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Stunning Brand New World Heritage Sites You Must See in 2017

Picture of Luke Abrahams
Social Content Editor
Updated: 6 March 2017
Once a year, the UNESCO Committee holds a grand old meeting to discuss all the sites that have been proposed as new members of their coveted World Heritage list. In order to be a UNESCO-listed World Heritage site, the place or structure in question must be of great cultural, historical, or natural significance. Here are some exceptional newbies who have made it onto the list and are must-sees this year.

Ani, Turkey…

© Fat Jackey / Shutterstock
© Fat Jackey / Shutterstock
© Ipek Morel / Shutterstock
© Ipek Morel / Shutterstock

Formally dubbed, the “city of 1,001 churches,” Ani was the capital of a once mighty Armenian empire. Sadly, it was destroyed by a catastrophic earthquake in the 14th century.

Archipiélago de Revillagigedo, Mexico…

© Doublex / Shutterstock
© Doublex / Shutterstock
© Rich Carey / Shutterstock
© Rich Carey / Shutterstock

The four remote islands which make up the Archipiélago de Revillagigedo are the tops of ancient volcanoes, now mostly submerged by the Pacific Ocean. Cool huh?

Ahwar of Southern Iraq, Iraq…

© Qahtan Al-Abeed / UNESCO
© Qahtan Al-Abeed / UNESCO
© Qahtan Al-Abeed / UNESCO
© Qahtan Al-Abeed / UNESCO

Ancient Sumerian culture began here – and humanity, as we know it today, has many of its roots in these three archaeological sites between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

Gorham’s Cave, Gibraltar…

© Trabantos / Shutterstock
© Trabantos / Shutterstock
© Artur Bogacki / Shutterstock
© Artur Bogacki / Shutterstock

Along the eastern side of the Rock of Gibraltar, you’ll stumble across four caves whose history goes back 28,000 years ago. The place is so special, it is considered the last known site of neanderthals.

Khangchendzonga National Park, India…

© Volodymyr Goinyk / Shutterstock
© Volodymyr Goinyk / Shutterstock
© Eugenija Dapk / Shutterstock
© Eugenija Dapk / Shutterstock

Khangchendzonga National Park has rivers, valleys, glaciers, and the Himalayan peak of Mount Khangchendzonga – the world’s third-highest mountain. What more could you ask for in a World Heritage site?

Antequera Dolmens Site, Spain…

© Conjunto Arqueológico Dólmenes de Antequera / UNESCO
© Conjunto Arqueológico Dólmenes de Antequera / UNESCO
© Conjunto Arqueológico Dólmenes de Antequera / UNESCO
© Conjunto Arqueológico Dólmenes de Antequera / UNESCO

A dolmen is basically an ancient man-made rock formation made up of several stones stacked vertically on top of one another. Explorers will find three of these awesome monuments to Instagram to death in Andalusia.

Phillipi, Greece…

© Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports / UNESCO
© Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports / UNESCO
© Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports / UNESCO
© Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports / UNESCO

The remains of this walled city lie at the foot of an acropolis in north-eastern Greece, on the ancient route linking Europe and Asia. The city became a centre of the Christian faith following the visit of the Apostle Paul in 49-50 CE. The remains are one of the most exceptional examples to the early establishment of Christianity in the world.

Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape, China…

© Vincent Ko Hon Chiu / UNESCO
© Vincent Ko Hon Chiu / UNESCO
© Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Department of Culture / UNESCO
© Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Department of Culture / UNESCO

Located on the steep cliffs in the border regions of south-west China, these 38 sites of rock art illustrate the life and rituals of the Luoyue people. They date from the period around the 5th century BCE and depict ceremonies that have been interpreted as portraying the “bronze drum culture” (Đông Sơn culture) once prevalent across southern China. These are the only remains of this culture in the world today.

Naval Dockyard, Antigua and Barbuda…

© BlueOrange Studio / Shutterstock
© BlueOrange Studio / Shutterstock
© Verena Matthew / Shutterstock
© Verena Matthew / Shutterstock

A cluster of Georgian-era navy buildings, this shipyard is the first site in Antigua and Barbuda to be included on the World Heritage List. Why they waited so long, we have no idea why.

Lut Desert, Iran…

© Naser Mizban / UNESCO
© Naser Mizban / UNESCO
© MielnickiStudio / Shutterstock
© MielnickiStudio / Shutterstock

Praised by UNESCO as “an exceptional example of ongoing geological processes,” don’t bother packing your hairspray because the winds are exceptionally strong in this magical sand-ridged desert. Strong winds in the hottest desert in the world? God send.

Ennedi Massif, Chad…

© Tilman Lenssen-Erz / UNESCO
© Tilman Lenssen-Erz / UNESCO
© Comité Technique / Sven Oehm / UNESCO
© Comité Technique / Sven Oehm / UNESCO

If you take the plunge into Chad, you’ll find an incredible sandstone mountain range home to quite possibly the world’s finest examples of rock art carvings.

Hubei Shennongjia, China…

© xfdly / Shutterstock
© xfdly / Shutterstock
© xfdly / Shutterstock
© xfdly / Shutterstock

A habitat for several rare species of animals, including the clouded leopard and the golden–or snub-nosed–monkey, this beautiful slice of Mother Nature is every travel junkies dream.

Mistaken Point, Canada…

© Mistaken Point Ambassadors Inc / UNESCO
© Mistaken Point Ambassadors Inc / UNESCO
© vagabond54 / Shutterstock
© vagabond54 / Shutterstock

This gorgeous stretch of Newfoundland owes its name to the sailors who thought they’d found a safe harbour amid the fog, only to crash along the rocky shore and drown in the merciless waters. Since that tragedy, archaeologists have found one of the world’s biggest fossil collections here, and no they aren’t all human…

Want more inspiration for 2017? Check out the cheapest places to travel to this year!