The World Heritage Committee wrapped its 41st session today having inscribed 21 new sites on the United Nations cultural wing’s World Heritage List – locations ranging from the site of iconic ancient ruins in south-western Turkey to a district of stunning mountains and mirror lakes in England.
Meeting in Krakow, Poland, from 2 to 12 July, the Committee completed the addition of 18 cultural and three natural significant sites to the List. The planet is now home to 1,073 such sites, most of them in the European region.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) regards inscribed sites as having great significance to the collective interest of humanity. The Committee, which monitors implementation of the 1972 World Heritage Convention, decides about inscriptions on the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger, monitors the state of conservation of the World Heritage properties, defines the use of the World Heritage Fund and allocates financial assistance upon requests from States Parties.
The Committee approved new sites in all the worlds regions.
Various new European sites have been inscribed, including: the archaeological site of Aphrodisias (Turkey); the English Lake District (United Kingdom); Caves and ice age art in the Swabian Jura (Germany); Kujataa Greenland, a sub-arctic farming landscape (Denmark); Taputapuatea, the centre of the “Polynesian Triangle” (France); Tarnowskie Góry, led-silver-zinc mine and its Underground Water Management System (Poland); Venetian Works of Defense (Croatia, Italy, Montenegro); Landscapes of Dauria (Mongolia); and Assumption Cathedral and Monastery of the town-island of Sviyazhsk (Russia).
In Africa an additional three sites have been listed: Asmara, a modernist city of Africa (Eritrea) Mbanza Kongo, political and spiritual capital of the Kingdom of Kongo (Angola) and Khomani Cultural Landscape (South Africa).
In the Americas Valongo Wharf (Brazil) has been listed as an archaeological site while also Los Alerces National Park (Argentina) has been inscribed.
In the Asian region have been inscribed: Qinghai Hoh Xil, world’s highest and largest plateau and Kulangsu, a historic international settlement (China), historic city of Ahmedabad (India), sacred island of Okinoshima and associated sites in the Munakata Region (Japan), Temple Zone of Sambor Prei Kuk, archaeological site of ancient Ishanapura (Cambodia) and the historic city of Yazd (Iran).
Additionally, in the Middle East Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town (Occupied Palestinian Territories) have been listed.
List of World Heritage in Danger
In the same session, the Committee inscribed the Historic Centre of Vienna on the List of World Heritage in Danger due to high-rise projects in the middle of the Austrian capital. The UNESCO Committee regrets that the Vienna Ice-Skating Club—Intercontinental Hotel project fails to comply fully with previous Committee decisions, notably concerning the height of new constructions and argues the project will impact adversely the outstanding universal value of the site.
The Committee stressed that Vienna developed from early Celtic and Roman settlements into a Medieval and Baroque city to become the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Vienna played an essential role as a leading European music centre, from the great age of Viennese Classicism through the early part of the 20th century while the historic centre of the Austrian capital is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, as well as the late-19th century Ringstrasse.