20 popular tourist sites you should see before they disappear

Grand canyonShutterstock/Galyna AndrushkoThe Grand Canyon was recently listed as one of the 11 most endangered historic places in America by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Some of the world’s most stunning natural sites and iconic man-made structures might not be around in the future.

Thanks to a combination of factors like climate change and increased development project proposals in their areas, some of these popular tourist attractions are starting to shrink in size, sink, or erode.

From the breathtaking Alps to the iconic Taj Mahal, we’ve put together a list of some of the most famous sites you should see before it’s too late.

Nearly two-thirds of the Great Wall of China has been damaged or destroyed by over-farming, natural erosion, and the selling of bricks that have historic engravings on them.

The iconic Taj Mahal, located in Agra, India, has been facing years of pollution and erosion that some experts believe could lead to its collapse.

Known for its romantic gondola rides, the city of Venice, in Italy, has been sinking for years with severe floods becoming more common over the last few years.

Cambodia's temples of Angkor is the largest religious monument in the world, but the groundwater pumping in the nearby Siem Reap is causing some of the temples to sink. It was just named the best tourist site in the world by Lonely Planet.

The half-built city of Petra is one of Jordan's main attractions but the famous archaeological site has been receding in the last century due to a combination of wind, rain, and the constant touching of its walls by tourists (which is why you should avoid touching any of its perimeters when visiting the site).

Shutterstock / Ralf Siemieniec

Take a walking tour of Petra »

Source: CNN

Since the Alps sit at a lower altitude than other mountain ranges, their glaciers are increasingly prone to shrinking from climate change. The mountain range loses around 3% of its Alpine glacial ice each year and some experts believe it could be gone entirely by 2050.

Shutterstock / hanmon

Source: CNN, Time

One of America's most iconic attractions, the Grand Canyon was listed as one of the 11 most endangered historic places in America by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It was put on the list due to the increased development proposals that range from uranium mining to tourist resorts, which could lead to both significant portions of the Grand Canyon and its main water source being destroyed.

Shutterstock/Galyna Andrushko

See the full list here >

The Bolivian city of Potosí is one of the highest in the world, with a height of 13,418 feet. Centuries of mining activity in the area have put the city at risk of collapsing, with a portion of the summit having already crumbled.

Shutterstock/Jess Kraft

Source: CNN

Officials in Hawaii are working to try and maintain the large amounts of sand that are disappearing from Waikiki Beach each year. One fourth of the sand on the island is already gone and crews continue to pump sand from offshore channels to try and maintain the area.

Shutterstock

Source: Huffington Post, KITV Channel 4

The Dead Sea, bordering Jordan and Israel, is known for its mineral-rich waters, but as residents continue to use water from the River Jordan (which is where the Dead Sea draws its water from), it is in danger of disappearing in the next 50 years.

Shutterstock / Nickolay Vinokurov

Source: Time

Italy's Royal Palace of Caserta is the world's largest palace by volume and stands as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unfortunately, its roof collapsed last year and renovation plans remain delayed due to bureaucratic issues.

Shutterstock/morrison77

Source: CNN

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