Obtaining the status of an Unesco world heritage site has long been a badge of pride to cities, towns, and attractions around the world.
From the banks of the river Seine to the temples of Palmyra cultural heritage organization UNESCO has designated places all over the world that serve as monuments to important architectural, natural and historical moments throughout history. Each site must meet rigorous requirements and follow strict guidelines for preservation.
The organization announced this summer that it has added 21 new sites to its list. The new world heritage sites range from a tiny, sacred Shinto island in Japan, to a national park in Argentina, to a cathedral in Russia. Some date from the Ice Age while others are a few hundred years old.
All of the places on the list are remarkable for their cultural significance and natural beauty. I think our bucket list just got a lot longer.
This small, ancient Greek city is considered one of the best archeological sites in Anatolia, Turkey. Aphrodisias still contains temples, a theater, an agora, and two bath complexes.
Ahmadabad is a 15th century city, known for its citadel, mosques, and tombs.
This steppe region provides habitats to a variety of rare species, including some 3 million migratory birds, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Asmara is the capital city of Eritrea, known in particular for its art deco buildings.
Assumption Cathedral, Russia
The Assumption Cathedral is the oldest church in Russia.
Hebron Al Khalil, Palestine
The old town in Hebron Al-Khalil was created with local limestone between 1250 and 1517, according to UNESCO. Tombs from the first century also remain.
Khomani Cultural Landscape, South Africa
The Khomani Cultural Landscape is home to the traditional San people, and traces of habitation can be found in the region that date back to the Stone Age.
Kujataa was a farming region where both Norse and Inuit people lived together starting in the 10th century.
Known as "piano island" for its rich history of classical music and well-known musicians, Kulangsu island is a remote place in southeast China, completely free of cars and bikes.
Lake District, U.K.
The Lake District in the northwest region of England encompasses nearly 1,000 square miles and 12 of the largest lakes in the country.
Mbanza Kongo, Angola
This town combines buildings from the Kingdom of Kongo, dating as far back as the 14th century, as well as architecture added by the colonizing Portuguese.
Los Alerces, Argentina
This national park is best known for the Alerces trees from which it takes its name, a conifer that often reaches heights of more than 150 feet.
Qinghai Hoh Xil, China
At almost 15,000 feet above sea level, this site is the largest and highest plateau in the world, according to UNESCO.
The island is a sacred place that only 200 men can visit once a year after purifying themselves with sea water. Women are prohibited from entering.
Swabian Jura, Germany
This section of the Alps mountain range is home to caves containing art dating from the Ice Age, created between 43,000 and 33,000 years ago.
Valongo Wharf, Brazil
Valongo Wharf bears witness to the slave history of Latin America. An estimated 900,000 people arrived on this dock in Rio de Janeiro from Africa as slaves in the 19th century.
Taputapuātea, French Polynesia
Located in French Polynesia, this area of the Ra’iatea Island includes natural wonders such as a strip of coral reef, as well as objects of archeological significance, including an ancient, ceremonial and funerary center.
Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine, Poland
This site remains part of the mining history of the Upper Silesian area of Poland. It includes remains from the 19th century steam water pumping station.
Temple Zone of Sambor Prei Kuk, Cambodia
An archeological site that means “the temple in the richness of the forest” in the Khmer language, this site is a remnant of the Chenla Empire that saw its height in the 6th and 7th centuries.
Known for its Adobe architecture and zorastrian temples, Yazd is one of nearly two dozen world heritage sites in the country.
Venetian Works of Defense, Croatia, Italy, and Montenegro
Built between the 15th and 17th centuries, these fortresses pepper the Mediterranean region.