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The 20 new UNESCO World Heritage Sites of 2018

In July, the United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) joined in Manama, Bahrain for the 42nd session of the annual World Heritage Committee. During the session, representatives from 21 States Parties selected new World Heritage Sites. This year, the committee recognized 19 new sites for their ‘outstanding universal value,’ extended the boundaries of another and removed one from the List of World Heritage in Danger. Nominees must meet one of 10 criteria for selection and this year’s selects definitely meet each and every one of the criteria:

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1. Aasivissuit – Nipisat. Inuit Hunting Ground between Ice and Sea
Denmark
Located inside the Arctic Circle in the central part of West Greenland, the property contains the remains of 4,200 years of human history.

2. Al-Ahsa Oasis, an Evolving Cultural Landscape
Saudi Arabia
In the eastern Arabian Peninsula, the Al-Ahsa Oasis is a serial property comprising gardens, canals, springs, wells and a drainage lake, as well as historical buildings, urban fabric and archaeological sites.

3. Ancient City of Qalhat
Oman
The property, which is located on the east coast of the Sultanate of Oman, includes the ancient city of Qalhat, surrounded by inner and outer walls, as well as areas beyond the ramparts where necropolises are located.

4. Archaeological Border complex of Hedeby and the Danevirke
Germany
Because of its unique situation between the Frankish Empire in the South and the Danish Kingdom in the North, Hedeby became a trading hub between continental Europe and Scandinavia and between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Because of its rich and well preserved archaeological material, it has become a key site for the interpretation of economic, social and historical developments in Europe during the Viking age.

5. Caliphate City of Medina Azahara
Spain
The remains of the city were forgotten for almost 1,000 years until their rediscovery in the early 20th century. This complete urban ensemble features infrastructure such as roads, bridges, water systems, buildings, decorative elements and everyday objects.

6. Göbekli Tepe
Turkey
Located in the Germuş mountains of south-eastern Anatolia, this property presents monumental circular and rectangular megalithic structures, interpreted as enclosures, which were erected by hunter-gatherers in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic age between 9,600 and 8,200 BCE. 

7. Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region
Japan
Located in the north-western part of Kyushu island, this serial property consists of ten villages, Hara Castle and a cathedral, built between the 17th and 19th centuries. They reflect the era of prohibition of the Christian faith, as well as the revitalization of Christian communities after the official lifting of prohibition in 1873.

8. Ivrea, industrial city of the 20th century
Italy
The industrial city of Ivrea is located in the Piedmont region and developed as the testing ground for Olivetti, manufacturer of typewriters, mechanical calculators and office computers.

9. Naumburg Cathedral
Germany
The Cathedral of Naumburg, whose construction began in 1028, is an outstanding testimony to medieval art and architecture. Its Romanesque structure, flanked by two Gothic choirs, demonstrates the stylistic transition from late Romanesque to early Gothic. 

10. Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea
Republic of Korea
The Sansa are Buddhist mountain monasteries located throughout the southern provinces of the Korean Peninsula. The spatial arrangement of the seven temples that comprise the property, established from the 7th to 9th centuries, present common characteristics that are specific to Korea.

11. Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars Region
Iran
The archaeological landscape reflects the optimized utilization of natural topography and bears witness to the influence of Achaemenid and Parthian cultural traditions and of Roman art, which had a significant impact on the architecture of the Islamic era.

12. Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site
Kenya
Thimlich Ohinga is the largest and best preserved of these traditional enclosures. It is an exceptional example of the tradition of massive dry-stone walled enclosures, typical of the first pastoral communities in the Lake Victoria Basin, which persisted from the 16th to the mid-20th century.

13. Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai
India
Having become a global trading centre, the city of Mumbai implemented an ambitious urban planning project in the second half of the 19th century. It led to the construction of ensembles of public buildings bordering the Oval Maidan open space, first in the Victorian Neo-Gothic style and then, in the early 20th century, in the Art Deco idiom.

14. Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains
South Africa
Situated in north-eastern South Africa, the property comprises 40% of the Barberton Greenstone Belt, one of the world’s oldest geological structures. The Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains represents the best-preserved succession of volcanic and sedimentary rock dating back 3.6 to 3.25 billion years, when the first continents were starting to form on the primitive Earth.

15. Chaîne des Puys – Limagne fault tectonic arena
France
Situated in the centre of France, the property comprises the long Limagne fault, the alignments of the Chaîne des Puys volcanoes and the inverted relief of the Montagne de la Serre.

16. Fanjingshan
China
Located within the Wuling mountain range in Guizhou Province (south-west China), Fanjingshan ranges in altitude between 500 meters and 2,570 meters above sea level, favoring highly diverse types of vegetation and relief. It is an island of metamorphic rock in a sea of karst, home to many plant and animal species that originated in the Tertiary period, between 65 million and 2 million years ago. 

17. Chiribiquete National Park – “The Maloca of the Jaguar”
Colombia
Over 75,000 paintings, dating from 20,000 BCE to the present day, are to be seen on the walls of the 60 rock shelters around the bases of the tepuis. Believed to be linked to the worship of the jaguar, a symbol of power and fertility, these paintings depict hunting scenes, battles, dances and ceremonies. The indigenous communities, which are not directly present on the site, consider the region sacred.

18. Pimachiowin Aki
Canada
A complex network of livelihood sites, habitation sites, travel routes and ceremonial sites, often linked by waterways, embodies this tradition.

19. Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley: originary habitat of Mesoamerica
Mexico
Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley, part of the Mesoamerican region, is the arid or semi-arid zone with the richest biodiversity in all of North America. Consisting of three components, Zapotitlán-Cuicatlán, San Juan Raya and Purrón, it is one of the main centers of diversification for the cacti family, which is critically endangered worldwide. 

20. Central Sikhote-Alin
Russian Federation
The Sikhote-Alin mountain range contains one of the richest and most unusual temperate forests of the world. In this mixed zone between taiga and subtropics, southern species such as the tiger and Himalayan bear cohabit with northern species such as the brown bear and lynx. After its extension in 2018, the property includes the Bikin River Valley, located about 100 km to the north of the existing site.

Mackenzie Taylor