A Place the Whole World Honors
Chaco Culture was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Chaco Canyon was a major cultural center between 850 and 1250 CE, and is remarkable both for its monumental architecture and its status as a center of trade, politics, and ceremony.
During this same period of human history, other sites of extraordinary architecture and culture were being created by peoples across the globe. Compare the Chacoan buildings to those of other cultures from Mexico to China.
Chaco Culture, United States
850 to 1250
Chaco Canyon was the center of ceremony, trade, and political activity in what is now the southwestern United States. Chaco is remarkable for its monumental public and ceremonial buildings and its urban architecture.
L'Anse aux meadows, Canada
The first and only known site established by Vikings in North America sits on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland. Remains of wood-framed turf buildings are similar to those found in Norse Greenland and Iceland.
Durham Cathedral, England
Durham Cathedral is widely regarded as the finest example of Norman architecture in Europe. Benedictine monks used the cathedral and it is still an important center of Christian worship today.
Churches of the Vall de Boi, Spain
1000 to 1200
The narrow Vall de Boi is situated in the high Pyrenees, surrounded by steep mountains. Each village in the valley contains a Romanesque church, signifying the profound cultural interchange that took place across medieval Europe.
Geghard Monastery, Armenia
1000 to 1200
Medieval churches and tombs, most of them cut into rock, showcase the peak of Armenian architecture. The monastery complex is surrounded by beautiful cliffs at the entrance to Azat Valley.
Mogao Caves, China
300 to 1300
The Mogao caves are carved into the cliffs above the Dachuan River and contain nearly 500,000 square feet (45,000 m2) of murals and more than 2,000 painted sculptures.
800 to 1400
Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire. Architectural features include elaborate temples and sculptural decorations.
Great Mosque and Hospital of Divrigi, Turkey
1071 to 1229
Masterpieces of Islamic architecture, both the mosque and hospital are notable for the highly sophisticated method of vault construction. The vaults, domes, and columns are decorated in a unique style that exists nowhere else.
M'Zab Valley, Algeria
1012 to 1350
preserves the functional living structures of North African Ibidites that surrounded their five fortified cities. The simple architecture of M'Zab was designed for community living.
Rapa Nui National Park, Chile
900 to 1500
Around 300, a Polynesian society settled on remote Easter island, 2,300 miles (3,700 km) off the coast of Chile. Between 900 and 1500, their sculptures included the famous stone heads known as moai, which represented ancestors.
El Tajin, Mexico
550 to 1100
El Tajin was one of the largest and most important Mesoamerican cities in the Classic Mayan period. Here you can see elaborately carved reliefs and niches, including the "Pyramid of the Niches".