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UNESCO

Ten best UNESCO world heritage sites in Spain

As Benidorm mades a bid to be recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site and earn a place alongside some of Spain's most celebrated destinations, we take a look at some of the country's best.

Ten best UNESCO world heritage sites in Spain
The Alhambra fortress in Granada. Photo: Bernjan/Flickr

Spain is home to a staggering 44 UNESCO World Heritage sites, third in number only to Italy and China and now the tourist hotspot of Benidorm thinks it deserves a place on the list. 

But how does the Costa Blanca resort compare to Spain's other World Heritage sites?

There are Andalusian cities steeped in history and Moorish architecture such as Seville, Cordoba and Granada and natural beauty spots such as the rich wetlands of Donaña or the weird and wonderful moonscape of Tiede in Tenerife.

For those interested in more recent architecture the Catalan modernist works of Antoni Gaudi have won recognition by UNESCO, or stretching back into history, so too has the Roman-built lighthouse, which still stands proud on a rocky outcrop of Galicia.

For those with a fascination for the even more ancient, the Paleolithic rock art preserved at Altamira is also a World Heritage Site.

Or perhaps a stroll along the pilgrimage route of St James, another of Spain’s recognized gems.

Here are ten of the best UNESCO World Heritage sites in Spain 

Ibiza, one of the Balearic Islands is on the World Heritage List. Photo: Rodrigo Sa/Flickr

EASTER

GALLERY: This is how Easter was celebrated across Spain

Catch up with these amazing images of how Semana Santa was celebrated in different places across Spain.

GALLERY: This is how Easter was celebrated across Spain
Penitents wearing hoods take part in a Holy Week procession in Verges. Photo: AFP
Wherever you were in Spain last week, you likely came across Easter celebrations involving hooded penitents in slow moving processions where statues of Christ and the saints were held aloft.
 
But you may also have come across penitents dragging a crucifix through the streets, or bands of children in skeleton suits dancing through the town.
 
 
Here's a look at the best images from Semana Santa 2018:
 
Spanish actor Antonio Banderas takes part in the “Lagrimas y Favores” (Tears and Favours) brotherhood Palm Sunday procession in his home city of Malaga at the start of the Holy Week. Photo: AFP
 
Despite the startling resemblance, the long conical hats worn by the members of some brotherhoods during Spain's Easter celebrations have nothing to do with the Ku Klux Klan. Instead, they originate in the hats worn by people found guilty of religious crimes in the Spanish Inquisition.

In Sevilla, a hooded penitent walks to church before the start of a procession. Photo: AFP
 
Those criminals would walk the streets in the hats while they were mocked and insulted by the crowds. By donning the hats in Spain's Easter celebrations, penitents are also re-enacting Christ's road to Calvary.
 
Penitents take part in the “Lagrimas y Favores” (Tears and Favours) brotherhood Palm Sunday procession in Malaga at the start of the Holy Week. Photo: AFP
 
A barefoot penitent stands on the pavement during 'Los Gitanos' (the gipsies) Spy Wednesday procession in the Holy Week in Madrid.Photo: AFP
 
Penitents wearing hoods take part in a Holy Week procession in Verges, northeastern Spain, on March 29, 2018. 
 
People watch the “Jesus Nazareno, el pobre y Maria Santisima del Dulce Nombre” (Jesus the Nazarene, the poor and Holy Mary of the Sweet Name) procession on Easter Holy Week's Maundy Thursday in Madrid
 
Penitents carry a figure of Jesus the Nazarene on Maundy Thursday in Madrid. Photo: AFP
 
A woman sporting the traditional Spanish 'mantilla' (shawl) takes part in a procession in Madrid,  Photo: AFP
 
Spanish legionnaires carry a crucifix figure depicting 'El Cristo de la Buena Muerte' (Christ of the Good Death) to Santo Domingo de Guzman church during the 'Cristo de Mena' Holy Week procession on March 29th in Malaga, southern Spain.
 
The legionnaires hoist a statue of Christ on His cross above their heads using just one hand each.
 
And for those who want to see the performance in full, check out this video: 
Meanwhile in northern Spai, cross carrying is made to look a little bit more difficult.
 
A penitent tied with a rope round the neck carries a cross during the 'El Ensogado' (The roped) procession on Easter Holy Week's Maundy Thursday in the northern Spanish village of Sietamo 
 
Some children hold candles as a penitent tied with a rope round the neck carries a cross during the 'El Ensogado' (The roped) procession on Easter Holy Week's Maundy Thursday in the northern Spanish village of Sietamo.
 
Dancers perform the Dance of the Death during a Holy Week procession in Verges, northeastern Spain, on March 30, 2018. 
 
Dancers dress in body stockings with skeletons painted on them and carry symbols to stir the people and prepare them for a good death.
 
Penitents of the “Cristo Salvador y del Amparo” brotherhood carry a statue of Jesus on a cross during a Good Friday procession on a beach in Valencia as part of the Holy Week on March 30, 2018. 
 
Penitents of the El Cachorro brotherhood parade over Triana bridge during a Good Friday procession as part of the Holy Week in Sevilla on March 30, 2018. 

Penitents of the “La O” brotherhood parade over Triana bridge during a Good Friday procession as part of the Holy Week in Sevilla on March 30, 2018. 

At at last the royal family, King Felipe VI of Spain, his wife Queen Letizia, their daughters Princess Sofia (front C) and Princess Leonor (front R), former King Juan Carlos I and his wife former Queen Sofia pose after attending the traditional Easter Sunday Mass of Resurrection in Palma de Mallorca.