Iconic locations such as the Great Barrier Reef and Taj Mahal could be joined on a list of World Heritage sites by the slate quarries of Gwynedd, Wales.
The county’s slate-scarred landscape has been submitted for the prestigious award by the UK Government, which is allowed one entry per year.
Heritage Minister Michael Ellis said Gwynedd would be a “worthy addition” to the UNESCO World Heritage site list.
He said Gwynedd’s slate quarries “have not only shaped the countryside of the region but countless buildings across the UK and the world.”
Gwynedd produced huge quantities of slate in the 19th century which was used in the UK and across Europe, the US and Australia.
Its bid will be formally presented for consideration next year and after a rigorous selection process a decision will be made in 2021.
The area covered includes Ffestiniog’s quarries and historic railway, Dinorwig slate quarry in Llanberis and the 16th century Aberllefenni slate quarry.
It would be the fourth World Heritage site in Wales after
- The Blaenavon Industrial Landscape.
- King Edward I’s castles and town walls in Gwynedd.
- Pontcysyllte Canal and Aqueduct.
There are 31 world heritage sites in the UK and these include:
- The Lake District.
- Canterbury Cathedral Kent.
- Derwent Valley Mills, Derbyshire.
- The Forth Bridge, Scotland.
- The Tower of London.
- The city of Bath.
The government is waiting to hear if another of its nominations, the Jodrell Bank Observatory, has been successful.
Across the world, there are more than 1000 sites on the list, with Italy claiming the most with 54.
UK government minister for Wales Mims Davies, said she hoped securing the status for Gwynedd would help revive the economy through investment and tourism.