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Impossible dream: Visit all 1031 World Heritage sites


We've had Gumbo bloggers who visited all 59 US National Parks, and there are surely other dream collections, but it's unlikely anyone will succeed in visiting every UNESCO World Heritage site: there are just too many. And worse, some of them are under threat in war zones.

It was a different story in the beginning, back in 1978, when there were only 12, located in only 7 countries:

  • The Galapagos Islands and Quito (both in Ecuador);
  • Yellowstone National Park and Mesa Verde National Park (both in the US);
  • L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Park and Nahanni National Park (both in Canada);
  • The Simien National Park and the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela (both in Ethiopia);
  • Krakow and the Wieliczka and Bochnia Salt Mines (both in Poland);
  • Île de Gorée in Senegal and
  • Aachen Cathedral in Germany.

Now they are seemingly everywhere, and ironically, none of the original 7 countries is at the top of the list. Champion today is Italy with 51 sites, China with 48, Spain with 44 and France with 41. The UK is number 8, and the U.S. 10.

The Telegraph (UK) has compiled some impressive charts and graphs, as well as maps, to give you a sense of how big it's all become. To see it, click HERE

Photo by DrY/TravelGumbo: Pools and Geysers of Yellowstone (one of the original World Heritage sites) To read more, click HERE 


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I do know that some of the sites are not accessible.  For example, there is a newly formed island of Iceland that is off limits to everyone except scientists, as they study how plant and bird life settle the new piece of land.  It is a UNESCO site.

All UNESCO sites I've visited have been interesting, but there's no question that it's highly political as well.

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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