10 New UNESCO World Heritage Sites For You To Visit

Do you know what a UNESCO World Heritage Site is? A World Heritage Site is a place (such as a building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, or mountain) that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as being of special cultural or physical significance.

To be on the World Heritage List, a site must be of outstanding universal value. It must also meet at least one out of ten selection criteria determined by UNESCO. These criteria are reviewed, analyzed, and updated on a continual basis.

How many of them have you visited? There are 1,052 of them all over the globe. From Afghanistan all the way to Zimbabwe.

That’s a lot of territory to cover. And each site has its own uniqueness and qualities.

UNESCO recently updated this list and added 10 more sites.

Read the rest of the story here:

“10 New UNESCO World Heritage Sites For Your Travel List

Start planning a trip to these world wonders.

This past week, UNESCO updated their eclectic list of the world’s most fascinating places. Countries campaign hard to get their treasured wilderness reserves, archeological ruins, and historic sites recognized by the esteemed program. After much deliberation, the organization decides each year on new sites worthy of World Heritage status to add to the list of some 1,000 places of “outstanding universal value to humanity.”

While rolling sand dunes in southeast Iran or isolated coral reefs off the coast of Sudan prove difficult to access, the list of 21 newcomers offers plenty of opportunities to plan a trip. Here are ten favorites for travelers:

UNESCO world heritage sites

Theater at the Archaeological Site of Philippi. PHOTOGRAPH BY ACHILLEAS SAVVOPOULOS

Archaeological Site of Philippi

Where: Northern Greece

Once considered a mini version of Rome, Philippi—founded in the 4th century B.C.—hosted a theater, temple, and forum at the foot of an acropolis in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. The walled city, located on an ancient route connecting Europe and Asia, later became a center for Christianity with remains of its basilicas still standing today.

Travel Tip: Take a taxi (about 20 minutes) or bus (30 minutes) from the seaport city of Kavala to the entrance of the archaeological site.

UNESCO world heritage site

Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier

Where: Argentina, Belgium, France, Germany, India, Japan, and Switzerland

The creative genius of French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier takes the spotlight with 17 masterpieces making the cut for the World Heritage List. Leading the Modern Movement after World War One, his bold and functional buildings combining iron, concrete and glass certainly did not appeal to everyone. Yet the designs built over half a century around the world broke past conventions and paved way for a new architectural language.

Travel Tip: Head to France to find the bulk of the list, with 10 buildings including La Villa Savoye in Parisian suburb of Poissy, La Chapelle Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, and La Cité Radieuse in Marseille.

UNESCO world heritage site

Newfoundland’s rugged Mistaken Point

Mistaken Point

Where: Island of Newfoundland in eastern Canada

Named for the navigational hazard it poses at the often-foggy southeastern tip of Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula, Mistaken Point is home to the oldest complex life-forms found anywhere on Earth. People make the pilgrimage to see the collection of fossils on a 565-million-year-old sea floor surrounded by rugged cliffs and pounding waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

Travel Tip: Visitors must be accompanied by an official tour guide, available at the Edge of Avalon Interpretive Centre in Portugal Cove South.

UNESCO world heritage site

Forest district of Hubei Shennongjia

Hubei Shennongjia

Where: Northwestern Hubei province of China

Hubei Shennongjia is the only well-preserved subtropical forest ecosystem in the world’s middle latitudes. In addition to some 5,000 plant species, rare animal species like the Chinese salamander, the snub-nosed monkey, clouded leopard, and the Asian black bear call Hubei Shennongjia home.

Travel Tip: The new Shennongjia Hongping Airport opened in May 2014, with connecting flights to Wuhan, Chongqing and Shanghai.

UNESCO world heritage site

Restored Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua

Antigua Naval Dockyard

Where: Antigua’s historic district on the extreme south of the island

The Georgian-style marina set in Antigua’s deep, narrow bays, came to prominence during the 18th century to protect the interests of sugarcane planters when European powers competed for control of the eastern Caribbean. Now painstakingly restored, the site served as the British Royal Navy’s home until abandonment in 1889, following a decline in the island’s economic and strategic importance.

Travel Tip: Don’t miss the Dockyard Museum in the stone officers’ residence for stories of island history and life at the forts.

UNESCO world heritage site

Megalithic burial mounds in Andalusia

Antequera Dolmens Site

Where: Málaga province in the southern Spanish autonomous community of Andalusia

Dating from the 3rd millennium B.C., these burial mounds hiding in the Andalusian mountains have been described by UNESCO as “one of the most remarkable architectural works of European prehistory and one of the most important examples of European Megalithism.” Antequera sits centrally—between the Atlantic and Mediterranean regions, straddling Africa and Europe—contributing to a mash-up of architectural styles seen nowhere else.

Travel Tip: Take in a flamenco performance in the art form’s region of origin and see the Museo Picasso Málaga—a restored 16th century palace boasting almost 300 works in the city where the artist was born.

UNESCO world heritage site

Giant manta rays near Revillagigedo Achipelago

Revillagigedo Archipelago

Where: About 300 miles off the coast of Baja California, Mexico

Four submerged volcanic islands mark the site where, about 3.5 million years ago, there was an expansion of the ocean floor. The volcanic activity continues to make the reserve an important site of geological study. Nicknamed Mexico’s “little Galapágos,” the islands and surrounding waters provide a stopping point for seabirds and critical habitat for a range of wildlife, with an incredible abundance of manta rays, whales, dolphins and sharks.

Travel Tip: The live-a-board journey from the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula takes over 24 hours just to reach the Revillagigedo Archipelago (commonly called the Socorro Islands), but avid divers on week-long excursions find the incredible wildlife worth the effort.

UNESCO world heritage site

Excavated Remains of Nalanda Mahavihara

Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara

Where: State of Bihar in northeastern India

Earning the distinction of the Indian subcontinent’s most ancient university, the Nalanda Mahavihara archaeological site displays top class stupas, shrines, viharas (residential and educational buildings) and other important works of art. The 5th century monastery organized the transmission of university knowledge over an uninterrupted 800 years and helped the development of Buddhism into a religion.

Travel Tip: The Indian government is already working hard to connect Buddhist sites of importance like Nalanda Mahavihara by rail, road and air to promote religious and cultural tourism. Now tourists prefer to stay 10 miles away in Rajgir.

UNESCO world heritage site

Gorham’s Cave hides Neanderthal treasures

Gorham’s Cave Complex

Where: British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar on the south coast of Spain

This striking network of sea caves on the eastern side of the Rock of Gibraltar is the last known site of Neanderthal survival. Archaeologists discovered treasures like stone tools and abstract rock engravings in Gorham’s four caves, helping to understand human evolution and Neanderthal occupation over a span of more than 125,000 years.

Travel Tip: Many tourists just pass through on a cruise ship, but charming Palladian architecture, Barbary macaques and other gems makeGibraltar a destination of its own.

UNESCO world heritage site

Rock painting in Zuojiang Huashan

Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape

Where: Along the Zuojiang River in south China’s Guangxi autonomous region bordering Vietnam

Straddling steep limestone cliffs in a spectacular landscape formed 200 million years ago, these 38 examples of rock art offer the only trace left of the life and rituals of the Luoyue people. Some scholars believe the paintings—dating back to the 5th century B.C.—depict ceremonies of the bronze drum culture once prevalent across southern China.

Travel Tip: The rock paintings’ remoteness helped their preservation, but the city of Chongzuo about one hour away provides tourists with accommodation and a good starting point for nature of the region.ˮ

So you can easily see the natural beauty of these ten magnificent sites. Each one says something unique about why they are so magnificent. They all meet one of the ten selection criteria of UNESCO to be on the list of world heritage sites. And their cultural value speaks for itself. I think the fact that a group of people took the effort to create this list is commendable. It says as much about human nature as it does about each of the sites. After all, these sites say as much about people and their culture as they do about nature.

I’m confident that one or more of these sites are in your reach for a visit. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, grab your passport, and get to the airport.

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