26 New Unesco World Heritage Sites Added In 2012 [SLIDESHOW]

on July 03 2012 12:57 PM
  • Rock Islands Southern Lagoon
    Located in Palau UNESCO
  • Bassari Country: Bassari, Fula and Bedik Cultural Landscapes
    Located in Senegal UNESCO
  • Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications
    Located in Portugal UNESCO
  • Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley
    Located in Malaysia UNESCO
  • Masjed-e Jāmé of Isfahan
    Located in Iran UNESCO
  • Landscape of Grand Pré
    Located in Canada UNESCO
  • Margravial Opera House Bayreuth
    Located in Germany UNESCO
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin
    Located in France UNESCO
  • Rabat, modern capital and historic city: a shared heritage
    Located in Morocco UNESCO
  • Site of Xanadu
    Located in China UNESCO
  • Chengjiang Fossil Site
    Located in China UNESCO
  • Lena Pillars Nature Park
    Located in Russian Federation UNESCO
  • Cultural Landscape of Bali Province: the Subak System as a Manifestation of the Tri Hita Karana Philosophy
    Located in Indonesia UNESCO
  • Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland
    Located in Sweden UNESCO
  • Heritage of Mercury. Almadén and Idrija
    Located in Slovenia/Spain UNESCO
  • Historic town of Grand-Bassam
    Located in Côte d'Ivoire UNESCO
  • Major Mining Sites of Wallonia, Belgium
    Located in Belgium UNESCO
  • Pearling, testimony of an island economy
    Located in Bahrain UNESCO
  • Brazil
    Brazil's economic activity rose quickly from a 2011 slowdown to return to its long-term growth trend. Unesco
  • Western Ghats
    Located in India UNESCO
  • Sangha Trinational
    Split between Cameroon/Central African Republic/Congo UNESCO
  • Lakes of Ounianga,
    Located in Chad UNESCO
  • 3.	Sites of Human Evolution at Mount Carmel: The Nahal Me’arot / Wadi el-Mughara Caves
    Located in Israel UNESCO
  • Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük
    Located in Turkey wikimedia commons
  • Gonbad-e Qābus
    Located in Iran wikimedia commons
1 of 25

The birthplace of Jesus, the site of Xanadu, the iconic landscape of Rio de Janeiro and a ninth-century mosque are among new additions to Unesco's renowned World Heritage List.

In 40 years' time, United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cutural Organization's World Heritage Center has anointed nearly 1,000 sites around the world with a thick blanket of protection.

The idea to create an international movement to protect the world's cultural and natural wonders emerged after World War I and was further inspired by the rescue of the 13th-century B.C. Egyptian temples of Abu Simbel in 1954. After Cairo announced plans to build a dam that would flood them, Unesco launched a campaign to relocate the temples, brick by brick.

The effort spawned a series of other conservation projects across the globe, and Unesco ultimately formed the World Heritage Center in 1972 with the adoption of the Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage. The first sites -- such as the Galapagos Islands, Yellowstone National Park and the city of Quito, Ecuador -- were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1978. Since then, the Great Barrier Reef, Great Wall of China, and Great Pyramid of Giza, among 936 others, were stamped with the Unesco seal of approval and World Heritage status became a global brand.

The World Heritage Committee bumped that number to 962 in 2012 with 26 new sites. Twenty of the new additions were listed for their cultural heritage, five for natural, and one, the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon of Palau, was added as a mixed natural and cultural site.

Palau along with Chad, Congo and Palestine had World Heritage sites inscribed on the list for the first time, though the latter was shrouded in controversy.

These man-made and natural wonders are considered to be of outstanding universal value, a quality that transcends borders, politics, and economics. Once added to the prestigious World Heritage List, the sites are, theoretically, placed beyond the reach of developers, looters, or polluters. Many go on to become the next travel hot spots.

Press Start and have a look at this year's additions to the Unesco World Heritage List or click here to learn more.

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