New UNESCO Sites We Can't Wait to Visit

Posted on 07/12/2017

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee has spent a busy week adding to its list of World Heritage Sites.

During the committee meeting, the organization inscribed 18 new places onto its list while also adding three new natural properties. It modified the boundaries of several current cultural and natural properties as well.

If you are looking to update your bucket list, here are some of our favorite new sites:

Aphrodisias, Turkey

The archaeological site of Aphrodisias and its marble quarries are located in southwestern Turkey in the upper part of the valley of the Morsynus River.

According to UNESCO, the site is one of the most important from the Greek and Roman eras in Turkey. Its temple of Aphrodite dates back the 3rd century B.C., and the surrounding city was built 100 years later. The city was a model of civic planning with streets surrounding large central structures that included theaters, temples and bathhouses. Its wealth came from marble quarries and art.

Today, it’s a bit off the beaten path but located approximately a two-hour drive from Ephesus.

England’s Lake District

The English Lake District has long been heralded as gorgeous countryside, drawing visitors from around the world. Now, it’s officially a protected region with its new UNESCO status. Grand houses, gardens and parks co-exist in a landscape carved out during the Ice Age and preserved by generations of wanderers.

Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town, Palestine

Hebron is one of several of the sites on the list that has created controversy. Located in the contested West Bank region, the city is, however, worthy of recognition. It dates back to the Mamluk period between 1250 and 1517 and is found nestled in the Judaean Mountains.

Hebron is one of the largest cities in the West Bank and home to the site of Al mosque-Ibrahim and the tomb of the Patriarchs. The buildings that make up the site are in a compound that was built during the 1st century to protect the tombs of the patriarch Abraham/Ibrahim and his family.

Israel is not happy about the listing of the West Bank city of Hebron. According to the Toronto Sun, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu called it “another delusional decision by UNESCO.”

Khomani Cultural Landscape, South Africa

Found at the border between Botswana and Namibia, the sandy expanse contains evidence of human existence dating back to the Stone Age and the Khomani San people. Visitors can see how their innovative strategies aided survival under these harsh desert conditions.

Kujataa Greenland: Norse and Inuit Farming at the Edge of the Ice Cap, Greenland

As the Arctic region becomes more accessible due to warming global temperatures, it seems practical that more UNESCO sites will appear in our northernmost regions.

Kujataa Greenland is one of the first.

The area is a sub-Arctic farming landscape, one of the earliest examples of the introduction of farming to the region. It is located in the southern part of Greenland, and visitors to the site will learn about the cultural histories of the Norse hunters and gatherers who occupied the area from the 10th century as well as Inuit hunters and farming communities.

Taputapuatea, France

Taputapuatea is located on the island of Raiatea in the center of the Polynesian Triangle in the Pacific Ocean.

It was one of the last parts of the globe to be settled by humans, according to UNESCO, and this site includes two forested valleys, a portion of lagoon and coral reef, and a strip of open ocean that features a Taputapuatea marae complex, a central temple and religious center in Eastern Polynesia.

Temple Zone of Sambor Prei Kuk, Archaeological Site of Ancient Ishanapura, Cambodia

Ishanapura is the capital of the Chenla Empire that flourished during the late 6th and early 7th centuries and is home to Cambodia’s Temple Zone of Sambor Prei Kuk, known as “the temple in the richness of the forest.”

The World Heritage Site encompasses the city’s vestiges, which occupy approximately 25 square kilometers. It includes a walled city center and unique temples with a pre-Angkor-era design.

Controversial New UNESCO Site

One site that didn’t make our list was the Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region. It is off-limits to visitors, but particularly to women according to Shinto tradition. Male visitors are also required to follow strict guidelines.

The policy doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon, reports the Japanese Times.

“We wouldn’t open Okinoshima to the public even if it is inscribed on the UNESCO cultural heritage list because people shouldn’t visit out of curiosity,” chief priest at Munakata Taisha, Takayuki Ashizu, told the Japanese Times.

The complete list of new World Heritage Sites and natural properties can be found here.

Source: Travelpulse

PHOTO: Lake District, England. (photo via Flickr/Craig)