We present you the new World Heritage sites

The Unesco World Heritage Committee was celebrating its 42nd session in the city of Manama, Bahrain, in the month of July.

As a result, it has decided to add 19 new protected sites to the world heritage list.

The list includes 13 new sites included in the cultural category, 3 in the natural category and 3 in the mixed category. An extension of a site already declared a world heritage was also carried out, the Bikin River Valley in Russia, to which a larger protected area was added.

Here we review them all:

Cultural Category

  • Archaeological Border complex of Hedeby and the Danevirke, Germany
The Crooked Wall of the Danevirke
The Crooked Wall of the Danevirke. (Photo: Rainer Heidenreich)

Hedeby is a site that shows vestiges of an old emporium showing streets, buildings, cemeteries and even a port, all built during the first century of our era and the beginning of the second. It is surrounded by the Danevirke, a line of fortifications.

The large amount of archaeological material and its excellent conservation make it the ideal place to know and understand the evolution of Europe in the Viking era.

  • Naumburg Cathedral, Germany
Naumburg Cathedral
Naumburg Cathedral with west choir. (Photo: Guido Siebert)

Its construction began in 1028 and reflects the art and architecture of the Middle Ages. The Romanesque structure of the cathedral, flanked by two Gothic choirs, shows a transition between the end of the Romanesque style and the beginning of the Gothic.

  • Caliphate City of Medina Azahara, Spain
Medina Azahara
Aerial image of the Califal City of Medina Azahara. (Photo: M. Pijuán)

Archaeological site with vestiges of a palatial city, where streets, bridges, hydraulic systems, as well as buildings and decorative elements stand out.

It was built in the mid-tenth century by the Umayyad dynasty to be the seat of the caliphate of Cordoba. Its facilities survived the looting and oblivion and today allows to know more better the period of maximum splendor of the disappeared western Islamic civilization of al-Ándalus.

  • Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region, Japan
Shitsu Church
Shitsu Church with its two bell towers. (Photo: TBS VISION, Inc)

It is a site located northwest of Kyushu Island, composed of ten villages, the Hara castle and a cathedral. These places document the clandestine life and activities of Christian missionaries and settlers between the 17th and 19th centuries, when Christianity was banned in Japan.

  • Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea, South Korea
Tongdosa Sansa Temple
The Tongdosa Temple is part of the Sansa monasteries. (Photo: CIBM)

The seven Buddhist monasteries-temples were founded between the seventh and ninth centuries and are scattered in the southern mountains of Korea.

All were built with identical characteristics, a covered central patio called madang, which is flanked by four buildings: the Buda room, the pavilion, the reading room and the bedroom. They are perfectly preserved and even today Buddhist religion is practiced in them.

  • Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai, India
Kala Ghoda Aerial Image
Aerial view of the architecture in the Kala Ghoda area. (Photo: Jehangir Sorabjee)

The constructions began as part of ambitious modernization plans of the city of Mumbai throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

The modernization included public buildings of Victorian neo-Gothic style around the green esplanade of the Great Oval to which, later on, Art Deco buildings were added. The buildings added some local characteristics to adapt to the climate and environment of the city, which generated an unique style called art indo-decó.

  • Göbekli Tepe, Turkey
Göbekli Tepe
Main excavation area in Göbekli Tepe. (Photo: N. Becke)

The circular megalithic monuments that make up Göbekli Tepe, located in southeastern Anatolia, were erected by hunter-gatherers in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic, between the years 9600-8200 BC.

This place was used for the execution of rituals and now allows to know more about the beliefs and worldview of the ancient settlers of Upper Mesopotamia 11.500 years ago.

  • Al-Ahsa Oasis, Saudi Arabia
Al-Ahsa oasis
Buildings, gardens and a huge amount of palm trees are part of the Al-Ahsa oasis. (Photo: François Cristofoli)

Located in the eastern region of the Arabian Peninsula, Al-Ahsa is the largest oasis in the world. Its landscape, made up of 2.5 million palm trees, is an exceptional example of the interaction with the environment.

In the oasis there are canals, water wells, gardens, historical buildings and numerous sites of archaeological importance that document the existence of sedentary populations in the Gulf region from the Neolithic to the present day.

  • Ancient City of Qalhat, Oman
 Bibi Maryam mausoleum Qalhat
Mausoleum of Bibi Maryam, inside the ancient city of Qalhât. (Photo: QDP)

The vestiges of the ancient city of Qalhât are found on the eastern coast of Oman and conserve remains of necropolises and fortresses circumscribed by outer and inner walls.

Qalhât became an important port city between the XI and XV centuries, under the rule of the princes of Hormuz, maintaining good trade with East Africa, India, and even Southeast Asia and China.

  • Ivrea, industrial city of the 20th century, Italy
Ivrea aerial image
Offices and social services center, members of the industrial city. (Photo: Maurizio Gjivovich)

The industrial complex located in the Piedmont region has been the laboratory of experimentation and production of the Italian company Olivetti, dedicated to manufacture calculators, typewriters and computers.

In addition to the factory, the place has administrative buildings and staff accommodation. It was designed between 1930 and 1960 by Italian architects representing the Community Movement (Movimento Comunità), which promoted a modern vision of the relationship between architecture and manufacturing production.

  • Aasivissuit – Nipisat. Inuit Hunting Ground between Ice and Sea, Denmark
Sarfannguit at night
Night photography of Sarfannguit, a town located just north of the Arctic Circle and part of the heritage. (Image: Ólafur Rafnar Ólafsson)

Seven sites, from Nipisat, in the west, to Aasivissuit, in the east, make up this important site in the northwest region of Greenland.

The place has witnessed 4.200 years of history of indigenous populations that adapted to the climatic conditions of the place, adapting their houses and organizing seasonal migrations, as well as living from the hunting of marine and terrestrial animals. Customs that endure to this day.

  • Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars Region, Iran
Ardashir Palace
The Ardashir Palace integrates the Sassanid archaeological landscape. (Photo: B. Sedighi)

It consists of fortified structures, palaces and urban plans distributed in eight archaeological sites located in three geographical areas: Firuzabad, Bishapur and Savestan.

The constructions date from the first and last moments of the Sasánida empire, that extended in the region between years 224 and 658 of our era.

The place testifies to the perfect use of the topography of the place and the influence of Achaemenian cultural traditions and departures as well as exchanges with Roman art, which influenced the architecture and artistic approaches of the Islamic period.

  • Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site, Kenya
Thimlich Ohinga site ruins
Image showing the entrance to the Kochieng site and the buttresses on both sides of the wall for stability. (Photo: Ephraim Mwangi)

Located near Lake Victoria, the site preserves vestiges of a fortified human settlement built entirely with uncut stones and joined without mortar.

The buildings probably date from the sixteenth century and served to protect the population and the cattle, as well as to determine the different social units linked to societies based on the lineage.

Thimlich Ohinga is the largest and best preserved of all the existing in the region.

Natural Category

  • Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains, South Africa
Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains
Farms and small rural villages in the middle of the Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains. (Photo: Dion Brandt)

Located in northeastern South Africa, the mountains hold 40% of Barberton Greenstone Belt, one of the oldest geological structures in the world.

The Barberton Makhonjwa represent the best preserved succession of volcanic and sedimentary rock dating from 3.6 to 3.25 billion years, when the first continents began to form on Earth. They also have several vestiges of meteorite impacts.

  • Chaine des Puys – Limagne fault tectonic arena, France
Chaîne des Puys mountains
Tectonic-volcanic set of Chaine des Puys and Limagne fault. (Photo: Denis Pourcher)

The site includes the long fault of Limagne, the alignments of the Chaîne des Puys volcanoes and the inverted relief of the Montagne de la Serre, all of them in the center of France.

Created as a result of the formation of the alps 35 million years ago, the place has geological characteristics that demonstrate how the continental crust cracks and then collapses, which allows the deep magma to rise and cause the elevation of the surface.

  • Fanjinshan, China
Fanjingshan Mountains
The Fanjingshan site is a place of great biodiversity. (Photo: Zhou Wenqing)

Fanjinshan is located within the Wuling mountain range, southwest of China. With an altitude of between 500 and 2,570 meters above sea level, it is a suitable site for a great diversity of vegetation and relief.

It is an island of metamorphic rocks in a sea of karst, home to many species of plants and animals that originated in the tertiary period, between 65 million and 2 million years ago. The isolation of Fanjingshan has made it a place of great biodiversity and home to several endemic species, as well as having the largest and most contiguous primitive beech forest of the subtropical region.

Mixed Category

  • Pimachiowin Aki, Canada
Pimachiowin Aki landscape
The territory of Pimachiowin Aki consists of rivers and boreal forests. (Photo: Pimachiowin Aki)

Pimachiowin Aki means “land that gives life” in the language of the Anishinaabeg, an indigenous people that lives by hunting, fishing and gathering.

The territory consists of rivers, lakes, huge boreal forests and wetlands and is a place where populations coexist with the environment, following the indigenous tradition “ji-ganawendamang gidakiiminaan” (conserving the land), which consists in honoring the gifts of the Creator, respect all forms of life and maintain harmonious relationships with others.

  • Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley: originary habitat of Mesoamerica, Mexico
Tehuacan Landscape
Thousands of cactus are part of the Tehuacán Valley landscape. (Photo: Diana Hernandez)

The Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley is part of the Mesoamerican region and is the arid or semi-arid zone with the richest biodiversity in all of North America.

It consists of three components, Zapotitlán-Cuicatlán, San Juan Raya and Purrón, and is one of the main centers of diversification of the cactus family, which is currently in serious danger throughout the planet.

This place presents archaeological remains that demonstrate technological developments and early domestication of crops and also the oldest system of wells, aqueducts and dams in the continent.

  • Chiribiquete National Park – “The Maloca of the Jaguar”, Colombia
Chiribiquete National Park
Rock formations jut out of the jungle in the Chiribiquete National Park. (Photo: Steve Winter)

Located northwest of the Colombian Amazon, this park is the largest protected natural territory in the entire country.

It is characterized mainly by the presence of tepuyes, large formations of high and isolated rocks that jut out into the jungle. On the walls of some 60 caves located at the foot of these elevations can be seen more than 75.000 paintings whose creation dates back to about 20.000 years before our era, apparently related to a cult of the jaguar, symbol of power and fertility.


  • Bikin River Valley, Russia
Taiga near Bikin River
Huge virgin forests along the Bikin River Valley. (Photo: V. Kantor)

It is an extension of the Central Sikhote-Alin site, registered in 2001 on the World Heritage List.

This new extension is located about 100 kilometers north of the previous site and with 1.160.469 hectares, is three times larger. It consists of coniferous forests and includes among its fauna many species of the taiga.

Iani Nikolov
News Reporter

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