Spain has 41 sites recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO. It is the second country in the world in terms of heritage places being Italy the first one. This is a result of the country’s rich history and the importance given along the years to its patrimony’s conservation.
As per UNESCO’s classification, from the total of 41 Spanish world heritage sites, 3 of them are due to its natural value. These are: Teide National Park (that comprehends a stratovolcano of 7,500 m high) in Tenerife; Doñana National Park (surroundings of the Guadalquivir estuary into the Ocean, famous for its rich biotopes) in Andalucia and Garajonay National Park (a forest with a vegetation similar to the tertiary era) in the Island of La Gomera in the Canaries. Other 2 sites have been recognized as a mix of natural and cultural heritage; Ibiza, due to its biodiversity and cultural value; and the Mont Perdú on the Pyrenees (sheared with France), due to its amazing geological conditions and for being one of the few places where the mountain pastoral lifestyle survives.
The remaining 36 World Heritage Sites respond to its cultural legacy. There are all kinds of cultural treasures among the list of World Heritage Sites in Spain; architectural wonders, paintings in caves, religious and public buildings, monuments and archeological remains from different eras, civilizations and creeds.
Some of the worldwide most famous World Heritage Sites in Spain are:
Alhambra Generalife and Albaycin: The medieval Moorish city where the former emirs and their court lived. The fortress and the residential neighborhood stand in two adjacent hills above the modern town. Check for Alhambra tickets and skip the line.
Historic Centre of Cordoba: An excellent preserved medieval city, home of several Christian and Moor sites of extreme beauty such as the famous Cordoba’s Mosque, which was turned into cathedral on the 13th century.
Historic City of Toledo: Less than an hour away from Madrid, this city was witnessed of more than 2000 years of Judaism, Christianity and Islam history. Walking around its narrow streets gives the sensation of a trip in time back to the Roman occupation, the Visigothic Kingdom (of which it was the capital), the Moore statements and the times when it was the capital of Charles V’s empire in the 16th century.
Pilgrimage Santiago de Compostela: This route links the french border with the Cathedral of Santiago in Galicia going through 5 different communities. It has been a pilgrimage way to Santiago (which old town is a heritage site itself) since medieval times attracting Christians from all Europe. The buildings found on the way are an excellent historical testimony.
Archaeological Ensemble of Merida: A magnificent representation of a Roman capital. Roman remainis of the former Augusta Emerita (now Merida in Estremadura) including a circus, an amphitheatre and works of engineering such as its water supply system.
Palau de la Musica Catalana: A beautiful representation of the Art Nouveau movement that characterized the beginnings of the 20th century in the region. It impresses visitors with its exquisite decoration and construction style.
Altamira Cave: Located in Cantabria. This cave and the seventeen minor caves that surround it contain Paleolithic art from 35.000 to 11.000 BC. This is considered the humanity’s earliest accomplished art.
These are just a few of the amazing heritage places Spain has. Basically in each community, in big cities or in rural areas there is a UNESCO World Heritage site to enjoy.
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