This week, UNESCO released its annual state of conservation reports, which outline which of its famous designated World Heritage Sites are in danger of losing the historic, cultural or natural characteristics that made them World Heritage Sites in the first place.
Places on the “Danger List” face threats like soil erosion, lack of water and poor land management, to name a few. The World Heritage Committee prepares conservation reports for these places so it can discuss ways to better protect and conserve them if needed.
Tourism can harm the world’s wonders, but it can also help them when done responsibly. Below, find 19 places from UNESCO’s conservation reports that warrant a responsible visit. To compile this list, we pulled spots that appear on the Danger List, omitting any that come with travel warnings form the U.S. State Department. While such places are no less important, it’s not recommended that you visit them now, typically because of war, crime, or other dangers.
Peruse the options below, pack your bags, and check out UNESCO’s reports for more information on why these places are endangered and how you can help.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
ERIC LAFFORGUE via Getty Images
These wide-open plains are an important migratory hangout
for animals like zebra and wildebeest. They're also home to the world's largest caldera
Under threat due to:
crop production; governance; ground transport infrastructure; social cohesion and more
Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery, Georgia
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These historic buildings are prime examples of medieval architecture
, UNESCO says. Keep an eye out for exquisite mosaics and wall paintings in the monastery complex, some of whose structures date back to the 12th century.
Under threat due to:
interpretative and visitation facilities; management activities
Everglades National Park, U.S.
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These subtropical wetlands
came into being at the end of the last Ice Age. They're a wonderland of mangrove trees, and birds and reptiles hang out in the marshes and bays.
Under threat due to:
housing; invasive/alien freshwater species; storms; surface water pollution; water infrastructure
Medieval monuments in Kosovo
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This charming site comprises two monasteries and two churches
known for their paintings and frescoes, which are excellent examples of a uniquely Balkan style of art, UNESCO says. Under threat due to:
civil unrest; legal framework; management systems/management plan
Comoé National Park, Côte d'Ivoire
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One of the largest protected areas in West Africa, this wonderland of savannas and forests
hosts a stunning array of plant life thanks to water from the Komoé River
.Under threat due to:
civil unrest; fire; illegal activities; land conversion; livestock farming/grazing of domesticated animals; management systems/management plan
Historic center of Shakhrisyabz, Uzbekistan
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This stop on the ancient Silk Road
was a cultural hotspot in the 14th and 15th centuries
. Today, you can visit its vast burial complex and the remains of Ak-Sarai Palace.Under threat due to:
financial resources; housing; human resources; legal framework; management activities; management systems/management plan
Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi, Uganda
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This royal burial ground
features a main building with four tombs, which UNESCO praises for "its intangible values of belief, spirituality, continuity and identity." Under threat due to:
ground transport infrastructure; management activities; management systems/management plan; fire
Liverpool-Maritime Mercantile City, U.K.
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This cluster of buildings and docks
was a massive trade center during the 18th and 19th centuries, thanks to its innovative dock technology.Under threat due to:
commercial development; governance; high impact research/monitoring activities; housing; interpretative and visitation facilities and more
Chan Chan Archaeological Zone, Peru
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The massive Peruvian city of Chan Chan
is divided into nine individual "citadels" whose intricate remnants still stand. You can tour former temples, homes, storehouses, reservoirs and more.Under threat due to:
identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community; illegal activities; management systems/management plan; water