Threatened by the elements and damage from thousands of tourists, some of the world’s most stunning sites could be damaged beyond repair or destroyed forever.
Many of these incredible buildings and areas of natural beauty are under UNESCO protection, with the most endangered featured on the World Heritage in Danger list.
There are 48 locations that UNESCO is particularly concerned about, including the picturesque archaeological site of Chan Chan in Peru, which is at risk from natural erosion, the Great Barrier Reef and Florida’s Everglades National Park. A careful eye is also being kept on the the picturesque archaeological site of Chan Chan in Peru, the historical Monuments of Mtskheta in Georgia, and the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem. The main threat to these is ‘serious deterioration of the stonework and frescoes’, say experts.
Here are 18 places you should visit now… before it’s too late.
There are many reasons that the stunning rose-coloured Petra in Jordan could soon look a lot different in a few years time. These include weather erosion, from wind and rain attacking the rocky surface, and also from tourists touching the iconic Al Khazneh temple surface
The unique Melnikov House in Moscow may stand out among other buildings due to its unusual cylindrical design, but it might not stand at all for much longer
The building, currently inhabited by the house designer’s granddaughter, is facing threat of collapse due to excavation that has started for an underground car park nearby. Apparently cracks are sadly already visible on the white building
Threatened by a major earthquake in 2003, Iran’s ancient citadel of Bam has been in a worrying state over the years. Thankfully it has now been taken off Unesco’s ‘World Heritage in Danger’ list but it is feared the citadel will never be restored to its former glory
It may be the largest palace in the world, but the Unesco protected Royal Palace of Caserta in Italy is in desperate need of repairs. Part of the roof fell in last year and it requires renovations
It may be home to the longest stretch of coral reef in the world, as well as featuring more than 1,500 species of fish and more than 175 species of birds, according to Unesco. However, earlier this year a survey of the reef found damaged coral and that many of its animal species, including large green turtles, are threatened. Scientists say the reef could be extinct by 2050
Originally created in the 17th century to guard the city, Vauban’s Fortifications in Briançon, France, have been given Unesco world heritage status, but they need further attention to protect them from decay
The fascinating cave paintings in Altamira, Spain, were discovered in the 1880s and quickly became a huge tourist attraction. However the cave system, containing ice-age paintings of bison, bulls and other animals, was shut due to carbon dioxide in tourists’ breath starting to damage the paintings. Limited openings have been conducted over the years since and last year saw five visitors selected at random to visit the cave, instead of the nearby replicas. This is the first time members of the public were allowed inside the cave in 12 years
While it may not be that well known, Little Green Street in Kentish Town in London is one of the only intact Georgian streets left in the city. The cobbled road is at risk of being destroyed by developers. They want to construct on the land behind, which has caused fears that the trucks will destroy the tiny street that survived the bombing of World War II. A group including artists, writers, actors and musicians are campaigning for the road to be preserved
It may be one of the Seven World Wonders but nearly a third of the Great Wall of China has completely disappeared, according to a report this year. Natural erosion, human destruction and a lack of protection means that a total of 1,220 miles of the wall, which dates back more than 2000 years, has vanished
You may recognise this angular formation from Instagram as the Australian landscape popular with posing tourists. But this could soon change as earlier this year Wedding Cake Rock near Bundeena in New South Wales was shut for investigations into its safety. The rock was found to be precariously balancing on the edge of the cliff and severely undercut, meaning it’s in danger of crumbling into the sea in the near future
The stunning Everglades National Park in Florida suffered huge damage during Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and deterioration of water flow and quality due to agricultural and urban development. Continued degradation of the site has seen it placed on the World Heritage in Danger list due to the loss of marine habitat and decline in marine species
Listed as one of the World Heritage In Danger sites, the picturesque archaeological site of Chan Chan in Peru is at risk from natural erosion
Distinctive gasometers have become the norm during the 200 years the UK has been using gas. These gas holders were first used to store coal gas and later natural gas for urban areas, but since the 1960s, nearly all have become obsolete, with many dismantled
The Birthplace of Jesus in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (Palestine) was also placed on the list of World Heritage in Danger as it is suffering from damages due to water leaks. The main church’s roof structure is also said to be highly vulnerable from lack of maintenance and repair
East Rennell in the Soloman Islands is the largest raised coral atoll in the world (pictured) and was listed as an endangered world heritage site by Unesco in 2013 due to the threat of ongoing logging
The Historical Monuments of Mtskheta also recently made the Unesco World Heritage in Danger list with ‘serious deterioration of the stonework and frescoes’ cited as the main threat
The General Cemetery of Santiago occupies 210 acres north of the city, and contains more than two million tombs of Chilean presidents, politicians, artists, and athletes. However the resting place has been subject to substantial damages caused by the 2010 earthquake. Most of the damaged structures have not been stabilised or repaired. As a result it has been included on the 2016 World Monuments Watch list
Abu Mena is one of the most important early Christian holy sites in the world as it’s built over the tomb of the Christian martyr, Menas of Alexandria. However, agricultural development in the desert region has caused a rise in the surrounding water table, which has led to the clay foundations becoming unstable
Happy travelling people 😀