When I have been on the road in a region that I have never visited before, and haven’t done my homework (researched the sights and attractions beforehand) properly, I have been pleasantly surprised twice, at least, by a simple sign outside a town or village. The sign has indicated that I have arrived at a Unesco World Heritage Site.
A World Heritage Site means that it is a special place that must be preserved for future generations. Unesco is a United Nations organization that manages the applications and nominations for the sites. The purpose is to encourage identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.
The sites I have visited have really been outstanding. The last one was the town of Evora in Central Portugal (the photos above and below).
In July 2017, Unesco decided that 21 new sites across the world are so valuable that they deserve the label World Heritage Site. Here are the new sites.
The new World Heritage natural sites nominated in 2017:
Los Alerces National Park (Argentina)
Qinghai Hoh Xil (China)
Landscapes of Dauria (Mongolia/Russian Federation)
Mbanza Kongo, Vestiges of the Capital of the former Kingdom of Kongo (Angola)
Valongo Wharf Archaeological Site (Brazil)
Temple Zone of Sambor Prei Kuk, Archaeological Site of Ancient Ishanapura (Cambodia)
Kulangsu: a Historic International Settlement (China)
Venetian Works of Defence between 16th and 17th centuries: Stato da Terra – western Stato da Mar (Croatia, Italy, Montenegro)
Kujataa Greenland: Norse and Inuit Farming at the Edge of the Ice Cap (Denmark)
Asmara: a Modernist City of Africa (Eritrea)
Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura (Germany)
Historic City of Ahmadabad (India)
Historic City of Yazd (Islamic Republic of Iran)
Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region (Japan)
Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town (Palestine)
Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine and its Underground Water Management System (Poland)
Assumption Cathedral and Monastery of the town-island of Sviyazhsk (Russian Federation)
ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape (South Africa)
The English Lake District (United Kingdom)
The new World Heritage cultural sites:
Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe (Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Ukraine) [formerly “Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany” (Germany, Slovakia, Ukraine)]
W-Arly-Pendjari Complex (Benin, Burkina Faso) [formerly “W National Park of Niger” (Niger)]
Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar, Dessau and Bernau [formerly “Bauhaus and its sites in Weimar et Dessau”], Germany
Strasbourg: from Grande-île to Neustadt, a European urban scene [formerly “Strasbourg – Grande Ile”], France
The following existing sites were extended:
The entire list of World Heritage Sites is available on the Unesco web page. If you are traveling in China, France, Germany, Italy or Spain, you have the longest lists to explore.