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Published on November 14th, 2017 | by Guest Contributor

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Twelve Historic Places to Visit Before They Vanish: Part 2.

We posed the question in part one. Do you have a bucket list of places you’d like to visit in your life?  If so, you probably should not procrastinate on that. A number of the world’s most spectacular destinations and historic treasures are under threat of vanishing before our very eyes.  To help you compose some top picks, here’s part two of our two part series on Disappearing Destinations.

Missed part one?  Head back to the beginning, here.   

The Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

The largest coral reef on the planet, the Great Barrier Reef has long been a favourite destination for travellers, especially scuba divers. With its incredible biodiversity and warm clear waters, it features on many a diver’s bucket list. Unfortunately, the reef has lost roughly half its size in the past 30 years. Rising ocean temperatures, water pollution, and cyclones continuously erode the reef. It is estimated that within a century this natural wonder – the Earth’s only living organism that is visible from space – could be completely destroyed.

Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef.

Venice.

First established back in the 5th century, Venice was built on the islands and marshes of the Venetian Lagoon to serve as both a trading post and sanctuary from attack. With its canals, gondolas, and historic buildings, the city has long been considered one of the most romantic destinations in the world.

It is sinking. That probably doesn’t come as news, Venice has always been vulnerable to flooding, especially from high tides or from storm surges. More recently however, with rising sea levels, the floods are happening more frequent – and more severe – each year.

Between 2000 and 2013 Venice had eight of its highest-category floods – more in just over a decade than it saw in the preceding 50 years. Many old houses now find their former staircases for unloading goods flooded, rendering their original ground floors uninhabitable.

Visit Venice before it sinks, if you can.

Old world charm of a Venice Grand Canal gondola.

The Dead Sea.

The Dead Sea borders on Israel and Jordan, and has attracted visitors since Biblical times.

In the last 80 years, the famously salty body of water has shrunk by one-third and sunk by 80 feet. This reduction leaves formerly sea-side resorts and restaurants now standing kilometres away from the shore. The River Jordan is the Dead Sea’s only source and, as surrounding countries increasingly tap its waters, less and less of it reaches the Dead Sea.

It is estimated that this historic inland sea could completely dry up within 50 years.

Salt water pools ridge the edge of the Dead Sea.

The Alps.

Treasured by skiers, hikers, and yodellers, the European Alps are a must-see destination for many travellers. Because the Alps have a lower altitude than our Rocky Mountains, their glaciers and ski resorts are more vulnerable to climate change. If the rate of global warming continues at its current pace, environmental experts calculate that the ice and snow covering the slopes of the Alps could be entirely melted by as early as 2050.

The majestic Matterhorn mountain, towering over the town of Zermatt, Switzerland, by night.

The Taj Mahal.

Constructed in 1643, the Taj Mahal is one of the most iconic buildings in the world. The reigning emperor commissioned it as a mausoleum for his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. In 1983, the Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.”

Today, experts worry that the site could collapse because of erosion and pollution. In 2010, cracks appeared in parts of the tomb, and the minarets which surround the monument were showing signs of tilting. A year later, in 2011, it was reported that the Taj Mahal could collapse within 5 years. See it soon. We may already be on borrowed time.

The ivory marble masterpiece on the south bank of the Yamuna river.

Madagascar.

The world’s fourth largest island is home to a unique ecosystem. More than 90 percent of Madagascar’s unique flora and fauna exist nowhere else on Earth.

That one of a kind ecology is under threat, however. Due to human activity, Madagascar has lost more than 90 percent of its original forest. The remaining forests are predicted to exist for only another 35 years because of a multitude of fires and massive deforestation.

Due to human behaviour and the effects of a changing climate some of the world’s treasures are at risk of vanishing within the next 100 years, and a few of them even sooner. If any of these are on your must-see list, maybe you should consider bumping them to the top of the page while there’s still time.

Madagascan rain forest.

Do you plan to any of these amazing spots before they’re gone? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

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