UNESCO adds 12 sites to its World Heritage List

UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the most eminent accolade for monuments, buildings, sites or natural features “of outstanding universal value,” has added 12 new members to its ranks.

Being inscribed into the list tends to result in greater awareness, greater tourism and greater emphasis on protecting that site for future generations to enjoy.

You could also regard it as an authoritative guide on the best places around the world worthy of a visit. Scroll through the gallery above to see what they are.


Archaeological sites of the Island of Meroe, Sudan

This semi-desert landscape between the Nile and Atbara rivers was the heartland of the Kingdom of Kush, a major power from the 8th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D. It was the seat of the rulers who occupied Egypt for close to a century and features pyramids, temples and domestic buildings as well as major installations connected to water management.

Coffee cultural landscape of Colombia

These coffee growing areas encompass six farming landscapes in Colombia, which include 18 urban centers on the foothills of the western and central ranges of the Cordillera de los Andes in the west of the country. The centennial tradition of coffee growing in the high forest reflects the way farmers have adapted cultivation to difficult mountain condition. Once colonized by Spain, buildings in urban areas were built of cob, pleated cane for the walls and clay tiles for the roofs.

Fagus Factory in Alfeld, Germany

Fagus Factory in Alfeld is a 10-building complex — began around 1910 to the design of Walter Gropius, and is a landmark in the development of modern architecture and industrial design. It serves all stages of shoe manufacture, storage and dispatch. Situated in Alfeld on the Leine in Lower Saxony, Germany, it is still operational today.

Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison, Barbados

Bridgetown in Barbados includes outstanding examples of British colonial architecture in a well-preserved old town built in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The property also includes a nearby military garrison which consists of numerous historic buildings. With its serpentine urban lay-out the property testifies to a different approach to colonial town-planning compared to the Spanish and Dutch colonial cities of the region which were built along a grid plan.

Longobards in Italy. Places of the power (568-774 A.D.)

The Longobards comprise seven groups of important buildings (including fortresses, churches, and monasteries) throughout the Italian Peninsula. They testify to the high achievement of the Lombards, who migrated from northern Europe and developed their own specific culture in Italy where they ruled over vast territories in the 6th to 8th centuries.

Saloum Delta, Senegal

Fishing and shellfish gathering have sustained human life in the 5,000 kilometer squared property, which is formed by the arms of three rivers. The site comprises brackish channels encompassing over 200 islands and islets, mangrove forest, an Atlantic marine environment and dry forest.

The West Lake Cultural Lanscape of Hangzhou, China

Located in the west of the city of Hangzhou to the south of the Yangtze River, the West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou includes the lake, hills and other tourist sites. Two dams go through the lake and were named after two poets Bai Juyi from the Tang Dynasty and Su Dongpo from the Song Dynasty, both of whom were also local governors of the city.

Ningaloo Coast, Australia

Located on the easternmost point of the West Australian coast, the Ningaloo Coast stretches more than 200 kilometers and has the longest near-shore reefs in the world. It is home to numerous marine species, including sea turtles, and whale sharks (pictured) gather there every year.

Ogasawara Islands, Japan

An archipelago of over 30 subtropical and tropical islands, the Ogasawara Islands are located some 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo. Its English name Bonin means “no people” though the islands now have a population of 2,440. They are home to a wealth of fauna, including 195 endangered bird species.

Wadi Rum Protected Area, Jordan

The 74,000-hectare property, inscribed as a mixed natural and cultural site, is situated in southern Jordan, near the border with Saudi Arabia. It features a varied desert landscape consisting of a range of narrow gorges, natural arches, towering cliffs, ramps, massive landslides and caverns.

Hiraizumi –Temples, Gardens and Archaeological Sites Representing the Buddhist Pure Land

The cultural property of Hiraizumi comprises five sites, including the sacred Mount Kinkeisan. Hiraizumi was the administrative center of the northern realm of Japan in the 11th and 12th centuries, and the cultural site features vestiges of ancient government offices from that time. The realm represents the pure land of Buddha that people aspire to after death and peace of mind in this life.

Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley

The Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley, a natural property of outstanding beauty, comprises three inter-linked relatively shallow lakes (Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Elementaita) in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya and covers a total area of 32,034 hectares. The property is home to 13 globally threatened bird species and some of the highest bird diversities in the world.


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