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The Traveller's Magazine
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UNESCO’s World Heritage sites are recognized around the world as important and significant places to visit, whether natural or cultural. For some they’re at the top of their must-see list. It’s no wonder travellers on Twitter had a lot to say about them during #TTOT this week.There’s no doubt that World Heritage listing puts a site or place into a whole other league of tourist attractions. You can find these recognized sites all over the world, some even underwater in the world’s great oceans while others are as famous as the Coliseum. Tuesday’s #TTOT session asked travellers about their favourite WHS to visit, how the WHS listing could potentially harm a site and which places didn’t deserve the title. Their answers? After the jump!

Best of the best

With hundreds of sites all over the world, you’d have to be one very comprehensive and seasoned backpacker to have seen them all, or at least the majority of them. Turkey has a mere 10, but make a great trip to see them all! On the other side of the scale, Italy has a whopping 47, with Spain close behind with 43. Each year UNESCO adds new sites to the list, here are 5 new World Heritage Sites you have to see! But which ones are the best?

Q1 via @economy_carhire: Suggest your top 3 Unmissable World Heritage Sites.

@inediazg: Difficult to select only 3, but here you go: Machu Picchu, Great Barrier Reef, Old city of Jerusalem.

@landlopers: Petra (obviously) UVA/Monticello (biased) and Angkor Wat (looks neat).

@kitwhelan: Oh and the whole town of Split, #Croatia is just amazing. The palace of Diocletian still exists all around you.

@Roopunzel: MUST visit all the site in Africa one of these days, not yet @beentoAfrica but feel lots of Heritage sites there.

@connvoyage: Macchu Picchu in Peru, Karnak in Egypt and Hagia Sophia in Istanbul! All historically & culturally significant!

@myekulis: Only 3? Want to see Pompeii, Kyoto was awesome and it would appear the docklands of Liverpool are on the list, so of course that!

@MiddleSeatView: I think I’m going to go on a “Historic Center of ____” tour of Italy – lots of great places on there.

Conserving sites for the future

Angkor Wat tourists

When a site gets worldwide recognition, it’s bound to attract attention from tourists and visitors from every corner of the world. They flock to see what the hype is all about, planning whole holidays around them. Are the pyramids really as grand as the movies make them out to be? Is Machu Picchu really as cool as other traveller’s say it is? Fame and popularity comes at a cost however…

Q3 via @hjortur: Do you think any destination has been spoiled by becoming a World Heritage Site? Why?

@LifeOutofaSuitc: The Taj Mahal – too many people & most dont even understand its purpose/meaning.

@cougjosh: Most of the places we deem “spoiled” are due to tourists, yet we ALL want to visit these places?

@traveldudes: The entry gates of Angkor Wat are a bit spoilt… All the people trying to sell you stuff with force. 🙁

@TheTravProject: One thing to consder is would heritage list protect sites from nasty development, example mining. Tourism or Mining – pick a lesser evil really.

@melissaingeneva: I think beautiful Riga has been spoilt by (mainly British) stag nights.

@travel_thoughts: Preservation consistently warrants debate of its definition- to use but not to ruin would be a useful policy. But how to enforce?

@kymri: WHS status does not ruin a site – it’s meant to preserve it. It’s stupid people who ruin the site.

UNESCO made THAT a World Heritage Site?

Sydney Opera House

The list of sites is long and ever-growing. Do you know what’s a WHS and what isn’t? There are some places which might surprise you. There are others which you may think don’t deserve the title. It was pretty unanamous during yesterdays Twitter session that some modern buildings didn’t really merit the UNESCO stamp… like Sydney’s Opera House. Do you agree with what these travellers said?

Q4 via @christinahegele: Is there a World Heritage Site you think doesn’t deserve its status?

@NicoleTravelBug: In my opinion the Statue of Liberty and the Sydney Opera House don’t deserve UNESCO status… sorry!

@MalloryOnTravel: Difficult as anything that protects a wonderful ‘site’ is worthy, not sure about modern ones like Sydney Opera House?

@SaraKateTravel: Some sites can seem pretty small & insignificant in person, as I’ve noticed w some prehistoric stuff, but still priceless treasures.

@BlkChickOnTour: I think a world heritage site should be something “special” or ancient, or something that can’t be duplicated.

@umarket: One thing I’ve learned is never criticize a country’s UNESCO site. No better way to get wrath of locals…

@traveldudes: One of the top answers of the 1st #TTOT session was: the Statue of Liberty!

There you have it, another week and another round-up! Do you agree with the answers here? What would you add to the UNESCO list, have taken off?

Travel Talk on Twitter takes place weekly on Tuesdays at 9:30 GMT and 21:30 GMT. Follow the hashtag #TTOT and join in the conversation! Next week’s topic: Cruise travel

Img: iPhoneLomo.com, tartahart, sheilaellen / Flickr cc.

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