Unesco has announced the Forth Bridge will become the UK’s 29th – and Scotland’s sixth – World Heritage Site.
The feat of Victorian engineering has joined St Kilda, Edinburgh and the Great Wall of China on the list.
The rail bridge spanning the estuary of the Forth River in Scotland, which is 2,529 metres (8,296ft) long and 100 metres high, was the largest cantilever span in the world when it opened in 1890.
The Forth Bridge continues to carry passengers and freight and is a beloved national institution which, famously, requires constant repainting.
Its distinctive industrial aesthetic, which is the result of a unadorned display of its structural components, makes the Forth Bridge an important milestone in bridge design and construction during the period when railways came to dominate long-distance land travel.
The bid to have the Forth Bridge recognised was put forward by the UK government following a joint project by the Scottish government in partnership with Network Rail, Transport Scotland and Historic Scotland.
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Forth Bridge’s inscription as a World Heritage Site is an honour, and true recognition of the Bridge’s unique place in Scotland’s history.”
The Forth Bridge was among 24 sites that Unesco awarded World Heritage Site status at a meeting of its committee in Germany, recently.
WHS status recognises a site’s special cultural or physical significance as well as giving it certain protections under international conventions. There are now 1,031 WHSs in 163 countries.
Other locations approved included the Rjukan-Notodden Industrial Heritage Site in Norway; Turkey’s Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape; and Baekje Historic Areas in South Korea.
Photo credit: Historic Scotland