(CNN) – A prehistoric solar observatory in the middle of a desert. A decades-old railway that divides two high mountain ranges. Stunning rock engraving dating back 7,000 years.
After several days of online deliberations, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has voted to add 33 new spaces to its list of World Heritage Sites so far, with more discussions to come.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee did not meet last year, so this year’s session, based in Fuzhou, China, and with the participation of virtual participants from around the world, is reviewing the 2020 and 2021 nominations.
Criteria for the UNESCO World Heritage List
The church of Atlantis in Uruguay is on the list, designed by architect Eladio Dieste. Here’s a look inside its impressive bell tower.
Matilde Campodonico / AP
UNESCO designated its first World Heritage Sites in 1978, with Yellowstone National Park in the United States and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador among the destinations of the inaugural meeting.
Four decades later, being crowned a World Heritage Site by UNESCO remains a much-desired honor for many destinations.
UNESCO says that in order to be included in the World Heritage List, the sites must have “exceptional universal value”.
The nomination process can span years and, if a milestone fails to cut a year, it could be re-examined when the next UNESCO convention takes place.
The Cordouan lighthouse at Le Verdon-sur-Mer in southwestern France is also recently inscribed on the UNESCO list.
Philippe Lopez / AFP / Getty Images
Destinations must meet one of several criteria to make the list. Perhaps they are “a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or civilization that lives or has disappeared.” Or perhaps they contain “superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance.”
If a landmark gets UNESCO World Heritage, the country can get financial help and expert advice from UNESCO to help preserve the site.
India’s Ramappa Temple, also known as Rudreshwara Temple, is another addition to the UNESCO list.
Banda Sridhar Raju / ASI / UNESCO
The UNESCO status also places the destination on the map and is sometimes attributed to an increase in the number of tourists.
The archaeoastronomical complex of Chankillo, Peru, is now a World Heritage Site.
Janine Costa / AFP / Getty Images
Meanwhile, some two dozen cultural sites have been confirmed, including the historic limestone city of As-Salt in Jordan.
Also on the list is the archaeoastronomical complex of Chankillo, a prehistoric site in Peru that was formerly used to track the sun, in order to delimit the dates over a one-year period.
Meanwhile, the Trans-Iranian Railway, a 1,394-kilometer-long track spanning two mountain ranges, is now also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in the 1920s and 1930s, the railroad navigates some steep routes, as well as an incredible 174 large bridges, 186 smaller bridges, and 224 tunnels, including 11 spiral tunnels.
The Trans-Iranian Railway is a new addition to the UNESCO list. The railway crosses mountainous landscapes, connecting the Caspian Sea with the Persian Gulf.
Hossein Javadi / UNESCO
Rock art from the Ḥimā Cultural Area of Saudi Arabia also made the cut, as did the French city of Nice, while spa towns across Europe, including Bath, England and Františkovy Lázně, in the Czech Republic , were confirmed as a collective group.
Two sites were also inscribed in India: the Ramappa temple, also known as Rudreshwara, is now a UNESCO site, thanks to its “floating” bricks, while the ancient city of Dholavira was also recognized.
The most recent World Heritage sites
Turkey: Arslantepe Mound
Peru: Archaeoastronomical complex of Chankillo
Belgium / Netherlands: Colonies of Benevolence
France: Cordouan lighthouse
India: Kakatiya Rudreshwara Temple (Ramappa), Telangana
Germany: Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt
Italy: Cycles of frescoes from the 14th century in Padua
Spain: Paseo del Prado and Buen Retiro, a landscape of Arts and Sciences
China: Quanzhou: World Emporium in Song-Yuan China
Romania: Mining landscape of Roșia Montana
Brazil: Sítio Roberto Burle Marx
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland: The great thermal cities of Europe
Uruguay: The work of engineer Eladio Dieste: Church of Atlantis
Iran: Railroad will cross
Saudi Arabia: Ḥimā Cultural Area
Japan: Amami-Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, northern part of Okinawa Island and Iriomote Island
Georgia: Rainforests and wetlands of Colchic
South Korea: Getbol, Korean Tidal Flats
Thailand: Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex
Jordan: As-Salt: the place of tolerance and urban hospitality
Iran: Hawraman / Uramanat cultural landscape
India: Dholavira: in Harappan City
Germany / Netherlands: Frontiers of the Roman Empire – The Low German Limes
Japan: Prehistoric sites of Jomon in northern Japan
France: Nice, winter resort on the Riviera
Chile: Settlement and artificial mummification of the chinchorro culture in the region of Arica and Parinacota
Germany: ShUM sites in Speyer, Worms and Mainz
Ivory Coast: Sudanese-style mosques in northern Côte d’Ivoire
Italy: The porticos of Bologna
Slovenia: The works of Jože Plečnik in Ljubljana – Urban design focused on the human being
United Kingdom: The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales
Russia: Petroglyphs of Lake Onega and the White Sea
Gabon: Ivindo National Park
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