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Add these 42 new UNESCO World Heritage Sites to your bucket list

It’s time to make your travel plans as we just got 42 new UNESCO World Heritage Sites. On September 18, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) revealed these spots at the World Heritage Committee’s ongoing session in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Among the new entrants are India’s Santiniketan and Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas, while other Asian sites include Vietnam’s Cat Ba Archipelago (which is an extension of Ha Long Bay), China’s Old Tea Forests of the Jingmai Mountain in Pu’er, Gaya Tumuli in South Korea and sites in Cambodia, Mongolia and Indonesia. Additionally, Lviv and Kyiv have been added to UNESCO’s Endangered List.

These are the new UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Getting a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List depends on several factors. The sites have to be of “outstanding universal value” or meet a minimum of one of the 10 criteria set by the organisation for their selection, which are regularly revised, according to the website.

The destinations added this year have been chosen from a list of global nominations that were submitted throughout 2022 and 2023. These sites can be categorised as Cultural, Natural and Mixed. Additionally, some places have been included in this year’s list other than the 42 sites owing to significant modifications made to their boundaries. Thus, these are not ‘newly inscribed’ but find a spot on the list. However, the World Heritage Committee’s session is on till September 25, and new sites may be added by then.

Here are the newly inscribed cultural properties by UNESCO

UNESCO World Heritage Sites Koh Ker
Image credit: Hao Taing/Unsplash (Koh Ker)
  1. Cultural Landscape of Old Tea Forests of the Jingmai Mountain in Pu’er, China
  2. Deer Stone Monuments and Related Bronze Age Sites, Mongolia
  3. Gaya Tumuli, Republic of Korea (South Korea)
  4. Gordion, Türkiye
  5. Jewish-Medieval Heritage of Erfurt, Germany
  6. Koh Ker: Archaeological Site of Ancient Lingapura or Chok Gargyar, Cambodia
  7. Modernist Kaunas: Architecture of Optimism, 1919-1939, Lithuania
  8. National Archaeological Park Tak’alik Ab’aj, Guatemala
  9. Old town of Kuldīga, Latvia
  10. Prehistoric Sites of Talayotic Menorca, Spain
  11. Santiniketan, India
  12. Silk Roads: Zarafshan-Karakum Corridor, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
  13. The Gedeo Cultural Landscape, Ethiopia
  14. The Persian Caravanserai, Iran (Islamic Republic of)
  15. Tr’ondëk-Klondike, Canada
  16. Viking-Age Ring Fortresses, Denmark
  17. Žatec and the Landscape of Saaz Hops, Czechia
  18. Ancient Jericho/Tell es-Sultan, State of Palestine
  19. Astronomical Observatories of Kazan Federal University, Russian Federation
  20. Cultural Landscape of Khinalig People and “Köç Yolu” Transhumance Route, Azerbaijan
  21. Djerba: Testimony to a settlement pattern in an island territory, Tunisia
  22. ESMA Museum and Site of Memory – Former Clandestine Center of Detention, Torture and Extermination, Argentina
  23. Eisinga Planetarium in Franeker, Netherlands
  24. Funerary and memory sites of the First World War (Western Front), Belgium, France
  25. Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, United States of America
  26. Jodensavanne Archaeological Site: Jodensavanne Settlement and Cassipora Creek Cemetery, Suriname
  27. Memorial sites of the Genocide: Nyamata, Murambi, Gisozi and Bisesero, Rwanda
  28. Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas, India
  29. The Ancient Town of Si Thep and its Associated Dvaravati Monuments, Thailand
  30. The Cosmological Axis of Yogyakarta and its Historic Landmarks, Indonesia
  31. The Maison Carrée of Nîmes, France
  32. Wooden Hypostyle Mosques of Medieval Anatolia, Türkiye
  33. Zagori Cultural Landscape, Greece

The natural properties that have been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List this year

  1. Forest Massif of Odzala-Kokoua, Congo
  2. Volcanoes and Forests of Mount Pelée and the Pitons of Northern Martinique, France
  3. Anticosti, Canada
  4. Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia
  5. Cold Winter Deserts of Turan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
  6. Evaporitic Karst and Caves of Northern Apennines, Italy
  7. Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda
  8. Tugay forests of the Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve, Tajikistan
  9. ‘Uruq Bani Ma’arid, Saudi Arabia
unesco sites
Image credit: David Emrich/Unsplash (Cat Ba)

These five sites are mentioned on 2023’s list owing to modifications in the boundaries of existing sites:

  1. Koutammakou, the Land of the Batammariba, Benin — cultural
  2. Historic Centre of Guimarães and Couros Zone, Portugal —cultural
  3. Andrefana Dry Forests, Madagascar — natural
  4. Ha Long Bay – Cat Ba Archipelago, Vietnam — natural
  5. Hyrcanian Forests, Azerbaijan, Iran (Islamic Republic of) — natural

Find out more about the new additions here

Hero and featured image credit: Sanjan Shetty/Unsplash

This story first appeared here.

Add these 42 new UNESCO World Heritage Sites to your bucket list

Anushka has worked with publications such as Times of India and Being Indian. A graduate from Xavier Institute of Communications, she specialises in entertainment, food and travel. She also likes to write about sustainability and beauty. When not working, you can catch her reading a book, tending to her plants, cooking or playing an instrument.

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