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50 Places To See Before You Die

From majestic waterfalls and lost cities to mysterious landmarks and natural wonders, here are the 50 places you must see before you die.

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    Amazon Rain Forest, Brazil

    The Amazon represents over half of the planet's remaining rainforests, and it comprises the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world and encompasses no less than nine national borders and the Earth's biggest river basin.

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    Angkor Wat, Cambodia

    Angkor Wat is the largest Hindu temple complex in the world built in the early 12th century. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation – first Hindu and then Buddhist. The temple has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country's prime attraction for visitors.

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    Bagan, Asia

    With its majestic skyline, studded with gold, white and earth-red temples topped by bell-shaped towers and gilded spires, the architectural wonders of Bagan makes it one of Southeast Asia's most exquisite sites.

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    Chichen Itza, Mexico

    One of the most iconic images of ancient Latin America, the huge ruins of Chichen Itza were built by the Mayan civilization. One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the soaring pyramid of Kukulkan can still be climbed.

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    Ephesus, Turkey

    Ephesus' greatest claim to fame was its temple to the goddess Artemis, one of the "seven wonders" of the ancient world and almost four times larger than the Parthenon in Athens. Today, a few columns are all that remain of the temple, but there is still much to see and gives you a great sense of what it was like to walk down the street of a Roman city.

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    Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

    Located in the eastern Pacific Ocean, just off the west coast of South America, the islands consist of 15 main islands, 3 smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets. The Galapagos Islands are the ultimate destination for wildlife and natural history enthusiasts.

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    Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea off the coast of Australia

    This is the largest coral reef system in the world and the only living thing that can be seen from outer space. It offers the most spectacular diving imaginable with a kaleidescope of fish and coral.

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    Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, East Africa

    A trek up the world’s tallest freestanding mountain takes you through five different ecosystems (from rainforest to arctic tundra) and offers a stunning 19,340-foot view.

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    The Acropolis / Parthenon, Greece

    This "city of temples" is one of the most spectacular sites in the Western world. It is an ancient citadel, crowned by the Parthenon, above the city of Athens. Its temples are made of gleaming white marble that turn golden as the light fades.

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    Venice, Italy

    This beautiful Italian city is made up of 118 small islands connected by bridges and is famous for it's canals and gondoliers. It is renowned for it's beauty, architecture, and artworks. The main place to visit is the Piazza di San Marco, a basilica dedicated to St. Mark.

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    Yangtze River, China

    Nearly 4,000 miles long, the Yangtze River has been dubbed the "wildest, wickedest river." From the country's largest port in Shanghai to the Three Gorges Dam -- China's engineering colossus more than 600 feet high and nearly 1.5 miles long -- the river offers a great way to travel and get a glimpse of China's future.

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    Angel Falls, Venezuela

    The world’s highest waterfall, reaching 3,211 feet and roughly 16 times taller than Niagara, is located in a remote region of Venezuela. The cascade falls from one of the extraordinary tepui – table-topped, sheer-sided mountain rockfaces. It can be reached by canoe or you can fly over the falls.

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    Antarctica

    Known as the coldest and windiest place on Earch, Antarctica is the world's largest desert, 95% of which is covered in ice. It is still largely unexplored. The best way to see it is from the deck of a cruise ship where you can see awesome glaciers, penguins, and leopard seals. The adventurous can do some mountain climbing in the interior.

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    Aurora Borealis

    The best reason to go north is to see the Northern Lights -- swirling, pulsing colors that stretch across the sky -- which are caused when charged protons and electron particles are sucked into the Earth's magnetic field and flow toward the pole until they collide with our atmosphere. The best time to see the lights is around the fall and spring equinoxes.

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    Blue Lagoon, Iceland

    This geothermal spa is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. The steamy waters are part of a lava formation located in Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland. The warm waters are rich in minerals like silica and sulphur, and bathing in the Blue Lagoon is reputed to help some people suffering from skin diseases such as psoriasis.

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    Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

    At 2,723 feet in height, the Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world. It is located in Dubai, a flashy city known as a world-class destination for shopping, glitz, and glamour.

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    Easter Island

    Easter Island contains one of the most captivating riddles of engineering -- nearly 1,000 monolithic statues (on average 13 feet tall and weighing 14 tons). They are thought to represent ancestral chiefs raised to the level of gods. Most were carved in the volcanic cone known as Rano Raraku. To this day, it is unknown how a small, isolated population managed to transport the statues to every part of the island.

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    Eiffel Tower, France

    This 319 meter high iron structure was the tallest in the world until 1930.

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    Empire State Building, New York

    The 102-story skyscraper, located in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street, stands 1,454 feet high. The Empire State Building is currently the third-tallest completed skyscraper in the United States. It is generally thought of as an American cultural icon and has been named as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

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    Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California

    The suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening of the San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean, has been declared one of the modern Wonders of the World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful and the most photographed bridge in the world.

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    Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, India

    A vision in gold, glistening white stone, and glinting water, the Golden Temple (or Harmandir Sahib) in Amritsar, is Sikhism’s holiest shrine. Its earliest incarnation sat in a small lake in the middle of a forest, where Buddha is believed to have meditated. The site is now one of the most sacred in India.

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    Grand Canyon, Colorado

    Hewn from rock by the powerful Colorado River over millions of years, this is one of the only landmarks that can be spotted from outer space.

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    Great Wall of China

    The 5,500 mile wall was built and maintained to protect the North of China from attack. Construction began in 6 BC and continued well into the 16th century. The majority of the wall was reconstructed during the Ming Dynasty.

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    Iguazu Falls, Argentina/Brazil

    The waterfalls of the Iguazu River are located on the border of Brazil and Argentina. Legend has it that a god planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who fled with her mortal lover Tarobá in a canoe. In a rage, the god sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall.

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    Las Vegas Strip, Nevada

    The famous "strip" is comprised of four miles of the largest casinos, hotels, and resorts in the world located just south of the city of Las Vegas. It was named an "All-American Road" in 2000 by the American government.

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    Macchu Picchu, Peru

    Known as the "lost city of the Incas" and located high in the Andes, this wonder of the world provides awe-inspiring scenery, a fascinating and mysterious ancient history, and numerous temples. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built around 1450 as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti. In 2007, Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

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    Mesa Verde, Colorado

    Mesa Verde's cliff dwellings were built by the Ancestral Pueblo Indians about 800 years ago. You can tour several of the sites, including the largest cliff dwelling in North America. In some dwellings you can still see ceilings blackened by hearth smoke.

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    Niagara Falls

    These breathtakingly huge waterfalls are located between Ontario, Canada, and New York.

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    Notre Dame in Paris, France

    Among the most well-known Roman Catholic churches ever built, Notre Dame is often reputed to be one of the most prominent examples of Gothic architecture in both France and in Europe.

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    Petra, Jordan

    One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, it is located in a basin within the mountains of Jordan and is surrounded by desert, waterfalls, canyons and amazing trekking paths.

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    Pompeii, Italy

    Preserved under the volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius, you can see the everyday goings-on of ancient Roman life, including the Garden of the Fugitives which displays plaster casts of some of the victims in their final moments of life.

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    Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

    The pyramids were built as monuments to the men they entombed. There are still over 100 pyramids, but the Giza pyramids are the most famous. The Great Pyramid is the only remaining member of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

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    Red Square, Russia

    This city square in Moscow, Russia, is currently the official residence of the President of Russia and is considered the symbolic heart of Russia. You could spend a week exploring the buildings that surround it - from Lenin's Mausoleum to the State History Museum, the GUM shopping centre, and St. Basil's Cathedral.

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    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Meaning "January River," this is the second largest city in Brazil and is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere. The city is known for its natural settings, carnival celebrations, beaches, and famous landmarks, including the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado mountain, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

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    Sagrada Familia, Spain

    The Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family in Barcelona, Spain, has been described as "the most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages" by architecture critic Paul Goldberger. It is a soaring cathedral of spectacular dimensions with a total of 18 spires and three facades.

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    Serengeti

    The mass migration of wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles who make the 300-mile journey across vast grasslands is what defines the Serengeti, the only place where migrations of this magnitude occur. To see the crossings, the best time to visit is September and October.

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    La Digue, Seychelles

    Don't miss this luxurious tropical paradise, with a stunning stretch of sugary sand, sky-blue waters, and sizzling sun. The country is made up of 115 islands with the rich rhythms, colors, and flavors of Africa.

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    Singapore, Republic of Singapore

    With the third-highest per capita income in the world, this city boasts of a vibrant nightlife, rich culture, amazing culinary experiences, skyscrapers, and spotless streets (chewing gum is banned here).

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    Stonehenge, England

    One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is a circular setting of large standing stones in Wiltshire, England, built anywhere from 3000-2000 BC. It is believed to have been used as a burial ground. Unfortunately, visitors can no longer walk among the huge stones themselves.

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    Sydney Harbour, Australia

    One of the most beautiful natural harbors in the world containing the Sydney Opera House, which is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world.

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    Taj Mahal, India

    Considered to be one of the Seven Wonders, this famous white marble mausoleum in Agra, India was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of this third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is known as the "jewel of India and of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage."

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    The Alhambra, Spain

    Meaning "the red one," this palace and fortress complex is located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain, and is one of Spain's major tourist attractions and most well known Berber Islamic structures.

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    The Coliseum, Italy

    Located in the center of Rome, Italy, this magnificent temple was the largest every built by the Roman Empire and is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering. It was capable of seating 50,000 spectators and was used for gladiator and other public spectacles.

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    The Louvre in Paris, France

    The Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo are just two of the priceless masterpieces housed within the walls of this fortress-turned-royal palace-turned-museum. It is a must see to enjoy the products of distant cultures and the finest things that have ever been made.

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    Tikal, Guatemala

    Founded in 200 BC and abandoned by the Mayans in 900 AD, it became enveloped by jungle until it was rediscovered in 1848. Currently, only 15% of the site has been excavated but what has inspires awe. Six temple pyramids dominate the skyline, the tallest stands 212 feet high and contains the most extensive hieroglyphics in the Mayan world.

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    Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy

    Having survived WWII bombings and floods, this museum is one of the world's oldest museums and home to a priceless collection of Renaissance art and other masterpieces, including Botticelli's Birth of Venus and Leonardo da Vinci's Annunciation.

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    Uluru, Australia

    Also known as Ayers Rock, this vast bright red sandstone rock formation, located in Australia’s dry centre, stands 1,142 feet tall and has a circumference of 5.8 miles. It is notable for appearing to change color at different times of the day and year, glowing red at dawn and sunset.

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    Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River is southern Africa

    Known in local dialect as ‘the smoke that thunders,’ the roar of this spectacular cascade of water can be heard from miles away. It was this sound that told explorer, David Livingstone, where to head when he discovered the world’s biggest waterfall in 1855. The falls come from the enormous Zambezi River, which snakes between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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    Yosemite National Park, California

    Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, Giant Sequoia groves, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness. Yosemite Valley is where most visitors arrive and stay. The Tunnel View is the first view of the Valley for many visitors and is extensively photographed. El Capitan, a prominent granite cliff that looms over Yosemite Valley, is one of the most popular rock climbing destinations in the world.

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    Zen Gardens of Kyoto

    Measuring 98 by 32 feet, the most famous Zen Garden is the Ryoan-ji garden, which is about the size of a tennis court and is composed solely of 15 large and small rocks, some encircled by moss, grouped in five clusters on a bed of carefully raked white sand. From a distance, the rocks resemble islands, the sand a tranquil sea. These abstract landscapes are designed to invoke deep meditation.

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