These places may not be at the top of the travel list when it comes to places to visit but that's all about to change as they now stand side by side with the pyramids of Giza and the Sydney Opera House in terms of 'outstanding universal value'. Buro 24/7 Middle East shares some of the places that will now be forever protected for future generations, thanks to their new UNESCO listing.
Once a key port city, Ephesus thrived under the Hellenistic and Roman settlers and the Temple of Artemis. Excavations in the area have revealed grand monuments of the Roman Imperial period including the Library of Celsus and the Great Theatre. "The city, which was situated at the beginning of the Persian Royal Road has survived sufficiently enough to enable us to understand the ancient way of life in Ephesus," said UNESCO. "It is one of the cities which played an impressive role in the beginnings of Christianity and during the period of its proliferation. It contains one of the most spectacular examples of religious architecture of the Seljuk Period."
Rock Art in the Hail region, Saudi Arabia
Consisting of two areas — Jabel Umm Sinman at Jubbah and the Jabal al-Manjor and Raat at Shuwaymis — the rock arts of the Hail region show numerous representations of human and animal figures covering 10,000 years of history. A lake that once flowed at the foot of the Umm Sinman hill range was a source of water for the Arab's ancestors but has now disappeared. Nevertheless, the traces of their passages in numerous petroglyphs and inscriptions on the rock bear witness to a period, which is now literally lost in the sands of time.
Singapore Botanical Gardens, Singapore
Started in 1859, the Singapore Botanical Gardens are the only English-style garden in the tropics and now spans 74-hectares, and inside is the National Orchid Garden, which has over 1,000 orchid species and 2,000 hybrids on display. Interestingly, a significant number of the hybrid orchids have been named after luminaries like Margaret Thatcher and Nelson Mandela. In the modern age, the garden is a world-class scientific institution used for both conservation and education. The Gardens are also home to the 150 year-old Burkill Hall, a colonial house of a very rare architectural form, and quite possibly the last surviving example anywhere of what is referred to as the Anglo-Malay plantation-style house.
Susa is known for the archaeological mounds rising on the eastern side of the Shavur River, as well as Ardeshir's palace, on the opposite bank of the river. The city formerly belonged to the Elamite, Pesian and Parthian empires and Susa is testimony to those cultural traditions that have largely disappeared. It was also once the winter residence of Persian kings after having been captured by Cyrus the Great. Discoveries from extensive excavations in the area have included cylinder seals, jewellery, clay balls and clay tablets with inscriptions recording business transactions, political history and mathematical calculations.
The Forth Bridge, UK and Northern Ireland
At 2529m, the Forth Bridge is not only one of the world's earliest great multi-span cantilever bridges but it's also one of the longest. Designed by Sir John Fowler and Benjamin Baker, and built by over 4000 men, the distinctive red bridge has carried trains over the Forth since 1890. "This enormous structure, with its distinctive industrial aesthetic and striking red colour, was conceived and built using advanced civil engineering design principles and construction methods," said UNESCO. "Innovative in design, materials and scale, the Forth Bridge is an extraordinary and impressive milestone in bridge design and construction during the period when railways came to dominate long-distance land travel."