Champagne granted world heritage status by Unesco

This file photo taken on September 23, 2007, shows a champagne vineyard in Villenauxe-la-Grande, near Epernay, eastern France. Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption The vineyards in the Champagne region were given heritage status in Saturday's meeting

The industry behind champagne production has been handed world heritage status by the United Nations' cultural arm.

Unesco decided that the vineyards, wine cellars and sales houses where champagne is produced and sold were culturally significant.

It was one of 11 sites given World Heritage status by Unesco at a meeting in Germany on Saturday.

The status should ensure the sites receive special protection in future.

Unesco said the champagne industry was "a very specialised artisan activity that has become an agro-industrial enterprise."

Its addition to the list - that already includes Macchu Picchu in Peru, the Taj Mahal in India and the Great Wall of China - could bring extra financial aid and more tourists.

The vineyards of Burgundy, in France, were also given World Heritage status on Saturday.

Among the other sites to be named were:

  • Singapore's Botanic Gardens
  • Diyarbakir Fortress in Turkey
  • Maymand cave dwellings in Iran

One world heritage site, the ruins of Palmyra in Syria, was taken over by Islamic State militants in May, leading to criticism that World Heritage status does not help protect culturally significant sites.

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