I posted about this over at Gadling this morning, but thought it would be of interest here as well. The World Heritage Committee, which is part of UNESCO, has closed it’s 33rd annual convention, adding 13 new places to it’s famous list, and taking the unusual step to drop one of the sites completely.
Amongst the 13 new sites added to the list are the Dolomite Mountains in Northern Italy, Mount Wutai in China, and the Tower of Hercules in Spain. Each of the locations are cited for offering universal value of a natural or cultural nature. With these additions, the complete list of World Heritage Sites come to 890 and you can read about each of the new ones in the official press release.
The one location that was dropped was the Dresden Elbe Valley in Germany. The Committee expressed concern about changes to the natural habitat there due to the building of a new four-lane bridge through the area. When the plan was first announced a few years back, UNESCO put the site on it’s Danger List, but when construction went ahead anyway, they were forced to drop the Valley altogether.
Three sites were added to that same Danger List this year. They include the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System in Belize, the Los Katios National Park in Columbia, and the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta. In the case of the Barrier Reef, the fear is of over development so close to the water, while the other two locations were added to bring awareness to their preservation processes.
With the list growing to 890, we all have some new places to add to our “must visit” lists. Any traveler would do well to start their plans with these World Heritage Sites, and I’ve been fortunate enough to visit several of them, and they have all been worth the trip.
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