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UNESCO Names 26 World Heritage Sites

Located in a limestone plateau of the Ardeche River in southern France, the Grotte Chauvet-Pont d’Arc contains the earliest known and best preserved figurative drawings in the world, dating back 30,000 years. (UNESCO)
Located in a limestone plateau of the Ardeche River in southern France, the Grotte Chauvet-Pont d’Arc contains the earliest known and best preserved figurative drawings in the world, dating back 30,000 years. (UNESCO)

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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Monday announced new sites to include on its World Heritage List during its meeting in Doha, Qatar.

World Heritage Sites are determined by UNESCO to have special cultural or natural significance and meet the criteria.
 
A total of 26 sites were added to the list, including 21 cultural sites, four natural sites and one mixed site.
 
According to UNESCO, the total number of sites now on the list is 1,007. These include 779 cultural sites, 197 natural sites and 31 mixed sites.

The 1,000th site inscribed was the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

Perhaps the most well-known new addition is the Grotte Chauvet-Pont d’Arc, Ardèche, France, a cave that contains the earliest known examples of prehistoric cave art discovered.
 
The drawings, which are thought to be over 30,000 years old, include more than 1,000 depictions of mammoths, lions, bears, other animals and human hands.
 
In a statement, French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti called the cave “a major site for humanity,” adding that it is “a jewel whose emotional power is as strong today as when it was conceived.”
 
UNESCO added that the site “contains the earliest and best-preserved expressions of artistic creation of the Aurignacian people, which are also the earliest known figurative drawings in the world.”
 
The cave was discovered in 1994 by Jean-Marie Chauvet.
 
Access to the cave is extremely limited because of the delicate climate inside the caves, which has preserved the art so well.
 
Other sites added by UNESCO span the globe and include the Pyu Ancient Cities, the first World Heritage site in in Myanmar, also known as Burma.
 
The Pyu Kingdom cities of Halin, Beikthano and Sri Ksetra are located in the Ayeyarwady River basin and date from between 200 BC and 900 AD, according to UNESCO. The remains include “excavated palace citadels, burial grounds and early industrial production sites, as well as monumental brick Buddhist stupas, partly standing walls and water management features – some still in use.”
 
China’s Grand Canal was also added to the list. Construction of the massive water system was started in the 5th century BC, and stretches from Beijing to Zhejiang province. The Grand Canal, which served as China’s inland transport system was the “most extensive civil engineering project prior to the Industrial Revolution,” according to UNESCO.
 
The U.S. saw the addition of the ancient earthworks at Poverty Point, Louisiana, added to the list. The complex is made up of several mounds and ridges likely used in as living areas and for ceremonial purposes, according to UNESCO. The earthworks were built between 3,700 and 3,100 BC “by a society of hunter fisher-gatherers."

Three natural properties were also added to the World Heritage list, including  Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in the Philippines, the The Okavango delta in Botswana and the Stevns Klint geological site in Denmark.
 
See a complete list of the sites.
 
  • Van Nellefabriek, in Holland, was designed and built in the 1920s on the banks of a canal in the Spaanse Polder industrial zone northwest of Rotterdam. The site is one of the icons of 20th century industrial architecture. (UNESCO)
  • Trang An, in Vietnam, is a spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks permeated with valleys, some of which are submerged, and surrounded by steep, almost vertical cliffs. (UNESCO)
  • The Tomioka silk mill and related sites in Japan is an historic sericulture and silk mill complex established in 1872 in the Gunma Prefecture northwest of Tokyo. (UNESCO)
  • Chang'an-Tianshan corridor of the Silk Road is a 5,000 kilometre stretches from Chang’an/Luoyang, the central capital of China during the Han and Tang Dynasties, to the Zhetysu region of Central Asia. (UNESCO)
  • Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) in Gujarat, India, is located on the banks of the Saraswati River and was initially built as a memorial to a king in the 11th century AD. (UNESCO)
  • Erbil Citadel is a fortified settlement on the top of an imposing ovoid-shaped tell located in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. (UNESCO)
  • The Pyu ancient cities in Myanmar include the remains of three brick, walled and moated cities of Halin, Beikthano and Sri Ksetr, which flourished for over 1,000 years between 200 B.C and 900 A.D. (UNESCO)
  • The monumental earthworks of Poverty Point owes its name to a 19th century plantation close to the site. It is located in the Lower Mississippi Valley on a slightly elevated and narrow landform. (UNESCO)
  • Pergamon and its multi-layered cultural landscape lies in Turkey’s Aegean region. (UNESCO)
  • This delta in northwest Botswana comprises permanent marshlands and seasonally flooded plains. It is one of the very few major interior delta systems that do not flow into a sea or ocean, with a wetland system that is almost intact. (UNESCO)
  • The medieval city of Bolgar was an early settlement of the civilization of Volga-Bolgars, which existed between the 7th and the 15th centuries, and was the first capital of the Golden Horde in the 13th century. (UNESCO)
  • Namhansanseong was designed as an emergency capital for the Joson Dynasty (1392-1910) , in a mountainous site 25 kilometres south-east of Seoul. (UNESCO)
  • Qhapac Ñan, Andean Road System is an extensive Inca communication, trade and defense network of roads covering 30,000 kilometres. (UNESCO)
  • The Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in the Philippines has an elevation range of 75-1,637 m above sea level, and provides critical habitat for a range of plant and animal species. (UNESCO)
  • The Grand Canal is a vast waterway system in the north-eastern and central-eastern plains of China, running from Beijing in the north to Zhejiang province in the south. (UNESCO)
  • This“city under a city” is characterized by a selection of man-made caves, excavated from the thick and homogenous layer of soft chalk in Lower Judea. (UNESCO)
  • Bursa and Cumalıkızık: The Birth of the Ottoman Empire is a serial nomination of eight component sites in the City of Bursa and the nearby village of Cumalıkızık, in the southern Marmara region of Turkey. (UNESCO)
  • This geological site comprises a 15 km-long fossil-rich coastal cliff, offering exceptional evidence of the impact of the Chicxulub meteorite that crashed into the planet at the end of the Cretaceous, about 65 millions years ago. (UNESCO)
  • The landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir, is located a few kilometres south-west of Jerusalem. (UNESCO)
  • Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah (Saudi Arabia) is situated on the eastern shore of the Red Sea. (UNESCO)
  • The Diquis Delta settlements in southern Costa Rica, which are considered unique examples of the complex social, economic and political systems of the period between 500-1500 AD. (UNESCO)
  • The vineyard landscape of Piedmont at Langhe-Roero and Monferrato covers five distinct wine-growing areas. (UNESCO)
  • Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey are located along the Weser River on the outskirts of Höxter, Germany, where they were erected between 822 and 885 A.D. in a largely preserved rural setting. (UNESCO)
  • Located in a limestone plateau of the Ardeche River in southern France, the property contains the earliest known and best preserved figurative drawings in the world, dating back 30,000 years. (UNESCO)
  • Great Himalayan National Park (GHNPCA) is located in the western part of the Himalayan Mountains in the northern Indian State of Himachal Pradesh and is characterized by high alpine peaks, alpine meadows and riverine forests. (UNESCO)

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