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The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, better known as UNESCO, created the World Heritage list in order to protect our past. The USA has 22 amazing sites on the list ranging from archaeological gems built by ancestral cultures to beautiful landscapes created by nature. We’ve put together a list of some of the stunning sites found throughout the country.
Named a Heritage Site in 1987, Chaco Culture National Historic Park is a cultural treasure found in northwestern New Mexico, where the ancestral Pueblo culture flourished. Located in the Chaco Canyon, the area, between A.D. 850 and 1250, was a major hub for ceremonial celebrations, trade, and political activity and featured many monumental buildings known as ‘Great Houses’ — composed of several stories — which were all connected by roads. Because no building plans exist, the stone buildings’ remains are not restored but rather preserved, to try to prevent further deterioration. The area can be explored via self-guided tours, ranger-led walks, and back country trails, which offers more adventures and glimpses into the lives of this ancient culture.
Due to its beautiful architectural and cultural significance, Monticello and the University of Virginia received the honor of being named a World Heritage Site in 1987. Monticello — the only house of a U.S. president on the list — was the private plantation home of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson designed this neo-classical masterpiece, which also features breathtaking landscape, along with the University of Virginia Academic Village. Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, Monticello is open to the public, where visitors will find numerous rooms adorned with artworks, including paintings, engravings, and Wedgwood china to name a few, along with period furniture. The surrounding area is perfect for a leisurely stroll.
A gorgeous area situated along the coast of Northern California, Redwood National and State Parks is a natural treasure featuring some of the tallest and oldest trees on the planet. Known for its majestic forest of redwoods, the park also contains prairies, oak woodlands, river ways, and a stunning coastline spanning approximately 40 miles along with many archaeological sites from pre-historic to historic. The area is also home to amazing wildlife, including sea lions, bald eagles, Roosevelt elk, and so much more, and offers numerous recreational adventures, such as hiking, camping, and kayaking to name a few. Visitors may also take in the World Heritage Site’s (1980) beauty by taking scenic drives.
An iconic symbol of freedom, democracy, and more, the Statue of Liberty, also known as Liberty Enlightening the World, stands tall in the New York City Harbor. A gift from France in 1876, the statue was designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and Gustav Eiffel and has been greeting immigrants looking to start a new life for over 200 years. UNESCO added this beauty to its list in 1984 due to its colossal stature and cultural and symbolic significance. Located on Liberty Island, the statue is open to visitors who can explore the grounds, the pedestal, which also includes the museum and Fort Wood level, and the crown. Tickets for the pedestal or crown require advance reservations.