When you tell people that you live in Spain or have a house there, their first thought is usually of hot weather and beaches. The Spanish coastline is famous and people from across the world like to holiday here for just that reason – it’s hot (most of the year), sunny and the sea is warm (most of the year).
However, there is so much more to Spain than this. It is in fact a very diverse country with extremes of mountain ranges with top class ski resorts to desert areas. Spain is a country rich in heritage and the fact that it has the second highest number of world heritage sites is one indication of just how much there is to see.
Altogether there are 44 sites in Spain that are registered by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). There isn’t enough room to mention them all here and you can look for yourself on the world heritage site.
However, if you are looking for somewhere to visit then here is a small selection of the sites you might want to begin with:
- The historic centre of Córdoba
- The Alhambra, Generalife and Albayzín
- The works of Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona
- The old town of Santiago de Compostela and the route of Santiago de Compostela
- The historic City of Toledo
- The Old City of Salamanca
- Pyrénées Mont Perdu
- Palmeral of Elche
So who pipped Spain to first place? Italy comes out as the holder of the record number of sites with 47, China is close behind Spain with 43 followed by France (38) and Germany (37). The United Kingdom comes in 8th place with 28 sites, followed by Russia with 25 and Sweden a little further down the chart with 15.
It’s not just about identifying the sites. UNESCO’s World Heritage mission includes ensuring the protection of the world’s natural and cultural heritage, increasing public awareness and providing emergency assistance where a site is in immediate danger. Religious and political disputes in a country can lead to the destruction not only of human life but of a country’s cultural heritage.