9 new World Heritage Sites to add to your travel bucket list

The St Gregory church at the Ani ruins in Turkey. UNESCO just added another bunch of destinations to your travel wishlist.
Image: Marka/UIG via Getty Images

UNESCO added nine new locations to its list of World Heritage Sites Friday.

During a ten day gathering in Istanbul, the organization added spots in Greece, Spain, Iran, India, Turkey, China, Micronesia and the UK to the list, along with one site – the Steci Medieval Tombstones Graveyards – that spans Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia.

In Gibraltar, the British territory off the coast of Spain, Gorham’s Cave Complex was added. In Turkey, the stunning Ani ruins made the cut. And in Greece, the archaeological site of Philippi was included.

Here’s a look at the new additions.

Philippi, Greece

Lying at the foot of an acropolis in in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Philippi was a walled city founded in 356 B.C. by the Macedonian King Philip II. Boasting a theater, temple and a forum, the city was regarded as a smaller Rome. The remains of its basilicas still stand today.

Old ruins of a building, Roman Forum, Philippi, East Macedonia And Thrace, Greece.

Image: De Agostini/Getty Images

Ani ruins, Turkey

Sitting on a plateau in northeast Turkey near Armenia, the medieval city of Ani was built up over successive Christian and Muslim dynasties and had its heyday in the 10th and 11th centuries. Part of the Silk Road, it was hit by earthquakes and a Mongol invasion and subsequently declined, but the remains provide a fascinating glimpse into the architecture of the 7th to 13th centuries.

The Church of St. Gregory in the ruined Armenian city of the same name, in eastern Turkey.

Image: LightRocket via Getty Images

Gorham’s Cave complex, Gibraltar, UK

The four caves inside the limestone cliffs of the Rock of Gibraltar are a wealth of archaeological and paleontological deposits offering a glimpse into Neanderthal life in the area.

Gorham’s Cave Complex was added to the UNESCO list Friday.

Qanat aqueducts, Iran

Iran’s Qanat system tapped into alluvial aquifers and transported water underground across vast valleys helping sustain agricultural life and settlements in arid areas.

Antequera Dolmens site, Spain

Slap bang in the middle of Andalusia in southern Spain, the site comprises three megalithic monuments, including the Mengal and Viera dolmens (or tombs), and two huge mountain formations, the Pea de los Enamorados and El Torcal.

The tombs are particularly intriguing, and have been described by UNESCO as collectively “one of the most remarkable architectural works of European prehistory and one of the most important examples of European Megalithism.”

The El Torcal de Antequera nature reserve has been added to the list.

Image: De Agostini/Getty Images

Medieval Tombstones Graveyards – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia

Comprising 30 sites over four countries, this sprawling choice includes several cemeteries dating from the 12th to 16th centuries. The steci (or medieval tombstones) are carved from limestone and feature a wide range of decorative motifs and inscriptions.

The tombstones are dotted across numerous countries.

Zuojiang Huashan landscape, China

The Zuojiang Huashon rock art cultural landscape dates back to the 5th century B.C. and straddles steep cliffs in southwest China.

Nalanda Mahavihara, India

India’s archaeological site comprises the archaeological remains of a monastic and scholastic institution dating from the 3rd century B.C. to the 13th century A.D.

The ruins of the Nalanda University at Nalanda, India.

Image: APAP Photo/Prashant Ravi, File

Nan Madol, Micronesia

The 99 Nan Madol artificial islets, which are made of basalt and coral boulders, are home to ruins ranging from temples to tombs dating between 1200 A.D. and 1500 A.D. They were also placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Ruins of a stone wall at Nan Madol.

Image: Corbis via Getty Images

Gathered from July 10 to July 20 in Istanbul, the committee is reviewing 27 sites of special cultural or natural significance which have been nominated for the World Heritage List.


The Associated Press contributed reporting

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