World Heritage Sites recognise places that are of special cultural or physical significance and there are hundreds to be found around the globe.
Now UNESCO (that’s short for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation if you were interested) has revealed the latest locations to claim such status for 2015.
Some you may recognise, and others you may not, but all are equally as stunning. We’ve hunted around for the best pictures of the latest UNESCO sites, enabling you to see what all the fuss is about…
The Forth Bridge, Scotland
The iconic Forth Bridge is widely viewed as a symbol of Scotland, yet it was two English engineers that came up with the design – Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker. At more than 8,000 feet long, the bridge opened in 1880 after taking eight years to construct.
The ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus are all that remain of what was once a thriving Greek and Roman community. Built in the 10th century BC, the Greek city is famed for being home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Temple of Artemis. Although little remains of the temple, Ephesus remains a fantastic example of an ancient Roman port city.
Bethany Beyond The Jordan
Widely regarded as the location where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, the area on the eastern bank of the River Jordan is now a Christian place of pilgrimage. Set among a pristine environment are a number of churches, chapels and a monastery, all marking the events that took place in the region several thousand years ago.
Champagne Hillsides, France
The home of producing sparkling wine for several centuries, the Champagne hillsides of France have finally been recognized for the role they play. Three main regions are covered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, incluidng Saint-Nicaise Hill in Reims, the historic vineyards of Hautvilliers, Ay and Mareuil-sur-Ay, as well as the Avenue de Champagne and Fort Chabrol in Epernay.
Christiansfeld Moravian Church, Denmark
Founded in 1773 in South Jutland, the site is a planned settlement of the Moravian Church. Supposed to represent the Protestant urban ideal, it is built around a central Church square while all of the buildings are basic and unadorned, following a similar design and pattern.
Churches of Cefalu and Monreale, Italy
Located on Sicily’s northern coast, the region highlights the social mixing of Western, Islamic and Byzantine cultures. Structures date to the Norman kingdom of Sicily from 1130 and 1194, and include two palaces, three churches, cathedral, a bridge and the cathedrals of Cefalu and Monreale.
San Antonio Missions, USA
The new heritage site includes a group of five frontier mission complexes across the San Antonio River basin in southern Texas. Built in the 18th centuries by Franciscan missionaries, the site includes farmlands, residencies, churches, as well as architectural and archaeological structures.
Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque Hydraulic System, Mexico
The grand 16th century aqueduct between the states of Mexico and Hidalgo, on the Central Mexican Plateau, features the highest single-level arcade ever built in an aqueduct. Dominating the landscape and a superb example of engineering and construction, the site welcomes thousands of visitors on an annual basis.
Necropolis Beth She’arim, Israel
The Jewish burial site outside Jerusalem is a series of catacombs that feature many artworks and inscriptions in Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek.
In south-west Iran are the remains of Susa, several layers of urban settlements dating from the 5th millennium BC to the 13th century AD. Some of the site is excavated and features administrative, palatial and residential structures. Susa includes aspects of Elamite, Persian and Parthian traditions, many of which are no longer seen.
Meiji Industrial Revolution sites, Japan
The Meija region is synonymous with the rapid expansion of industry from the middle of the 19th century onward. It includes 11 properties with ties to shipbuilding, the steel industry and coal mining.
Baekje Historic areas, South Korea
The archaeological sites relate to the Baekje Kingdom – one of the three earliest to exist on the Korean peninsula. Among them is the Gongsanseong fortress and royal tombs at Songsan-ri, the Naseong city wall and the Mireuksa Temple in Iksan. The sites represent the meeting points of a number of ancient East Asian kingdoms, meaning many different cultures are entwined within them.
Fray Bentos Cultural Industrial landscape, Uruguay
One of the slightly different sites to feature in the latest list, the Fray Bentos industrial facility showcases the processes of meat sourcing, processing, packing and dispatching. The first factory was founded on the site on the Uruguay River in 1859 and it is now deemed as a shining example of how people have produced meat on a global scale in the last century.
Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens, Turkey
Diyarbakir was viewed as an important strategic city since the Hellenistic period and features Roman, Sassanid, Islamic, Byzantine and Ottoman influences. The UNESCO site includes the Amida Mound – recognized as the inner castle – as well as the 5.8km long city walls which feature a range of different military architecture. Also part of the site are Hevsel Gardens, a region of land that links the city and the River Tigris – the original source of food and water for the city.
Rjukan Notodden Industrial site, Norway
The final example on the list is the Rjukan Notodden industrial site in the mountains and river valleys of Norway. Featuring hydroelectric plants, factories and towns, it was initially developed by the Norsk-Hydro Company in the early 20th century. UNESCO say the site is an example of how new global industries have developed across the last 100 years.