Each year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adds more culturally significant landmarks and destinations to the esteemed list of World Heritage sites. Read on for a sampling of the listings added or expanded this year that you’ll be able to see on tour.
The traditional Champagne production process has been perfected over hundreds of years in northeastern France. Grapes are grown in the distinctive landscapes of the region, then the famed, flavorful sparkling wine is produced in underground cellars and distributed.
Wine production in this region of France dates back to the High Middle Ages. The cultural landscape of Burgundy has been recognized not only for the vineyards surrounding the town of Beane, but also for the historic city of Dijon, where the production system was developed.
The high-quality design and construction of the Speicherstadt warehouse district, Kontorhaus office building district and adjoining Chilehaus building have earned the sites UNESCO recognition in the port city of Hamburg. They serve as prime examples of late 19th and early 20th century growth in international trade.
The listing for the Route of Santiago de Compostela has been extended to include almost 1,500 kilometers of pilgrimage routes throughout northern Spain. These additional routes include cathedrals, hospitals, bridges and more—as well as some of the paths traveled by the earliest pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela.
The historic structures that line the northern coast of Sicily include two palaces, a bridge and the cathedrals of Cefalú and Monreale. Constructed in the 1100s during the time of the Norman kingdom of Sicily, these buildings represent a period of cultural intermingling—influences of Western, Islamic and Byzantine styles of art and architecture can be seen in these awe-inspiring structures.
A prime example of a colonial British tropical botanic garden, Singapore’s Botanical Gardens has grown into a renowned institution of conservation and education since its establishment in 1875. It’s most well-known for making strides in research for the cultivation of rubber plants.
Africa & the Middle East
Believed to be the site of Jesus’ baptism by Saint John, this site is located along the banks of the River Jordan. Remnants of Roman and Byzantine civilization, like chapels and baptismal pools, are a testament to the area’s spiritual significance.
Israel: Necropolis of Bet She’arim: A Landmark of Jewish Renewal The catacombs at Bet She’arim date back to the second century. The site served as the primary burial ground for the Jewish community, and its limestone walls bear hundreds of years of history—from Jewish and Aramaic inscriptions to Greek artwork.
While the Cape Floral Region has been on UNESCO’s list since 2004, this year the listing’s boundaries have been expanded to encompass even more dazzling natural beauty. Cited as “one the world’s great centres of terrestrial biodiversity,” the protected area includes numerous national parks, nature reserves and state forests.