The 100 Most Beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites

UNESCO's list of world heritage sites encompasses both natural and man-made wonders from every region of the globe.
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The 100 Most Beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites Getty

What do the Galapagos Islands, Yellowstone National Park and Ethiopia's Rock-Hewn Churches have in common? These stunning locales were among first 12 sites to be declared UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1978.

Since then, UNESCO has added over 1,000 natural and manmade destinations it deemed worthy of protecting. Criteria include sites that "represent a masterpiece of human creative genius" and "areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance." The list keeps growing—the latest places added include the Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains in South Africa and Fanjingshan in China.

In recent years, terrorism and environmental issues have threatened a number of heritage sites, leading to some inventive solutions to preserve and restore them.

Below, view the 100 most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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1. Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia "One of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Stretching over some 150 square miles, including forested areas, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century." Getty Images