The 156-year-old Singapore Botanic Gardens was awarded the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site on 4 July 2015 at the 39th World Heritage Committtee meeting held in Bonn, Germany.
Acknowledged as a world-class scientific centre for conservation and education, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the first botanical site to be recognised in Asia.
Besides the city-state’s new addition to the list, there are only three other global botanical sites that are recognised by UNESCO. Global travel search company, Skyscanner, lists the other three around the world.
Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico), Padua, Italy
The botanical garden in Padua is the world’s first university garden created in 1545. This makes it the world’s oldest surviving botanical garden that represents the birth of botanical science, scientific exchanges, and understanding of the relationship between nature and culture.
It also features a greenhouse that was opened last year — a structure with four climatic zones.
Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, England
The UNESCO gardens in Kew offers a view of over 130 hectares of greenery and landscapes for the visitor to tread on. It also has eight glasshouses, art galleries, and even a museum. The site also holds the record for the world’s largest collection of plants.
Free guided-walking tours are available for visitors, as well as hands-on sessions that are suitable for novices to learn more about the plants. The English garden also has cafes and restaurants on site.
Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape, South Africa
The botanical landscape is located in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, along the Orange River border with Namibia.
Consisting of communal grazed lands, Karoo vegetation, as well as a harmonious interaction between man and nature, the landscape is starkly different from the other botanical gardens on the list.
This semi-desert still shows the Nama people (a clan in South Africa) practicing a form of transhumance, moving seasonally with their livestock to suitable grazing areas.