire), gets only some  670,000 visitors a year but deserves many more, as a fascinating mix of natural, cultural, and historical attractions. Here are its top draws:



The country's largest city as well as sub-Saharan Africa´s sixth largest (pop. around 5.7 million), the former political and still economic capital is a bustling metropolis with a mix of

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5 Fabulous Sites of Classical Antiquity in Libya

12238952290?profile=RESIZE_930xLuca Galuzzi - www.galuzzi.it

The territory of what is today Libya, along with Algeria and Tunisia, was once part of ancient Rome´s second most prosperous region after Italy itself, beginning with the Roman Republic´s conquest of Carthage and the rest of the Punic Empire in 146 BCE and lasting until 439, when it was in turn conquered by Germanic Vandals. Its legacy (as well as that of ancient Greece, which had its own colonies along this coast) lives on today in some extraordinary archaeologic

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A Beautiful Bespoke Journey to Japan

1photo121.jpeg?comp=2&profile=RESIZE_710xPhotos: Linda Cooper

In Japan (or Nippon as the Japanese call it), broken objects are often repaired in gold, a practice known as Kintsugi.  As a philosophy, its flaw is seen as a unique piece of the object’s history, therefore celebrating its beauty rather than something to disguise. It’s this approach combined with a constant “nod” reflecting old and new blended so seamlessly into Japanese modern life that makes the Land of the Rising Sun one of the most travelworthy around the globe. 


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11018875452?profile=RESIZE_930xJosé Balido


Congratulations are in order! UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) has just this summer honored Spain's capital city with its first World Heritage Site designation, elevating Madrid to the ranks of destinations with districts or monuments worth preserving for future generations (the larger Madrid community surrounding the capital already had UNESCO sites, including the royal complexes of El Escorial and Aranjuez, which make marvelous day

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The Ancient Majesty of Mexico's Teotihuacán


I will never forget, nearly 40 years ago, laying eyes for the first time on my first ancient archaeological site. About an hour’s drive north of Mexico City, this UNESCO World Heritage complex of temples absolutely electrified my imagination and became a driving force in my fascination with not just archaeology but travel and world cultures in general. Teotihuacán has that kind of impact.

Even after decades of study, archaeologists still aren’t quite sure who (Toltecs?  Otomi? M

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León, Nicaragua's Most Venerable City


When it comes to tourism in Central America’s largest country, the city that tends to get most of the attention is Granada (while ironically, capital Managua is pretty much avoided by all but business people). But in many ways I find its traditional – and less tarted up for tourists/expats – rival Santiago de los Caballeros de León, even more fascinating, beginning with the fact that despite its somewhat lower contemporary profile among foreigners, Nicaragua's second largest city (aft

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Visiting Gjirokastra, Albania's 'Stone City'

Gjirokastra (also spelled Gjirokastër) is a town in southern Albania which in 2005 was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a highly historic city and placed on slopes of the Drino River valley, with beautiful scenery and bordered by high mountains.

Known as the "City of a Thousand Stairs" Gjirokastra is characterized by cobblestone streets and Ottoman-era houses with stone roofs and wooden balconies. Gjirokastra's historic castle is located on top of a hill. The city has a troubled p

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Bergen, Norway’s Most Historic City

Recently I had the chance to get an all-too-brief taste of Norway’s second city before boarding a weeklong Hurtigruten cruise up the coast, and OMG what a right little gem I found Bergen to be. Well, if you can call a city of 266,000 “little” – but honestly, how the locals describe it really does feel totally true: essentially,you could think of it as the world’s biggest small town (for me, the German term gemütlich comes to mind).

Surrounded by forest-clad hills on Norway’s southwestern coa

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