If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll have noticed often-made references to famous sites around the world that have the UNESCO World Heritage designation. UNESCO by the way stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, whose mandate is to contribute to the “building of peace,” among other things.
Last month, 25 new sites were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list, three of which were natural properties, 21 of which were cultural ones, and one mixed site. There are now 936 remarkable properties with UNESCO World Heritage designation (725 cultural, 183 natural and 28 mixed).
New sites in 2011 from the African continent included the Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley (Kenya – natural site), the Konso Cultural Landscape (Ethiopia – cultural) , Fort Jesus in Mombasa (Kenya – cultural), Saloum Delta (Senegal – cultural), and the Archaeological Sites of the Island of Meroe (Sudan – cultural).
The solo mixed site added in 2011 was the Wadi Rum Protected Area in Jordan, an area where I visited recently and highly recommend to any traveller (in fact, my profile photo to the right was taken in Wadi Rum). Wadi Rum is a popular destination both for daytime and over-night visitors to the region.
Other sites added this year came from the countries of Barbados, China, Colombia, Iran, France, Germany, Japan, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Spain, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic. Turkey, UAE, Ukraine and Viet Nam.
How many UNESCO World Heritage Sites have you visited? You’ve probably visited more than you are even aware of. South Africa is home to eight sites with UNESCO designation (at the moment). You can check out the entire list of sites by country on UNESCO’s web-site.