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UNESCO Just Announced 21 New World Heritage Sites

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England’s Lake District was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.
Photo by Robert J Heath/Flickr

England’s Lake District was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.

Which of these would you like to see?

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Last week, UNESCO announced its latest additions to the list of locations it has deemed World Heritage Sites. According to a story on CNN, with the 21 new sites added this year, the formal compendium now stands at 1,073. 

Notable newcomers included northwest England’s Lake District, which became the United Kingdom’s first national park to receive the distinction, and India’s walled city of Ahmedabad, which dates back to the 15th century and is the subcontinent’s first city on the list. Other 2017 honorees include Valongo Wharf in Rio de Janeiro; the Japanese island of Okinoshima; the historic city of Yazd, in Iran; Los Alerces National Park in Argentina; the Tarnowskie Gory mine in Silesia, Poland; and Taputapuatea, in French Polynesia.

The CNN story notes that the newest additions aren’t without controversy.

In the Middle East, Israelis were upset that UNESCO designated the city of Hebron, in the West Bank, as a Palestinian World Heritage Site instead of an Israeli one. And in Asia, the International Campaign for Tibet told Reuters that UNESCO’s decision to grant heritage status to the Hoh Xil plateau poses a threat to Tibetan nomads.

Still, at a time when cultural differences polarize so many parts of the world, these sorts of controversies are inevitable. What’s more important: that the number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites continues to grow.

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According to UNESCO’s website, the World Heritage program stemmed from the 1950s decision to build the Aswan High Dam in Egypt—a decision that would have destroyed the Abu Simbel temples, which are critical artifacts of ancient Egyptian civilization. Since then, the organization has protected more than 1,000 places.

Today, all UNESCO World Heritage Sites are determined by a vote of the World Heritage Committee. The group met for the 41st consecutive year last week in Krakow, Poland.

The new sites:

1. Aphrodisias, Turkey
2. Asmara, Eritrea  
3. Assumption Cathedral and Monastery of Sviyazhsk, Russia
4. Caves and ice age art in the Swabian Jura, Germany
5. Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town, Palestine
6. Historic city of Yazd, Iran
7. Kujataa Greenland, Denmark 
8. Kulangsu, China
9. Mbanza Kongo, Angola
10. Sacred Island of Okinoshima, Japan
11. Taputapuātea, center of the "Polynesian Triangle", French Polynesia
12. Tarnowskie Góry, lead-silver-zinc mine, Poland
13. Sambor Prei Kuk temple zone, Cambodia
14. English Lake District, United Kingdom
15. Valongo Wharf, archeological site, Brazil
16. Venetian Works of Defense, Croatia, Italy, Montenegro
17. Khomani Cultural Landscape, South Africa
18. Landscapes of Dauria, Mongolia, Russia
19. Los Alerces National Park, Argentina
20. Qinghai Hoh Xil, China 
21. Historic city of Ahmedabad, India

>>Next: 16 Must-Visit World Heritage Sites