Date: Wednesday, 06 September 2017
UNESCO has expanded its list of World Heritage Sites for 2017, writes Elaine Glusac of the New York Times. Among the areas added to the organization’s register are Sambor Prei Kuk’s temples in Cambodia; Aphrodisias, a third-century Greco-Roman archaeological site in Turkey; Argentina’s Los Alerces National Park; and the Valongo Wharf in Rio de Janeiro, where slaves were once traded. The World Heritage program seeks to locate and safeguard cultural and natural sites across the world that have, according to UNESCO’s website, “outstanding value to humanity.” Many of the areas highlighted are popular with tourists, such as the Lake District of northwestern England, which receives more than 18 million visitors annually, or Taputapuatea, a ceremonial site on Raiatea Island, a destination for a number of cruise lines.
Some sites, however, are more difficult or nearly impossible to visit. For example, Okinoshima, a holy island in Japan, is only open to men; while Asmara, the capital of the secretive East African country Eritrea, allows just a handful of foreign visitors each year (the United Nations accused the Eritrean government of crimes against humanity—including torture, murder, and rape—last year). Asmara was noticed by UNESCO for its modernist architecture, built when it was colonized by Italy. And Hebron, an ancient city in the West Bank, currently occupied by Israel, was also put on the list as a Palestinian World Heritage Site, though Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, called the decision “delusional.”
To see UNESCO’s full list of World Heritage Sites, visit their website.