Top Unesco World Heritage Sites of 2024

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 3 Apr, 2024 06:00 | 4 mins read
The Great Wall of China. PHOTO/Travelandleisure
The Great Wall of China. PHOTO/Travelandleisure

Kenya is known for its spectacular beauty and a visit offers the experience of a lifetime. Besides the chance to see the big five, the country holds seven UNESCO World Heritage sites – making it joint fourth in Africa with Tanzania, Egypt, Senegal, and Algeria. Ethiopia has the most listed sites in the continent with 11, followed by South Africa, which has 10.

1. Taj Mahal (India)

The Taj Mahal is located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, situated along the banks of the Yamuna River. The Taj Mahal is more than 370 years old; construction started in 1632 and was finished in 1653. Around 42 acres of land make up the vast complex that surrounds the main mausoleum, which is approximately 73 metres (240 feet) tall.

As one of the most magnificent monuments of Mughal architecture, the Taj Mahal is admired worldwide as a representation of beauty and love. Emperor Shah Jahan constructed it as a memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.

2. The Great Wall (China)

The Great Wall of China extends over 21,000 kilometres from east to west across northern China. Its construction started more than 2,000 years ago, in the 7th century BC, and numerous dynasties contributed to its maintenance and expansion. The wall is a collection of walls and fortifications constructed at various points in time rather than a single, continuous structure.

Its width varies from 4.5 to 9 metres, while the average height is about 7.5 metres. Throughout history, the Great Wall has fulfilled various functions, the main among them being protection against invasions by nomadic tribes. In addition, it made border controls and trade regulations easier and symbolised the strength of Chinese civilisation.

3. Petra (Jordan)

Petra is situated in southern Jordan, Middle East. It is situated in a basin surrounded by mountains that create Wadi Araba, the expansive valley that stretches from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Petra is said to have been established as early as 312 BCE, but it peaked in the first century CE, during the Nabatean Kingdom.

It has a more than 2,000-year history. Approximately 264km2 make up Petra’s total area, with the majority of its well-known buildings, including the Treasury and the Monastery, located in the centre of the city. Petra is renowned for its ancient rock-cut architecture and its role as a major trading hub in antiquity, connecting the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, and the Mediterranean world.

4. Machu Picchu (Peru)

Located in the Andes Mountains of Peru, South America, Machu Picchu is approximately 2,430 metres above sea level. Approximately 600 years old, Machu Picchu was constructed in the 1450s by the Inca ruler Pachacuti in the middle of the 15th century.

Impressive buildings, including temples, terraces, and residential spaces, are spread across an area of approximately 3,000m2 at the archaeological site. It’s well known for its technical and architectural wonders, which highlight the highly developed abilities of the Inca civilisation. It functioned as a centre for astronomy, politics, and religion.

5. Colosseum (Italy)

The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is situated in the centre of Rome, Italy, east of the Roman Forum and near Palatine Hill. It was constructed under the Flavian dynasty, beginning in AD 70–72 and ending in AD 80–82, for a total age of nearly 1,900 years.

It is a massive building that rises to a height of approximately 48 metres. Its circular arena is 189 metres long and 156 metres broad. It could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 people. It was used as a location for a variety of public events, such as animal hunts, gladiatorial contests, simulated naval combat, and executions. It is evidence of Roman engineering and architectural brilliance and has come to represent the magnificence and strength of ancient Rome.

6. Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

Rio is situated on the Atlantic coast in southeast Brazil. It was founded on March 1, 1565, by the Portuguese, and it has a rich history that spans more than 450 years. Before 1960, when Brasília took over as the nation’s capital, it was the capital of Brazil.

With a population of more than six million, the city is the second most populous city in Brazil, after São Paulo. The total area of the city is about 1,260km2. It is well-known around the world for hosting one of the biggest and most well-known festivals of the year, Carnival. It is home to famous monuments including Sugarloaf Mountain, Copacabana Beach, and the Christ the Redeemer statue.

7. Pyramid of Giza (Egypt)

The Great Pyramid of Giza is situated on the Giza Plateau, near Cairo, Egypt. It was built between 2580 and 2560 BCE, during the reign of Pharaoh Khufu in the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, making it more than 4,500 years old. The pyramid is presently about 138.8 metres tall, down from its original height of 146.6 metres when the outer casing stones were lost.

Each of the base sides is roughly 230.4 metres in length. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid, is a testament to advanced engineering and architectural design and scholars remain puzzled by its exact alignment with the cardinal points and the mathematical perfection of its construction.

8. Angkor Wat (Cambodia)

Angkor Wat is the world’s largest religious monument that is close to the city of Siem Reap in north Cambodia. It is approximately 900 years old, having been constructed in the 12th century, during the reign of King Suryavarman II. Its total size is about 402 acres, with the height of the main temple being 65 metres.

Dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, Angkor Wat is a hallmark of Khmer architecture. Later on, it became a Buddhist temple. The temple complex is recognised for its elaborate carvings, substantial bas-reliefs, and breathtaking architecture.

9. Acropolis (Greece)

In the centre of the Greek city of Athens, the Acropolis stands atop a rocky plateau. The Parthenon, which is nearly 2,400 years old, was completed by 438 BCE, although construction on the majority of famous temples started in the 5th century BCE.

Approximately 7.4 acres in size, the Acropolis is dominated by several historic buildings and structures, such as the Propylaea, Erechtheion, and Temple of Athena Nike. As a representation of classical Greek civilisation, it has great historical and cultural significance.

10. Stonehenge (UK)

Stonehenge is situated on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England. It is about 4,000 years old and is believed to have been built in several periods between 3000 and 2000 BCE. The famous stone circle is made up of massive standing stones, some of which are up to 9.144 metres tall and 25,000kgs in weight.

The diameter of the outer circle is roughly 30.48 metres. Though the exact purpose of Stonehenge is still subject to debate, most people believe that it is an astronomical and ceremonial place that may be connected to the solstices.

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