UNESCO Names 21 New World Heritage Sites For 2016

New World Heritage Sites

Incoming: 21 fresh entries for your travel bucket list. UNESCO have named 2016’s new World Heritage Sites following their annual meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization meets each year to induct significant sites, both natural and cultural, to its prestigious preservation list. To be considered, the sites must meet one or more of 10 criteria such as representing “a masterpiece of human creative genius,” containing “exceptional natural beauty,” or exhibiting “an important interchange of human values.”

There are now 1,052 places of “outstanding universal value” that have received the honour. This year’s World Heritage Sites span the globe from Brazil, to China, to Canada, to Spain. Highlights include:

  • The Archaeological Site of Ani, Turkey: Once a thriving medieval town known as the “City of 1,001 Churches,” Ani was razed by an earthquake in 1319. Today only ruins remain.
  • Antequera Dolmens, Spain: UNESCO calls this collection of megalithic tombs “one of the most remarkable architectural works of European prehistory.”
  • The Persian Qanat, Iran: Iran’s ancient water transport system used 11 underground tunnels to support agricultural and permanent settlements throughout the country’s arid regions.
  • Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art, China: Rock art is all that remains to illustrate the life and rituals of the Luoyue people, who date from the period around the 5th century BCE to the 2nd century CE.
  • Nalanda Mahavihara, India: These crumbling stupas, shrines, viharas, and art once comprised a monastic and scholastic institution dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE.
  • Nan Madol, Micronesia: Humans constructed these 99 artificial islets off the coast of Pohnpei between 1200 and 1500 CE. Today they harbour the remains of stone palaces, temples, tombs, and residential domains.
  • Sanganeb Marine National Park and Dungonab Bay, Sudan: Sudan’s dual site contains a coral reef in the central Red Sea and a bay with a highly diverse system of flora and fauna, including a globally significant population of dugongs.

You can view the full list of newly inducted World Heritage Sites, along with in depth descriptions of each, here.