UNESCO Adds 13 New Cultural Landmarks to its World Heritage List

Beopjusa Temple, Hall of Eight Pictures
Beopjusa Temple, Hall of Eight Pictures | Courtesy of UNESCO / © CIBM

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UNESCO has added 13 properties to its World Heritage List, thus elongating every cultural enthusiast’s bucket list. From archaeological ruins in Iran to a Romanesque cathedral in Germany, 2018’s diverse cohort of historical sites is now protected under international treaties.

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Aasivissuit – Nipisat, Greenland

This former Paleo-Inuit and Inuit hunting ground lies within the Arctic Circle in central West Greenland and contains relics from 4,200 years of human history. From winter houses to archaeological sites and evidence of caribou hunting, the site is an example of seasonal human migration and the preservation of cultural traditions across generations.

Tent camp near the ice sheet in the easternmost part of the area

Al-Ahsa Oasis, Saudi Arabia

Complete with gardens, canals, springs, wells, historical buildings, archaeological sites and a drainage lake, Al Ahsa is the largest oasis in the world. Quenching thirst on the Eastern Arabian Peninsula since the Neolithic period, this site is home to roughly 2.5 million date palms.

Traditional well in Qasr Sahood

Ancient City of Qalhat, Oman

This ancient settlement dates back to the reign of the Hormuz princes in the 11th century. Although damaged by an earthquake in the mid-14th century, this former port city on the east coast of the Sultanate of Oman (which once provided trade links between Arabia, East Africa, India, China and Southeast Asia) is still impressive to behold.

Bibi Maryam Mausoleum

Hedeby and the Danevirke, Germany

The remains of the trading hub of Hedeby date back to the Viking age and contain remnants of roads, buildings, cemeteries and a harbour. The site is partially enclosed by the Danevirke, a fortress wall which separates the Jutland Peninsula from the rest of the European mainland.

The Crooked Wall of the Danevirke

Caliphate City of Medina Azahara, Spain

The former seat of the Caliphate of Cordoba, the remains of this 10th-century city were lost for almost 1,000 years and then rediscovered in the early 20th century. The city is a prime example of the ancient Islamic civilisation of Al-Andalus with a wealth of infrastructure still in tact including roads, water systems, buildings and everyday objects.

Upper Gardens

Göbekli Tepe, Turkey

This epic site in the Anatolia region of Turkey dates back to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic age (between 9,600 and 8,200 BC) and is known for its circular and rectangular structures, erected by hunger-gatherers and used as enclosures during funeral rituals. Carvings illustrate images of wild animals, which gives historians a peek into life 11,500 years ago.

View south upon the main excavation area

Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region, Japan

This property is made up of 12 components including ten villages, Hara Castle and a cathedral, all constructed between the 16th and 19th centuries. As a whole, the relics recount the history of Christian missionaries and settlers in Japan, including the era when Christianity was prohibited (the 17th-19th century), during which time the sites functioned in secret.

Remains of Nokubi Village

Ivrea, Italy

Ivrea is an Italian industrial city developed between 1930 and 1960 as the base of operations for the typewriter brand Olivetti. The city is made up of the factory itself plus administrative and social services buildings and residential units all designed by leading Italian architects and urban planners.

Corso Jervis

Naumburg Cathedral, Germany

Construction on this Medieval landmark began in 1028. Its structure is Romanesque in style but flanked by two Gothic choirs, showcasing the transition between the architectural periods. The west choir dates back to the mid-13th century and demonstrates how science and nature began to have influence on Christian figurative arts during this time.

Naumburg, cathedral with west choir

Sansa, Republic of Korea

Seven sacred Buddhist monasteries make up the Sansa, all dotted across the southern provinces of the Korean peninsula. The temples themselves are typical to Korea, containing a madang (open courtyard), which is surrounded by four buildings: the Buddha Hall, pavilion, lecture hall and dormitory.

Beopjusa Temple, Hall of Eight Pictures

Sassanid Archaeological Landscape, Iran

Located in the Fars Province of Iran, the Sassanid Archaeological Landscape is made up of eight archaeological sites, a combination of palaces and fortified structures that date back as far 224 CE. The cultural amalgamation of East and West can be observed here as the Roman influence on the architecture of the buildings is unmistakable.

Ardashir Palace

Thimlich Ohinga, Kenya

This dry-stone-walled settlement is thought to have been built in the 16th century. Ohinga translates as ‘settlement’, and the site appears to have acted as a fort for communities and livestock. Thimlich Ohinga is the largest and most well preserved enclosure of its kind and is a prime example of how pastoral communities used of dry-stone-walled forts.

Natural vegetation at the cultural landscape

Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai, India

These public buildings in Mumbai were built first in the late 19th century and then in the early 20th century, reflecting first Victorian Neo-Gothic style and then Art Deco, both melded with a traditional Indian aesthetic. The result is a new genre known as ‘Indo-Deco’. Both ensembles are a testament to the modernisation of Mumbai, which continues to this day.

An aerial view of the Kala Ghoda Streetscape
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