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You Can Virtually Tour All Kinds Of World Heritage Sites Without Leaving Your Home

Ryan Ford 18 Mar 2020

We all want to be world travelers, right? See the sights beyond our borders and open our eyes to a life outside our daily experience? Well, that dream has to stay a dream for a lot of people because it's just prohibitively expensive to fly all over the place, even if you can get the time off work.

Nothing can fully replace the experience of actually going and seeing the sights and smelling the smells in person. But the next best thing is still not half-bad.

Thanks to Google Earth, you don't have to completely miss out on the world's most stunning and awe-inspiring features, as they've complied virtual tours of all kinds of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

1. The Great Pyramids of Khufu

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Great_pyramid.jpg

We've all seen pictures of the pyramids. They're easily one of the most recognizable things ever built by humans. But there's so much more to these wonders than just what you see on the surface, as amazing as that is.

Start a virtual tour right here.

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2. Taj Mahal

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:20191204_Taj_Mahal_Agra_0622_6533_DxO.jpg

The Taj Mahal is one of the most beloved and most visited buildings in the world for good reason. This marvel was built way back in the 17th century, and it hasn't lost an ounce of its allure in the intervening years.

Beat the crowds and start a virtual tour of the Taj Mahal right here.

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3. Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia

Reddit | Igorius

There is no other place of worship in the world that looks quite like Barcelona's Templo Expiatoro de la Sagrada Familia. It is, amazingly, still under construction more than 130 years after the first cornerstone was laid, but it nonetheless remains an architectural feat like few others. And if you think it looks incredible from the outside, wait until you see the interior.

Begin a virtual tour right here.

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4. Angkor Wat

Reddit | spacetime99

Cambodia's crown jewel, the temple at Angkor Wat, is believed to be the world's largest religious building. Construction dates back to the 9th century, and just about every inch of it carries some spiritual significance.

Start a virtual tour right here.

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5. Nijo-jo Castle

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nijo_Castle_01.JPG

Step back into Japan's Shogun period at Nijo-jo Castle, built in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of Japan's first shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu. It's probably the best preserved remnant of Japan's feudal period and well worth checking out.

Start a virtual tour right here.

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6. Pompeii

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pompeii_911.jpg

The ruins of Pompeii are unique to the world. They're not just a pile of ancient rubble but a time capsule from 2,000 years ago made possible by a moment of sheer horror when Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, blanketing both Pompeii and nearby Herculaneum in hot ash. It's haunting to even think about, and more so to explore.

Start a virtual tour of Pompeii right here.

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7. Borobudur Temple

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stupa_Borobudur.jpg

Indonesia's Borobudur Temple is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and features more than 500 statues to Buddha. It dates back to the 9th century, but was abandoned around the 14th century and languished in the Javan landscape for almost 500 years.

Check out a virtual tour of Borobudur right here.

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8. Stonehenge

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stonehenge,_August_2014_01.JPG

Sure, we've all seen Stonehenge, the mysterious arrangement of massive slabs of stone erected by early Brits about 5,000 years ago. But it's one of those sites that can't help inspiring wonder up close. There are tons of theories and debates about both how it was constructed by ancient humans and what it was for.

Ponder the many mysteries of Stonehenge with a virtual tour right here.

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9. Alhambra

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alhambra-petit.jpg

Spain's Alhambra didn't start out as anything grand. Back in 889, it was just a small military fort. But over the next 450 years, it underwent extensive expansions and renovations, finally becoming the royal palace in the 14th century.

Check out a virtual tour of Alhambra right here.

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10. Church of Peace in Świdnica

Reddit | innuendoPL

Poland's Church of Peace in Świdnica definitely earned its place on the World Heritage List. From the outside, it looks like little more than a distinguished Tudor manor house. That humble exterior contains, well, this, and much more. Considering it was all built without a single metal nail in 1648, the Church of Peace in Świdnica as well as its twin in Jawor are well worth a deeper look.

Start a virtual tour right here.

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11. The Palace of Versailles

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You certainly get a better understanding of the French Revolution once you get a glimpse of how that nation's elites were living at Versailles. The palace's grandeur and opulence is easy to fall in love with, however.

Grab a slice of cake and explore a virtual tour of Versailles right here.

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12. Himeji Castle

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Castle_Himeji_sakura01.jpg

The finest surviving example of Japanese castles is Himeji Castle. Construction on Himeji Castle began back in 1333, but it didn't achieve its current form for a couple of centuries. It's Japan's most visited castle, so a virtual tour is a great way to beat the crowds.

Start a virtual tour right here.

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