Al Ain’s cultural sites have made the cut in a list that ranks the 100 most intagrammed Unesco world heritage sites.
Representing the UAE, the Garden City was ranked 98th by The Latin America Travel Company in a list dominated by Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro.
The specialist travel agency analysed the number of Instagram geotags at every one of the world’s Unesco sites to find out which were the most popular places on the social media site. They then ranked the entries in order to compile a list of the top 100.
The podium spots on the list went to Brazil, Hungary and Portugal respectively. Brazil’s seaside city famed for its Unesco-listed Sugar Loaf mountain and Copacabana beach has 23,463,071 Instagram geotags.
Hungary’s Budapest ranks in second place. The European city has 8,921,744 geotags at Unesco landmarks like Buda Castle Hill, Chain Bridge and the world’s third largest Houses of Parliament. Portugal's Porto is listed in third place. The entire Historic Centre of Oporto is Unesco-listed and has 4,474,277 Instagram geotags.
The Garden City
Al Ain has 157,003 geotags on Instagram. The Garden City's popularity comes from its six oases and the archaeological sites of Bida bint Saud, Hafeet and Hili. Occupied continuously since the Neolithic period, these places present fragments of prehistoric cultures including the Bronze and Iron Ages.
The country's first Unesco World Heritage Site is Al Ain Oasis which sprawls across 3,000 acres and is home to over 147,000 date palm trees.
Jordan’s Petra was the highest ranked Unesco landmark in the region. This Nabataean caravan-city nestled between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea is ranked 41st with 455,322 geotags.
Egypt’s historic capital of Cairo is listed two spots behind Petra. The Great Pyramids of Giza and the old capital of Memphis also made the list, ranked 51st with 356,680 Insta-tags.
Lebanon has two entries in the top 100. The first is historic Byblos in 68th position, and the second is the Phoenician city of Baalbek which is the 85th-most Instagrammable Unesco site in the world.
Palestine's Hebron or Al Khalil Old Town clocked up 235,805 geotags to rank in 70th position.
The first Unesco sites were announced over 40 years ago. Nominated in 1978, the original sites included the Galapagos Islands, Krakow’s historic centre, Bochnia Salt Mines and Yellowstone National Park. Today, there are more than 1,100 World Heritage sites around the world.