Former mining town Blaenau Ffestiniog and its moody slate landscapes have become part of the latest UNESCO World Heritage Site, joining Venice, Egypt’s Pyramids and India’s Taj Mahal.
Last year the UNESCO committee could not meet, making this year’s list a bumper pick of the best for 2020 and 2021 including North Wales and a variety of European towns.
The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales, UK
The unique area around Blaenau Ffestiniog, Llanberis, Bethesda and the Nantlle Valley was added to the body’s of celebrated sites and is it’s the fourth UNESCO site in Wales.
The other are the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Blaenavon Industrial Landscape and the Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd.
Blaenau falls right in the middle of this UNESCO landscape and this historic town has successfully managed to position itself as an outdoor adventure capital in recent years.
Blaenau is best known for being the ‘town that roofed the world’ with the high-quality slate extracted from the quarries in Snowdonia, Gwynedd, exported around the globe.
It was previously a world leader for the production and export of slate in the 1800s, producing 485,000 tonnes of slate a year at its peak.
Welsh slate has been on a number of significant buildings and palaces across the globe, including Westminster Hall, the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne and Copenhagen City Hall in Denmark.
The town has an exciting range of outdoor pursuits and world-class attractions whilst retaining its heritage and character. Located in the heart of Snowdonia, Blaenau is close to rugged mountains, lakes and hiking and biking trails, making it the perfect base for thrill-seekers.
Each year, thousands of visitors flock to Blaenau’s adventure and heritage attractions including Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Zip World, Antur Stiniog bike park and the Ffestiniog Railway
Full list of new UNESCO newcomers:
1. Arslantepe Mound, Turkey
2. Chankillo Archaeoastronomical Complex, Peru
3. Colonies of Benevolence, Belgium/Netherlands
4. Cordouan Lighthousem, France
5. Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple, Telangana, India
6. Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt, Germany
7. Padua’s fourteenth-century fresco cycles, Italy
8. Paseo del Prado and Buen Retiro, a landscape of Arts and Sciences, Spain
9. Quanzhou: Emporium of the World in Song-Yuan China, China
10. Roșia Montană Mining Landscape, Romania
11. Sítio Roberto Burle Marx, Brazil
12. The Great Spa Towns of Europe, Austria, Belgium, Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
13. The work of engineer Eladio Dieste: Church of Atlántida, Uruguay
14. Trans-Iranian Railway, Iran
15. Ḥimā Cultural Area, Saudi Arabia
16. Amami-Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, Northern part of Okinawa Island, and Iriomote Island, Japan
17. Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands, Georgia
18. Getbol, Korean Tidal Flats, South Korea
19. Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex, Thailand
20. As-Salt – The Place of Tolerance and Urban Hospitality, Jordan
21. Cultural Landscape of Hawraman/Uramanat, Iran
22. Dholavira: a Harappan City, India
23. Frontiers of the Roman Empire — The Lower German Limes, Germany/the Netherlands
24. Jomon Prehistoric Sites in Northern Japan, Japan
25. Nice, Winter Resort Town of the Riviera, France
26. Settlement and Artificial Mummification of the Chinchorro Culture in the Arica and Parinacota Region, Chile
27. ShUm Sites of Speyer, Worms and Mainz, Germany
28. Sudanese style mosques in northern Côte d’Ivoire, Côte d’Ivoire
29. The Porticoes of Bologna, Italy
30. The works of Jože Plečnik in Ljubljana — Human Centred Urban Design, Slovenia
31. The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales, United Kingdom
32. Petroglyphs of Lake Onega and the White Sea, Russia
33. Ivindo National Park, Gabon