United Nations unveiled a list of more World Heritage sites to the public this year, as they do every year. Papahanaumokuakea, anyone?
The designation shines the spotlight on a handful of hidden gems, while also protecting them from man.
Over the past 28 years, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has identified more than 180 of these natural wonders across 77 countries. These “World Heritage Sites” are deemed “unique, irreplaceable, and authentic.” The esteemed club includes the likes of the Grand Canyon, Mount Everest, and Victoria Falls among other iconic sites. (Manmade landmarks, such as Rome’s Colosseum, are counted separately.
The region known as China Danxia spans six subtropical areas approximately 310 miles southwest of Xi’an, home of the terra-cotta warriors. Red sandstone pillars, ravines, and other fantastical shapes recall Mars more than they do southwestern China.
Phoenix Islands Protected Area
Hundreds of species of fish, mammals, and birds have made their home in and around the Phoenix Islands, about 6,000 miles northwest of Fiji in the South Pacific. The island region is the world’s largest marine protected area.
Putoransky State Nature Reserve
This nature reserve is situated more than 62 miles north of the Arctic Circle in northern Central Siberia, and is a vital migration route for reindeer crossing its tundra and rivers. the Putoransky State Nature Reserve is technically a desert because it rains and snows so little here, though snowfall does tend to linger owing to the icy temperatures.
To see the rest of these beautiful places, go here.