The Earth is about to be destroyed by the imminent impact of a meteorite. Sorry, Bruce Willis already died while saving the planet last time that a meteorite threatened the world. But humanity has an incredible device, able to pack massive chunks of land and to place them safely into galactic arks, even more enormous.
What places on the Earth would you save for your children? To help humankind sort this dilemma out before they become cosmic homeless, here is the UNESCO World Heritage List.
They are no more and no less than 936 properties inscribed so far in this bulky catalogue. These monuments and natural areas are playing in the premier league of recognised modern wonders, top tourist destinations and sites to be preserved in the interest of the international community.
Recently 25 new sites joined UNESCO’s World Heritage list, after passing the tests and conditions imposed by this organization. Please find them below compiled in a well-chosen selection of images.
Update: You can also review the places that achieved the UNESCO recognition in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
1- The Causses and the Cévennes, Mediterranean Agro-pastoral Cultural Landscape (France). Oh la la, how much outstanding beauty has France to offer!
Image by Petrovsk
2- Ogasawara Islands (Japan), also known as Bonin Islands or the 'Galapagos of the Orient'. They are remote and wild, at about 1,000 kilometres south of Tokyo.
Image by Ippei + Janine
3- Ningaloo Coast (Australia), is a much less famous Great Barrier Reef, located at the weastern side of the country.
Image by Fotouitaussie
4- Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley (Kenya). Geysers and pink flamingos together!
Image by Rainbirder
5- Wadi Rum Protected Area (Jordan) is the perfect location for a desert road movie. Or for my next expedition. You can read a full post about Wadi Rum here.
Image by Loops San
6- Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison (Barbados). British colonial architecture in the Caribbean.
Image by ComSec
7- West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou (China). Picturesque since the 9th century.
Image by Ganso.org
8- Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia. More than meets the eye.
Image by Stevemonty
9- The Persian Garden (Iran). Another good reason to visit this awesome land.
Image by Dynamosquito
10- Konso Cultural Landscape (Ethiopia). Endangered ancient African way of life.
Image by Basilios
11- Fagus Factory in Alfeld (Germany). Foreshadowing the Bauhaus school (and some of the 20th century architectural horrors?). Image by Mike Reiss
12- Longobards in Italy. Places of the power, 568-774 A.D. A collection of relics from the Early Middle Ages.
Image by Georges Jansoone
13- Hiraizumi - Temples, Gardens and Archaeological Sites Representing The Buddhist Pure Land (Japan). Spaces reproducing the Buddhist ideal on Earth.
Image by Noshadows
14- Fort Jesus, Mombasa (Kenya), is a well preserved colonial fortress from the Renaissance.
Image by Rthakrar
15- Petroglyphs Complexes of the Mongolian Altai (Mongolia). They are testifying that an arid desert was once a living forest. Image by Johannes Lundberg
16- León Cathedral (Nicaragua). Keep the faith.
Image by Javier Losa
17- Saloum Delta (Senegal) is a huge biosphere reserve in West Africa.
Image by Ghjiseppu
18- Cultural Landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana (Spain). Where sea and mountain meet in a spectacular Mediterranean way, in the island of Majorca. Image by Sergei Gussev
19- Archaeological Sites of the Island of Meroe (Sudan), surrounded by an ocean of sand.
Image by Zagordemores
20- Prehistoric Pile dwellings around the Alps (Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia). The Eurovision Stone Contest. Image by Manu&Andrea
21- Ancient Villages of Northern Syria. A romantic paradise for the photographer.
Image by Hovic
22- Selimiye Mosque Complex at Edirne (Turkey). A harmonic masterpiece of Ottoman architecture.
Image by CharlesFred
23- Cultural Sites of Al Ain (Hafit, Hili, Bidaa Bint Saud and Oases Areas) (United Arab Emirates). Beau Geste.
Image by Felibrilu
24- The Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans (Ukraine) is today one of the most impressive university buildings in the world. Image by Highboom
25- Citadel of the Ho Dynasty (Vietnam). Not the most photogenic place on Earth. Only the foundations and some external walls and doors still stand, but we'll always have Vietnamese to brighten your day. Image by Salex7a
Also there is available the much less exhaustive book Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World's Most Amazing Places. This high quality work from National Geographic has superlative reviews and it can be the perfect saviour when you don't know what to give as a present :)