I hear ‘UNESCO’ so often that I forget what it stands for. So for those of you out there who have the same problem, it stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. Need further ammo for your next cocktail party? Here you go: UNESCO ‘works to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values.’ You can thank us later.
Apart from providing us with really civilised topics of conversation with which to impress our friends and colleagues, the committee makes a lovely list of interesting, culturally significant places around the world that deserve protection. Right now there are 936 of them, and here are two destinations that we’re pleased to see included in the recent additions to the UNESCO World Heritage List:
Wadi Rum Protected Area
We’ve been visiting Wadi Rum in Jordan for years. A vast, silent landscape of ancient riverbeds, pastel-coloured stretches of sandy desert and rocky jebels which rise from the desert floor, Wadi Rum is definitely one of our favourite places. Situated in the south of Jordan, Wadi Rum possesses unspoilt beauty forged by millions of years of geological formation, erosion and evolution. Furthermore, archaeological remains in Wadi Rum show us that humans have been living here and interacting with the natural environment for the last 12,000 years. The region is home to semi-nomadic Bedouin, who tend their herds of sheep and goat and preserve a lifestyle that has been practised here in the Arabian desert for centuries. If anyone deserves support in this, they do!
West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou
Probably one of the most beautiful regions in all of China, the Hangzhou region has been an inspiration to artists and travellers for many centuries. The capital of the Southern Song Dynasty from 1138 and 1279, the city of Hangzhou remained an important port into the 16th and 17th centuries, when the harbour silted up. Marco Polo visited here in the late 13th century and called the city ‘beyond dispute the finest and noblest in the world.’ Comprising the West Lake, with hills on its three sides and a number of temples, gardens, pagodas and pavilions, it embodies a cultural tradition that spread through the Far East of harmony between human settlement and natural surroundings.
The world is dotted with UNESCO sites, and we travel to many of them, including the Rock Sites of Cappadocia, Lake Baikal, St. Petersburg, The Kremlin and Red Square, the Taj Mahal, Abu Simbel, the Great Wall of China and countless others. For more information on tours that travel to these sites and others visit the On the Go Tours home page.