COVID-19, the coronavirus disease, might stop you from travelling, but you can still visit historical sites online using Google Earth. The tech company put together a list of 30 UNESCO World Heritage sites, with historical context and pins for each one.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared it a pandemic. The virus has disrupted travel worldwide, leading to flight cancellations, quarantines, and other breakdowns in movement. On Tuesday, residents in the San Francisco Bay Area were ordered to “shelter in place” until April 7, meaning that they must remain in their homes except for essential travel for groceries and medicine. On Friday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered all employees at nonessential businesses to work from home.
Whether you’re sheltering in place or simply minimising travel and social distancing, Google Earth can let you pretend to see the world.
1. The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt is the only wonder of the ancient world that remains intact today.
2. The Taj Mahal in Agra, India is a lasting example of 17th century Mughal architecture.
3. The Sagrada Familia Catholic church in Barcelona, Spain was never actually completed, but it’s a stunning combination of Gothic and Art Nouveau architecture.
4. The Towers of Angkor Wat in Cambodia are meant to recreate the universe in stone.
5. The Seville Cathedral, or Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world.
6. The Dolomites are a mountain range in northeastern Italy.
7. Borobudur Temple in Java, Indonesia, is an eighth-century Buddhist temple that was restored in the 1970s.
8. The Prambanan Temple in Indonesia has detailed carvings from the epic of Ramayana.
9. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial was the structure left standing after the atomic bomb was dropped on the city in 1945, and it’s been preserved exactly as it was on that day.
10. Itsukushima Shrine in Japan was designed to look like it’s floating above the water.
11. Nijo-jo Castle in Kyoto, Japan was home to Japan’s rulers from 1603 to 1868.
12. Tenryuji Temple from the 14th century is one of the Five Great Zen temples of Kyoto.
13. Nishi Honganji Temple in Kyoto was at one point the head temple in the country.
14. Himeji Jo Castle near Kobe, Japan is the most-visited castle in the country.
15. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London has the largest collection collection of living plants in the world.
16. The Great Sphinx of Giza stands along the Nile River.
17. The Palace of Versailles was home to French monarchs including Louis XIV.
18. Pompei shows a Roman colony preserved in ash by an eruption from Mount Vesuvius in 79 BCE.
19. Mill Network at Kinderdijk Elshout in the Netherlands has been in use since the Middle Ages.
20. Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England is home to a prehistoric structure that historians are still debating the meaning of.
21. La Alhambra is a palace and fortress in Andalusia, Spain originally built in the ninth century and renovated in the 11th century under Moorish rule.
22. The Pawon Temple is one of two temples in the Borobudur Temple Compound in Java, Indonesia.
23. The Church of Peace in Swidnica, Poland, was named after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.
24. St. Michael’s Archangel Church in Binarowa, Poland, is one of the region’s historic wooden churches.
25. The Monastery of San Millán de Yuso in Spain is considered the birthplace of modern Spanish.
26. Jasovská Cave in Slovakia has been the source of archeological discoveries from the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods.
27. Sangiran Early Man Site in Java, Indonesia is the source of more than half of all known hominid fossils.
28. The Holy Trinity St. Sergius Lavra in Sergiyev Posad, Russia is the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church.
29. Domica Cave in Jasov, Slovakia, was discovered in 1926, and evidence of humans living in the cave dates back to the Paleolithic era.
30. The Centennial Hall in Wroclaw, Poland, was started in 1911 and is an early example of reinforced concrete architecture.