A stunning selection of must-see spots are among the 2018 nominees to join the extensive list of World Heritage properties.
UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee met in Manama, Bahrain to debate which sites to add to its catalog.
Among those awarded World Heritage Status were the Ancient City of Qalhat in Oman, known for its incredible archaeological remains, Al-Ahsa Oasis, an evolving cultural landscape in Saudi Arabia, and Kenya’s Thimlich Ohinga archaeological site.
In total, 19 sites were added – and the extension of one site was also approved.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee meets annually to review additions to the list, which must be deemed of “outstanding universal value” to warrant inclusion. Representatives from 21 countries assess the options.
The first list was published in 1978 and included Yellowstone National Park in the United States and the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador.
Four decades later, UNESCO World Heritage status is highly coveted among tourist destinations across the world, often credited with bringing in more visitors.
This year’s additions fall into different categories. Some are cultural properties such as the Caliphate City of Medina Azahara, a palatial city built in the 10th century near Cordoba, Spain. This one-time Arab Muslim medieval town is now a collection of vast, beautiful ruins.
Natural sites have also made the cut. These include South Africa’s Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains and the awe-inspiring Fanjingshan mountain in China.
Movers and shakers
UNESCO concluded its deliberations by July 4.
The Committee decided to remove the world’s second largest coral reef, the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve system, from the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger.
The reef has been on the list for the past nine years, but after what UNESCO calls a “visionary” plan by the government of Belize, it’s deemed no longer in extreme peril.
“Today’s removal of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System from the List of World Heritage in Danger is a pivotal moment for the World Heritage Convention and the oceans,” said Mechtild Rossler, director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, in a statement.
Here’s the list of destinations added to the UNESCO list in 2018:
Denmark: Aasivissuit – Nipisat. Inuit Hunting Ground between Ice and Sea
Saudi Arabia: Al-Ahsa Oasis, an evolving Cultural Landscape
Oman: Ancient City of Qalhat
Spain: Caiphate City of Medina Azahara
Turkey: Göbekli Tepe
Japan: Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region
Italy: Ivrea, industrial city of the 20th century
Germany: Naumburg Cathedral
Republic of Korea: Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea
Iran: Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars Region
Germany: The Archaeological Border Landscape of Hedeby and the Danevirke
Kenya: Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site
India: Victorian and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai
South Africa: Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains
France: Chaine des Puys - Limagne fault tectonic arena
Colombia: Chiribiquete National Park – “The Maloca of the Jaguar”
Canada: Pimachiowin Aki
Mexico: Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley: originary habitat of Mesoamerica
Russia: Bikin River Valley