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Stonehenge, Machu Picchu top 'most threatened' wonders list

U.K. travel magazine Wanderlust has released their second annual list of the world's most threatened wonders, with eight very popular attractions earning this dubious distinction for 2010.

Perhaps the two most eye catching destinations on the list are Stone Henge in the U.K. and Machu Picchu in Peru. The magazine actually describes Stonehenge as a "national disgrace" and rips the stone monument for being so detached from the rest of the ancient ruins in the area that loses some of the historical context. In the case of Machu Picchu, it seems the lost city of the Inca is a victim of its own popularity, with large crowds and over zealous tourists blamed for the sad state of affairs there.

The other destinations to make this year's list include Wadi Rum, Jordan; Yangshuo, China; Tulum, Mexico; Jaisalmer, India; Timbuktu, Mali and the Bay of Fires, Tasmania. Each has their own unique issues to deal with ranging from too much tourist traffic, a lack of security and governmental struggles over access to the places.

Fortunately, Wanderlust doesn't just point fingers, but also suggests some ways to solve the issues facing these popular attractions. For example, in the case of Stone Henge, they endorse a plan that has been put fourth to build an underground tunnel that wold link the stone monoliths to other nearby sites that are part of the same ancient compound. And as for Machu Picchu, they put the onus on the tour operators to ensure that their groups tread lightly and leave little trace of their passing on the fragile mountain environment and the centuries old citadel itself.

This list does a good job of drawing attention to the fact that many of these locations are suffering from being too popular. Perhaps good discussions about these issues will help make us all more aware of the problems and help preserve these sites for future travelers to enjoy as well.

Filed under: Activism, Arts and Culture, History, Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Mali, China, India, United Kingdom, Mexico, Australia, Peru, Ecotourism

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