As the saying goes, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” As civilizations rise and fall, so do the cities they’ve built and the lands they’ve influenced.
But some structures and landscapes have been well-preserved to this day with their cultural significance and value recently cemented by UNESCO. With 19 World Heritage sites added to the prestigious list last month, and most accessible to the public, there has never been a better time to experience these culturally rich destinations.
One the most prolific new additions lies in Cordoba, Spain, where the past and the present collide with old ruins and modern buildings standing side-by-side, as if locked in an eternal argument over who is the true arbiter of Spanish history and culture. These are the ruins of Medina Azahara, or “The Shining City,” which was the place to be during the mid-10th century as the seat of the caliphate of Cordoba under the Umayyad dynasty.
Rediscovered in the 20th century, the well-preserved roads, bridges and water systems that survived destruction in a civil war now give insight into the life of the early-Islamic civilization of southern Spain. The city was designated a world heritage site due to its preserved display of ancient urban planning. An infrastructure that was sophisticated for its time.
Today, you too can take a guided tour of this newly-appointed UNESCO world heritage site. You can use Los Amigos Beach Club by Diamond Resorts, where you’ll find there’s no shortage of relaxation and fun, as your home base to explore the area.
If want to return to nature, go north into France to see another newly-designated site: the Chaine des Puys.
With rolling hills and green pastures of angelica flowers, this site is picturesque by itself. However, this idyllic landscape represents the development of the surface of the earth itself. With the Limagne fault, the Chaine des Puys volcanoes and the inverted relief of the Montagne de la Serre, the area is a modern-day illustration of the continental breakup.
Normally, rift systems formed from the continental breakup are several kilometers long, but the site has all the elements for a complete presentation of the continental breakup in one place. Thus, it was awarded the world heritage site designation. Begin your adventure through the French countryside near the ocean at Les Club Mougins by Diamond Resorts, just a 20-minute drive from the famous coastal city of Cannes. Experience classic French charm in Mougins with architecture as unchanged as the Chaine des Puys landscape, and then head inland and upward through France’s fantastic hills for a daytrip to the UNESCO site.
In our daily lives, we can see where we’re going, but it’s also good to see where we’ve come from for a better appreciation of our world and inspiration on how we’ll go about our lives to change it.
Where are you inspired to travel?