UNESCO World Heritage Sites


Holger the Dane Statue at Kronborg Castle at Helsingor, Denmark

Holger the Dane at Kronborg Castle

HELSINGØR, Denmark — One of the most famous attractions at Kronborg Castle, Holger the Dane sits sleeping in the tunnels below the castle. Legend has it he will awaken when his country needs him.

Chapel at Kronborg Castle at Helsingor, Denmark

Kronborg Castle’s Chapel

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The Chapel at Kronborg Castle isn’t especially large, and it’s not ornate by the standards of other European churches, but it has its charms.

tapestries at Kronborg Castle at Helsingor, Denmark

Kronborg Castle’s Royal Apartments

HELSINGØR, Denmark — The Royal Apartments at the 16th-century Kronborg Castle are where King Frederick II and his young queen, Sophie, lived and worked.

Moat at Kronborg Castle at Helsingor, Denmark

Kronborg Castle / Hamlet’s Castle

HELSINGØR, Denmark — Known as Hamlet’s Castle because Shakespeare’s play was set there, Kronborg Castle is a 16th-century castle on a strategic peninsula on the Sound, just north of Copenhagen.

Templo de la Ensenanza Main Altar and Nave

Templo de la Enseñanza

MEXICO CITY, Mexico — It might be small, but the Templo de la Enseñanza packs in an incredibly ornate Mexican Baroque interior.

Gran Hotel Cuidad de Mexico Atrium

Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico

MEXICO CITY, Mexico – The Gran Hotel Cuidad de Mexico is an Art Nouveau gem in the heart of Mexico City’s historic district. It sits right on the Zocalo.

Buddha Shrine at Myazedi Pagoda, Myinkaba Village, Myanmar (Burma)

Myazedi Stupa

BAGAN, Myanmar (Burma) – Myazedi Stupa, which translates as “emerald stupa,” has an ancient stone tablet that includes the earliest known example of written Burmese language.

Buddha Statue at Naga Yon Hpaya Temple, Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)

Nagayon Temple

BAGAN, Myanmar (Burma) – Dating to around the end of the 11th century, Nagayon Temple lies just south of Myinkaba Village. Its dark interior hides some impressive frescoes and interesting design features.

Buddha Statue in Manuha Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)

Manuha Temple

BAGAN, Myanmar (Burma) – With several oversized statues of The Buddha crammed into spaces barely big enough to hold them, Manuha Temple is one of the easiest temples in Bagan to visit. It’s also one of the oddest.

Dragon and Elephant Statue at Abeyadana Temple in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)

Apeyadana Temple

BAGAN, Myanmar (Burma) – Apeyadana Temple is dedicated to an 11th-century chief queen consort of King Kyansittha of the Pagan Dynasty of Burma (Myanmar) and maternal grandmother of King Sithu I of Pagan.

Silhouette of Thatbyinnyu Temple in Bagan, Myanmar

Thatbyinnyu Temple

BAGAN, Myanmar (Burma) – Thatbyinnyu Temple is the tallest of Bagan’s temples and occupies a prominent place near Old Bagan and the famous Ananda Temple.

Taungbi Village Pagoda, Old Bagan Myanmar (Burma)

Taungbi Village Pagoda

BAGAN, Myanmar (Burma) – This small but ornate pagoda lies deep in Taungbi Village, just to the northeast of Old Bagan and not far from the much better known Htilominlo Temple.

Pagodas of Bagan, Myanmar

Dhammayazika Pagoda

BAGAN, Myanmar (Burma) – Its gleaming gold stupa certainly stands out against the surrounding countryside. Completed in 1198, it features an unusual 5-sided design.

Lemyethna Pagoda in the Bagan Archaeological Zone

Lemyethna Pagoda

BAGAN, Myanmar (Burma) – Dating back to the early 13th century and featuring impressive frescoes, Lemyethna Pagoda is located in the eastern part of the Bagan Archaeological Zone.

Renovated Stucco at Tayok Pye Temple, Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)

Tayok Pye Temple

BAGAN, Myanmar (Burma) – Tayok Pye Temple is in the eastern part of the Bagan Plain of the Bagan Archeological Zone. It’s notable for its ornate stucco decoration and impressive frescoes.

Shwezigon Pagoda at Nyaung-U, Myanmar, Burma

The Golden Shwezigon Pagoda in Nyaung-U

NYAUNG-U, Myanmar (Burma) – The impressive gold stupa is reputed to encase a bone and tooth of The Buddha. It sits in the heart of Nyaung-U, a vibrant and buzzing town near the Bagan Archeological Zone.

Streets of Historic Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama

Panama City’s Casco Viejo

PANAMA CITY, Panama — Casco Viejo is up-and-coming part of Panama City. Which might sound like an odd thing to say about some of the oldest parts of the oldest city on the Pacific coast of the Americas.

Coats-of-Arms Room (Sala dos Brascoes) at the Palace of Sintra, Sintra Portugal

Palace of Sintra

SINTRA, Portugal — The Palace of Sintra sits in the heart of the old town section of Sintra. From 1385 through 1880 it was a royal residence and summer escape.

Luang’s Prabang’s That Chomsi

LUANG PRABANG, Laos — That Chomsi is at the top of a hill overlooking the old section of UNESCO World Heritage Site Luang Prabang, offering wonderful views out over the town, nearby wats, Mekong, and the region.

Stained Glass Windows of Greek Goddesses at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City

Chapultepec Castle (Mexico’s National Museum of History)

MEXICO CITY, Mexico — Sitting high above one of Mexico City’s best green spaces is Chapultepec Castle. It sits on top of a hill that has been a sacred place for Aztecs and housed a military academy, imperial residence, and presidential home. Now, it’s a museum.

Ananda Temple, Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)

Ananda Temple

BAGAN, Myanmar (Burma) – Ananda Temple is one of the most famous, most visited, and most renovated temples in Bagan, and it has been an active place of worship for nearly a millennia.

Sacristy in Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral

MEXICO CITY, Mexico — Dominating the northern side of the Zocalo in the historic quarter of Mexico City, the Metropolitan Cathedral is the largest Roman Catholic Cathedral in the Americas.

View from the Terraces of Thisa-wadi Temple, Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)

Thisa-wadi Temple

BAGAN, Myanmar (Burma) – Dating to 1334, Thisa-wadi Temple isn’t the grandest of the thousands of temples, stupas, and pagodas in Bagan, but it is one of a handful where it’s possible (and allowed) to climb on the upper terraces for wonderful views out over the plain of Bagan.

Gold Statue of Gautama Buddha in Htilominlo Temple in Nyaung-U, Myanmar (Burma)

Htilominlo Temple

BAGAN, Myanmar (Burma) — Htilominlo Temple is a large, two-story, 12th-century temple in the northern part of the Bagan plain best known for its ornate stucco decoration.

Myinkaba Village Market near Bagan

Myinkaba Village’s Morning Market

MYINKABA VILLAGE, Myanmar (Burma) – Tucked away in a narrow dirt side street of Myinkaba Village is the morning market, a little slice of local life.

Reclining Buddha at Dhammayan Gyi Phaya Temple

Dhammayangyi Temple

BAGAN, Myanmar (Burma) – Dating back to the 12th century, Dhammayangyi Temple is the largest temple in Bagan. Just mind the bats!

Bagan Nyaung Airport

Nyaung-U Airport

NYAUNG-U, Myanmar (Burma) – If you’re flying to Bagan, this is the airport you’ll fly into. As small as it is, it’s the airport that serves as the gateway to the Bagan region.

Pictorial Guide to Pagan (1963)

Pictorial Guide to Pagan (Bagan)

BAGAN, Myanmar (Burma) — This guide was produced by the Burmese Ministry of Union Culture in 1963 and contains fascinating historical photographs as well as useful, unique information on the pagodas and temples of Bagan.

Iglesia de San Bernardo, Mexico City, Mexico

Templo de San Bernardo

MEXICO CITY, Mexico — Dedicated to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, Templo de San Bernardo dates to 1680 and was once part of a larger convent complex. Now only the church remains.

Mary and Child Statue at Iglesia de Santa Ines, Mexico City, Mexico

Iglesia de Santa Ines

MEXICO CITY, Mexico — It’s not the most lavish of the many churches in Mexico City’s Centro Historico district, but this church dedicated to Saint Agnes of Rome is one of the more tastefully decorated.

Statue Preservation at Iglesia de la Santisima Trinidad in Mexico City, Mexico

Iglesia de la Santisima Trinidad

MEXICO CITY, Mexico — While it’s not as opulent as some of the other churches nearby, Iglesia de la Santisima Trinidad has a charm of its own as a quiet sanctuary from the bustle in the busy streets around it.

Iglesia San Francisco de Asis Casco Viejo Panama

Iglesia San Francisco de Asis

PANAMA CITY, Panama — The bell tower of Iglesia San Francisco de Asis stands tall above the rest of Casco Viejo, on the waterfront of the historic heart of Panama City, Panama.

Iglesia San Jose Casco Viejo Panama City Panama

Iglesia San Jose

PANAMA CITY, Panama — Iglesia San Jose, in Casco Viejo and dating to 1673, is most famous for its massive Golden Altar (Altar de Oro) that survived pirate raids in 1671.

La Iglesia de la Merced Casco Viejo Panama City Statue of María de Cervello

La Iglesia de la Merced

PANAMA CITY, Panama — Dating back to 1680, La Iglesia de la Merced sits in the heart of Casco Viejo, just a couple of blocks from Independence Square.

Arco Chato at Iglesia Santo Domingo in Casco Viejo

Iglesia Santo Domingo and the Arco Chato

PANAMA CITY, Panama – The Iglesia Santo Domingo in Casco Viejo is mostly crumbling ruins but is best known for its Flat Arch spanning the interior that stood without supports for centuries.

Blue Mosque Prayer Hall in Istanbul

The Blue Mosque

ISTANBUL, Turkey — There are good reasons why the Blue Mosque is one of Istanbul’s prime attractions and one of the world’s iconic religious buildings.

Tomb of Sultan Selim II at Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

The Tombs of the Sultans at Hagia Sophia

ISTANBUL, Turkey – The Tombs of the Sultans at Hagia Sophia show that the Ottomans were as serious about their art and decoration in death as they were in life.

Tourists at the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul’s Ancient Basilica Cistern

ISTANBUL, Turkey — This isn’t just any old water tank. Buried under the streets next to Hagia Sophia might well be the most impressive water tank you’ll ever see.

Conwy Castle (Conway Castle) in Wales

Conwy Castle

CONWY, Wales — The medieval castle at Conwy is imposing and impressive–as it was meant to be. But its key virtue was location.

Caernarfon Castle Cannons

Caernarfon Castle

CAERNARFON, Wales — All of the surviving castles that King Edward I had built in the late-13th century are impressive. But Caernarfon Castle was designed to be something special.

Bruges Canals at Dusk

Bruges by Night

BRUGES, Belgium — The docks and canals of Bruges once bustled at night. Now it’s still. And beautiful.

Belfry of Bruges, Belgium

The Belfry of Bruges

BRUGES, Belgium — The Belfry of Bruges is the most famous landmarks is this charming medieval city. But it hasn’t all been peeling bells and glorious views in its nearly 800-year history.

Phonsavan Morning Market Cooked Food

Phonsavan’s Morning Market

PHONSAVAN, Laos — At Phonsavan’s morning market you can sit for a tasty bowl of freshly made steaming pho for breakfast or buy some local fruit. You can find much that looks familiar, and quite a lot that doesn’t.

Luang Prabang’s Morning Market

LUANG PRABANG, Laos — Southeast Asia’s morning markets are much more interesting than the night markets. Luang Prabang’s morning market is no exception.

Aya Sofya interior with tourists

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul’s Byzantine Jewel

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Hagia Sophia is old. Very old. The building that currently stands on the first of Istanbul’s famous seven hills dates back almost 1,500 years and has had a remarkable and colorful history. It’s also a beautiful place to visit.

Luang Prabang Haw Pha Bang Royal Palace Museum Naga

A New Home for Phra Bang

LUANG PRABANG, Laos — From its fearsome gold naga guarding the main stairs, its incredibly lavish gold and red interior, and multi-tiered roof, the Haw Pha Bang at Luang Prabang’s Royal Palace looks ancient. But it’s not.

Ngorongoro Crater Long-Crested Eagle  Feeding

Ngorongoro Crater

NGORONGORO CRATER, Tanzania — Ngorongoro Crater has an unusually dense population of African wildlife and is one of the top stops in Tanzania’s northern safari route.

Tikal Mayan Ruins and Morning Mist

The Mighty Maya City of Tikal

TIKA, Guatemala —Tikal, in northern Guatemala, was once one the largest and most powerful of the Maya cities. Today it has been most taken over by jungle.

Harlech Castle Panorama at Dusk.

Harlech Castle

HARLECH CASTLE, Wales — Harlech Castle has stood for 700 years so far. And there’s every chance it’ll stand guard of this corner of the Welsh coast for at least another 700.

Children playing in Antigua, Guatemala

The Town that Defied God and the Government

ANTIGUA, Guatemala — If God and the government had their way, Antigua wouldn’t exist. But it’s a good thing it does. With charming Spanish colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and a vibrant cultural life, it’s a wonderful place to visit.

Mosque against the setting sun in Istanbul

Istanbul’s Beautiful Mosques

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Istanbul’s mosques dominate the city’s skyline, and their understated and elegant interiors can be stunningly beautiful. Here are some examples from some of Istanbul’s most famous mosques.

Aerial view of Lady Elliot Island

Up Close and Personal with the Great Barrier Reef

LADY ELLIOT ISLAND, Australia — Ever fancied a pre-breakfast swim with turtles and manta rays? If you’ve ever had a hankering to get up close and personal with Australia’s extraordinary Great Barrier Reef, there aren’t many better ways than a trip to Lady Elliot Island Resort.

El Castillo at Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza’s Maya Ruins

CHICHEN ITZA, Mexico – Chichen Itza is one of the most famous, most impressive, and most visited of the Mayan ruins sites on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.