The beauty of the new world heritage sites recognized by UNESCO

UNESCO announced new world heritage sites, after a year's delay because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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After a year of delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) approved a vote, adding 34 destinations to the World Heritage list. Destinations must meet certain criteria to be shortlisted, including 'outstanding universal value', 'as a unique demonstration of a cultural tradition or an existing civilization, or has disappeared", or "has a phenomenon, of exceptional natural beauty and of aesthetic importance".

The destination from China appearing on the 2020/2021 list is the World Trade Center of the Song-Yuan Dynasty in Quanzhou. This is a place of great historical value when witnessing a period of strong development of maritime trade in Asia. The site includes religious buildings and a variety of archaeological remains. In addition to this site, the Asian region has newly recognized sites as Arslantepe Mound in Turkey; Kakatiya Rudreshwara temple in India; Amami-Oshima island, Tokunoshima island, northern part of Okinawa island and Iriomote island in Japan; Al-Salt town in Jordan... Photo: Wei Peiquan/Xinhua/Alamy
UNESCO first awarded the title of World Heritage Site in 1978, with the first destinations being Yellowstone National Park in the US, the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador... 4 decades have passed, being recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site is still a great honor with destinations.

The Trans-Iranian Railway, which connects to the Caspian Sea in the northeast and the Persian Gulf in the southwest, has a spectacular landscape as it has to cross four different climatic zones including two mountain ranges, rivers, plateaus, forests, and delta. The work was started in 1927 and completed in 1938, 1,394 km long. This railway is notable for its scale and high technique for overcoming steep sections and other terrain difficulties. Photo: Hossein Javadi/UNESCO
The historic center of Paseo del Prado and the remains of the Buen Retiro palace is a Spanish destination that appears on the new list. This destination is located right in the urban center of Madrid. The Paseo del Prado has large fountains, notably the Fuente de Cibeles, the Fuente de Neptuno and the iconic Plaza de Cibeles. The site embodies the new idea of urban space and development from the Enlightenment of the 18th century, embodying the aspiration for a perfect society during the height of the Spanish Empire. A remnant of the 17th-century Buen Retiro palace, which houses gardens showcasing 19th-century horticulture, the Royal Botanical Garden...

The European region, besides Paseo del Prado, also has new world heritage sites such as the winter resort town of the French Riviera; the western segment of the Roman Empire's borders at Austria, Germany, Slovakia; works by Jože Plečnik in Ljubljana, Slovenia; The Darmstadt Artists' Colony in Germany... Photo: Juan Medina/Reuters
Located in an arid hilly area in southwestern Saudi Arabia, on one of the ancient caravan routes of the Arabian peninsula, the Hima cultural site features rock art depicting hunting, flora and fauna and the lifestyle of a 7,000-year-old culture. Tourists and troops camped on the site have left numerous petroglyphs through the ages, and by the end of the 20th century, most of them were preserved in pristine condition. Letters are engraved in different languages. It is also rich in untapped archaeological resources in the form of houses, stone structures, stone tool ruins and ancient wells. Photo: Xinhua/Alamy
Italy, the country with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites, continues to make the list with its 14th-century series of frescoes in Padua. The site consists of eight religious complexes in Padua, preserving and selecting frescoes painted between 1302 and 1397 by different artists, yet maintaining a unity of style and content. Among them is the series of frescoes at Giotto's Scrovegni Chapel, marking the beginning of a revolutionary development in the history of mural painting. Photo: Comune di Padova Settore Cultura, Turismo, Musei e Biblioteche/UNESCO
The Sudanese-style mosque in the north of Ivory Coast has a total of eight baked brick structures, characterized by overhanging wooden slats, vertical pillars mounted with ceramic or ostrich eggs, and small minarets. It is significant evidence of trans-Saharan trade, facilitating the expansion of Islam and Islamic culture, and reflecting the fusion of Islamic and indigenous architectural forms in a unique way that has survived through time.

In addition to this heritage, Africa has one more destination on the list, Ivindo National Park in Gabon. Photo: UNESCO
Eladio Dieste's Atlántida Church with its bell tower and underground baptistery located in Estación Atlántida, Uruguay. The building, inspired by Italy's ancient Catholic and medieval religious architecture, inaugurated in 1960, demonstrates a novel application of reinforced brick and reinforcement.

The Americas region also has new heritage sites such as Sítio Roberto Burle Marx in Brazil; The ancient complex of Chankillo in Peru... Photo: Matilde Campodonico/AP
The slate landscape in north-west Wales, UK is inscribed as a world heritage site this time around. The destination exemplifies the transformation that industrial shale mining has affected in the traditional rural environment of the mountains and valleys of the Snowdon massif.

If a landmark is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the country can receive financial support and expert advice from the organization to help preserve the site. This title also brought the destination to appear on the tourist map and recorded with an increased number of visitors. However, the title will also be taken away if the historical and cultural values at that place are threatened. Recently, Liverpool in the UK has been stripped of its World Heritage status by UNESCO. Photo: RCAHMW

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