Amazing pictures from Mexico and India have helped to cement its iconic status. Now, National Geographic Magazine is celebrating its 125th birthday with a special October issue devoted to what it has done so incredibly well throughout its life: photography.
Its work has inspired travellers around the world, whether on trekking holidays or group tours, to take pictures of their journeys.
Images which have stunned readers include one jaw-dropping shot in Dzitnup, Mexico.
It depicts stalactites dangling above a swimmer spotlit by a single sunbeam in the Xkeken cenote, a natural well in the Yucatán, believed by the Maya to lead to the underworld.
Equally memorable are photographs of Mumbai's Churchgate Station and a sleeping lion - the king of the jungle - snoozing in a tree in Uganda.
These pictures pay fitting tribute to the legendary magazine as it celebrates 125 years.
The trio are among the cream of the publication's award-winning photojournalism showcased in the anniversary issue, serving as a souvenir to fabulous work in the past and a promise of what the future holds.
Chris Johns, editor in chief of National Geographic magazine, called camerawork a "powerful tool and form of self-expression".
Johns said: "Sharing what you see and experience through the camera allows you to connect, move and inspire people around the world."
The magazine's 125th anniversary festivities also sees it giving voice to the readers and viewers who have helped to make the society such a key player in conservation and photojournalism.
Photography fans are being invited to submit pictures for the magazine next Tuesday (October 1), as part of a newly designed, photo-sharing stage called Your Shot.
The first Your Shot assignment will be loosely formed around the theme of the October 2013 anniversary issue.
The fabled National Geographic photo of a young Afghan girl in a Pakistan refugee camp makes the cover of the anniversary edition.
It is an apt selection. It adorned the June 1985 cover and became its most famous front page yet.
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