Top 10 World Heritage sites
Treat your eyes to some of the world's most fascinating heritage sites.Updated: Mar 20, 2008 16:10 IST
Baffled by which of the 851 U.N. World Heritage sites to visit?
Men's Web portal www.askmen.com has narrowed down the list compiled by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to the top 10. Reuters has not endorsed this list:
1. Stonehenge, England
A prehistoric monument in the county of Wiltshire, Stonehenge has long stoked conversations about its origins. Some say it was constructed by witches as a temple of worship, while others insist it was left behind by alien visitors.
Either way, archeologists believe that the circular setting of large standing stones dates back to 2200 BC, with construction spanning at least 3,000 years.
2.Chichen Itza, Mexico
A sprawling, pre-Colombian site built by the Mayas, the Chichen Itza is located in Yucatan and is the type of building you can imagine being filled with El Dorado's lost gold.
3.The Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls
A holy city for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, Jerusalem has always retained an aura of mystique about it. Boasting over 220 historic monuments -- among them the marvelous 7th century Dome of the Rock, The Wailing Wall and Christ's tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
4.Rapa Nui, Easter Island
The indigenous name of Easter Island, Rapa Nui is a volcanic, Polynesian island watched over by huge stone Maoi, eerie figures supposedly built to represent important ancestors of each clan that weigh hundreds of tons and rise 60 feet. Over 3,000 people live on the island today alongside the statues.
5.Vatican City, Italy
One of the most religious and beautiful cities on earth, the Vatican City is actually a landlocked, self-contained sovereign city-state with a population of 900. Ruled by the Pope, it's a must-see place when in Rome.
Arguably one of the most stunning sights inside the Vatican City is the Apostolic Palace, home of the Pope, including Raphael's Rooms, the Sistine Chapel and frescoes painted by Michelangelo.
6. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
Rising out of the sand on the outskirts of Cairo are the pyramids, a complex of ancient monuments that are actually the last standing of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The ancient necropolis consists of the Pyramid of Khufu, the Pyramid of Khafre, the Pyramid of Menkaure, and the Great Sphinx. The allure of the pyramids is undeniable.
7. Historic Centre of St. Petersburg, Russia
With canals that snake through the center, bridges that arch over them and twisting spires that spear the sky, the historic Center of St Petersburg is quite a site to behold. Created under the reign of Peter the Great, the city's cultural and historical past is etched across every piece of architecture with the World Heritage Site including monuments such as the Admiralty, the Winter Palace, the Marble Palace, and the Hermitage.
8. Everglades National Park, U.S.
Everglades National Park is one of the most natural World Heritage Sites in the world, and is an enormous subtropical marshland in southern Florida. An expanse of lush greenery and swamp, the Everglades is teeming with wildlife but it's best-known for the crocodiles and alligators that swim menacingly through the reeds.
9. The Alhambra, Spain
A majestic palace on the border of Granada, the Alhambra was once the residence of Moorish kings, but it's now one of the world's largest open-air museums of Islamic architecture and a World Heritage Site. Inside the citadel complex you'll discover royal residential quarters, official chambers, a bathhouse, and a mosque, as well as a series of courtyards flanked by sweeping archways, columns and fountains.
10. Notre Dame de Paris, France
Notre Dame is a world heritage site steeped in history and characterized by its French-gothic architecture, natural-looking sculptures and beautiful stained glass windows. A stop-off at this fascinating cathedral is as important as visiting designer stores when in Paris.