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Posts Tagged ‘UNESCO World Heritage Sites’

Get a Chinese Visa to Visit the Tombs of Emperors

January 16th, 2011
This week's featured UNESCO World Heritage Site is the final resting place for some of China's most powerful emperors in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. These dynasties, which together lasted from 1368 to 1912, were China's last two imperial dynasties. After the Qing Dynasty fell in 1912, it was succeeded by the Republic of China. The tombs themselves, which are laid out according to ancient Chinese principles of fengshui, are impressive and richly decorated with carvings and statues. They are designed to look like imperial palaces, providing suitable housing for the spirits of emperors, empresses, and other members of the royal family. UNESCO says that "The Ming and Qing imperial tombs are outstanding testimony to a cultural and architectural tradition that for over 500 years dominated


Kazakhstan Visa Requirements to Visit Saryarka

January 9th, 2011
This week's UNESCO World Heritage Site is rarely visited, but richly rewarding for adventure travelers and nature lovers. Located in Kazakhstan, the Saryarka World Heritage Site consists of two separate regions: the Naurzum State Nature Reserve and Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve. The reserves encompass two very different environments: the grassy, windswept grasslands of the Kazakh steppe and wetlands surrounding both fresh and saltwater lakes. UNESCO notes that these wetlands are "of outstanding importance for migratory water birds, including globally threatened species, among them the extremely rare Siberian white crane, the Dalmatian pelican, Pallas’s fish eagle, to name but a few." The United Nations' World Conservation Monitoring Center notes that since the reserves are so isola


Mali Visa Requirements to Visit the Cliff of Bandiagara

January 2nd, 2011
This week's featured UNESCO World Heritage Site is a stunning, enormous escarpment in Mali. The Cliff of Bandiagara is the sanctuary of the Dogon tribe. Visiting this region, you can see their unique earth buildings and learn about their culture firsthand. The UNESCO website explains: "The Bandiagara site is an outstanding landscape of cliffs and sandy plateaux with some beautiful architecture (houses, granaries, altars, sanctuaries and Togu Na, or communal meeting-places). Several age-old social traditions live on in the region (masks, feasts, rituals, and ceremonies involving ancestor worship)." The Dogon people have an interesting history and many secretive traditions that are not supposed to be shared with outsiders. One of the problems with tourism, though, is that it can cheapen


Indian Visa Requirements to Visit the Elephanta Caves

November 20th, 2010
About an hour off the coast of the city of Mumbai, a small island in the sea if Oman is home to a series of stunning temple-caves. Nobody is quite sure who carved the Elephanta Caves of Elephanta Island, other than the fact that they worshiped the Hindu god Shiva. In fact, according to Wikipedia the local legend is that the caves "are not man-made," but rather were carved by heroes from Hindu epics or perhaps by a powerful demon who was devoted to Shiva. More down-to-earth theories credit the kingdom of the Konkan Mauryas or the Kalacuris. Whoever built them, the caves themselves are amazing. Surrounded by lush, tropical foliage, the caves form a cool, dark, retreat. Inside, intricate carvings and statues loom in the shadows. Unfortunately, many of them were damaged when the Portugue


Brazilian Visa Requirements to Visit the Discovery Coast Atlantic Forest Reserves

November 14th, 2010
Brazil is an amazing country. There are so many unique places to visit, it's almost impossible to narrow it down to a specific destination. This week, we're taking another look at Brazil as part of our UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Week series. This week's featured World Heritage Site is the Discovery Coast Atlantic Forest Reserves. The Atlantic Forest was once an enormous forest that blanketed the entire Atlantic coast of Brazil, extending inland even into Paraguay. However, it has been extensively logged and burned to provide land for agricultural use such as sugar cane farming. Now, the once-great forest has shrunk to just a few pockets, providing shelter to primate species like the marmoset , the lion tamarin and the woolly spider monkey. Other residents include the maned sloth


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