UNESCO Adds 26 New World Heritage Sites

26 new UNESCO World Heritage Sites bring the total to 1,007, including the first in Myanmar (see the press release). The 38th Session of the World Heritage Committe concluded today in Qatar.

The list continues to grow as do the length of names of sites. Pergamon should stand by its name, not be cheapened with the qualifier “…and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape.” And who came up with “Caves of Maresha and Bet-Guvrin in the Judean Lowlands as a Microcosm of the Land of the Caves.” Wait, you mean there are caves involved?

Saudi Arabia (283)

Historic Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

The new sites are:

  • Qhapaq Nan, Andean Road System (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru)
  • Okavango Delta (Bostwana)
  • Grand Canal (China)
  • Precolumbian Chiefdom Settlements with Stone Spheres of the Diquís (Costa Rica)
  • Stevns Klint (Denmark)
  • Decorated Cave of Pont d’Arc, known as Grotte Chauvet-Pont d’Arc, Ardèche (France)
  • Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey (Germany)
  • Great Himalayan National Park (India)
  • Rani-ki-Vav (The Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat (India)
  • Shahr-I Sokhta (Iran)
  • Erbil Citadel (Iraq)
  • Caves of Maresha and Bet-Guvrin in the Judean Lowlands as a Microcosm of the Land of the Caves (Israel)
  • Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont (Italy)
  • Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites (Japan)
  • Silk Roads: The Routes Network of Chang’an-Tian-shan Corridor (Kyrgyzstan, China and  Kazakhstan)
  • Pyu Ancient Cities (Myanmar)
  • Van Nellefabriek (Netherlands)
  • Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary (Philippines)
  • Namhansanseong (Republic of Korea)
  • Bolgar Historical and Archaeological Complex (Russian Federation)
  • Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah (Saudi Arabia)
  • Bursa and Cumalikizik: the Birth of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey)
  • Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape (Turkey)
  • Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point (United States of America)
  • Trang An Landscape Complex (Viet Nam)

I have only been to a few of these, Crand Canal, Erbil Citadel, and Historic Jeddah come to mind. Others, in a trend that I do not applaud, are wide-sweeping geographic areas that I have probably visited parts, like the multi-country Qhapaq Nan and Silk Roads. These seem politically designed to let as many jurisdictions as possible claim status to attract tourist dollars rather than focus on the greatest examples of natural and human achievement.

Central Asia 006

Seems Like Silk Roads in Kazakhstan

Quibbles aside, the list is a fun and useful tool in my trip planning. The chase for many has taken me on adventures grand and small, producing great journeys even when the prize at the end is a hole in the ground or another “Historic Centre” (there are 54).

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  • guera

    When I saw the first entry listed, Qhapaq Nan, I thought, what the heck, is this the complete Inca Trail? Had to google it, and sure enough that’s what it is! At first this annoyed me, because the sections are separated by great distances, and are in so many different countries. But the more I thought about it, the more I warmed up to the idea. Perhaps with more recognition, more areas of the trail will be cleared and made more accessible. You would have more choices than the tourist slog than the 3-day hike to Macchu Piccu.

    But then again, maybe this designation just covers too great an area. What would we do if they made a designation, “Roads of the Roman Empire?” Ha, Ha!

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @guera – “Roads of the Roman Empire” indeed! 🙂

  • Curiosity got ahold of me – how many of the 1,007 sites have you been to in total?

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @Becky – I am holding off totaling them because then I might get more obsessive about visiting them. I would guess around 250-300. I visit them whenever I can, in countries with fewer sites I try to visit them all unless they require massive diversion/time commitment…and then still do some of those. In places with many, often repetitive sites like Western Europe I am less enthusiastic about visiting every church and historic square so focus on the ones that really stand out to me.

    My albatross is the fort in Bahrain, I had no GPS and despite occasionally seeing traffic signs, I had several fruitless hours of trying to actually reach the place, several times ending up back on the causeway to Saudi Arabia. I have no desire to ever go back to Bahrain so it will remain unvisited unless business takes me there.