Latest World Heritage Sites are announced

And just like that, new landmarks are born. Actually, they’ve all been around for years and years, but it was just yesterday that 27 new sites were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The announcement of the new sites (19 cultural and 8 natural) came during the World Heritage Committee’s current session in Quebec City.

A few of the newest locations are:

• Armenian Monastic Ensembles in Iran (Iran)
• Baha’i Holy Places in Haifa and Western Galilee (Israel)
• Kuk Early Agricultural Site (Papua New Guinea)
• Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (Mexico)
• Socotra Archipelago (Yemen)

The new additions bring the total number of World Heritage Sites to 878, in 145 countries.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always drawn to World Heritage Sites on my travels—precisely because of their special distinction. I mean, these are not your average destinations, right? There’s a reason why they’ve been called out as remarkable and worthy of preservation.

But I can’t help but think of the irony—could the same attention ultimately do them in? A article asks the question “How do you balance preservation and promotion?” Unchecked tourist development can be enough to push a site over to The List of World Heritage in Danger— Machu Picchu has recently been considered. I’m all for giving these places their due, but let’s hope the attention is reverent rather than careless.

Posted by | Comments Off on Latest World Heritage Sites are announced  | July 9, 2008
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

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