This is a feature dedicated to the world’s most known and visited heritage structures according to a report by Global Heritage’s ”Saving Our Vanishing Heritage Report”.

The Great Wall of China

A Chinese couple kiss as they visit the Great Wall of China. The 5500.3 mile-long Great Wall of China is ranked as the world’s top heritage site according to the Global Heritage’s “Saving Our Vanishing Heritage” report, with total site visitors of 24,200,000 and total revenues of $2,888,000,000.

A major portion of the Great Wall of China was built by the Ming Dynasty. It begins at Shanhaiguan in the East and stretches till Lop Nur in the West and consists of many walls. The construction of these numerous walls started from the 5th century BC and many were re-built between the 5th and 16th century AD.

Forbidden City in Beijing

A tourist walks in Beijing’s 600-year-old Forbidden City, the world’s largest surviving palace complex. The Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor has total site visitors of 18,000,000 and total revenues of $1,920,000,000.

During the period 1420 to 1912, the sprawling palace complex changed hands from the Ming dynasty that ruled from 1368 to 1644 to the Qing dynasty that ruled from 1644 to 1911.

Great Pyramids of Giza

A boy rides a horse in front of the Great Pyramids of Giza on the outskirts of Cairo. Historic Cairo has total site visitors of 4,000,000 and total revenues of $576,000,000.

Of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis, the Pyramid of Khufu (also known as the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and also the largest. It held the record as the tallest building in the world for 3800 years.

Celsus Library

A visitor admires the facade of the Celsus Library built in AD 135 in the ruins of ancient Ephesus near Selcuk, 70km (43 miles) from the western Turkish coastal city of Izmir. Ephesus has total site visitors of 3,500,000 and total revenues of $572,000,000.

Built in 117 AD, the monolithic library was built in honour of Tiberiuis Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, governor of Asia in 115 AD, by his son Gaius Julius Aquila. The library houses the tomb of Polemaeanus and it was during this time the third richest library in the world.

Golden Temple

The holy Sikh shrine in Amritsar is illuminated on the 343rd birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh. Amritsar has total site visitors of 5,500,000 and total revenues of $460,000,000.

The temple was built under the patronage of Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru. Interstingly, the foundation stone of the temple was laid by the Sufi saint Hazrat Mian Mir, a friend of the guru, in 1588 AD.

Angkor Wat temple

The famous Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia is reflected in a pond. Angkor has total site visitors of 2,500,000 and total revenues of $436,000,000.

The temple was built by King Suryavarman II in the early half of the 12th century AD and is the world’s largest religious building.


Hot air balloons float past people watching the sunrise at the Sun pyramids of Teotihuacan outside Mexico City during a festival as part of the spring equinox. Teotihuacan has total site visitors of 4,200,000 and total revenues of $432,000,000.

Machu Picchu

A view of the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in Cuzco. Built around 1450, Machu Picchu also called ‘The Lost City of the Incas’ has total site visitors of 2,400,000 and total revenues of $384,000,000.

Abu Simbel temple

Tourists look at the 3200-year-old Abu Simbel temple during a daily sound and light show, on the eve of the anniversary of pharaoh king Ramses II’s coronation, at the upper reaches of the Nile, around 1264 km (785 miles) south of Cairo. Abu Simbel has total site visitors of 2,000,000 and total revenues of $320,000,000.

Apart from the historical significance, these temples are also famous for being relocated from their original site during the construction of the Aswan High Dam.


A visitor walks past a statue of the head of Ramses II, king of Egypt between 1304 and 1237 B.C., at the ancient Egyptian capital of Thebes. Ancient Thebes has total site visitors of 2,000,000 and total revenues of $320,000,000.

Thebes is the richest and largest archeological site in the world.

Taj Mahal

Tourists stand in front of the historic Taj Mahal in Agra. Taj Mahal has total site visitors of 2,400,000 and total revenues of $288,000,000.

The fantastic Mughal-style mausoleum was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal and took 20 years to complete (from 1632 to 1653).


A cave complex is seen near the site where 2,000-year-old Hellenstic-style wall paintings are being restored in Siq al-Barid in Beidha, nicknamed “Little Petra”, about five km (three miles) away from the rock carved city of Petra, southern Jordan. Petra has total site visitors of 1,600,000 and total revenues of $268,800,000.

The cave complex which is famous for its rock-cut architecture and water conduits system also features in BBC’s ’40 places that you must see before you die’.

Old Havana

A taxi waits for customers at Cuba’s Capitol in Havana. Old Havana and its Fortifications has total site visitors of 1,773,986 and total revenues of $262,959,440.

Some of the main attractions in Old Havana are the Castillo del Morro, La Cabaña and National Capitol.

Chichen Itza

People look at the strip of light on the sculpture of a serpent on the north (left) side of the Mayan pyramid El Castillo (The Castle), in Chichen Itza, in the southern state of Yucatan, Mexico. The pre-Hispanic city of Chichen-Itza has total site visitors of 2,600,000 and total revenues of $248,000,000.


People walk in the main plaza in Cuzco also known as the Historical Capital of Peru. The city of Cuzco, the erstwhile capital of the Inca empire, has total site visitors of 1,000,000 and total revenues of $168,000,000.

Old Damascus 

A general view shows Old Damascus in Syria with the Umayad Mosque in the background. The ancient city of Damascus has total site visitors of 1,000,000 and total revenues of $168,000,000.

Some of the attractions in Old Damascus include the Umayad Mosque, the Saladin Shrine, th Azm Palace, Maktab Anbar, Beit al-Mamlouka among others.