Daily Photo: Area de Conservación Guanacaste
Edinburgh has been the Scottish capital since the 15th century. It has two distinct areas: the Old Town, dominated by a medieval fortress; and the neoclassical New Town, whose development from the 18th century onwards had a far-reaching influence on European urban planning. The harmonious juxtaposition of these two contrasting historic areas, each with many important buildings, is what gives the city its unique character.
UNESCO World Heritage Site - Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu, Japan
Okinawa is geographically and culturally different than the rest of Japan. I usually explain it as Japan’s Hawaii. Its language is distinct from Japanese and the islands weren’t even formally part of Japan until the 1870′s.
Much of Shuri-jo Castle and other landmarks in Okinawa were damaged during the battle of Okinawa in WWII, which took the lives of over 100,000 Japanese and 13,000 allied soldiers. The current castle is mostly rebuilt and reconstruction is still ongoing.
UNESCO World Heritage Site - Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park
The underground river is really pretty cool. The river goes into the mountain about 6km, but the tours only go in about 1km. The inside of the cave has tons of stalactite and stalagmite formations, most of which are named after things they look like, which usually requires a lot of imagination. Outside the cave, I saw huge monitor lizards and macaque monkeys. The underground river on Palawan is the longest navigable underground river in the world.
UNESCO World Heritage Site - HIstoric Town of Vigan, Philippines
The above photo is of the Vigan Cathedral and the central plaza. The plaza area has small models of the wonders of the world as well as a map of the Philippines with models of the Filipino World Heritage sites on it.
Vigan is a very quaint city and you can tell it is different from most cities in the Philippines the moment you step off the bus. Many of the streets in the central area do not allow automobiles. Most of the old buildings have not be renovated so you get the feel of walking through a old Spanish city.
UNESCO World Heritage Site - Baroque Churches of the Philippines
The Church of San Agustin in Manila is the principal property in the Baroque Churches of the Philippines World Heritage Site. San Agustin is the oldest church in the Philippines. The current church dates back to 1607 but previous Spanish churches have existed on the spot going back to 1571. The church has survived several major earthquakes in Manila as well as both American and Japanese bombardment in WWII.
The Palace of Versailles was the principal residence of the French kings from the time of Louis XIV to Louis XVI. Embellished by several generations of architects, sculptors, decorators and landscape architects, it provided Europe with a model of the ideal royal residence for over a century.
Milford Sound is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. I had the pleasure of going there after it had been raining for 24 hours straight. The rain created countless small waterfalls along the sides of the fjord.
UNESCO World Heritage Site - Tongariro National Park
You have probably seen images from Tongariro National Park before without knowing it. Mt. Ngaruhoe which is inside the park was made famous as the fictional Mt. Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies. It is a popular location for skiing and treking in New Zealand and is one of the highlight of the North Island. It is a day’s drive from Auckland and should be on your list of places to visit if you ever find yourself on the North Island.