Our Pick of 2015’s Best New UNESCO Sites – Part II

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Building on the previous post highlighting five of our favourite newly listed UNESCO World Heritage Sites, here is an additional quintet to tantalise your travelling palate. Enjoy!

Ephesus

As one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it’s about time Turkey’s Ephesus made an appearance on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. The ancient site was once home to the Temple of Artemis and offers contemporary society a fascinating glimpse at the lives of Hellenistic and Roman settlements. Scattered amongst the site are towering vestiges such as the Library of Celsus which dates back to the second century A.D. The sprawling Great Theatre is also a sight to behold and was capable of seating 25,000 spectators in its glory days.

Singapore Botanic Gardens

In the heart of bustling Singapore lies a haven of peace, tranquillity and lush greenery. The botanic gardens were dreamt up by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1822 when he first began to test soils for viable agricultural development. Almost four decades later and the gardens are renowned as one of the most beautiful inner city parks on the planet. Kew Gardens trained botanists oversee the landscaping and work tirelessly to transform the grounds into a quintessential English delight. Throughout the space are several landmark features including a miniature rainforest, 80 year old Bandstand gazebo and the kaleidoscopic National Orchid Garden which hosts over 3000 species of the coveted flowering plant.

botanic garden

Necropolis of Bet She’arim: A Landmark of Jewish Renewal

Since the first century B.C. Bet She’arim has played host to a myriad of prosperous towns. Over time the area has been under the power of Romans, Byzantines and Arabs, with the necropolis constructed over 2,000 years ago. Its purpose was to provide a final resting ground for Rabbi Judah the Patriarch, a momentous Patriarch who sparked the 135 A.D Jewish renewal. In the southern foothills of Lower Galilee the site is comprised of a network of carved limestone caves and tombs adorned with Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew inscriptions.

Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque Hydraulic System

Located on the Central Mexican Plateau, this site is an intriguing blend of cutting edge Roman hydraulics technology and innovative Mesoamerican construction methods. Franciscan friar Padre Tembleque kick-started the project in 1553 and oversaw its 17 year completion. The result was a magnificent aqueduct featuring 126 arches, as well as multiple canals, distribution tanks and arcaded bridges designed to transport H20 28 miles across the Central Mexican Plateau. It boasts the world’s highest single-level arcade and to this day is considered a spectacular feat of engineering.

arcos de zempoala

Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalu and Monreale

This Italian wonder is made up of three churches, two palaces, three cathedrals and a bridge that reflect Sicily’s dynamic Western, Islamic, and Byzantine cultures. When Byzantine leadership collapsed in 831 A.D. a Muslim conquest claimed leadership over Palermo, retaining the crown until 1072. In the wake of dynastic disputes the Normans then conquered which saw the island flourish as one of Europe’s wealthiest states. Now, UNESCO is recognising the vestiges of Cefalu and Monreale as important evidence of both the Norman and Arab influences that shaped the Mediterranean’s’ largest island.

Cruise to UNESCO World Heritage Sites Today

Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Cristian Viarisio, Melvin Yap, Plumerio Pipichas

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Our Pick of 2015’s Best New UNESCO Sites – Part II
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Our Pick of 2015’s Best New UNESCO Sites – Part II
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Building on the previous post highlighting five of our favourite newly listed UNESCO World Heritage Sites, here is an additional quintet to tantalise your travelling palate. Enjoy!
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Claire Wilde

Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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