All 72 North American UNESCO World Heritage Sites: From Aztec Temples to Yellowstone

Mesa Verde National Park
All 72 North American UNESCO World Heritage Sites: From Aztec Temples to Yellowstone Getty

From monuments of the ancient Mayan civilization in Mexico to the Statue of Liberty in the New York Harbor, North America enjoys a wealth of attractions designated World Heritage sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Some date back millennia—like Monte Albán, the ruined capital of Zapotec civilization; others are more modern, such as the house and studio of architect Luis Barragán, built in 1948. And some are timeless—geological formations and natural wonders that pre-date humanity—and may well outlast it, too.

"Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage," the UNESCO website explains. "[These] sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located."

Each year, UNESCO's list of sites gets longer—as of July 2017, 1,073 sites were listed across 167 countries. But ongoing conflict, development and climate change means man heritage sites are under threat. This gallery runs through all 72 of North America's World Heritage sites, with information about each. (Spoiler: Mexico boasts the most by far, with 34.)

01 America Yosemite
Yosemite National Park, California, U.S. (1984): "Yosemite National Park lies in the heart of California. With its 'hanging' valleys, many waterfalls, cirque lakes, polished domes, moraines and U-shaped valleys, it provides an excellent overview of all kinds of granite relief fashioned by glaciation. At 2,000 to 13,000 feet, a great variety of flora and fauna can also be found here." (UNESCO). Getty Images
02 America Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, U.S. (1979). "Carved out by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon (nearly 1,500 m deep) is the most spectacular gorge in the world. Located in the state of Arizona, it cuts across the Grand Canyon National Park. Its horizontal strata retrace the geological history of the past two billion years. There are also prehistoric traces of human adaptation to a particularly harsh environment." (UNESCO).Getty Images
05 America Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park, Florida, U.S. (1979): "This site at the southern tip of Florida has been called 'a river of grass flowing imperceptibly from the hinterland into the sea'. The exceptional variety of its water habitats has made it a sanctuary for a large number of birds and reptiles, as well as for threatened species such as the manatee." (UNESCO). Getty Images
06 America Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado, U.S. (1978): "A great concentration of ancestral Pueblo Indian dwellings, built from the 6th to the 12th century, can be found on the Mesa Verde plateau in south-west Colorado at an altitude of more than 2,600 m. Some 4,400 sites have been recorded, including villages built on the Mesa top. There are also imposing cliff dwellings, built of stone and comprising more than 100 rooms." (UNESCO). Getty Images
07 America Redwood National and State Parks
Redwood National and State Parks, California, U.S. (1980): "Redwood National Park comprises a region of coastal mountains bordering the Pacific Ocean north of San Francisco. It is covered with a magnificent forest of coastal redwood trees, the tallest and most impressive trees in the world. The marine and land life are equally remarkable, in particular the sea lions, the bald eagle and the endangered California brown pelican." (UNESCO). Getty Images
07 America Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty, New York, U.S. (1984): "Made in Paris by the French sculptor Bartholdi, in collaboration with Gustave Eiffel (who was responsible for the steel framework), this towering monument to liberty was a gift from France on the centenary of American independence. Inaugurated in 1886, the sculpture stands at the entrance to New York Harbor and has welcomed millions of immigrants to the United States ever since." (UNESCO).Getty Images
08 America Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, U.S. (1978): "The vast natural forest of Yellowstone National Park covers nearly 9,000 km2 ; 96% of the park lies in Wyoming, 3% in Montana and 1% in Idaho. Yellowstone contains half of all the world's known geothermal features, with more than 10,000 examples. It also has the world's largest concentration of geysers (more than 300 geyers, or two thirds of all those on the planet). Established in 1872, Yellowstone is equally known for its wildlife, such as grizzly bears, wolves, bison and wapitis." (UNESCO). Getty Images
09 America Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico (1995): "This karst landscape in the state of New Mexico comprises over 80 recognized caves. They are outstanding not only for their size but also for the profusion, diversity and beauty of their mineral formations. Lechuguilla Cave stands out from the others, providing an underground laboratory where geological and biological processes can be studied in a pristine setting." (UNESCO). Getty Images