13 Places To Visit Before They're Gone Forever

Owing to threats such as climate change, overfishing, and ship traffic, the Great Barrier Reef is slowly deteriorating.
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For Architectural Digest, by Hannah Huber.

With the growing concerns over everything from climate change to urban development looming over some of the most beloved locations on earth, it is a good idea for any travel lover to explore these stunning destinations before they go the way of the dodo bird. While some iconic destinations, like Jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh, have been given the TLC they need to fight Father Time, many are still falling into utter disrepair. Here, AD rounds up the 13 stops to push to the top of your travel list before they're gone.

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The Dead Sea

Located at the lowest point on earth (1380 feet below sea level), the Dead Sea is a popular destination for its stunning desert views and legendary buoyant composition. However, it's shrinking at an alarming rate as a result of climate change and the slowing of its main water source, the Jordan River.

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The Great Barrier Reef

Playing host to thousands of species off the coast of Australia is the largest coral reef in existence. Owing to threats such as climate change, overfishing, and ship traffic, the Great Barrier Reef is slowly deteriorating.

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The City of Petra (The Rose City)

This massive archeological site is famous for being built by carving entire buildings out of a rock face. Sometimes called the “Rose City” for the natural color of the stone, Petra is receding because of a mixture of erosion and saltwater damage.

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The Great Wall of China

This east-to-west winding wall was built to protect China from enemy invasions, but today it stands as the nation's quintessential tourist destination. Though many efforts have been made to restore portions of the ancient wall, it is still being damaged by erosion and locals selling its bricks.

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The Grand Canyon

Named as one of the 11 most endangered historical sites in the U.S. by the National Trust of Historic Preservation in 2015, this American natural wonder is threatened by the effects of mining and tourism traffic.

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The Maldives

From its white-sand beaches to its miraculous glowing waters in the evening, the Maldives are the tropical paradise your travel plans have been missing. As a result of rising sea levels, the islands, which sit a mere 8 feet above sea level, are slowly sinking into the Indian Ocean.

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The Island of Nauru is the second-smallest country in the world, next to Vatican City. Nauru has been a victim of both climate change and irresponsible economic growth, literally being gutted by phosphorus mining.

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Patagonian Ice Fields, Chile

Spanning the border between Chile and Argentina, the Patagonian Ice Fields are the second-largest in the world. According to Cornell University researchers, the once massive ice fields of the Andes are diminishing 1.5 times faster than recorded in previous studies.

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Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park originally housed around 150 glaciers, but because of the effects of climate change that number has dwindled to a mere 25.

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Kasbah Telouet, Morocco

Once home to the powerful El Glaoui family, this popular Moroccan tourist destination sits collapsing from erosion in the Atlas Mountains. A project was announced in 2010 to restore and preserve what is left of this original palace.

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The Great Pyramids of Giza

These mysterious pyramids in Egypt are a must-see for any world traveler. The magnificent structures are quickly becoming victims of erosion.

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Venice, Italy

Offering everything from amazing cuisine to intimate gondola rides through the city’s epic canals, Venice has all the makings of the perfect vacation. With sea levels rising rapidly, Venice floods an average of 100 times a year and is at risk of sinking completely in the next century.

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Big Sur, California

California is filled with stunning scenery, but few sites stack up to those of Big Sur. Known for its epic highway drives, Big Sur is vulnerable to droughts, landslides, and forest fires destroying its beautiful landscape.

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