UNESCO recently met in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in Cambodia, the board’s 37th committee meeting. This year 19 new World Heritage sites were added to the list: 5 natural sites and 14 cultural sites. Let’s see which destinations made the cut.
With these 19 new additions, the official list of World Heritage sites now comes to a total of 981: 759 cultural, 193 natural and 29 that are a mix of the two, in 160 countries around the world. Here is the run-down of the five natural sites added but you can find the list of newly added cultural sites at the end of this post.
Namib Sand Sea – Namibia
Located in the south-western part of the country, the Namibia Desert is the oldest desert in the world, even older than the great Sahara! Not that anyone’s counting, but experts believe it to be 55 million years old.
Mount Etna – Italy
Mount Etna is the tallest volcano in Europe (3, 330 metres high!). Located next to the city of Catane in Sicily, this baby is also very active, erupting more than 100 times in the twentieth century alone.World’s most active volcanoes
Tajik National Park – Tajikistan
The Pamir Mountains run right through Tajikistan, Afghanistan, China and Kirghizistan. The national park covers 8% of the country of Tajikistan.
Xinjian Tianshan – China
According to UNESCO, this central Asian mountain range presents: “unique physical geographic features and scenically beautiful areas including spectacular snow and snowy mountains glacier-capped peaks, undisturbed forests and meadows, clear rivers and lakes and red bed canyons.”
El Pinacate & Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve – Mexico
Travel to the north-west of Mexico and you’ll find a region incredibly rich in fauna: 41 types of mammals, 237 types of birds, 42 different reptiles, 4 types of amphibians and 4 types of fresh water fish.
Newest cultural sites added to the WHS list:
- Al Zubarah Archaeological Site (Qatar)
- Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora (Ukraine)
- Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe (Germany)
- Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces (China)
- Fujisan, sacred place and source of artistic inspiration (Japan)
- Golestan Palace (Iran)
- Hill Forts of Rajasthan (India)
- Historic Centre of Agadez (Niger)
- Historic Monuments and Sites in Kaesong (South Korea)
- Levuka Historical Port Town (Fiji)
- Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany (Italy)
- Red Bay Basque Whaling Station (Canada)
- University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia (Portugal)
- Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine (Poland, Ukraine)