List of World Heritage sites continues to grow

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, also known as UNESCO, has added more sites, including several cultural locations, to its ever expanding World Heritage list. The additions were made this past weekend when the organization concluded the 34th session of the the World Heritage Committee in Sao Paulo, Brazil following more than a week of deliberation.

Amongst the new inductees are the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long-Hanoi in Vietnam; the historic monuments of Dengfeng in China; the archaeological site Sarazm in Tajikistan; the Episcopal city of Albi in France; and a 17th-century canal ring in Amsterdam. Those five sites were lauded for their cultural significance, and their inclusion brought the list up to 904 total sites.

Joining the sites named above were the Bikini Atoll, located in the South Pacific’s Marshall Islands, the Turaif District in Saudi Arabia; Australia’s famous penal colonies; the Jantar Mantar astronomical observation site in India; the Tabriz historic bazaar complex, as well as a shrine in Ardabil, both located in Iran; and the historic villages of Hahoe and Yangdong in South Korea.

Singling out the Bikini Atoll, the Committee said that nuclear tests conducted on the tiny island during the late 1940′s and early 1950′s had a profound effect on the geology and environment of the area. They also noted that the atoll had historical significance by ushering in the dawning of the nuclear age as well.

New sites are generally added to the World Heritage list on a yearly basis, with the locations receiving a measure of prestige and honor for making the cut. In order to remain on the list though, they must be protected and preserved by the country in which they reside. In recent years several sites have been added to the Committee’s “endangered list” with some actually losing their “World Heritage” status due to changes in their condition.

Lets hope these new additions are around for a long time.

[Photo credit: Chinasaur via WikiMedia Commons]