UNESCO Just Added 27 New World Heritage Sites for 2023

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) revealed 27 new additions to its prestigious World Heritage Site list on Monday. These newly designated sites encompass a wide array of culturally significant areas, including revered temples in Cambodia, ancient tea forests in China, and historic European towns. Moreover, the committee expanded several existing heritage sites, such as the Andrefana Dry Forests in Madagascar, Vietnam’s Cat Ba Archipelago in Ha Long Bay, and additional sections of the ancient Hyrcanian Forests in Azerbaijan.

The World Heritage Committee convened in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to deliberate on the selection of these sites. Committee members had to make their choices from a pool of global nominations
submitted over the course of 2022 and 2023.

To earn a coveted spot on this prestigious list, a natural or cultural site must possess exceptional universal value and fulfill at least one of ten other specific criteria for selection. These criteria
include representing a ” masterpiece of human creative genius ” or showcasing ” areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance.”

Additionally, the recent meeting of the committee saw the addition of several Ukrainian sites to the Endangered List due to the ongoing Russian invasion in Ukraine. Notable entries on this list
include Kyiv’s Saint Sophia Cathedral and its associated monastic structures, along with the historic city center of L’viv. UNESCO expressed concerns about the vulnerability of these sites to direct attacks and the collateral damage caused by bombings in these cities.

Pattadakal, Karnataka, India – April 24 2013: The temples and shrines at Pattadakal temple complex, dating to the 7th – 8th century, the early Chalukya period.

The committee’s session is scheduled to continue until September 25, potentially allowing for the addition of more sites to the World Heritage roster. Here is a comprehensive list of the latest

UNESCO World Heritage Sites added in 2023:
1. Koh Ker archaeological site in Cambodia
2. Santiniketan, West Bengal, India
3. Old Tea Forests of the Jingmai Mountain in Pu’er, China
4. Mongolia’s Deer Stone Monuments
5. Korea’s Gaya Tumuli burial mounds
6. Türkiye’s archaeological site of Gordion
7. Germany’s Jewish medieval historic center of Erfurt
8. Architecture of the town of Kaunas, Lithuania

9. Guatemala’s National Archaeological Park Tak’alik Ab’aj
10. Old town of Kuldīga, Latvia
11. Prehistoric Sites of Talayotic Menorca
12. The Zarafshan-Karakum Corridor of the Silk Road
13. Ethiopia’s Gedeo Cultural Landscape
14. Iran’s Persian Caravanserai
15. Canada’s Tr’ondëk-Klondike region
16. The Czech town of Žatec and its tradition of Saaz Hops
17. Ancient Jericho/Tell es-Sultan
18. “Köç Yolu” Transhumance Route in Azerbaijan
19. Djerba in Tunisia
20. India’s Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas
21. Indonesia’s Cosmological Axis of Yogyakarta
22. Bale Mountains National Park in Ethiopia
23. The Forest Massif of Odzala-Kokoua in Congo
24. Volcanoes and forests of Mount Pelée and pitons of Martinique
25. Viking-age ring fortresses in Denmark
26. The Maison Carrée of Nîmes, France
27. Russia’s Astronomical Observatories of Kazan Federal University
These remarkable additions to the UNESCO World Heritage List showcase the rich tapestry of cultural and natural heritage found across the globe. Each site represents a unique facet of human
history, creativity, and the natural world, underscoring their outstanding universal value for future generations.

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