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Zagori Cultural Landscape, Greece
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These 42 destinations just became Unesco World Heritage Sites

The new ‘cultural’ and ‘natural’ sites bring the total global list to 1199 places

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly

More and more culturally significant sites and destinations all over the world need protection, be it from change induced by the climate emergency, or conflicts such as the war in Ukraine. 

The 45th session of Unesco’s World Heritage Committee concluded yesterday on 25 September, and 42 new destinations have become World Heritage Sites: 33 are ‘cultural’ sites, and nine are ‘natural’ sites. The new additions bring the total list of sites to 1199 across 168 different countries.

Sites that have been added include the Gaya Tumuli memorial grounds in South Korea, which commemorate the ancient Gaya confederacy that ruled the land between the first and sixth centuries BC. Viking-age fortresses in Denmark and Anticosti in Canada – the best-preserved fossil site of the Earth’s first mass extinction – were included on the list too. 

Africa is now home to 100 World Heritage Sites after three new sites were recognised as ‘sites of memory’ – the name given to places where major events such as conflict occurred, which are then turned into memorial sites. Argentina’s ESMA Museum and Site of Memory, a former detention, torture and extermination centre was added to the list, as well as Western Front memorial sites in France and Belgium.

Becoming a World Heritage Site is a big deal. All the new destinations are now entitled to the highest level of cultural protection in the world, and they’ll each have access to new opportunities for technical and financial help from Unesco. 

However, the title is not always welcomed – take Venice, which was being considered for inclusion on Unesco’s endangered list despite the Italian government not being too happy about the idea. This time around, the city hasn’t been added.

Alongside the 42 new World Heritage sites, five existing sites were extended. They were Koutammakou, the Land of the Batammariba, Benin and Togo; the Historic Centre of Guimarães and Couros Zone in Portugal; Andrefana Dry Forests in Madagascar; Ha Long Bay – Cat Ba Archipelago in Vietnam and the Hyrcanian Forests in Azerbaijan and Iran. 

The new cultural World Heritage Sites

  1. Cultural Landscape of Old Tea Forests of the Jingmai Mountain in Pu’er, China
  2. Deer Stone Monuments and Related Bronze Age Sites, Mongolia
  3. Gaya Tumuli, South Korea
  4. Gordion, Türkiye
  5. Jewish-Medieval Heritage of Erfurt, Germany
  6. Koh Ker: Archaeological Site of Ancient Lingapura or Chok Gargyar, Cambodia
  7. Modernist Kaunas: Architecture of Optimism, 1919-1939, Lithuania
  8. National Archaeological Park Tak’alik Ab’aj, Guatemala
  9. Old town of Kuldīga, Latvia
  10. Prehistoric Sites of Talayotic Menorca, Spain
  11. Santiniketan, India
  12. Silk Roads: Zarafshan-Karakum Corridor, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
  13. The Gedeo Cultural Landscape, Ethiopia
  14. The Persian Caravanserai, Iran
  15. Tr’ondëk-Klondike, Canada
  16. Viking-Age Ring Fortresses, Denmark
  17. Žatec and the Landscape of Saaz Hops, Czechia
  18. Ancient Jericho/Tell es-Sultan, Palestine
  19. Astronomical Observatories of Kazan Federal University, Russia
  20. Cultural Landscape of Khinalig People and “Köç Yolu” Transhumance Route, Azerbaijan
  21. Djerba: Testimony to a settlement pattern in an island territory, Tunisia
  22. ESMA Museum and Site of Memory – Former Clandestine Center of Detention, Torture and extermination, Argentina
  23. Eisinga Planetarium in Franeker, Netherlands
  24. Funerary and memory sites of the First World War (Western Front), Belgium, France
  25. Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks, USA
  26. Jodensavanne Archaeological Site: Jodensavanne Settlement and Cassipora Creek Cemetery, Suriname
  27. Memorial sites of the Genocide: Nyamata, Murambi, Gisozi and Bisesero, Rwanda
  28. Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysalas, India
  29. The Ancient Town of Si Thep and its Associated Dvaravati Monuments, Thailand
  30. The Cosmological Axis of Yogyakarta and its Historic Landmarks, Indonesia
  31. The Maison Carrée of Nîmes, France
  32. Wooden Hypostyle Mosques of Medieval Anatolia, Türkiye
  33. Zagori Cultural Landscape, Greece

The new natural World Heritage Sites

  1. Forest Massif of Odzala-Kokoua, Congo
  2. Volcanoes and Forests of Mount Pelée and the Pitons of Northern Martinique, France
  3. Anticosti, Canada
  4. Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia
  5. Cold Winter Deserts of Turan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
  6. Evaporitic Karst and Caves of Northern Apennines, Italy
  7. Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda
  8. Tugay forests of the Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve, Tajikistan
  9. ‘Uruq Bani Ma’arid, Saudi Arabia

Did you see that this is officially the world’s most overcrowded tourist destination?

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