13 Most Famous World Heritage Sites

Easter Island – Chile

Famous for its surviving 887 Moai statues (enormous stone figures), Easter Island is located in the southeast Pacific, just over 3,500 kilometers to the west of Chile. It’s considered one of the most remote inhabited islands on the planet and it’s believed that its inhabitants arrived there between 700-1100 CE.

The Rapa Nui People were a thriving community for many years, and built the big human figures to honor their ancestors. Overpopulation and the introduction of the Polynesian rat eventually brought the civilization to its demise. It became a World Heritage Site in 1995 and receives around 100,000 visitors every year.

Patricia Hamilton (Larigan) / Getty Images

Venice – Italy

Added to the list in 1987, Venice is a group of 118 islands located in the northeast of Italy. These micro-islands are separated by its famous canals and linked by roughly 400 bridges. The World Heritage Site also comprises of the Venetian Lagoon, the shallow surrounding bay covering an area of 550 square kilometers.

During the Middle Ages, the city became a great maritime and financial power, and was also the birthplace of Renaissance artistic movement. However, there have been concerns about its integrity due to the frequent phenomenon of “high water,” where the water levels rise damaging the landscape and cultural treasures.

Alexander Haase / EyeEm / Getty Images

Angkor Wat – Cambodia

Stretching over an area of 400 square kilometers, Angkor Wat is one of Southeast Asia’s most important archaeological sites and consists of temples, structures, and communication routes. It was built in the first half of the 12th century and it’s the largest religious monument in the world.

It was originally built by the Khmer Empire as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu, but eventually became a center of worship to Buddhism. Angkor Wat was designated a World Heritage Site in 1992 and receives over two million visitors every year.

Pakawat Thongcharoen / Getty Images

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