From the ancient mystery of Stonehenge to the singular beauty of Venice and the unrivalled majesty of India's Taj Mahal, there are more than 1,000 World Heritage Sites across the globe.
UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee meets annually to add more natural and cultural landmarks to the list, awarding special status and protection to places it says have “outstanding universal value”.
This year, 29 sites have been singled out – here are six examples.
1. Vatnajökull National Park – Iceland
Covering nearly 14% of the country, the landscape of this iconic region is dominated by no less than 10 volcanoes, including eight that rise from beneath the ice.
2. Writing-on-Stone – Canada
Gracing the northern edge of the Great Plains, on the border between Canada and the US, the Writing-on-Stone park is home to the largest collection of First Nations rock art. It holds great spiritual significance to the indigenous Blackfoot people.
3. Plain of Jars – Laos
More than 2,000 megalithic stone jars, used during funerals in the Iron Age, are scattered across this area of central Laos. Archaeologists think they are the most prominent evidence that exists of a civilization that disappeared in around 500 CE.
4. Budj Bim Cultural Landscape – Australia
Victoria state’s Budj Bim is the only World Heritage Site in Australia listed purely for its Aboriginal cultural values. The landscape features one of the world’s earliest examples of aquaculture, with a history of eel farming dating back more than 6,000 years.
5. Paraty and Ilha Grande – Brazil
This picturesque landscape boasts the historic centre of Paraty, one of Brazil’s best-preserved coastal towns, and four protected areas of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. It’s home to a diverse array of animal species, including the endangered jaguar and extremely rare woolly spider monkey.
6. Ancient ferrous metallurgy sites – Burkina Faso
Five locations across Burkina Faso make up this site, which includes ancient furnaces, mines and traces of dwellings. The town of Douroula features the oldest evidence of iron production in the West African country.