20 New UNESCO Sites to Add to Your Bucket List

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Northern lights above Aasivissuit – Nipisat
©Ólafur Rafnar Ólafsson
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Beopjusa Temple, Hall of Eight Pictures
Sansa Buddhist Mountain Monasteries, Korea

The centuries-old Sansa Buddhist mountain monasteries were selected for their overwhelming number of remarkable structures, objects, documents and shrines; they serve as locations of religious practice. Visitors are welcomed into the various temples for Buddhist practices like meditation and tea ceremonies.

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Pimachiowin Aki - Canada
©Pimachiowin Aki
Pimachiowin Aki: Canada

This breathtaking forest landscape in Canada met three of the World Heritage criteria including the 9th criteria, focused on the ongoing development of "terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals." Pimachiowin Aki—or The Land That Gives Life—offers a beautiful setting for canoeing, fishing and wildlife-watching.

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Ardashir Palace
Sassanid Archaeological Landscape, Iran

Located in an Iranian province called Fars, the Sassanid Archaeological Landscapes—eight historic structures and palaces—date back to 224 to 658 CE. Travelers can tour the Fars region and learn the history of the structures.

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Northern lights above Aasivissuit – Nipisat
©Ólafur Rafnar Ólafsson
Aasivissuit – Nipisat: Denmark

To visit this site, you'll have to head to the center of the Arctic Circle in West Greenland. This site—with its remains of 4,200 years of human history—is typically used as hunting grounds for locals from surrounding areas. This site is also home to the archaeological remains of Paleo-Inuit settlements.

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House of Ya'far. Entrance 2
©Madinat al-Zahra Archaeological Site (CAMaZ)
Caliphate City of Medina Azahara, Spain

The Caliphate City of Medina Azahara was built in the mid 10th century CE. The remains were forgotten for nearly 1,000 years before its rediscovery in the 20th century. Today, the archaeological site is open to the public for tours.

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Chiribiquete National Park
©Jorge Mario Álvarez Arango
Chiribiquete National Park, Colombia

The Chiribiquete National Park is known for its table-top mountains—known as "tepuis" by Native Americans—and its ancient cave paintings. It is the largest tropical rainforest national park in the world and many indigenous communities consider the area sacred. 

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Bibi Maryam Mausoleum
Ancient City of Qalhat, Oman

The Ancient City of Qalhat earned its spot on the World Heritage List due to it unique archaeological structures that witnessed trade between Arabia, East Africa, India, China and South-East Asia. If you're lucky enough to tour these ancient ruins, you can call yourself an explorer akin to Marco Polo, who stopped here during his adventures. 

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Tehuacán Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve
Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley, Mexico

Recognized for its rich biodiversity, Tehuacán Cuicatlán Biosphere is one of the main centers of diversification cacti, endangered worldwide. The site also represents early domestication of crops and exceptional water management system of canals, wells, aqueducts and dams. Tehuacán Cuicatlán is just a day trip away from Puebla and is best explored by car where you can explore at your own leisure.

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The Crooked Wall of the Danevirke
©Archäologisches Landesamt Schleswig-Holstein
Archaeological Border Complex of Hedeby and the Danevirke, Germany

This archaeological site in Northern Germany was discovered in 1897 and today contains remains of Hedeby—an important Viking settlement—including traces of roads, structures and cemeteries. 

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Aerial view of main excavation area
Göbekli Tepe, Turkey

The remains of Göbekli Tepe include massive T-shaped pillars, image carvings of wild animals among other geometric structures. Historians believe these buildings provide insight into the lives of people living in Mesopotamia more than 11,000 years ago. Today, people can tour the prehistoric site considered as the world's first temple. 

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Kasuga Village, Mt. Yasumandake and Nakaenoshima Island
©Nagasaki Préfecture
Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region, Japan

The Hidden Christian Sites include 10 villages, a castle and a cathedral. All the sites were built between the 17th and 19th century when Christianity was prohibited on the island. Explore intriguing spots like Oura Cathedral, Hirado IslandKuroshima Island and the Hara Castle Ruins.

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Officine H, interior
©Guelpa Foundation
Ivrea the Industrial City of the 20th Century, Italy

Designed between the 1930s and 1960s, the Industrial City of Ivrea reflects the ideas of Italy's "Community Movement." Here, factory buildings serve as manufacturing sites for typewriters, mechanical calculators and office computers. According to UNESCO, Irvea expresses a "modern vision of the relationship between production and architecture." 

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Naumburg cathedral, West choir
©Förderverein Welterbe an Saale und Unstrut
Naumburg Cathedral, Germany

Germany earns the second spot on this year's World Heritage addition list through the Naumburg Cathedral, recognized for its medieval art and architecture—specifically its Romanesque structure.

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Entrance at Kochieng enclosure and buttresses at either side for stability
©National Museums of Kenya
Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site, Kenya

The Thimlich Ohinga in East Africa has remained intact for almost 600 years. The dry-stone technology—the only one of its kind in the region—was used as a kind of fort. It was a defense mechanism in addition to a small urban hub for exchanging goods and farming. 

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An aerial view of the Kala Ghoda Streetscape
©Abha Narain Lambah Associates
Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai, India

Mumbai is a premier destination for art and architecture fans. The Victorian Gothic and Art Deco ensembles—crucial to Mumbai modernization—created a style that has been referred to as "Indo-Deco." To see these structures visit the Oval Maidan, National Gallery of Modern Art, Bombay high court or Mumbai University. 

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Sandspruit River, southern area
©Dion Brandt
Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains: South Africa

Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains are some of the world's oldest geological structures. The mountains have preserved volcanic and sedimentary rock from more than 3.6 billion years ago. 

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Chaine des Puys - Limagne fault tectonic arena
©Denis Pourcher
Chaîne des Puys, Limagne Fault Tectonic Arena, France

Recognized for its illustration of the continental break-up, the Limagne fault of the Chaîne des Puys volcanoes was created in the aftermath of the formation of the Alps more than 35 million years ago. Today, this is a popular hiking destination in France.

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Bikin River valley
Central Sikhote-Alin, Russia

Though it was originally inscribed in 2001, the Central Sikhote-Alin has been modified to include the Bikin River Valley, which includes forests that are home to Amur Tigers, Siberian Musk Deer, Wolverine and Sable. 

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Sea of palm trees
©François Cristofoli
Al-Ahsa Oasis: Saudi Arabia

Al-Ahsa Oasis is the largest and most famous palm oasis in the world; 2.5 million date palms to be exact. The oasis is comprised of gardens, springs, wells, historical buildings, archaeological sites and more. Visitors to Saudi Arabia can explore the landmarks, bathe in hot springs and view the palm trees of the Al-Ahsa Oasis. 

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©Office of the Leading Group for World Heritage
Fanjingshan, China

Fanjingshan appeared on UNESCO's radar due to its high degrees of biodiversity, diverse vegetation and endangered species. The grand mountain structure in China is thought to be between 2 million and 65 million years old. Those who adventure to the mountaintop will be treated with gorgeous views, calm environments and rare animals that roam the forests.

By Jasmyn Snipes Louis

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) selects various sites around the world to protect and preserve their natural and cultural heritage.

Each site is unique in its own right, offering incomparable value and sources of inspiration to the communities in which they are located as well as all people around the world. According to UNESCO, "sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria" in order to be included on the World Heritage list. Here's what you need to know about the site selections for 2018.

Jasmyn Snipes Louis
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