Chichen Itza
Tanum
Sagarmatha
Mostar
Gebel Berkal
Qin

World Heritage Site

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Afghanistan
Bamiyan Valley

The Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley is an outstanding representation of the Buddhist art that resulted from the interaction between man and nature especially from the 1st to 13th centuries CE.

The kingdom of Bamiyan was a Buddhist state positioned at a strategic location along the trade routes that for centuries linked China and Central Asia with India and the west.

Many statues of Buddha were carved into the sides of cliffs facing Bamiyan city. The two most prominent of these statues were standing Buddhas, measuring 55 and 37 meters high respectively, that were the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world. They were probably erected in the 4th or 5th century.

In March 2001, the Afghan Taliban government ordered them to be demolished.

Minaret of Jam

The Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam represent the artistic creativity and mastery of structural engineering of the Ghurid civilization (1000-1220).

Jam is probably located at the site of the Ghurid dynasty's summer capital, Firuzkuh. The 12th and 13th century Ghurids controlled not only Afghanistan, but also parts of eastern Iran, Northern India and parts of Pakistan.

The 65 metre high minaret, surrounded by mountains that reach up to 2400 meters, is built entirely of baked bricks. It is famous for its intricate brick, stucco and glazed tile decoration, which consists of alternating bands of kufic and naskhi calligraphy, geometric patterns, and verses from the Qur'an.

The Minaret was forgotten by the outside world until rediscovered in 1886 by Sir Thomas Holdich.

Albania
Berat and Gjirokastra

The Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastra are both well-preserved Ottoman towns, decorated with outstanding examples of kule: Balkan-Ottoman style tower houses.

Both towns have been inhabited continuously since ancient times.

Berat has been particularly marked by the peaceful coexistence of Ottoman Islam with a large Christian minority.

The designated area includes Berat castle, mosques, churches and the Gorica bridge.

Gjirokastra was built around a 13th century citadel. From the 14th to the 19th century it developed into a regional center. Residential quarters, the bazaar, churches and mosques were built vertically and in stone.

Butrint

Butrint is an archaeological site that provides valuable evidence of ancient and medieval civilizations on the territory of modern Albania.

The site, on a hill next to a lake connecting to the sea by a canal, has been inhabited since prehistoric times. A Greek colony was founded there in the late 7th century BC, when the city (called Buthros) was surrounded by fortifications. Roman occupation prompted the development of the city and, during the Christian era, it became the seat of a bishopric. Many religious structures were built by the Christians. From the time the Slavs came to the Balkans (7th century) until the founding of the Epirus despotate (after the taking of Constantinople by the Crusades in 1204), the city underwent great trials.

The city's last era of prosperity was under Byzantine administration (Epirus). After a short period of occupation by the Venetians (late 14th century), the city under Ottoman administration was threatened by the marshes that formed around the lake, and was abandoned by the population.

Primeval Beech Forests

The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe cover forests of the European beech in 12 countries.

They comprise the largest remaining 'virgin' forests of the European beech ('Fagus sylvatica'). They also hold the largest and tallest beech specimens in the world.

Algeria
Al Qal'a of Beni Hammad

The Al Qal'a of Beni Hammad is an archeological site, which holds the first capital of the Hammadid empire. It was founded in 1007 and destroyed in 1152.

The Qal'a (Fortress) is located at more than 1,000m altitude.

The town includes a 7 km-long line of walls. Inside the walls are four residential complexes, and the largest mosque built in Algeria after that of Mansurah. The remains of the emir's palace, known as Dal al-Bahr, include three separate residences separated by gardens and pavilions.

Djémila

Djemila is a mountain village in Algeria, near the northern coast east of Algiers, where some of the best preserved Roman ruins in North Africa are found.

It was recognized because of its unique adaptation of Roman architecture to a mountain environment. Buildings present in Djemila include a theatre, two fora, temples, basilicas, arches, streets, and houses.

Kasbah of Algiers

The Kasbah of Algiers was founded on the ruins of old Icosium, a Phoenician commercial outpost called which later developed into a small Roman town. It is a small city which, built on a hill, goes down towards the sea, divided in two: the High city and the Low city.

One finds there masonries and mosques of the 17th century; Ketchaoua mosque (built in 1794 by the Dey Baba Hassan) flanked by two minarets, mosque el Djedid (built in 1660, at the time of Turkish regency) with its large finished ovoid cupola points some and its four coupolettes, mosque El Kébir, mosque Ali Betchnin, Dar Aziza, palate of Jénina. In the Kasbah, there are also labyrinths of lanes and houses that are very picturesque.

M'Zab Valley

The M'Zab Valley is a region of the northern Sahara that holds five traditional fortified villages (ksour), an intact example of traditional human habitat perfectly adapted to the environment.

The Ibadis settled here from the 11th century on, making the most of the defensive possibilities. Their settlements included palm groves where they built a summer citadel (used during the seasonal migrations).

The five ksour included are:

- El Atteuf

- Bou Noura

- Beni Isguen

- Melika

- Ghardaia

Tassili n'Ajjer

The Tassili n'Ajjer is a mountain range characterized for its impressive rock art and geological formation of sandstone "rock forests".

Erosion in the area has resulted in nearly 300 natural rock arches being formed, along with many other spectacular landforms. It lies in the Sahara desert in southeast Algeria.

Its prehistoric rock paintings and other ancient archaeological sites date from neolithic times when the local climate was much moister, with savannah rather than desert. Over 15,000 rock paintings have been inventarized. They date from five different periods up until the first centuries AD.

Timgad

Timgad, called Thamugas by the Romans, was a Roman colonial town in North Africa noteworthy for being one of the best extant examples of the grid plan as used in Roman city planning.

It was founded by the Emperor Trajan around 100 AD.

Notable features include:

- streets: decumanus maximus and cardo, lined by a partially-restored Corinthian colonnade.

- Trajan's Arch, a 12 m high triumphal arch

- 3,500-seat theater

- four thermae

- a library

- the Capitoline Temple

Tipasa

Tipasa is a product of the Punic and Roman civilizations. It was founded by the Phoenicians as a Carthaginian trading centre.

They left behind one of the most extensive cemeteries the Phoenician world. Then it was made a Roman military colony by the emperor Claudius, and afterwards became a municipium. The Roman city was built on three small hills which overlooked the sea.

Of the houses, most of which stood on the central hill, no traces remain; but there are ruins of three churches - the Great Basilica and the Basilica Alexander on the western hill, and the Basilica of St Salsa on the eastern hill, two cemeteries, the baths, theatre, amphitheatre and nymphaeum.

Andorra
Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley

The Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley is a pastoral landscape reflecting an agricultural way of life that was once widespread in the upland regions of Europe, but now survives only in this part of the Pyrenees.

The valley was a place of passage with tracks linking it into France and Spain. Shepherds, charcoal burners, miners, blacksmiths, farmers and even smugglers have used these footpaths over the centuries. It is the only surviving unspoilt landscape in Andorra, no roads lead into the valley. Due to the rapid development of the rest of Andorra as a shopping and skiing mecca, Madriu is seen as its ‘spiritual heart’.

The valley corresponds with the Madriu river basin. Its highest part is a glacial landscape. The rest of it was and still is used as pastures for the grazing of cows and horses during the summer. There are two settlements within the valley, with 12 houses in total and only used in the summer months. Terraced fields have been constructed to grow rye, wheat and to provide hay. The land is communally owned.

Angola
Mbanza Kongo

Mbanza Kongo, vestiges of the capital of the former Kingdom of Kongo, represents the political and religious centre of a vast African kingdom which was transformed by the arrival of the Portuguese in the late 15th century.

The site (now a town of some 175,000 inhabitants) is located on a plateau. It comprises both archaeological remains of the precolonial period as well as colonial structures – often overlapping each other. The Kingdom of Kongo has strong intangible links with the slave trade and the early conversion of African kings to the Catholic religion.

Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua Naval Dockyard

The Antigua Naval Dockyard and Related Archaeological Sites are late 18th, early 19th century defensive structures made by the British Navy.

They were built in an ideal natural setting, around a series of bays known as the English Harbour.

Enslaved laborers from plantations in the vicinity were sent to work on the dockyard. A wide range of buildings has survived. They were built in the Georgian style, with some modifications for the tropic climate.

Argentina
Cueva de las Manos

Cueva de las Manos, Río Pinturas, is a cave of archaeological and paleontogical importance.

The Cave lies in the valley of the Pinturas River, in an isolated spot in the Patagonian landscape. It is famous (and gets its name) for the paintings of hands, made by the indigenous inhabitants (possibly forefathers of the Tehuelches) some 9,000 years ago.

Iguazu National Park

Iguazu National Park, with the Falls as its main feature, was added to the World Heritage List for two reasons: its exceptional natural beauty and because it's the habitat of rare and endangered species.

The Argentinian side of the park measures 49.200 ha. The adjacent Brazilian side is another World Heritage Site.

The waterfalls on both sides together span over 2700 m., and have a height of 80 m.

Iguazu is an indigenous (Tupi-Guarani) name, meaning Great Waters.

Ischigualasto / Talampaya

The Ischigualasto and Talampaya Natural Parks were established to protect geological formations of the Triassic Period.

They are rich in diversity of both plant and vertebrate fossils. The parks are contiguous and belong to the same geological formation, though divided between two Argentinian provinces.

The Triassic Period (popularly known as the Age of the Dinosaurs) lasted from 245 to 208 million years B.P. Some of the oldest known dinosaur remains were found in this location, which makes it one of the most important palaeontological sites in the world.

Also, geologically, it is the only place in the world where a complete sequence of continental sediments with abundant fossil fauna and flora for the Triassic Period can be seen.

The red sandstones of Talampaya are the earliest. The Ischigualasto Formation is composed of white floodplain sediments and is immensely rich in fossil specimens of reptiles, amphibians, therapsids and plants. The desert vegetation of the parks is sparse and consists mainly of shrubs and cactus.

Jesuit Block and Estancias of Córdoba

The Jesuit Block and Estancias of Córdoba are religious, educational and agricultural developments by the Society of Jesus between 1604 and 1767. Together they form the origins and the core of the missionary activities of the Jesuits in South America.

In Córdoba proper, the Jesuits were allocated one of the blocks in the checkerboard plan of the city, like the other orders (Franciscan, Dominican). This grew into the core of their mission, with a university (Colégio Maximo) based on Jesuit teachings, a college and a church that also held the Jesuit political/administrative bodies.

The rural estancias were to provide the necessary resources by farming and textile production. Irrigation systems, factories and mills were constructed to let them flourish economically (which they did).

The five included Estancias in the Province of Córdoba are:

- Alta Gracia

- Santa Catalina

- Jesus Maria

- Candelaria

- Caroya

Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis

The Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis are the archeological remains of towns created by the Jesuit Order.

The towns existed between 1609 and 1818, and aimed to socially, culturally and religiously elevate the local Guarani Indians. They also provided protection and economic stability. Originally there were 30 missions, spread out over Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. The two Jesuit missions in Paraguay are now a separate WHS.

This designated site consists of five different missions:

- São Miguel das Missões (Brazil)

- San Ignacio Mini (Argentina)

- Nuestra Señora de Santa Ana (Argentina)

- Nuestra Señora de Loreto (Argentina)

- Santa María la Mayor (Argentina)

Los Alerces National Park

Los Alerces National Park is a visually stunning Andean landscape moulded by glaciations. It is covered by lakes and temperate forests that include the best conserved pockets of globally endangered Alerce tree species. The Alerce (or Patagonian Cypress) is the second longest living tree species in the world (> 3,600 years).

Los Glaciares

Los Glaciares National Park is a national park in southern Argentina known for its glacial activity.

It holds 47 larger active glaciers. The park is situated on the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the largest ice cap in the world outside of Antarctica and Greenland.

The biggest glacier in the park is the well-known Perito Moreno. The area is also shaped by two large lakes: Lake Argentino and Lake Viedma.

Peninsula Valdes

Península Valdés is the natural habitat of the endangered southern right whale. The peninsula also holds important groups of elephant seals, sea lions and orcas (a.k.a. “killer whales”).

With an isthmus of only 11 kms wide, the Valdes Peninsula is almost an island. It has a dynamic coastal zone with active sand dunes. There are also numerous cliffs, bays and lagoons. The interior of the land is Patagonian desert steppe. The climate is dry with strong winds.

Southern right whales come to these bays to breed and give birth between June and December. They number circa 3000. The whales can be up to 17 meters long and weigh 100 tons.

The orcas in these waters have developed a unique and successful hunting strategy: they chase small sea lions or elephant seals into the shallow surf until the beach, where they grab them.

Qhapaq Ñan

Qhapaq Nan is the Andean road system created by the Inca civilization.

They used it for the purposes of communication, trade and defence. It reached its maximum expansion in the 15th century. The central square of Cusco, known as Hanan Hauk'aypata, is the origin of the four main roads that allowed the Incas to easily travel by foot to every corner of their territory.

This is a serial nomination of over 720km of stretches of road and 291 archaeological sites, stretching across Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Quebrada de Humahuaca

The Quebrada de Humahuaca is a mountain valley that has been in use as a cultural route between the Andean highlands and the plains for over 11000 years.

The valley, carved out by the Rio Grande, is ca. 150 km. long. The river is dry in winter but flows copiously through the Quebrada in the summer.

Numerous tracks, roads and settlements testify to the civilizations that once lived here: hunter-gatherers, indigenous Omaguacas, Inca, Spanish and the Argentine Republic. Due to its strategic position it has been colonized by both the Inca and the Spanish, who were after the trade, minerals and agricultural products. It also has been a stage for many battles of the Argentine War of Independence.

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier comprises 17 locations designed by the renowned French-Swiss architect, who is seen as one of the pioneers of modern architecture.

The series shows the dissemination of his ideas over the world during a period of 50 years.

The locations span seven countries on three continents. 10 are situated in France and 2 in Switzerland, the homelands of Le Corbusier (born in Switzerland, became a French citizen). But also Chandigarh (India), National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo (Japan) and Casa Curutchet (Argentina) are included.

Armenia
Echmiatsin and Zvartnots

The Cathedral and Churches of Echmiatsin and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots are two prime examples of Armenian church design.

Echmiatsin is the center of the Armenian Church. It locates the Echmiatsin Cathedral, which was built in 480 (making it the most ancient church in Armenia).

Zvartnots dates from the 7th century, and was built to surpress the Echmiatsin Cathedral in grandeur. This complex consists of a temple and the palace of Catholicos Nerses III. Presumably, the architect if Zvartnots knew of Syrian and Byzantine structures.

Haghpat and Sanahin

The Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin represent a fusion of vernacular and Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture.

Both monasteries are located in the Debed Canyon, in the Lori-region of North Armenia. Their oldest structures date back to the 10th century.

Haghpat also has a number of splendid khachkars (cross-stones) of the 11th-13th centuries standing on the territory of the monastery.

In 1996, only Haghpat was inscribed. The site was extended to Haghpat and Sanahin in 2000 after the ownership of the latter monastery became clear.

Monastery of Geghard

The Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley has been named a WHS for the influence it had on Armenian monastic architecture.

While the main chapel was built in 1215, the monastery complex was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator at the site of a sacred spring inside a cave. The complex is carved into the side of the mountain. It consists of several churches, tombs, a defensive wall and carved out crosses (khatckars).

Geghard is the Armenian word for lance or spear, reflecting the legend that it housed one of the lances that was associated with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Australia
Australian Convict Sites

The Australian Convict Sites consists of a series of 11 sites that, in combination, express the key aspects of the Australian convict experience that are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of global history.

The sites are:

- First Government House Site, New South Wales

- Hyde Park Barracks, New South Wales

- Great North Road Complex, New South Wales

- Darlington Probation Station, Maria Island National Park, Tasmania

- Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania

- Coal Mines Historic Site, Tasmania

- Cascades Female Factory

- Fremantle Prison, Western Australia

- Kingston and Arthur`s Vale Historic Area

- Brickendon and Woolmers Estates

- Cockatoo Island Convict Site

Australian Fossil Mammal Sites

The Australian Fossil Mammal Sites Riversleigh and the Naracoorte are Australia's most renowned fossil sites. They are a superb illustration of the key stages of the isolated evolution of Australia's unique fauna.

Riversleigh is located in in North West Queensland and has fossil remains of ancient mammals, birds and reptiles of Oligocene and Miocene age. Fossils are found in limestone by lime-rich freshwater pools, and in caves, when the ecosystem was evolving from rich rainforest to semi-arid grassland community. Thirty-five fossil bat species have been identified at the site, which is the richest in the world. The skull and nearly complete dentition of a fifteen million-year-old monotreme, Obdurodon dicksoni, provide a window into the evolution of this characteristically Australian group. Fossil ancestors of the recently extinct Thylacinus cynocephalus, the marsupial "Tasmanian Tiger", have also been identified among Riversleigh's fauna.

The Naracoorte Caves are located in the south-east of South Australia. The limestone of the area was formed from coral and marine creatures 200 million years ago and again 20 million years ago when the land was below sea level. Ground water since then has dissolved and eroded some of the limestone, creating the caves. The caves are often not far below ground, and holes open up creating traps for the unwary. This is the source of the remarkable collection of fossils. Mammals and other land creatures have fallen into open caves and been unable to escape. The fossil record has been preserved in strata formed from eroded topsoil washed and blown in. In some places, the fossil-bearing silt is up to 20 metres thick.

Originally a third fossil site, Murgon, was part of this serial nomination. It was rated of a lesser quality than the other two, and omitted from the definitive nomination.

Fraser Island

Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. It has over 100 clean freshwater dune lakes, spectacular coastal dune formations, sand cliffs and sandy beaches. Tall rainforest grows on the dunes.

The island is 120km long and measures 1630 km². It lies off the east coast of Australia, and is separated from the mainland by the Great Sandy Strait. It is made up of sand that has been accumulating for approximately 750,000 years on volcanic bedrock that provides a natural catchment for the sediment which is carried on a strong offshore current northwards along the coast.

Birds are the most abundant form of animal life on the island with over 230 species being recorded. It is a particularly important site for migratory wading birds which use the area as a resting place during their long flights between southern Australia and their breeding grounds in Siberia. Few mammal species occur. Dingoes were once common on the island, but are now decreasing. The Fraser Island dingoes are reputedly some of the last remaining pure dingoes in Eastern Australia.

The site has been an Aboriginal Reserve until 1906. Visible remains of their settlements are still remaining. The first recorded European to sight Fraser Island was James Cook who passed along the coast of the island between 18 and 20 May 1770. The name Fraser Island comes from Eliza Fraser and her story of survival from a shipwreck on the island in 1836.

There is now a resident population of ca. 360 people. Fraser Island attracts great numbers of visitors, some 340,000 yearly.

The original nomination included Cooloola, a similar sandy site on the mainland. Inclusion of that part was rejected because of 'land use problems'. It still is on Australia's Tentative List as 'Great Sandy Area'.

Gondwana Rainforests

The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia (formerly called Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves) were designated a world heritage site because of their geological features.

The WHS consists of no less than 41 different parks in Queensland and New South Wales.

The Queensland areas include Lamington National Park, Mount Chinghee National Park, Springbrook National Park, Mount Barney National Park and Main Range National Park.

The New South Wales areas include Barrington Tops National Park, Dorrigo National Park, Mount Warning National Park, New England National Park, Oxley Wild Rivers National Park, Washpool National Park, Willi Willi National Park and Werrikimbe National Park.

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system, composed of roughly 3,000 individual reefs and 900 islands, that stretch for 2,600 kilometres covering an area of approximately 344,400 km².

The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in northeast Australia. A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The coral reefs hold a huge biodiversity, with dugong, whales, Dolphins and turtles among the most notable marine species.

Greater Blue Mountains

The Greater Blue Mountains Area is a sandstone plateau that holds a high diversity of eucalypts, representing all four existing groups. It is an area of rugged tablelands, sheer cliffs, deep, inaccessible valleys and swamps.

The Area also contains ancient, relict species of global significance. The most famous of these is the recently discovered Wollemi pine, a 'living fossil' dating back to the age of the dinosaurs.

The site includes 8 protected areas:

- Blue Mountains National Park

- Wollemi National Park

- Yengo National Park

- Nattai National Park

- Kanangra-Boyd National Park

- Gardens of Stone National Park

- Thirlmere Lakes National Park

- Jenolan Caves Karst Conservation Reserve

Heard and McDonald Islands

Heard Island and McDonald Islands are uninhabited, barren islands located in the Southern Ocean, with a complete absence of alien plants and animals, as well as human impact.

The islands have been territories of Australia since 1947, and contain the only two active volcanoes in Australian territory, one of which, Mawson Peak, is the highest Australian mountain.

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park is one of the larger national parks in the world, consisting of four major river systems and various landforms.

It is the breeding habitat of the endangered saltwater crocodile and the pig-nosed turtle. Its flora is very diverse and includes 46 rare or threatened species.

The park is also renowned for the richness of its Aboriginal cultural sites. There are more than 5000 recorded art sites illustrating Aboriginal culture over thousands of years. The archaeological sites demonstrate Aboriginal occupation for at least 20 000 and possibly 50 000 years.

Lord Howe Island

The Lord Howe Island Group consists of islands and rocks of volcanic origin that are home to many species of birds and other endemic or rare animals.

Besides Lord Howe Island, the designated area includes the Admiralty Group, Mutton Bird and Sail Rock, Blackburn (Rabbit) Island, Gower Island and Ball's Pyramid.

Macquarie Island

Macquarie Island is the only place on earth where rocks from the earth's mantle (6 km below the ocean floor) are being actively exposed above sea-level. This makes it an important focus of geological study.

The island lies in the southwest corner of the Pacific Ocean, about half-way between Australia and Antarctica. Fauna found on the island include: Subantarctic Fur Seals, Antarctic Fur Seals, New Zealand Fur Seals and Southern Elephant Seals - over 80,000 individuals of this species. Royal Penguins breed only on this island; King Penguins, Southern Rockhopper Penguins and Gentoo penguins also breed here.

Ningaloo Coast

The Ningaloo Coast holds a fringing coral reef known for its seasonal feeding concentrations of the whale shark.

It is located off the west coast of Australia, approximately 1200 km north of Perth. The reef is 260 km long and is Australia's largest fringing coral reef and the only large reef positioned very close to a landmass.

Adjacent to Ningaloo Reef, the limestone karst landscape of Cape Range has a remarkable density of more than 500 caves and other karst features, supporting globally outstanding fauna.

Purnululu National Park

Purnululu National Park is famous for the sandstone domes, unusual and visually striking with their striping in alternating orange and grey bands.

The banding of the domes is due to differences in clay content and porosity of the sandstone layers: the orange bands consist of oxidised iron compounds in layers that dry out too quickly for cyanobacteria to multiply; the grey bands are composed of cyanobacteria growing on the surface of layers of sandstone where moisture accumulates.

Royal Exhibition Building

The Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens represent the 19th century international exhibition movement, showcasing technological innovation and change that was made possible by the industrialisation.

The Exhibition Building was designed by the architect Joseph Reed. It was completed in 1880, in preparation for the Melbourne International Exhibition. The building consisted of a Great Hall of Industry of over 12,000 square metres and many temporary annexes in the Gardens.

The Melbourne Centennial Exhibition was held at the same Exhibition Building in 1888 to celebrate a century of European settlement in Australia.

Shark Bay

Shark Bay, covering 23,000 square kilometres, is an area of major zoological importance and home to about 10,000 dugongs (sea cows) and many dolphins.

The area supports 26 threatened Australian mammal species, over 230 species of bird, and nearly 150 species of reptile. It is an important breeding and nursery ground for fishes, crustaceans, and coelenterates. There are 323 fish species, with many sharks and rays.

Shark Bay also has the largest known area of seagrass, with seagrass meadows covering over 4000 km2 of the bay. It includes the 1030 km2 Wooramel Seagrass Bank, the largest seagrass bank in the world. Shark Bay also contains the largest number of seagrass species ever recorded in one place; twelve species have been found, with up to nine occurring together in some places.

At Hamelin Pool in the south of the bay, living microbes are building stromatolites that are over 3000 years old. The Hamelin Pool contains the most diverse and abundant examples of stromatolite forms in the world.

Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is one of the most distinctive and famous 20th century buildings.

It is situated on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour. The building and its surroundings (like the Harbour Bridge) form an iconic Australian image.

In 1955 a competiton for a design of a large, dedicated opera house and concert hall was started. It was won by the Danish architect Jorn Utzon. It was later finished by Arup & Partners and Australian architects Hall, Todd & Littlemore and Ted Fmer.

The Opera House was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II, in her capacity as Queen of Australia, on October 20, 1973.

Tasmanian Wilderness

The Tasmanian Wilderness area constitutes one of the last expanses of temperate wilderness in the world, including the renowned South West Wilderness. Also, important prehistoric aboriginal sites were discovered here.

The following National Parks and reserves make up the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area:

- Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park

- Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park

- Hartz Mountains National Park

- Mole Creek Karst National Park

- Southwest National Park

- Walls of Jerusalem National Park

- Central Plateau Conservation and Protected Areas

- Devils Gullet State Reserve

The sites's natural features have been compared to Fiordland, part of Te Wahipounamu (New Zealand) and Los Glaciares (Argentina).

Uluru

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a striking physical landscape that contains two rock formations which contrast sharply with the surrounding sand plains and desert. The area holds numerous sites sacred to the local Aboriginal people, the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara.

The park was first accepted as a natural WHS in 1987. Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (Mount Olga) are isolated remnants left after the slow erosion of an original mountain range. The Uluru rock was originally sand, deposited as part of an extensive alluvial fan. The layers of sand were nearly horizontal when deposited, but were tilted to their near vertical position during a later episode of mountain building. Uluru rock is 348m high, and a further two-thirds of it is beneath the sand. The 36 domes of Kata Tjuta are composed of conglomerate, a sedimentary rock consisting of cobbles and boulders of varying rock types.

In 1994 Uluru-Kata Tjuta was renominated under cultural criteria, to be recognized as a cultural landscape. It illustrates the combined works of nature & man by making use of the physical constraints and opportunities of the landscape. It also is an associative landscape via the spiritual relationship the Aboriginal owners have with the land. About 80 people still live inside the park and survive by hunting and gathering.

In 1985, the Australian government returned ownership of Uluru to the local Aborigines, with one of the conditions being that they would lease it back to the National Parks and Wildlife agency for 99 years and that it would be jointly managed.

Wet Tropics of Queensland

The Wet Tropics of Queensland is an area mainly consisting of wet tropical rainforest with a great variety in animal and plant species.

Its area extends along the north-east coast of Queensland for a distance of ca. 45Okm. It comprises 41 national parks and dozens of other forests and reserves, including Barron Gorge National Park, Cedar Bay National Park, Daintree National Park, Girringun National Park and Wooroonooran National Park.

Willandra Lakes

The Willandra Lakes Region is a geologically unique area of dry lakebeds rich in fossils. Globally it is important for its very early homo sapiens findings.

They include the world's oldest cremation site (26,000 years old) and remains of settlement up to 40,000 years ago (agricultural use, stone tools).

It is the most important site in Australia to observe the period when the giant marsupials became extinct and the human race became dominant.

The WHS covers 7 former lakes in 2,400 square kilometres. The lakes dried out about 15,000 years ago. High winds on the exposed lake floors formed large clay dunes, lunettes, which are rare in the world.

Austria
Fertö/Neusiedlersee

Fertö/Neusiedlersee Cultural Landscape is the result of the symbiotic process of human interaction with second largest steppe lake in Central Europe.

Traces of human settlement around Lake Neusiedl go back to the neolithic period. The area became densely populated from the 7th century BC onward, initially by people of the Hallstatt culture and remained so throughout Roman times.

The designated area comprises of the settlements of Podersdorf, Illmitz and Apetion, parts of Rust and Fertörákos, the Palace of Nagycenk and Fertöd Palace.

Most of the lake is surrounded by reeds which serve as a habitat for wildlife (making the lake an important resting place for migratory birds) and are harvested in winter as soon as the ice is solid enough.

Graz

The City of Graz - Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg is recognized due to the harmonious co-existence of typical buildings from different epochs and in different architectural styles.

Being situated in a cultural borderland between Central Europe, Italy and the Balkan States, Graz absorbed various influences from the neighbouring regions and thus received its exceptional townscape. Today the old town consists of over 1000 buildings, their age ranging from Gothic to Contemporary.

The baroque Eggenberg Castle and its gardens, at the western edge of the city, were added to the included area in 2010.

Hallstatt-Dachstein

The Hallstatt-Dachstein Salzkammergut Cultural Landscape is an area of great prosperity originating from salt production, which is "reflected in the fine architecture of the town of Hallstatt".

Its name is forever linked to European prehistory for a discovery of early Iron Age remains, which became the type site for the Halstatt culture.

The designated area covers over 280 square km. In addition to the town of Halstatt it also includes the Halstätter Lake, the Dachstein massif, the town of Obertraun and the surrounding areas. The Dachstein mountains are renowned for their caves, among them a large ice cave.

Prehistoric Pile Dwellings

The Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps are the remains of prehistoric stilt houses at the edges of lakes and rivers.

The site consists of 111 locations, spread out over 6 countries. They date from 5,000 to 500 BC, and represent the life of early agrarian communities in Europe.

Rising water levels since prehistory led to the abandonment of settlements which were then covered by lake and river sediments. About 30 different cultural groups were responsible for creating these pile dwellings.

Primeval Beech Forests

The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe cover forests of the European beech in 12 countries.

They comprise the largest remaining 'virgin' forests of the European beech ('Fagus sylvatica'). They also hold the largest and tallest beech specimens in the world.

Salzburg

The Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg with its world famous baroque architecture is one of the best-preserved examples of an European ecclesiastical city-state.

Its monuments date from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Notable monuments are:

- Burgher houses

- Cathedral of St. Rupert and St. Virgil

- Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter

- Nonnberg Benedictine Nunnery

- Hohensalzburg Fortress

- Archbishop's Residence

Furthermore, Salzburg is historically associated with music and festivals. Its most famous son was the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Schönbrunn

The Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn comprise an 18th century Baroque Gesamtkunstwerk and symbol of Habsburg power.

Schönbrunn Palace is the former Habsburg summer residence. In 1695 Fischer von Erlach sr. was asked to design a palace that could match Versailles. His plan turned out to be too costly, so Schönbrunn was constructed a bit more sober initially.

Empress Maria Theresia choose Schönbrunn as her main residence. She added the theatre and the garden to make her stay more enjoyable. And inside, she refurbished the rooms in baroque and rococo style.

In the palace garden there are several other interesting buildings. One of those is the green steel Palm House, constructed in 1882 in the tradition of Eiffel. Or the Neptune-fountain, with its group of Greek-Roman statues. It also includes the first zoo in the world.

Semmering Railway

The Semmering Railway is the first mountain railway which crossed a high-mountains area and counts therefore as the prototype of railway lines mastering very difficult terrain and considerable altitude difference.

The railway was constructed between 1848 and 1854 by some 20,000 workers under the project's designer and director Carl Ritter von Ghega. He had to develop new surveying methods and instruments to mark out the terrain.

The construction features 14 tunnels (among them the 1,431 m vertex tunnel), 16 viaducts (several two-story) and over 100 curved stone bridges as well as 11 small iron bridges.

It uses an Alpine crossing that had been in use since the Middle Ages, and which linked Vienna with Venice and later Trieste (then an Austrian port). Transport across was done with wagons and pack animals. Archduke Johann wanted to connect the northern and southern parts of his monarchy by means of a railway. Travel time was cut in half, and it opened up the Semmering region as an early Alpine resort.

Vienna

The Historic Centre of Vienna holds significant architecture from three periods (Middle Ages, the Baroque period, and the Gründerzeit), and is a capital of music.

It still is a living tribute to Habsburg times. This dynasty ruled most of Central Europe between 1273 and 1918. Its emperor Frederick III transformed Vienna from a medieval market town into an imperial residence. This attracted other nobility and a lot of artists.

Two of the city's most prominent buildings, the Hofburg and the Stephansdom, even date from the Habsburg beginnings early 13th century. The Hofburg was its center of power - an evergrowing palace with over 2500 rooms. The giant Stephansdom features an 137 m. high church tower, and is adorned with coloured tiles. Inside, the stone prayer chair (dating 1514) draws the attention. It was made by Anton Pilgram, who portrayed himself on it.

The former canal Graben now is a luxurious shopping street. Here you can find the exuberant baroque Plague statue (1679). In this area there are also many baroque and Jugendstil.

Along the Ring, fine examples of 19th century architecture can be seen. Examples are the Rathaus and the Burgtheater.

Wachau Cultural Landscape

Wachau Cultural Landscape comprises a Danube valley with a long historical evolution. There has been human occupation in the Wachau from Palaeolithic times.

The valley is well-known for its production of apricots and grapes, both of which are used to produce specialty liquors and wines. It also has impressive buildings and picturesque historic towns.

The Wachau is located along the Danube between Melk and Krems, together with the slopes and the adjoining Dunkelsteiner Wald and the southern Waldviertel. The abbeys of Melk, Dürnstein and Göttweig are among the finest Baroque buildings in Austria.

Azerbaijan
Gobustan Rock Art

Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape has an outstanding collection of more then 6,000 rock paintings.

They depict primitive men, animals, battle-pieces, ritual dances, bullfights, boats with armed oarsmen, warriors with lances in their hands, camel caravans, pictures of sun and stars, on the average dating back to 5,000-20,000 years.

Walled City of Baku

The ‘Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower’ comprises the remains of a medieval town, that has been the capital of Azerbaijan since 1191.

The Old City within the walls is a maze of narrow alleys, with ancient residences, stores and mosques. It also harbours the Maiden Tower, a cylindrical eight story structure 29.5 meter high.

The Shirvanshah’s Palace, also located within the medieval area, is the most prominent example of Azerbaijan architecture from the Shirvanshah dynasty. It seems to have been developed mainly as a memorial complex rather than a residential palace. It holds mausolea, pavillions, a mosque and a bath-house.

Bahrain
Pearling

Pearling, testimony of an island economy, is a group of historic sites related to the harvest and trade of natural pearls.

It centers around the island city of Muharraq, the main pearl trading city in the Gulf and prominent in the world until the introduction of cultured pearls by Japan in the 1930s. A pearl industry already existed here in Roman times.

The inscribed area is a serial nomination of 15 sites, comprising:

• Three Oyster beds in the territorial waters of Bahrain

• Bû Mâhir Seashore & Qal‘at Bû Mâhir fortress

• Muharraq city (remaining 19th/20th century buildings of the merchant quarter)

Qal'at al-Bahrain

Qal'at al-Bahrain is the archaeological site of a port which was once the capital of the Dilmun civilization, and served more recently as a Portuguese fort.

It is a typical tell - an artificial mound created by many successive layers of human occupation. The hill shows almost continuous remains from ca. 2300 BC to the 16th century BC. They span the Dilmun, Tylos, later Islamic societies and the Portuguese period. This makes it a rare archeological and historical reference site in Eastern Arabia and the Gulf region.

The site gets its name from Qal`at al-Burtughal (Portuguese fort). In the early 1500s, the Portuguese saw Bahrain as a key point to protect their trade routes between India, Africa and Europe. They invaded the island and set up military base at the Bahrain Fort. They strengthened the already existing fortress and erected new stone towers.

The site was only rediscovered in 1954. Restoration was started in 1987.

Bangladesh
Bagerhat

The Historic Mosque City of Bagerhat is a 15th century city with a high density in Islamic religious monuments.

Bagerhat, the historical Khalifatabad, was founded by Khan Jahan, an Islamic preacher probably of Turkic origin. This Khan Jahan, about whom not much is known, adorned the city with mosques, roads, bridges, palaces and reservoirs. He established all of this within a short time span, while introducing a distinct architectural style.

Only the mosques and Khan Jahan's shrine remain today.

Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur

The Ruins of the Buddhist Vihara at Paharpur comprise a Buddhist Monastery dating from the late 8th century.

The site is located in Paharpur, in the northwest of Bangladesh. It is said to be the second largest single Buddhist monastery south of the Himalayas. It was made a WHS as a tribute to the Pala dynasty, that ruled Bengal and Bihar for 3,5 centuries from the middle of the 8th century.

The monastery is built as a quadrangle, measuring 281 meter on each side. All outer four wings contain monastic cells, 177 in total. In the center of the vast open courtyard of the monastery stands the shrine. Its remains are still 21 meter high and have three gradually diminishing terraces. The walls were built of burnt bricks, some ornamented with motifd of flowers and seated Buddhas. There were also bands of terracotta plaques in rows all around the terraces.

From the 12th century on, after numerous attacks by invaders, the monks left and the monastery buildings suffered decline and desintegration.

The Sundarbans

The Sundarbans ('Forest of Sundari trees') are one of the largest remaining areas of mangroves in the world.

The site also has exceptional biodiversity, notably about 400 Bengali tigers. Its ever changing landscape is shaped by tidal shifts, rivers and creeks.

The Indian part of the Sundarbans area is a separate WHS, under the name of Sundarbans National Park.

Barbados
Bridgetown

Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison is a 17th century British colonial city.

The site comprises the old town, the port and the former garrison. The latter served as the headquarters of the British Navy in the region.

Bridgetown was an entrepot for goods and slaves, linked to the island's sugar industry and the rest of the Caribbean.

Belarus
Belovezhskaya Pushcha / Bialowieza Forest

Belovezhskaya Pushcha / Bialowieza Forest is an ancient woodland straddling the border between Belarus and Poland.

This is the only remaining part of the immense forest which once spread across the European Plain. Pine, beech, oak, alder and spruce are found in the forest.

The forest contains a number of large, ancient pedunculate oaks, some of which are individually named. It is also the habitat of several rare mammals, including the European Bison, wolf, lynx and otter. The European Bison or Wisent was reintroduced here in 1929.

Mir Castle

The Mir Castle Complex is a piece of military architecture which reflects the long confrontational history of the region. Its harmonious design shows Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance cultural influences.

The 16th century castle has five towers made of alternating brick and large boulders. 3 meter thick walls link the towers. The castle was built by the Ilinich family to withstand attacks of the Crimean Tatars. The family died out in the same century, and the castle fell into the hands of a member of the Radziwill family. They had it converted into a Renaissance-style residential palace.

In addition to the castle, the grounds also hold a chapel with the burial vault of the Svyatopolk-Mirsky Princes, a landscape garden with artificial lake and a Mir ghetto memorial.

Nesvizh

The Architectural, Residential and Cultural Complex of the Radziwill Family at Nesvizh consists of a residential castle and the Corpus Christi Church, which had their influence on architecture all over Central and Eastern Europe.

The Radziwill dynasty acted as politicians and patrons of art from the 16th to 19th centuries. They incorporated influences from Southern and Western Europe, leading to the Renaissance and Baroque design of this complex.

An Italian architect was responsible for creating the church with its dome. It became one of the earliest Jesuit churches in the world. The crypt of the church contains the coffins of 72 member of the family.

Struve Geodetic Arc

The Struve Geodetic Arc is a chain of survey triangulations stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea.

The chain was established and used by the German-born Russian scientist Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve in the years 1816 to 1855 to establish the exact size and shape of the earth.

The area of the Arc designated as a WHS consists of 34 stations, spanning 10 countries and over 2,820 km. Originally there were 265 stations, in only 2 countries (the Russian Empire and the Union between Sweden & Norway).

Belgium
Belfries

The Belfries of Belgium and France are 56 bell-towers, built between the 11th and 20th centuries.

They are mostly found in town centers, and connected to the local town hall or church. At their time, the Belfries represented the growing importance of cities instead of the feudal system in the Middle Ages.

After several fires, stone began to be used as building material instead of wood. Mainly square, robust towers were built in this period. Later, from the 14th to the 17th century when most of the still remaining belfries were built, the towers lose their defensive character. They become narrower, and the styles are influenced by Baroque. In the 19th and 20th centuries, newly created belfries had a more symbolic value of independence and prosperity.

Brugge

The Historic Centre of Brugge represents a medieval town built in mostly brick Gothic, which also has been the birthplace of the Flemish Primitives painting school.

From the 13th century onwards, Brugge became an international trading center. The produce of cloth and the role of Hansean wharehouse brought the city its wealth. The heydays resulted in the construction of numerous Gothic buildings and churches.

Also, the Flemish Primitive painting school could flourish here. Notable artists from here include Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling.

Already in the 16th century, Brugge's wealth had vanished. But this sorry state is the main reason that the whole town has preserved its medieval character so well.

Flemish Béguinages

The Flemish Béguinages are secluded compounds made by a religious movement.

The Beguines were women who entered into a life dedicated to God without retiring from the world. In the 13th century they founded the béguinages, enclosed communities designed to meet their spiritual and material needs.

The béguinages hold houses, churches, public buildings and gardens make up a secluded town.

In Belgium, the 13 world heritage béguinages consist of the ones in Gent, Leuven, Kortrijk, Mechelen, Brugge, Dendermonde, Turnhout, Sint-Amandsberg, Sint-Truiden, Lier, Diest, Tongeren and Hoogstraten.

Grand Place, Brussels

Grand Place, Brussels comprises a central square and harmonious ensemble of surrounding buildings that represent the culture of this mercantile city from the late 17th century.

The square is 110 x 70 m, and is in use as a marketplace since the 15th century. It is now surrounded with buildings dating from the late 17th century. Most of them used to be guild-halls. Their facades are decorated with statues, symbols and the name of the house. The City Hall is the most remarkable of them, and is still used for marriages.

Major Town Houses

The Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (Brussels) are pioneering works of architecture in the Art Nouveau-style.

The site consists of four houses: Hôtel Tassel, Hôtel Solvay, Hôtel van Eetvelde, and Maison & Atelier Horta.

Victor Horta was born in Ghent and lived between 1861 and 1947. He was one of the most prominent men in the Art Nouveau-movement, a new decorative style that developed in the late 19th century. Characteristics are for example the use of industrial materials like steel and iron in the visible parts of houses, new decorations inspired by nature, decorative façades of houses.

Most of these principles can be seen in the house that Victor Horta built for himself in the late 1890's. This house now is a museum.

Mining Sites of Wallonia

The Major Mining Sites of Wallonia are the best-preserved coal mining sites in Belgium.

Developed in the 19th century, the Walloon mining basin became an exemplary centre of the Industrial Revolution outside England.

The four inscribed mining complexes are:

- Grand-Hornu

- Bois-du-Luc

- Bois du Cazier

- Blegny

Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes

The Neolithic flint mines at Spiennes, covering more than 100 ha, are the largest and earliest concentration of ancient mines in Europe.

They were actively used from 4400 - 2000 years B.C. The extraction was carried out in open quarries and in pits.

Flint is found in chalkland, there it forms layers within beds of chalk. It's an easy to shape material, with sharp edges. From the early beginnings, humans used flint tools for personal use. For example to make robust axes (to be used by hand or with a wooden grip).

Probably there are thousands of pits in this area. There is no horizontal network that joins them. When a new pit was hewn out, the older pit was used to dump the rocks. It all was done on quite a small scale: no residential area was found near the mines, the flintknappers came from kilometers away. The site was used for excavations by numerous generations.

Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai

The Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai is seen as a precursor of the vast Gothic cathedrals, constructed in the school that developed north of the Seine.

The building of the Cathedral of Tournai lasted from 1146 until 1325. At first, a Romanesque cathedral was built because Tournai had become seat of a bishopry. The main nave of the present cathedral was constructed during that period.

Later on, the architects became more influenced by the then fashionable Gothic style. This can be seen in the 5 towers and the choir.

Plantin-Moretus Museum

The Plantin-Moretus Museum is linked with the spreading of ideas of European humanism via its printing business Officina Plantiniana.

The museum is housed in the former residence and printing establishment of famous printers Christoffel Plantijn and Jan Moretus. Plantijn (Plantin) set himself up as a printer in 1555, founding his publishing house 'De Gulden Passer' (The Golden Compasses). In 1576 he moved his printing business to the Vrijdagmarkt square. That building is now the oldest part of the Plantin-Moretus Museum.

Plantin's business instinct turned his company into a thriving enterprise. In six years' time the number of presses tripled from five to sixteen. By 1575 he was running a printing empire with seventy employees.

His son-in-law, Jan Moretus, inherited the business after Plantin's death in 1589. He and his successors printed far less humanist and scientific publications. They were mainly oriented towards religious documents (promoting the catholic Counter-Reformation).

The archives of this museum were already on another Unesco list since 2001: the Memory of the World.

Primeval Beech Forests

The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe cover forests of the European beech in 12 countries.

They comprise the largest remaining 'virgin' forests of the European beech ('Fagus sylvatica'). They also hold the largest and tallest beech specimens in the world.

Stoclet House

The Stoclet House is a private mansion designed by architect Josef Hoffmann and the Wiener Werkstätte between 1905 and 1911.

It was built for banker and art lover Adolphe Stoclet. He gave them an umlimited budget and an artistic free hand. The integration of architects, artists, and artisans of the Wiener Werkstätte makes it an example of Gesamtkunstwerk, one of the defining characteristics of Jugendstil.

Although the marble-clad facade is radically simplified, it contains commissioned works by Gustav Klimt in the dining room , four copper figures at the top by sculptor Franz Metzner, and other craftwork inside and outside the building. Expensive materials were used all over, like Norwegian marble, gilded material and leather.

The mansion is still owned by the Stoclet family and is not open to visitors. Since 2002 it is occupied by 2 caretakers.

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier comprises 17 locations designed by the renowned French-Swiss architect, who is seen as one of the pioneers of modern architecture.

The series shows the dissemination of his ideas over the world during a period of 50 years.

The locations span seven countries on three continents. 10 are situated in France and 2 in Switzerland, the homelands of Le Corbusier (born in Switzerland, became a French citizen). But also Chandigarh (India), National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo (Japan) and Casa Curutchet (Argentina) are included.

The Four Lifts

The four hydraulic boat-lifts on this short stretch of the historic Canal du Centre are industrial monuments of the highest quality.

Together with the Canal itself and its associated structures, they constitute a remarkably well preserved and complete example of a late 19th century industrial landscape.

The lifts were necessary because of the differences in height of the Canal. There is a rise of some 90 metres from Mons to the summit level of 121 metres above sea level. Most of this rise is concentrated in a few kilometres - hence the artificial help. The first of the lifts was built here in 1888 by the John Cockerill company, after an English design.

Of the eight hydraulic boat lifts built at the end of the last and the beginning of this century, the only ones which still exist in their original working condition are the four lifts on the Canal du Centre. There now is even a modern fifth one at Strépy-Thieu.

Belize
Belize Barrier Reef

The Belize Barrier-Reef Reserve System is a series of coral reefs straddling the coast of Belize, roughly 300 m (0.2 mile) offshore in the north and 40 km (25 mile) in the south.

It extends for about 300 km (185 miles), making it the second largest coral reef system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

The designated area consists of 7 locations:

- Bacalar Chico national park and marine reserve

- Blue Hole

- Half Moon Caye Natural Monument

- South Wather Caye Marine Reserve

- Glovers Reef Marine Reserve

- Laughing Bird Caye National Park

- Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve

Benin
Royal Palaces of Abomey

The Royal Palaces of Abomey consist of 12 former palaces within the same enclosure in the center of Abomey.

The site is a testimony to one of the most powerful kingdoms in Africa, Dahomey. It was built by the Fon people between 1625 and 1900.

In 1985 it was inscribed simultaneously on the World Heritage List and on the List of the World Heritage in Danger, after a tornado struck Abomey in 1984 and damaged the royal structures and museum severely.

W-Arly-Pendjari Complex

The W-Arly-Pendjari Complex is recognized for its biodiversity of birds, fish and plants.

The park is located at a transition zone between savannah and woodlands, around a meander in the River Niger shaped like a "W".

Its 1,714,831 ha is largely uninhabited by humans. It includes contiguous parks in Niger, Burkina Faso and Benin.

Bolivia
El Fuerte de Samaipata

El Fuerte de Samaipata is a form of gigantic rock art full of religious symbolism, made by prehispanic cultures.

The site consists of a rock shaped with ceremonial carvings. The natural sandstone hill measures 200x600m, and is completely sculpted with felines, snakes, birds and geometrical motifs with a magical and religious character.

Below it lies a former provincial capital of the Inca, including a central plaza, public buildings, houses and agricultural terraces. The site dates mainly from the 14th -16th centuries when the Inca gave it its monumental character, though the location was already used by other (Amazonic) cultures. Only a link with the Mojocoya (ca. 300 AD) has been established so far.

The site was known and used for its strategic location by the Inca and the Spanish, hence its name "El Fuerte" (The Fortress). At 1920m above sea level in the sub-Andean, it was an intermediairy stopping point between the Andean highlands and the lower areas.

There have been various alternative explanations about the use of the site, varying from a place for washing gold to a take off- and landing ramp for ancient spacecraft.

Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos

The Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos are a group of six churches that represent the living heritage of the reductions: ideal, theocratic settlements.

The churches have a unique architecture: they are large constructions, mostly made out of wood, with a double-sloping roof and a large porch roof.

The Jesuit Fathers were sent by the Spanish Crown to the Americas to bring Christianity to the indigenous communities. In the Chiquitos region in eastern Bolivia they founded 10 missions in total, from 1696 (San Francisco Javier) to 1760. These missions or reductions were theocracies, the word of the Jesuit Fathers was transmitted through the local chief. Only the Chiquito language was authorized.

The Jesuits were inspired by the “ideal cities” of the humanists. They developed an urban model consisting of a rectangular square, with the church, school and workshops on one side and the houses of the indigenous peoples on the three other sides.

The WHS consists of the following 6 properties:

- San Francisco Javier (church, school)

- Concepcion (church)

- Santa Ana (church)

- San Miguel (church)

- San Rafael (church)

- San José (church, chapels, house for the Fathers)

Noel Kempff Mercado National Park

The Noel Kempff Mercado National Park, located in the Amazon Basin, is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. Ranging in altitude from 200 to 1000m, the park has Cerrado savannah, wetlands and evergreen rainforests.

An estimated 4,000 species of flora as well as over 600 bird species and viable populations of many globally endangered or threatened vertebrate species live in the park. Among these are the giant otter, giant anteater, hyacinth macaw, giant armadillo, pink river dolphin, maned wolf, marsh and pampas deer.

The park was founded on June 28, 1979. Its original name was "Parque Nacional Huanchaca", but was then changed to "Parque Nacional Noel Kempff Mercado" in honor of the late Prof. Noel Kempff Mercado, for his research and discoveries in the Park.

Potosi

The City of Potosí was founded in 1546 as a silver mining town, which soon produced fabulous wealth, becoming one of the largest cities in the Americas and the world.

It is from Potosí that most of the silver shipped through the Spanish Main came. According to official records, 45,000 tons of pure silver were mined from Cerro Rico from 1556 to 1783. Of this total, 7,000 tons went to the Spanish monarchy.

After 1800 the silver mines became depleted, making tin the main product. This eventually led to a slow economic decline.

The site includes the colonial city center and the industrial heritage more close to the mountain, among which are dams, smelters and ore-grinding mills.

Qhapaq Ñan

Qhapaq Nan is the Andean road system created by the Inca civilization.

They used it for the purposes of communication, trade and defence. It reached its maximum expansion in the 15th century. The central square of Cusco, known as Hanan Hauk'aypata, is the origin of the four main roads that allowed the Incas to easily travel by foot to every corner of their territory.

This is a serial nomination of over 720km of stretches of road and 291 archaeological sites, stretching across Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Sucre

The Historic City of Sucre is a well-preserved example of the blending of European and local Latin American tradions and styles. Its typical Spanish-colonial checkerboard street pattern is still intact.

Sucre was founded in 1538 by the Spanish, and then named La Plata. It was later renamed after Antonio José de Sucre (Bolivar's right-hand man). It became a cultural center and the seat of the Supreme Court that reigned over large parts of South America.

For much of its colonial history, Sucre's temperate climate was prefered by the Spanish royalty and wealthy families involved in silver trade coming from Potosí. As most of the colonial buildings in the city centre are whitewashed, the city also enjoys the nickname of "the white city" or "la ciudad blanca."

Tiwanaku

“Tiwanaku: Spiritual and Political Centre of the Tiwanaku Culture” comprises the ruins of the capital of an important and distinct pre-Hispanic empire in the Andes.

It reached its apogee between 500 and 900 A.D. The empire covered what now is southern Peru, Bolivia, northern Chile and parts of Argentina.

The city lies in a valley on the alitiplano, 3,885 meter above sea level, close to Lake Titicaca. Its inhabitants had an unchallenged mastery of agriculture, including the farming of potatoes and quinoa, and the construction of terraced fields.

The ancient city was mostly built of adobe, especially the residential buildings that have now faded away. For the ceremonial and administrative architecture lithic material was used. The capital once had between 70,000 and 125,000 inhabitants.

The Tiwanaku empire collapsed in the first half of the 12th century, without known cause. The remaining monuments include:

- Akapana – the major temple, a stepped pyramid

- Semi underground temple – with monolithic stelae and heads (clavas) built-in the walls

- Kalasasaya – open temple built on a platform, possibly an astronomic observatory; it includes stelae and the Gate of the Sun frieze

Bosnia Herzegovina
Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge

The Mehmed Paša Sokolovic Bridge in Višegrad is one of the best remaining examples of Ottoman architecture and civil engineering.

It is almost 180m long and has 11 arches. It spans the Drina River in the Republic of Srpska.

The bridge was built at the end of the 16th century by the Ottoman court architect Sinan. He was one of the greatest architects and engineers of the classical Ottoman period and a contemporary of the Italian Renaissance, with which his work can be compared.

The Grand Vizier Mehmed Paša Sokolovic, who was born in this area, ordered the construction.

Mostar

The Old Bridge Area of the Old City of Mostar is a place of memory to its multicultural background.

The town developed mainly during the Ottoman period, from the 16th century on. The (Old) Bridge is its major landmark, and the town even was named after the bridge keepers (mostari). The Bridge was built in 1566 upon design of the great Ottoman architect Kodja Mimar Sinan and constructed by his pupil architect Hayruddin.

Besides the Old Bridge complex, other Ottoman constructions include the Kriva Cuprija (“Crooked”) bridge, the Cejvan Cehaja Mosque, the Koski Mehmed Pasa mosque complex , the Vucjakovic Mosque, the Neziraga Mosque, a Hamam and Tabhana. Also there were many common buildings such as shops, inns and houses.

During the Austro-Hungarian period of the 19th century, a number of administrative and Christian religious buildings were added to Mostar’s cityscape. These were mainly located on the right bank of the river, across from the old Ottoman (muslim) town.

Between 1992 and 1995 the town and bridge have been badly damaged during the Bosnian war. Its excellent reconstruction based on in-dept research has been compared to that of Warsaw. The completely rebuilt bridge opened on July 23, 2004.

Stećci

The 'Stećci Medieval Tombstones Graveyards' are 28 medieval cemeteries in south-eastern Europe.

The decoration and inscriptions on the mostly limestone monolithic tombstones represent a specific tradition of the area. They include Christian religious symbols, dancing and hunting scenes, geometric shapes and Cyrillic inscriptions.

The inscribed tombstones have been selected from the surviving 70,000 or so still standing in the region and date from the 12th to the 16th centuries. The singular ‘Stećak’ (plural: Stećci) means ‘tall, standing thing'.

Botswana
Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta is a vast area of swamps and flooded grasslands that seasonally attracts large numbers of wildlife.

It is an inland delta without an outlet to the sea. It is formed where the Okavango River reaches a tectonic trough in the central part of the endorheic basin of the Kalahari.

The annual flood peaks between June and August, during Botswana's dry winter months. Then the delta swells to three times its permanent size, attracting animals from kilometres around and creating one of Africa's greatest concentrations of wildlife. The area is home to some 130 mammal species, such as white and black rhinoceros, elephant, cheetah, lion, leopard and lechwe antelope. The size of the populations is especially noteworthy. It is also an Important Bird Area.

Tsodilo

Tsodilo holds unique religious and spiritual significance to local peoples, as well as a unique record of human settlement over many millennia. It contains over 4,500 rock paintings in an area of approximately 10 km2 within the Kalahari Desert.

The Tsodilo hills are of great significance to the San peoples of the Kalahari. It is believed that the caves and caverns of the "Female" hill are the resting places of the deceased and various gods who rule the world from here. The most sacred place is near the top of the "Male" hill, where it is said that the First Spirit knelt and prayed after creating the world. The San believe that you may still see the impression of the First Spirits' knees in the rock.

Most of the San rock paintings are found on the "Female" hill, the most famous being the "Whale" painting, "Two Rhinos" and the "Lion" on the Eastern face of the "Father". Some of the paintings have been dated to be as early as 24,000 years before present. There are numerous paintings, but relatively few on the outlying hills. Indeed there are so many paintings in obscure places that it is very unlikely they have all been discovered or documented.

Brazil
Atlantic Forest South-East

The Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves comprise 25 protected areas of Atlantic forest in the southeast region of Brazil.

Atlantic forest is the richest rainforest in terms of biodiversity. It has high endemism and a large number of tree species.

Rare and threatened animals include the woolly spider monkey, Southern muriqui, Southern Brown Howling monkey, four species of tamarin, the ocelot, Jacutinga, Harpy eagle and the Brazilian red-tailed parrot.

Brasilia

Brasilia is one of the major examples of the 20th century´s modern movement in architecture and urban planning.

The city officially became Brazil´s capital on April, 1960. Four years before, it didn´t even exist. At that time, President Juscelino Kubitschek commisioned Lucio Costa (urban planner), Oscar Niemeyer (architect) and Burle Marx (landscape architect) to build a new city from scratch.

Lucio Costa drew the Plano Piloto, in which Brasilia is shaped like an airplane (or a bird). There´s a wide north-south axis for transportation. Around this are the residential zones, divided into blocks, each with its own churches, shops, schools etc.

At the tip of the east-west axis there are formidable government buildings, like the Congress and the Itamaraty Palace.

The city was planned for 500.000 to 700.000 people. More would have to live in sattelite cities, which are abundant now because of Brasilia´s 2 million population.

Brazilian Atlantic Islands

Brazilian Atlantic Islands: Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas Reserves comprise two islands with rich marine life off Brazil's coast.

The peaks of Fernando de Noronha are also the only known occurrence of insular Atlantic Forest - a subtype of Atlantic Rainforest.

The marine area holds large volumes of tuna, sharks, dolphins, turtles and tropical seabirds.

Central Amazon Conservation Complex

The Central Amazon Conservation Complex comprises a landscape of rivers, islands, lakes and forests with high biodiversity.

Specific species include the varzea forest, electric fish, river dolphins, and manatees.

The site includes the following four parks:

- Jaú National Park

- Amana Sustainable Development Reserve

- Demonstration area of the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve

- Anavilhanas Ecological Station

Cerrado Protected Areas

The Cerrado Protected Areas: Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas National Parks represent the Cerrado Ecoregion, one of Earth's oldest tropical ecosystems.

Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park is located in the Chapada dos Veadeiros, an ancient plateau with an estimated age of 1.8 billion years. Many endangered species are found within the park's boundaries, such as the maned wolf, capybaras, rheas and others.

Emas National Park shows a typical cerrado ecosystem; a treeless savannah with tall termite houses and an interesting amount of wildlife: the giant anteater, the maned wolf, armadillos and the namesake greater rhea, among others.

Congonhas

The Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas is an ensemble of Catholic religous art, executed in rococo and baroque style.

The story behind this WHS is the story of two remarkable men: the Portuguese immigrant Feliciano Mendes and the sculptor Aleijadinho. Mendes as the fundraiser and Aleijadinho as the artist constructed a group of monuments in the city of Congonhas (Minas Gerais) that has been called the best of Brazilian art.

This group consists of:

- Bom Jesus Church (1772)

- the parvis with the 12 statues of the prophets (1800-1805)

- the 6 chapels containing the 7 stations of the cross (1796-1800)

After having been miracleously cured of an illness, Mendes used his own money and a succesful fundraising campaign to construct this sanctuary. He hired the best artists and craftsmen in Minas to work on the church and its decoration.

The master was Aleijadinho (Little Crippled One), the son of a Portuguese architect and a black slave. Although without being able to use his hands and legs due to (probably) lepra, he was responsible for the graceful statues and carvings that can be seen at the site.

Diamantina

The Historic Centre of the Town of Diamantina comprises a city landscape adapted from European models to an American context.

The city's history began in 1713 when an expedition found diamonds on the mountain slopes and along the rivers in this region. A first settlement was started, Arraial do Tijuco.

In 1731 the Portuguese Crown became aware of its wealth, and set up a seperate body to administer the region. Mining rights were granted to private enterprises at first, but soon the Crown took back ownership.

Mining blossomed in Diamantina in the 18th and early 19th century. After that, richer and better quality deposits in South-Africa were found.

Because of this, the historical center of Diamantina has been preserved very well. Some distinct features set it aside from other Portuguese colonial towns (and they can still be seen today): its pavement (large grey stones called capistranas) and the use of wood and adobe on the walls of its houses.

Discovery Coast

The Discovery Coast Atlantic Forest Reserves is a region of tropical and subtropical moist forest, tropical dry forest, tropical savannas, and mangrove forests.

They extend along the Atlantic coast of Brazil from Rio Grande do Norte state in the north to Rio Grande do Sul state in the south, and inland as far as Paraguay and the Misiones Province of Argentina.

The Atlantic Forest is unusual in that it extends as a true tropical rainforest to latitudes as high as 24'S. This is because the trade winds produce precipitation throughout the southern winter. In fact, the northern Zona da Mata of northeastern Brazil receives much more rainfall between May and August than during the southern summer.

Goias

The Historic Centre of the Town of Goías covers an isolated town in Central Brazil that has preserved much of its colonial heritage. The settlement of Goías is closely linked to the discovery of gold.

Goías was founded by the famed Bandeirante explorer Bartolomeu Bueno da Silva, nicknamed Anhangüera, and was called in colonial times Vila Boa ("good village" in Portuguese). It dates from 1727, its name being a tribute to the Goyaz Indians, the inhabitants of the area before the arrival of the Europeans. Its houses, chapels and churches are testimony to the height of the gold rush era.

Iguacu

Iguacu National Park, with the Falls as its main feature, was added to the World Heritage List for two reasons: its exceptional natural beauty and because it's the habitat of rare and endangered species.

The Brazilian side of the park measures 170.086 ha. The adjacent Argentinian side is another World Heritage Site.

The waterfalls on both sides together span over 2700 m., and have a height of 80 m.

Iguacu is an indigenous (Tupi-Guarani) name, meaning Great Waters.

Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis

The Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis are the archeological remains of towns created by the Jesuit Order.

The towns existed between 1609 and 1818, and aimed to socially, culturally and religiously elevate the local Guarani Indians. They also provided protection and economic stability. Originally there were 30 missions, spread out over Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. The two Jesuit missions in Paraguay are now a separate WHS.

This designated site consists of five different missions:

- São Miguel das Missões (Brazil)

- San Ignacio Mini (Argentina)

- Nuestra Señora de Santa Ana (Argentina)

- Nuestra Señora de Loreto (Argentina)

- Santa María la Mayor (Argentina)

Olinda

The Historic Centre of the Town of Olinda has maintained its urban fabric from the Portuguese colonial period. Among this are 20 Baroque churches.

The settlement of Olinda was founded in 1535 by the Portuguese. It was subsequently burned by Dutch invaders, and then rebuilt in the 18th century. Its existence is strongly linked to the sugar-cane industry in this region.

Ouro Preto

Historic Town of Ouro Preto is a unique representation of baroque architecture in a homogenous cityscape.

The city's wealth has its origins in the late 17th century. At this period expeditions to the interior of Brazil started, in search of minerals. This became succesfull in what now is the state of Minais Gerais: in 1693 gold was discovered here.

The exploration for gold was a monopoly of the Portuguese crown. They taxed 20% on the findings. A heavy system for collecting the tributes and taxes was in places. Of course the miners didn't like that, so an uprising took place in 1789. It was put down, and its leader Tiradentes was cut in pieces - his head was displayed on the main square of Ouro Preto.

Small settlements of miners in search for El Dorado were joined in 1711 to create the city of Villa Rica (later renamed to Ouro Preto, 'Black Gold'). The settlers were divided in two parishes and in ethnic groups. Each group constructed its own church, bringing in baroque artisans.

At the height of its Golden Age, Ouro Preto had some 110.000 inhabitants (mainly slaves). The city was left to itself in 1897, when the state capital moved to Belo Horizonte.

Pampulha

Pampulha Modern Ensemble is a fine example of Brazilian modern architecture, built as a Garden City around an artificial lake.

This neighbourhood of Belo Horizonte was designed from 1940 on by architect Oscar Niemeyer and landscape designer Roberto Burle Marx.

The ensemble included a casino, a restaurant/dance hall, a yacht club, a golf club and a church. The buildings are among Niemeyer’s earliest works, and show his talent to adapt 20th century modernism to Brazilian surroundings.

Pantanal

The Pantanal Conservation Area is a freshwater wetland ecosystem that contains a huge fish variety and several globally threatened animal species.

The designated area is only a small part of the region in Western Brazil called Pantanal. It consists of Pantanal Matogrossense National Park, Dorochê Private Reserve, Acurizal Private Reserve and Penha Private Reserve. These areas can be considered as representative of the Greater Pantanal.

Wildlife here includes the jaguar, alligator, marsh deer, giant anteater, capybara and giant otter. Between 10 and 35 million alligators are believed to live in the Pantanal as a whole.

It also has 650 species of birds, including the Jabiru stork, herons, ibis, ducks and parrots.

Pantano means swamp, but the area is in fact an alluvial plain. During the rainy season (October to March), the rivers flood their banks, inundating much of the low-lying Pantanal and creating patches of dry land where the animals cluster together.

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea, is a dramatic example how the landscape has been used and shaped. This city of great beauty reaches from the mountains to the sea.

Rio’s natural landscape started to be altered in the 17th and 18th centuries to allow sugar and coffee growing. Its parks and gardens later became protected, and as such attributed to the outdoor living culture of the city.

The designated area consists of the following parts:

• Tijuca National Park, including Corcovado peak and its Christ the Redeemer statue

• Botanic Garden

• Flamengo Park

• The mouth of the Guanabara Bay, including the Sugar Loaf

• Copacabana Beach Front

São Francisco Square

São Francisco Square in the town of São Cristovão is an open space surrounded by a monumental architectural ensemble. The quadrilateral square measures 51x73 metres.

The most prominent monuments around the square are:

- São Francisco Church and convent (begun in 1693)

- Church and Santa Casa de Misericordia (18th century)

- Provincial Palace

The structures are Spanish-colonial in appearance, as they derived from the Ordinances of King Philip II, at a time when Portugal and Spain were under the same crown. São Cristovão is a river port and a former provincial capital.

Salvador de Bahia

The Historic Centre of Salvador de Bahia, frequently called the Pelourinho, is extremely rich in historical monuments dating from the 17th through the 19th centuries.

Bahia was the first colonial capital of Brazil and the city is one of the oldest in the New World (founded in 1549 by Portuguese settlers). It was also the first slave market on the continent, with slaves arriving to work on the sugar plantations.

Major buildings inside the designated area are:

- Cathedral

- Convents of St. Francis, St. Dominic, Carmel and St. Anthony

- 16th century Palaces

- Baroque Palaces

São Luis

The Historic Centre of São Luis has the largest and best preserved heritages of colonial Portuguese architecture of all Latin America.

The first Europeans to see it were the French, in 1612, who intended to make it a French colony. They made a fort named São Luis ("Saint Louis"), after Saint Louis IX of France as a compliment to King Louis XIII. It was conquered for Portugal by Jerónimo de Albuquerque in 1615, leaving little time for the French to build a city.

The core zone includes public buildings, sumptuous manor houses, marble multi-storey houses and small houses decorated with azulejos.

Serra da Capivara

Serra da Capivara National Park holds many rock shelters in which the oldest rock art of South America has been found.

This art reveals aspects of the religious belief and practices of the earliest inhabitants of this region.

The earliest traces of rock painting here dates from between 26,000 and 22,000 BC. Most of the painted works date from 10,000 to 4,000 BC, and were made by Nordeste and Agreste cultures. The sites weren't rediscovered until the 1960's.

The park lies in the north east of Brazil.

Valongo Wharf

Valongo Wharf Archaeological Site comprises the globally most significant remains of an arrival point of enslaved African persons in the Americas.

The wharf located at Rio de Janeiro’s Jornal do Comércio Square was built from 1811 onwards, and used until the construction of the Empress’ Wharf in 1843. About a quarter of all African American enslaved people to the Americas have arrived here. While its physical remains are modest (fragments of a pavement, a former road), its spiritual associations as a site of conscience for African Americans are strong.

Bulgaria
Boyana Church

Boyana Church is renowned for its frescoes from 1259.

They form a second layer over the paintings from the earlier centuries. In all, there are 240 depictions on the walls. Its painter is still anonymous, but stands for the team that decorated the church and that was trained in the studios of the Turnove Art School.

A total of 18 scenes in the narthex depict the Life of St. Nicholas. The painter here drew certain aspects of contemporary lifestyle. In The Miracle at Sea the ship and the sailor's hats recall the Venetian fleet. Also most interesting are the full-size paintings of the donors, Kaloyan and Dessilsava, and of the Bulgarian King Konstantin Assen Tih and Queen Irina. Kaloyan holds a model of the church and presents it to St. Nicholas.

The architecture of Boyana Church dates from late 10th and early 11th century. It's the eastern part of the current building, which also sees additions from mid-13th century and mid-19th century.

Madara Rider

The Madara Rider is a large rock relief carved on the Madara Plateau east of Shumen in northeastern Bulgaria.

The relief depicts a majestic horseman 23 m above ground level in an almost vertical 100-metre-high cliff. The horseman is thrusting a spear into a lion lying at his horse's feet. A dog runs after the horseman.

The monument, dated back to 710, is usually attributed to the ancient Bulgars, a nomadic tribe of warriors which settled in northeastern Bulgaria at the end of the 7th century and after merging with the local Slavs gave origin to the modern Bulgarians.

Nessebar

The Ancient City of Nessebar at a peninsula in the Black Sea holds over 3,000 years of history, with Thracian origins and later becoming an important Greek colony and Byzantine settlement.

Originally a Thracian settlement known as Menebria founded in the 2nd millennium BC, the town became a Greek colony when settled by Dorians from Megara at the beginning of the 6th century BC, and was an important trading centre from then on and a rival of Apollonia (Sozopol). Remains from the Hellenistic period include the acropolis, a temple of Apollo, and an agora. A wall which formed part of the Greek fortifications can still be seen on the north side of the peninsula. Bronze and silver coins were minted in the city since the 5th century BC and gold coins since the 3rd century BC.

The town fell under Roman rule in 71 BC, yet continued to enjoy privileges such as the right to mint its own coinage. It was one of the most important strongholds of the Byzantine Empire from the 5th century AD onwards, and was fought over by Byzantines and Bulgarians, being captured and incorporated in the lands of the First Bulgarian Empire in 812 by Khan Krum after a two week siege only to be ceded back to Byzantium by Knyaz Boris I in 864 and reconquered by his son Tsar Simeon the Great. During the time of the Second Bulgarian Empire it was also contested by Bulgarian and Byzantine forces and enjoyed particular prosperity under Bulgarian tsar Ivan Alexander (1331-1371) until it was conquered by Crusaders led by Amadeus VI, Count of Savoy in 1366 and handed back to Byzantium. The Slavic version of the name, Nesebar or Mesebar, has been attested since the 11th century.

Monuments from the Middle Ages include the 5-6th century Stara Mitropoliya ("old bishopric"; also St Sophia), a basilica without a transept; the 10th century church of the Virgin; and the 11th century Nova Mitropoliya ("new bishopric"; also St Stephen) which continued to be embellished until the 18th century. In the 13th and 14th century a remarkable series of churches were built: St Theodore, St Paraskeva, St Michael and St Gabriel, and St John Aliturgetos.

The capture of the town by the Turks from the Byzantine Empire in 1453 marked the start of its decline, but its architectural heritage remained and was enriched in the 19th century by the construction of wooden houses in the Eastern Rumelian style typical for the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast during this period. After the Liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 1878, Nesebar became part of the autonomous Ottoman province of Eastern Rumelia until it united with the Principality of Bulgaria in 1886.

Pirin National Park

Pirin National Park covers a mountaine range composed of limestone rocks with a granite nucleus, which is noted for its variety in flora and high scenic beauty.

It encompasses the larger part of the Pirin Mountains in the southwest of Bulgaria.

The huge relief diversity of the park is the reason for the variety of plant species on its territory. About 1300 species of higher plant species can be observed within the park, which constitute more than 30% of all higher plants on the territory of Bulgaria. Besides this, about 300 moss species and a large amount of algae have been determined. The park is a home to 18 local endemic species, 15 Bulgarian and many Balkan endemic and a large quantity of preserved species, such as the Edelweiss, a symbol of Pirin.

Three plant belts are differentiated within the Pirin National Park, a forest one, a subalpine one and an alpine one, which is due to the relatively high location of the entire park.

Primeval Beech Forests

The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe cover forests of the European beech in 12 countries.

They comprise the largest remaining 'virgin' forests of the European beech ('Fagus sylvatica'). They also hold the largest and tallest beech specimens in the world.

Rila Monastery

The Rila Monastery is the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria.

At the heart of this monastery's history is the story of the medieval hermit Ivan. He was born in the 970's, and chose seclusion because of the moral decline during the reign of the Bulgarian Tsar Peter. He retreated to the almost inaccessible Rila Mountains. There he worked on his ideas, that were aimed at the underprivileged and for equality between people. His cave became a place of veneration for the Bulgarian people. Since the 15th century his relics have been laid to rest in the monastery itself.

Rila's monastic buildings originally date from the late 10th century, and were set up by the monastic community around Ivan. In the 14th century they were turned into a fortress by Hrelyo Dragovol, a feudal lord. Part of the walls and the tower today still remind of that period.

On January 13th 1833, a fire broke out and destroyed almost all (wooden) residential quarters. This national calamity was put right by thousands of Bulgarian craftsmen, that restored the buildings in a couple of years.

Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo

The Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo are a group of monolithic churches, chapels and monasteries hewn out of solid rock. The complex is noted for its beautiful and well-preserved medieval frescoes.

The caves in the region had been inhabited by monks from the 1320s to the 17th century, where they hewed cells, churches and chapels out of solid rock. At the peak of the monastery complex, the number of churches was about 40, while the other premises were around 300, most of which are not preserved today.

The monastery complex owes much of its fame to 13th- and 14th-century frescoes, preserved in 5 of the churches, which are thought of as wonderful examples of Bulgarian mediaeval art. The rock premises used by the monks include the St Archangel Michael Chapel ("The Buried Church"), the Baptistery, the Gospodev Dol Chapel, the St Theodore Church ("The Demolished Church") and the main Holy Mother of God Church, with the 14th-century murals in the latter one being arguably the most famous of all in Ivanovo and noted as some of the most representative examples of Palaeologan art. Many century-old inscriptions have also been preserved in the monastical premises, including the famous indented inscription of the monk Ivo Gramatik from 1308-1309.

Srebarna Nature Reserve

Srebarna Nature Reserve comprises Lake Srebarna and its surroundings and is located on the bird migration route between Europe and Africa. It is located on the west bank of the Danube River.

Srebarna is a wetland habitat for about 180 bird species, both breeding and migrating. Among the most interesting bird species are the Dalmatian pelican, great egret, night heron, purple heron, glossy ibis and white spoonbill.

Thracian tomb of Kazanlak

The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak is a vaulted brickwork "beehive" (tholos) tomb, close to the ancient Thracian capital of Seuthopolis.

The tomb is part of a large Thracian necropolis. It comprises a narrow corridor and a round burial chamber, both decorated with murals representing a Thracian couple at a ritual funeral feast. The monument dates back to the 4th century BC.

The murals are memorable for the splendid horses and especially for the gesture of farewell, in which the seated couple grasp each other's wrists in a moment of tenderness and equality. The paintings are Bulgaria's best-preserved artistic masterpieces from the Hellenistic period.

Thracian tomb of Sveshtari

The Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari is a 3rd century BC tomb that reflects the fundamental structural principles of Thracian cult buildings.

The tomb's architectural decor is considered to be unique, with polychrome half-human, half-plant caryatids and painted murals. It was rediscovered in 1982.

It differs from the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak as it is a hypogeum, not a construction with a cupola. With its origins in the culture of the Getae, it fits a Hellenistic model that was common in Macedonia, Asia Minor and Egypt.

Burkina Faso
Ruins of Loropéni

The Ruins of Loropéni are the stone remains of a 1,000 years old fortified settlement that came to play an important role in the trans-Saharan gold trade.

Gold was mined here in the 15th/16th centuries, and probably as early as the 11th century.

The site, mainly consisting of ruined walls, has been out of use since the 19th century and is overgrown with trees.

W-Arly-Pendjari Complex

The W-Arly-Pendjari Complex is recognized for its biodiversity of birds, fish and plants.

The park is located at a transition zone between savannah and woodlands, around a meander in the River Niger shaped like a "W".

Its 1,714,831 ha is largely uninhabited by humans. It includes contiguous parks in Niger, Burkina Faso and Benin.

Cambodia
Angkor

Angkor was the capital of the Khmer Empire that evolved from the 9th century north of the lake Tonle Sap.

The Empire encompassed much of south-east Asia, and it has had a lot of political and cultural influence on the whole region until its downfall in the 14th century. Because of this influence of the Khmer Empire and because a number of artistic masterpieces are still left, the site was placed on the World Heritage List.

The first Khmer capital erected here was Roluos. Over the next centuries, the various Khmer rulers built other capital cities for themselves in this area. It was Suryavarman II who built Angkor Wat in the early 12th century, the greatest of all Khmer monuments. Jayavarman VII was responsible for building Angkor Thom, including the Bayon (dedicated to Buddha).

Preah Vihear Temple

The Preah Vihear Temple is a Khmer Hindu temple situated atop a 525-meter cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains.

The temple complex runs 800m along a north-south axis. It was built mainly during the 11th and 12th centuries during the reigns of the kings Suryavarman I (and Suryavarman II.

Ownership of the temple by Cambodia has been under dispute from neighbouring Thailand. In 1962 the International Court of Justice in the Hague ruled that it belonged to Cambodia.

Sambor Prei Kuk

The Temple Zone of Sambor Prei Kuk is an archaeological site of the Pre-Angkorean period.

The site correspondends with Ishanapura, the capital city of the Chenla Empire that flourished in the late 6th and early 7th centuries CE.

A particular feature are its octagonal shaped temples, the oldest of its kind in South-East Asia.

Cameroon
Dja Faunal Reserve

The Dja Faunal Reserve covers one of the largest and best protected rainforests in Africa.

It is a wilderness barely disturbed by man, with rich and often rare fauna. This includes over 107 mammals and more than 320 bird species. It is a habitat for the vulnerable western lowland gorilla and endangered western chimpanzee.

The reserve is almost completely surrounded by the Dja River, a contributary to the Congo River. It covers 5,260 square kilometres. The landscape within the enclosed area consists of a fairly flat plateau.

Dja Faunal Reserve is also recognized as an Important Bird Area (IBA), a globally important habitat for the conservation of birds populations. The globally threatened Grey-necked Picathartes and the endemic Rachel's Malimbe and Forest Swallow are among the most notable birds found here.

Sangha Trinational

Sangha Trinational is a transboundary conservation zone of mostly forest landscape. It is centered along the Sangha river, a tributary to the Congo River.

The site is home to rare and endangered fauna species, including large ape populations such as the critically endangered Western Lowland Gorilla.

It is made up of three contiguous national parks:

- Lobéké National Park in Cameroon

- Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in Congo

- Dzanga-Ndoki National Park in the Central African Republic.

Canada
Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks

The Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks form a striking mountain landscape, that includes a full range of glaciation features and harbours the renowned Burgess Shale fossil site.

The parks are aligned along the Continental Divide, separating the drainage basins of the Arctic, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Wildlife includes 56 species of mammals, 280 species of birds and 8 species of amphibians and reptiles.

The designated area consists of four national parks: Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho. And three provincial parks are included: Mount Robson, Mount Assiniboine and Hamber. The parks are all contiguous. Banff National Park was already established in 1885, then only covering a small area around the hot springs (now known as "Cave & Basin National Historic Site"). Its highest peak is Mount Robson at 3,954 m.

Dinosaur Provincial Park

Dinosaur Provincial Park is renowned for its beautiful “badlands” and high number and quality of dinosaur fossils.

75 million years ago, rivers that flowed here deposited sand and mud. The conditions of the resulting landscape were excellent for the preservation of dinosaurs' bones as fossils.

The first dinosaur skeletons were recovered here in the 1880s. Over 40 dinosaur species have been found and more than 150 complete dinosaur skeletons, making it one of the richest dinosaur fossil locales in the world. The specimens represent every known group of Cretaceous dinosaurs.

The park is situated in the valley of the Red Deer River in Alberta, Canada. It covers three distinct habitats: riverine, badlands and prairie.

Glacier parks

The Kluane/Wrangell-St. Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek National Parks (‘a new, less cumbersome name’ is requested for) in the Yukon and Alaska has spectacular mountainous setting, ongoing geological processes in the over 100 glaciers and is a diverse and abundant habitat for wildlife.

These parks offer combined marine, coastal, wild river and high mountain scenery with minimal extent of human modification. It has the largest protected population of grizzly bears in the world and the single largest group of Dall sheep.

Comparisons can be made to New Zealand’s SW/Fiordland and Chile’s Bernardo O’Higgins/Laguna San Rafael National Parks.

Glacier Bay was added to the original nomination in 1992, and Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Wilderness Park in 1994.

Grand Pré

The Landscape of Grand Pré is a polder created for farmland by the Acadian community.

Originally a Marshland inhabited by native Mi’kmaq people, the reclamation of the land was carried out in stages in the 17th and 18th century.

It is considered the best example of a historic polder in North America. It is still a living Cultural landscape of farming.

Grand Pré is also the place of memory for the Acadian diaspora. These descendants of the 17th-century French colonists were deported from here in 1755 by the British colonial officers.

Gros Morne National Park

The Gros Morne National Park has been designated a WHS because of its role in evolutionary history and its scenic quality.

Here the continental margin of North America was effected by tectonic plate movements. Unique features like mantle and crust sequences, the presence of xonotlite, and the best known collection of graptolites in the world can be seen.

The park is located at the west coast of Newfoundland, and is named after Newfoundland's second-highest mountain peak (at 2,644 ft/806 m) located within the park. The landscape holds many rock formations, fjords and waterfalls.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump bears witness to a communal hunting technique practiced by native people of the North American plains for nearly 6000 years.

They killed buffalo by driving them off the 11 metre high sandstone cliff, close to a natural grazing area of the buffalo. The sheer weight of the herd pressing from behind would force the buffalo over the cliff. This custom continued into the late 19th century and still forms part of the 'traditional knowledge base' of the Plains nations.

After falling off the cliff, the buffalo carcasses were processed at a nearby camp. The camp at the foot of the cliffs provided the people with everything they needed to process a buffalo carcass, including fresh water. The majority of the buffalo carcass was used for a variety of purposes, from tools made from the bone, to the hide used to make dwellings and clothing. Deep layers of bison bones are still buried below the cliff. Also, remains of marked trails and an aboriginal camp can still be found.

Joggins Fossil Cliffs

The Joggins Fossil Cliffs is famous for its record of fossils dating to the Pennsylvanian "Coal Age" of earth history, approximately 310 million years ago.

The cliffs are continually hewn and freshly exposed by the actions of the tides in the Cumberland Basin.

The fame of Joggins dates to the mid-nineteenth century, and the visits in 1842 and 1852 by Sir Charles Lyell, the founder of modern geology and author of Principles of Geology. The fossil record at Joggins also figures in Darwin's "On the Origin of Species", and played a role in the Great Oxford Debate of 1860 between Bishop Wilberforce and Thomas Huxley.

Much of the fossil record at Joggins was discovered by Nova Scotian geologist Sir William Dawson (1820-1899), who had a close personal and working relationship with Sir Charles Lyell. Investigations by Dawson led to the discovery of one of the most important fossils in the history of science, Hylonomus lyelli, which remains the earliest known reptile in the history of life.

L'Anse aux Meadows

L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site is a Viking settlement from around 1000 A.D. - the earliest example of European presence in North America (except Greenland).

Temporate housing and workshops were built by Norse settlers, in similar style to those in Norse Greenland and Iceland.

This archaelogical site is located on the northernmost tip of the island of Newfoundland, in an area previously inhabited by native peoples. The remains of this Viking village were discovered in 1960, and subsequently excavated until 1976. Besides the remains of the buildings, artefacts such as an oil lamp were found.

Miguasha Park

Miguasha National Park is considered to be the world's greatest palaeontological record of fossils from the Devonian Period, known as the 'Age of Fishes'.

Five of the six main fossil fish groups from this period (dating from 370 million years) can be found here. A great quantity of some of the best-preserved fossil specimens of lobe-finned fish, ancestors to the tetrapods (believed to be the first four-legged air-breathing terrestrial vertebrates), were found here.

These coastal cliffs are made up of grey sedimentary rock (composed of alternating layers of sandstone and shale) which are 350-375 million years old. The area supports mainly birch, aspen and fir forests. Some of the fish, fauna and spore fossils found at Miguasha are rare and ancient species. For example, Spermasposita is thought to be one of the oldest flowering plant species on earth.

The fossil site was first discovered in 1842, by Abraham Gesner (1797-1864), a geologist and medical doctor, and a pioneer in the petroleum industry. To date, over 5,000 fossils from this one site have been identified and categorized.

Mistaken Point

Mistaken Point is a 17-kilometre-long coastal strip renowned for its fossil deposits on exposed rock surfaces.

The more than 10,000 fossil impressions date from the middle Ediacaran, 580 to 560 million years ago. They show the transition of life on earth from microbe-dominated to the ancestors of animals as we know them.

The site was first discovered in 1967, and lies in Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador Province.

Nahanni National Park

Nahanni National Park Reserve is an undisturbed river, canyon and cave landscape.

It is the breeding habitat of four endangered species: peregrine falcons, golden eagles, bald eagles and trumpeter swans. The park is located in the Northwest Territories of Canada and sees only about 5000 visitors a year.

The centrepiece of the park is the South Nahanni River. Four great canyons, called First, Second, Third and Fourth Canyon, line this spectacular whitewater river.

The name Nahanni comes from the indigenous Dene language and can be translated as 'spirit.'

Old Town Lunenburg

Old Town Lunenburg, founded in 1753, is the best remaining example of planned British colonial settlement in North America.

It was developed as a model town, with a rigid grid and wooden houses. The town grew into an important seaport and shipbuilding centre.

Lunenburg was named in honour of the King of Great Britain and Ireland, (George August of Hanover) who was also the ruler of Brunswick-Lunenburg. During the French and Indian War, several small forts which ringed the town were garrisoned by British regulars as well as by provincial troops from Massachusetts. These forts were erected to protect the town from raids by French warships and from attacks by the local Indians.

Québec

The Historic District of Québec is one of the oldest settlements in Canada, and the first to have been founded with the explicit goal of receiving permanent settlement and not as a commercial outpost.

It was founded by Samuel de Champlain on 3 July 1608 at the site of a long abandoned St. Lawrence Iroquoian settlement called Stadacona.

The Historic District of Québec was designated a WHS because it is the most complete fortified colonial town left in North America, and because as the capital of New France it marks a stage in the modern development of this continent.

Red Bay Basque Whaling Station

Red Bay Basque Whaling Station comprises the archaeological remains of the largest pre-industrial whaling site in north-eastern Canada.

The station was founded in the 1530s by Basque sailors, who made an annual transatlantic voyage to the site for summer whale hunting. They processed the whales in situ and took the oil home to Europe.

The remains are mostly underwater or covered up. They include traces of buildings (including ovens for melting the whale blubber), whale bone deposits and shipwrecks.

Rideau Canal

The Rideau Canal is the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America.

The 19th century canal runs for 202 km from Ottawa, Canada's capital, to Kingston on Lake Ontario. The canal's initial purpose was military, later it opened up the area for settlement and commerce. The canal was completed in 1832.

The 202 kilometres (125 miles) of the Rideau Canal incorporate sections of the Rideau and Cataraqui rivers, as well as several lakes, including the Lower, Upper and Big Rideau lakes. About 19 kilometres (12 miles) of the route is man-made.

SGang Gwaay

SGang Gwaay are the remains of a Haida village on the eastern side of Anthony Island, which represent an outstanding example of a traditional Northwest Coast First Nations village site, complete with standing totem poles and the remains of cedar longhouses.

It was the southernmost of traditional Haida villages, being just west of and facing Kunghit Island, the southernmost island in the archipelago. Today it features the largest collection of Haida totem poles in their original locations, many celebrated as great works of art, though they are being allowed to succumb to the natural decay of the lush coastal rainforest climate. The site is extremely remote, and access is only by sea or air from towns in the northern part of the islands.

SGang Gwaay was the location of several episodes in the early history of white contact with the isles.

Waterton Glacier International Peace Park

Waterton Glacier International Peace Park is known for its superlative mountain scenery of glacial origin.

Located on the border between Canada and the USA, Waterton Lakes and Glacier national parks form the world's first International Peace Park since 1932.

Among its recorded plusses are a unique geological feature in the form of the Lewis overthrust. There are also superb examples of Precambrian rock formations, six species stromatolites (fossil algae) and 98% of the world's remaining stock of genetically pure Westslope Cutthroat Trout.

There have been three evaluations of a proposals of this site. Reservations were expressed and the site was rated as of secondary importance. It duplicates many values that can be seen in the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks.

Wood Buffalo National Park

Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest national park in Canada, established in 1922 to protect the world's largest herd of free roaming Wood Bison.

Their population is currently estimated at more than 5,000. It is also the only known nesting site of whooping cranes.

It was designated a World Heritage Site for the biological diversity of the Peace-Athabasca Delta, the world's largest inland delta, as well as the massive population of wild bison.

Cape Verde
Cidade Velha

Cidade Velha, Historic Centre of Ribeira Grande, was an important Portuguese colonial settlement and the first European town to be built south of the Sahara.

After the (then uninhabited) island was discovered, the city was named Ribeira Grande (Portuguese for large river) by António da Noli, in 1462. In 1466, the settlement became an important port for trading slaves from Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone to Brazil and the Caribbean. Transcontinental slavery made Cidade Velha the second richest city in the Portuguese realm.

Cidade Velha's port was a stopping place for two great navigators: Vasco of Gama, in 1497, on his way to India, and Christopher Columbus, in 1498, while on his third voyage to the Americas.

Cidade Velha has the oldest colonial church in the world, constructed in 1495.

Centr. Afr. Republic
Manovo-Gounda St. Floris

The Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park was designated a WHS because of its superlative natural formations and because it's the habitat of threatened animal species.

The park is large enough to include the entire basins of three rivers, and includes grassy floodplains, a variety of wooded savanna types, and woodlands, as well as the wetlands associated with the rivers, and the rugged sandstone Massif des Bongo.

At least eight threatened species occur within the park: black rhinoceros, elephant, red-fronted gazelle, leopard, cheetah, hunting dog, hoebill and crocodile. Also there are large bird populations.

Sangha Trinational

Sangha Trinational is a transboundary conservation zone of mostly forest landscape. It is centered along the Sangha river, a tributary to the Congo River.

The site is home to rare and endangered fauna species, including large ape populations such as the critically endangered Western Lowland Gorilla.

It is made up of three contiguous national parks:

- Lobéké National Park in Cameroon

- Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in Congo

- Dzanga-Ndoki National Park in the Central African Republic.

Chad
Ennedi Massif

The "Ennedi Massif: Natural and Cultural Landscape" is an eroded mountain massif in the Sahara desert, containing numerous rock paintings and archaeological sites.

The sandstone plateau was sculpted by water and wind erosion, leading to scenically impressive features such as formidable rock arches.

Though lying deep in the desert, the area sees regular rain. This results in a varied flora and fauna, and notably in the surviving Nile crocodiles in the permanent pocket of water called Guelta Archei. It became a refuge also for humans, who left rock art there. Nomadic pastoralists are still visiting.

Lakes of Ounianga

The Lakes of Ounianga are 18 connected lakes within the Sahara desert. They are unique as they mantain permanent freshwater in an arid region, being fed by a system of fossil ground water.

The lakes are divided into two groups, 40km apart. They are the remaining part of a much larger lake that existed in this basin 5,000 - 15,000 years ago. The land area in between them is also part of the designated site.

Chile
Churches of Chiloé

The Churches of Chiloé were placed on the list because of their unique form of wooden architecture and the mestizo culture they represent.

The arrival of the Jesuits (1608) to this archipelago gave it its special mark. Groups of missionaries would travel around the islands, staying for a few days here and there. In each zone they would build chapels, looked after by laymen.

Currently, in Chiloé there are sixty churches that belong to the typology called Chilota School of Religious Architecture on Wood.

Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works

Humberstone and Santa Laura works represent over 200 former saltpeter works where workers from Chile, Peru and Bolivia lived in company towns and forged a distinctive communal pampinos culture.

That culture is manifest in their rich language, creativity, and solidarity, and, above all, in their pioneering struggle for social justice, which had a profound impact on social history.

Situated in the remote desert Pampa, one of the driest deserts on earth, thousands of pampinos lived and worked in this hostile environment, for over 60 years, from 1880, to process the largest deposit of saltpeter in the world, producing the fertilizer sodium nitrate that was to transform agricultural lands in North and South America, and in Europe, and produce great wealth for Chile.

Because of the vulnerability of the structures and because of the impact of a recent earthquake, the site was also placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, to help mobilize resources for its conservation.

Qhapaq Ñan

Qhapaq Nan is the Andean road system created by the Inca civilization.

They used it for the purposes of communication, trade and defence. It reached its maximum expansion in the 15th century. The central square of Cusco, known as Hanan Hauk'aypata, is the origin of the four main roads that allowed the Incas to easily travel by foot to every corner of their territory.

This is a serial nomination of over 720km of stretches of road and 291 archaeological sites, stretching across Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Rapa Nui

Rapa Nui National Park and its stone sculptures are testimony to an isolated cultural evolution.

Rapa Nui is the indigenous name of Easter Island. It's a volcanic island, with still two large craters: Rano Kau and Rano Raraku.

The most characteristic cultural feature of Rapa Nui are the huge moai, found all over the island. These figures were created to represent the important ancestors of each clan. As time went by, their forms became more stylized and they increased in size.

Rapa Nui is considered one of the most isolated inhabited places in the world. Almost 2000 km distant is Pitcairn, the closest inhabited island. Its 4100 km to Tahiti and 3700 km to the Chilean coast. Nevertheless, Rapa Nui belongs to Polynesia, a geographic area defined by an imaginery triangle whose verticles are New Zealand, Hawaii and Rapa Nui itself. All the islands have a common cultural tradition, whose roots extend back to the second millenium BC.

Around 400 AD, Rapa Nui was colonized by Polynesians. They arrived in big canoes, and took with them many cultural elements that had developed on the other Polynesian islands.

Sewell Mining Town

Sewell Mining Town is an example of an early 20th century mining town set up by a foreign company for copper mining.

It is located in a harsh environment in central Chile on the slopes of the Andes, at an altitude between 2,000 and 2,250 metres.

The camp was founded in 1904 by the Braden Copper Company to extract the copper in the mine, and, in 1915, it was named after the company's first president, Mr. Barton Sewell. In 1918, it already housed 14,000 people.

Following many years of active life and achieving the construction and exploitation of the largest underground mine in the world, in 1977 the company started moving families to the valley and soon after the camp was being dismantled.

The remains of the mining town consist of industrial, residential and social buildings.

Valparaiso

The Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaiso testifies to Valparaiso's leading position as a merchant port in the late 19th century.

Valparaiso was founded in 1542 by the Spaniards. It served mostly as a small port for trade with Peru. After the independence, Valparaiso became one of the most important ports on the Pacific coast of South America.

Valparaiso actually exists of two completely different cities. The lower part has narrow streets along the bay, while the upper part boasts great colourful mansions and houses. The nominated property is located between the sea and the first terrace, in the area where the city first developed.

Included areas are:

- La Matríz Church and Santo Domingo Square

- Echaurren Square and Serrano Street

- Prat Pier, Sotomayor and Justicia Squares, Sea Museum Quarter

- Prat Street and Turri Square

- Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepción

China
Chengjiang Fossil Site

Chengjiang Fossil Site holds marine fossils of a high diversity. They date from the early Cambrian period, 530 million years ago.

In its kind of species, it is complementary to the Burgess Shale and is 10 million years older than that Canadian fossil site. Most of the fossils are that of soft-bodied organisms.

Although fossils from the region have been known from the early part of the twentieth century, Chengjiang was first recognized for its exquisite states of preservation with the 1984 discovery of the naraoiid Misszhouia.

China Danxia

China Danxia refers to various landscapes of a unique type of petrographic geomorphology found in China. Danxia landform are formed from red-colored sandstones and conglomerates of largely Cretaceous age.

The Danxia landform is named after Mount Danxia, one of the most famous examples of the Danxia landform.

The other inscribed areas are:

- Mountain Langshan and Mountain Wanfoshan (Hunan Province)

- Taining and Guanzhishan (Fujian Province)

- Mountain Longhushan and Guifeng (Jiangxi Province)

- Fangyan and Mountain Jianglangshan (Zhejiang Province).

Classical Gardens of Suzhou

The Classical Gardens of Suzhou are the most refined representations of the art of classical Chinese garden design.

They are complex landscapes imitating natural scenery with pavilions, rocks, hills and rivers. The designs were especially adapted to the small space available in private gardens.

Suzhou's landscape garden design flourished in the 16th-18th centuries, resulting in as much as 200 private gardens. The four gardens originally included in the World Heritage List were:

- Humble Administrator's Garden

- Lingering Garden

- Garden of the Master of Nets

- Mountain villa with Embracing Beauty

In 2000, the site was extended to also include the following gardens:

- Canglang Pavilion

- Lion Forest Garden

- Garden of Cultivation

- Couple's Garden Retreat

- Retreat and Reflection Garden

These five gardens date from different periods than the original ones (from the 11th - 19th centuries), but have been well-preserved too and show Chinese landscape gardening in their own right.

Dazu Rock Carvings

The Rock Carvings in Dazu, southwest China, are highly authentic, have high aesthetic qualities and show the coming together of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. They date from the 9th to 13th centuries.

These Dazu carvings are considered to be the best representatives of the latest phase of rock art in China. They clearly demonstrate the ingenuity and craftsmanship of their artists with respect to carving techniques and subject matter. In that way, they differ from the other, earlier, Chinese rock art world heritage sites Yungang, Longmen and Mogao.

The designated area consists of five separate sites of cliffside carvings: Beishan, Baodingshan, Nanshan, Shizhuanshan and Shimenshan. Baodingshan is the most prominent site of these. It was here that between 1174 and 1252 the Buddhist monk Zhao Zhifeng ordered the start of work on the elaborate carvings along a 500-meter U-shaped section of Mount Baoding. They show the implementation of Buddhist ideas in daily life as represented by Tantric Buddhism.

Dengfeng

The Historic Monuments of Dengfeng in "The Centre of Heaven and Earth" are 8 groups of sites located at the foot of the sacred Mount Songshan.

These sites are:

- Taishi Que Gates, Zhongue Temple

- Shaoshi Que Gates

- Qimu Que Gates

- Songye Temple Pagoda

- Architectural Complex of Shaolin Temple (Kernel Compound, Chuzu Temple, Pagoda Forest)

- Huishan Temple

- Songyang Academy of Classical Learning

- Observatory

Fujian Tulou

The Fujian Tulou are unique Chinese residential buildings constructed by the Hakka people from Fujian Province.

The Tulou are enclosed by a thick, defenisve earth wall and are communal buildings housing up to 80 families. They were mostly built between the 12th to the 20th centuries.

Grand Canal

The Grand Canal is the longest and oldest artifical waterway system in the world.

The canal comprises 10 main sections, containing 31 groups of inscribed buildings and passing through 8 provinces. It runs along a north-south axis originating in Beijing and ending at the sea port of Ningbo. The oldest parts of the canal date back to the 5th century BC, although the various sections were finally combined during the Sui Dynasty (581-618 AD).

It is considered the world's largest civil engineering project prior to the Industrial Revolution. The Chinese government used it for the unified administration of its territory and the transport of raw materials, rice to feed the people and troops.

Great Wall

The Great Wall is a masterpiece of construction of ancient China that has also high symbolic value.

The stone and earthen fortifications in northern China were built originally to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by various nomadic groups. The wall stretches for 8,800km and spans 17 Chinese provinces.

Several walls have been built since the 5th century BC that are referred to collectively as the Great Wall, which has been rebuilt and maintained from the 5th century BC through the 16th century. One of the most famous is the wall built between 220-206 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. Little of that wall remains; the majority of the existing wall was built during the Ming Dynasty.

Unesco stated that it is "virtually impossible" to guarantee the perfect preservation of the whole length of the wall. The conservation is focused on the following parts:

- Badaling section, a 7 km popular stretch

- Jiayuguan Pass, the starting point of the western section of the Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty

- Shanhaiguan, 26km of the northern wall until it meets the sea

Hani Rice Terraces

The Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces consists of irrigated rice paddies, forested mountain tops and 82 farming villages.

This landscape has been developed over the past 1300 years by the Hani people, one of China's official ethnic minority groups.

The site comprises 3 different valleys: Bada, Duoyishu and Laohuzui. Together they form the most concentrated area of steep rice terraces in China. They produce red rice. The terraces are irrigated via a complex system of channels that transport water from the surrounding mountain tops.

Huanglong

Huanglong has been acknowledged for its karst features such as travertine pools and limestone shoals.

Calcite deposition has lead to the pools being rich in algae and minerals, which results in orange, yellow, blue and green coloured waters. The site is located in the North-West of China's Sichuan Province.

At its inscription in 1992, it was recommended that Huanglong and nearby Jiuzhaigou (also in the Min Shan mountain range) would be inscribed as one site.

Huangshan

Huang Shan (meaning Yellow Mountain) is a mountain range that has played a leading role in the cultural, literary and artistic history of China because of its scenic beauty.

It has attracted a large number of poets, painters and other artists. Its attraction lies in the peculiar shapes of the granite peaks, in the weather-shaped Huangshan Pine trees, and in views of the clouds from above. The area also has hot springs and natural pools.

The Huang Shan are located in southern Anhui province in eastern China. The mountain range comprises of 77 larger peaks. The mountains were formed in the Mesozoic, about 100 million years ago, when an ancient sea disappeared. Later, in the Quaternary, the landscape was shaped by the influence of glaciers.

Because the mountain tops are often above cloud level, they offer views of the clouds from above and interesting light-effects.

Hubei Shennongjia

Hubei Shennongjia is a forested mountain massif mostly known for its floral diversity.

It has been a place of significant scientific interest particularly for botanists. It lies within the Daba Mountains evergreen forests ecoregion, in Central-eastern China. The site consists of two locations, Shennongding/Badong and Laojunshan, separated by a 10km wide corridor.

Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang with their grand palatial architecture represent the Chinese civilisation at the time of the Ming and Qing dynasties.

The Imperial Palace of the Ming Dynasty lies in Beijing, and is now commonly known as the Forbidden City because the general public had no access to it. When the capital of the Ming Empire was moved to Beijing in 1421, the emperors took up residence in the Imperial Palace. It was not meant to be a home for a mortal king but for the Son of Heaven.

The architecture of the palace raised the court above all earthly things. Huge red walls enclosed the inner sanctum, an area forbidden to ordinary mortals. No building in the city was permitted to be taller than the walls of the palace. The exact, grid-like geometric pattern of the complex reflects the strongly hierarchical structural of imperial Chinese society. The buildings were aligned on north-south lines, the most important of them orientated to face south, towards the sun.

The Imperial Palace of the Qing Dynasty in Shenyang is a smaller complex dating from the 17th century. Its architecture shows Manchurian influences.

Imperial Tombs

The Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties are examples of funerary architecture built on the principles of feng shui.

The Ming Tombs comprise two distinct burial sites: Xiaoling Tomb of the First Emperor and the tombs of 13 other emperors of the Ming Dynasty. Xiaoling Tomb lies in Nanjing, the others at the foot of Tianshou

Mountain, north of Beijing.

Furthermore:

- The Xianling mausoleum of the Ming dynasty (near Zhongxiang)

- The western Qing tombs

- The eastern Qing tombs (120km east of Beijing)

The Qing Tombs are located in northeastern China. They comprise three tombs in Shengjing:

- Yongling Tomb

- Fuling Tomb

- Zhaoling Tomb

Jiuzhaigou Valley

Jiuzhaigou Valley is a mountainous area with series of lakes and waterfalls containing clear, mineral-rich water.

The natural beauty of the site lies in the over 100 strange-coloured lakes and terraces. They are the result of karst erosion and deposits. Some of the lakes are swamps. Others contain large quantities of grass, underground rivers or a wealth of algae.

The Valley is located in China's Northern Sichuan Province, in the Min Shan mountain range.

Kaiping Diaolou

The diaolou of Kaiping are fortified multi-storey towers, built by returning Chinese immigrants from America, Canada, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

They display a fusion of Chinese and Western decorative forms. The towers were constructed in the 1920s and 1930s, when there were more than 3,000 of these structures.

The diaolou served as housing and as protection against forays by bandits (and later the Japanese). Three separate forms can be distinguished: communal towers, residential towers and watch towers.

Of the approximately 1,800 diaolou still standing today, 20 of them in the following areas make up the designated site:

- Sanmenli Village

- Zili Village & the Fang Clan Watch Tower

- Majianlong Village Cluster

- Jinjiangli Village

Koguryo Kingdom

The "Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom" consists of three former capitals and 40 tombs.

These archaeological sites represent the extinct Koguryu civilization that existed from the 1st century BC until the 7th century AD in what is now Northeast China and North Korea.

The cities are the first capitals of the Koguryo Kingdom, Wunu Mountain City and Guonei City, and Wandu Mountain City. Of the thousands known Koguryo tombs, the designated area includes 14 Imperial Tombs and 26 tombs of Nobles. The latter are decorated with wall paintings, describing daily life scenes.

This WHS is closely related to Koguryu Tombs in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The tombs there belong to a later period of the Koguryu Kingdom. Both China and North Korea have been asked to join their Koguryan sites, but haven't taken action to accomplish this so far.

Kulangsu

Kulangsu: A historic international settlement covers an island where interchange of Chinese, South East Asian and European architectural and cultural values occurred since the opening of a commercial port at Xiamen in 1843.

Foreign missionairies, diplomats and workers lived on Kulangsu while working in the larger city Xiamen across the strait. They were instrumental in introducing modern western culture and technology to China. The historic urban settlement consists of 931 structures (residences, schools, hospitals, gardens). The fusion of cultures resulted in a new architectural style: the Amoy Deco Style, which originated on Kulangsu and this is where the best representations of it can be found such as the Hongning Hospital and the Yanping Complex.

Longmen Grottoes

The Longmen Grottoes are caves with Buddhist carving, dating from the end of the 5th century to the mid 8th century. The grottoes are dotted on either side of the river Yi.

The carvings were developed when Emperor Xianwen moved the Northern Wei capital to Luoyang in 493.

Cave temples like this, which are replicas of temples on the ground, originate in India. Its most prominent examples there are the Ajanta and Ellora Caves. The concept came to China together with the spread of Buddhism via the Silk Route.

Lushan National Park

Lushan National Park is a cultural landscape known for its natural beauty. It has inspired many Chinese artists, writers, philosophers and scientists.

The Lushan world heritage site contains four kinds of cultural relics:

- archaeological sites.

- inscriptions.

- historic buildings.

- Chinese and foreign villas.

Macao

The Historic Monuments of Macao represent its early and long encounter between Chinese and European civilisations.

Macao was the first European enclave in Asia. Its colonial history started with the arrival of Portuguese tradesmen in 1557. Over the years they developed Macao into one of the major trade ports in Asia - as a stopover on the route to Japan or as part of the Silk Route by sea. Macao is also the longest lasting and finest example of interchange between Chinese and Western civilizations.

The monuments that make up this WHS are divided into two zones.

The central area can be found along the Rua Direita, leading from the ancient Chinese harbour in the south to the old Christian city in the north. Major monuments here are the A-Ma temple, the Leal Senado Square and the Ruins of St. Paul's Church.

The second zone, a bit more to the northeast, is centered around Guia Hill. Here the Chapel and the Lighthouse are protected.

Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor

The Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor is known for its life-size terracotta statues of warriors.

They are seen as major works in the history of Chinese sculpture and valuable for the insight they provide in the social and military history of the period.

This monumental archeological site was discovered by chance in 1974 by farmers. Three pits have been uncovered so far, containing over 8000 figures of warriors and horses.

Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China and a man fond of grand projects (the Great Wall of China also was his idea), arranged for this burial site himself. The Terracotta Army that was to be buried with him was to help him rule another empire in the afterlife. 700.000 men reportedly worked on the construction of the mausoleum for 38 years. The statues were made factory-like at the construction site. After completion, the terracotta figures were placed in the pits in precise military formation according to rank and duty.

Shi Huang died in 210 B.C. and was subsequently buried here. His tomb presently remains unopened.

Mogao Caves

The Mogao Caves are a system of 492 rock-cut cells and sanctuaries near Dunhuang, in the desert landscape of Gansu Province.

Because of its strategic position along the Silk Route, the caves attracted many pilgrims and a variety of cultural influences from the 4th until the 14th century.

The complex once held over 1000 caves with rock art. About 40 of them date from the Northern Wei-dynasty (385-557). More were added during the Sui-dynasty (581-618). Most of the caves were made during the Tang-dynasty (until ca. 750), when Buddhism and the Silk Route were in their prime.

The caves were made a WHS because of the artistic achievement (statues and wall paintings), the cultural exchange they represent and the Buddhist monastic history.

Mount Emei, including Leshan Giant Buddha

Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area, comprise the place where Buddhism was first established in China. It is also outstanding for its plant species diversity.

Emei Shan and Leshan are located in China's Sichuan Province. The two nominated areas are separated from each other by about 4Okm. Emei Shan is a sacred Buddhist site. The Giant Buddha of Leshan measures 71 m high overall, which makes it the largest statue of the Buddha in the world.

Emei is the most outstanding Buddhist mountain in China. Emei became a sacred Buddhist site following the sixth-century visit of Bodhisattva Puxian and his six-tusked elephant. Here Buddhism first became established on Chinese territory and from where it spread widely throughout the east.

Covering Emei Shan is a sub-tropical forest with many endemic and endangered plants. They include orchids, primulas, rhododendrons, camellias, ginkgos, cycads and tree ferns. The mountain is frequently covered in dense cloud, with associated high rainfall and humidity.

Construction of the Giant Buddha (Dafo) of Leshan started in 713 AD, when the monk Haitong came up with an idea to curb the rough waters below the sandstone cliffs of Lingyun Shan. He wanted to fill in the shoals with rubble produced by carving out a giant Buddha image. It took 90 years to finish this project.

Mount Qingcheng and Dujiangyan

Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiang Irrigation System are two separate sites located in the Sichuan province of southwest China. Mount Qingcheng is the intellectual and spiritual centre of Taoism, while the Dujiangyan Irrigation System is an ancient water management system that has survived up to the present day.

As early as the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE), Mount Qingcheng was recognized as one of the eighteen sacred mountains and rivers used for sacrificial purposes. The eleven Qingcheng Taoist temples can be compared to the Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains, but the former have a simpler style using the traditional architecture of western Sichuan and are considerably older.

The origins of the Dujiangyan Irrigation System date back to 256 BC, when the provincial governor Li Bing set up an irrigation scheme to the counter the devastating flooding caused by the Min River. His system makes subtle use of the local topography. It splits the Min into an inner flow for irrigation and an outer channel for flood control. The original system has been preserved, but modern building materials and technology have been utilized to enable this ancient system to conform with the requirements of the present day.

Mount Sanqingshan

The Mount Sanqingshan National Park holds an outstanding scenery of granite peaks and pillars.

The area also has numerous waterfalls, valleys, lakes and springs. The massif is covered with temperate forest, home to rare and endangered plant species.

Its visual impact is enhanced by the ocurrence of meteorological effects like bright halos on clouds and white rainbows.

Sanqingshan (San Qing Mountain) is made up of three main summits: the Yujing Mountain, Yushui Mountain and Yuhua Mountain. The park is located in Jiangxi Province, southwest of Shanghai.

Mount Taishan

Mount Tai (Chinese: Tai Shan) is a mountain of historical and cultural significance located north of the city of Tai'an, in Shandong Province. Its tallest peak is Jade Emperor Peak.

Mount Tai is one of the "Five Sacred Mountains of Taoism". It is associated with sunrise, birth, and renewal, and is often regarded the foremost of the five. The temples on its slopes have been a destination for pilgrims for 3,000 years.

Mount Wutai

Mount Wutai is a sacred mountain, one of the Four Sacred Mountains in Chinese Buddhism.

It takes its name from its unusual topography, consisting of five rounded peaks (North, South, East, West, Central).

Mount Wutai is home to some of the oldest existent wooden buildings in China that have survived since the era of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). This includes the main hall of Nanchan Monastery and the East Hall of Fuguang Monastery, built in 782 and 857, respectively.

Mount Wuyi

Mount Wuyi, located at Fuijan province, is the most outstanding biodiversity conservation zone of Southeast China.

It's the largest and most representative example of Chinese subtropical forests and South Chinese rainforests' biodiversity.

The designated area also contains a series of exceptional archaeological sites, including the Han City established in the 1st century BC and a number of temples and study centres associated with the birth of Neo-Confucianism in the 11th century AD.

Mountain Resort, Chengde

The Mountain Resort and its Outlying Temples, Chengde, is a piece of landscape design that served as the summer resort of the Qing emperors.

By the end of the 17th century the Qing emperors had established their capital at Beijing, and they began to look around for somewhere cool and green to retreat to when the dusty heat of summer set in. They found what they were looking for at Chengde, beyond the Great Wall.

Here they created a summer residence, exploiting mountains, woods and other existing natural features to which they added contrived landscapes to make settings for innumerable pavillions, palaces and temples. Construction took a total of 87 years. The buildings and gardens cover an area of 560 hectares, and are surrounded by a wall 10 km. long.

Outside the palace walls, to the north and west, a total of 11 temples were built. Manyof them were built in Tibetan style. Divided into eight groups, they became known as the Eight Outer Temples. The main gates of these buildings pointed towards the palace, symbolising the unity of China's various ethnic groups under the central rule of the Qing emperors.

Old Town of Lijiang

The Old Town of Lijiang represents a fusion of indigenous Naxi architecture and culture with external influences.

The Naxi-minority descends from Tibetan nomads. They have a matriarchal family tradition and an over 1000 years old script. This script consists of pictograms, and is kept alive by some individuals. There is also a Naxi-orchestra: old men that play traditional Chinese music on antique instruments, unique for China.

Lijiang has an ingenious ancient network of waterways, that is supplied by the mountain springs. Via canals the houses in town are connected to this network.

The cobbled streets, bridges and houses add to the picturesque picture of this ancient town. It gained wide attention in the 1990s: first because of a BBC-documentary and a childrens series, that made kind of a myth out of Lijiang.

In 1996, the town was hit by a very serious earthquake which damaged a lot of the old houses and streets.

Peking Man Site

The Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian is an important finding place of early Asian hominids. These include one of the first specimens of Homo erectus, dubbed Peking Man.

Over 500.000 years ago, the caves in this limestone area were inhabited by early hominids. They stayed for the next 300.000 years. When this hominid race disappeared, the caves became naturally filled in, and the tools, food scraps and bones in them remained covered by deposits until modern times.

The site was discovered in 1921 by the Swede John Gunnar Andersson. Intensive excavation began in 1927. The site yielded nearly 200 pieces of Peking Man fossil (representing around 40 individuals), over 10.000 stone artifacts, several layers of ash as evidence of fire use, and more than 100 specimen of fossil animal.

In the Upper Cave, discovered in 1930, the remains of 20.000 to 10.000 years old homo sapiens have been found. This site consists of four parts: the entrance, the upper chamber as living floor, the lower chamber as graveyard and the lower recess which was a natural trap for large mammals.

Ping Yao

Ping Yao is an integral and well-preserved ancient Chinese city from the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911). Its urban plan and defensive line have not significantly changed since.

It is now renowned for its well-preserved ancient city wall and the imposing buildings associated with banking, for which Ping Yao was the major centre for the whole of China in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Among its monuments are:

- Ten Thousand Buddha Hall of Zhen Guo Temple

- Main Hall of the Confucian Temple

- Qing Xu Daoist Temple

- Temple of the Town God

- County Administrative Building

- City Tower

- several private residences

Potala Palace

The Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa, represents the apogee of Tibetan architecture and the combination of religious and secular authority.

The Potala was the administrative, religious and symbolic centre of Tibet's theocratic government for many centuries. It served as the winter palace of the Dalai Lama. Its original construction dates from the 7th century AD, but the main parts (Red Palace and White Palace) are 17th century additions. The White Palace was secular in nature (offices and so on), the Red Palace religious. The Potala has 13-storeys and stands over 117 meter high. Within the palace there are many outstanding wall paintings and tangkas.

The designated site was extended in 2000 with Jokhang Temple and in 2001 with Norbulingka Summer Palace.

The Jokhang is Tibet's most sacred Buddhist temple, located in the centre of the old town of Lhasa. It was built in the 7th century by King Songtsen Gampo when he moved his capital to Lhasa. The Jokhang was enlarged and embellished by subsequent rulers and Dalai Lamas. It holds the gilded Jowo Sakyamuni statue as the chief object of veneration, depicting the Buddha of the Present.

De Norbulingka ('Jewelled Garden') was the Summer palace of the Dalai Lama's since its construction in the 18th century. It had the same functions as the Potala, and thus those two are inseparably linked. It holds among others the residence of the 14th Dalai Lama before he fled to India.

Qinghai Hoh Xil

Qinghai Hoh Xil covers two protected areas on the high altitude Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau: Hoh Xil National Nature Reserve and the Soja-Qumar River sub-zone of Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve.

Temperatures average sub-zero year-round. Glacial meltwater supplies the many rivers, lakes and marshlands in these reserves. The site is also important as calving area and place of seasonal migration of large numbers of Tibetan antelope.

Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries

The Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, located in southwest Sichuan province, are home to more than 30% of the world's highly endangered Giant Pandas and is among the most important sites for the captive breeding of these pandas.

It covers 9245 km2 with seven nature reserves and nine scenic parks in the Qionglai and Jiajin Mountains. Along with the Giant Panda, the sanctuary is a refuge to other endangered species such as the red panda, the snow leopard, and the clouded leopard. Outside of the tropical rainforests, it is among the botanically richest sites of the world, and is home to between 5,000 and 6,000 species of flora.

The Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries consist of seven nature reserves and nine scenic parks:

- Wolong Nature Reserve

- Fengtongzhai Nature Reserve

- Mt. Siguniang Nature Reserve

- Laba River Nature Reserve

- Heishui River Nature Reserve

- Jintang-Kongyu Nature Reserve

- Caopo Nature Reserve

- Mt. Qingcheng-Dujiangyan Scenic Park

- Mt. Tiantai Scenic Park

- Mt. Siguniang Scenic Park

- Xiling Snow Mountain Scenic Park

- Mt. Jiguan-Jiulonggou Scenic Park

- Mt. Jiajin Scenic Park

- Miyaluo Scenic Park

- Mt. Lingzhen-Mt. Daxue Scenic Park

- Mt. Erlang Scenic Park

Silk Roads

Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor comprise a heritage route of some 5,000 km. The Tian-shan Corridor linked Chang'an in central China with the heartland of Central Asia.

This is part of the major trade corridor that connected China with Europe. It took shape between the 2nd century BC and 1st century AD. It flourished between the 6th and 14th century AD.

It is a serial nomination of 35 sites, spread out over China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Some of the most well-known included sites are:

- Great Wild Goose Pagoda and Small Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an

- Longmen grottoes

- Maijishan cave temple complex

- Mogao caves

- Yumen Pass

- Bashbaliq City

Site of Xanadu

The Site of Xanadu encompasses the remains of Kublai Khan's legendary summer capital of the Yuan Dynasty.

Located on the route between the former Mongolian capital Karakorum and the Han center Dadu (Beijing), it shows a unique mix between Mongolian and Han Chinese traditions. It is located in the current Chinese autonomous region of Inner Mongolia.

The city was built in 1256, and became summer capital in 1274. The city became an important stopping place on the silk route, receiving many foreign envoys. In 1368 it was conquered by the Ming and destroyed.

The site at the edge of the Mongolian plateau includes the former city with temples and palaces, water control works, tombs, natural features (grassland, wetland) and traditional oboo (stone cairn) shrines of the Mongolian nomads.

South China Karst

South China Karst can be considered as one of the two great karst regions of the world.

Within this 97,125 area spread out over 4 provinces, Shilin is regarded as the world’s best example of stone forests. Guilin Karst is widely acknowledged as having the world’s best expression of a tower karst landscape and has been internationally recognized as the type-site of continental tower karst.

The site consists of the following twelve parts:

- Shilin Karst – Naigu Stone Forest

- Shilin Karst – ‘Suogeyi Village’

- Libo Karst – ‘Xiaoqijong’

- Libo Karst – ‘Dongduo’

- Wulong Karst – Qingkou Giant Doline (Tiankeng)

- Wulong Karst – Three Natural Bridges

- Wulong Karst – Furong Cave

- Jinfoshan Karst

- Shibing Karst

- Huanjiang Karst

- Guilin Karst - Putao Fenglin Karst Section

- Guilin Karst - Lijiang Fengcong Karst Section

Summer Palace

The Summer Palace, an Imperial Garden in Beijing, is a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design that is noted for its harmony and large scale.

It is also known as the "New Summer Palace", to distinguish it from the remains of an older one. The palace is mainly dominated by Longevity Hill (60 meters high) and the Kunming Lake. It covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometers, three quarters of which is water. The front of the hill is rich in splendid halls and pavilions, while the back hill, in sharp contrast, is quiet with natural beauty.

The imperial gardens date from 1750. The complex suffered two major attacks during the Anglo-French allied invasion of 1860, and during the Boxer Rebellion, in an attack by the eight allied powers in 1900. The garden survived and was rebuilt in 1886 and 1902.

Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven was the place where the Emperor of the Ming and Qing dynasties would worship heaven and pray for good harvests.

Built first in 1420, and then expanded and reconstructed, the Temple of Heaven is a precious example of China's ancient architectural art and the largest architectural group for worshipping heaven in the world.

The most prominent building in the temple's complex is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. 38.2 metres in height and 24.2 metres in diameter, it is supported by immense pillars. The painted roof has 50.000 blue glazed tiles and a golden point.

Temple, Mansion and Cemetery of Confucius

The Temple and Cemetery of Confucius, and the Kong Family Mansion are three important sites in Confucianism.

They are located in Qufu, Shandong Province. Together with the Summer Palace in Beijing and the Mountain Resort of Chengde, the Temple of Confucius in Qufu is one of the three largest ancient architectural complexes in China. East of the Temple of Confucius, is the Kong Family Mansion. Kong is the family surname of Confucius and his descendants.

Confucianism has had the most enduring and profound effect over Chinese culture. As time went on, Confucius became respected as a sage, and the temples to Confucius were built as a landmark for all of China. Among them, the Temple in Qufu, the hometown of Confucius, is the most famous and the largest.

Three parallel rivers of Yunnan

The Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas represent a landscape of river gorges and high mountains.

The areas are situated in Yunnan Province, south-west China. The site consists of 15 protected areas (in eight geographic clusters) in the mountainous northwest of the Province. It extends over a total area of 1.698.400 ha, encompassing the watershed areas of the Yangtse (Jinsha), Mekong (Lacang) and Salween (Nujiang) rivers.

The protected areas include:

- Gaoligong Mountain Nature Reserve

- Baimang Snow Mountain Nature Reserve

- Haba Snow Mountain Reserve

- Bita Lake Nature Reserve

- Yunling Nature Reserve

- Gongshan Area

- Yueliangshan Area

- Pianma Area

- Meili Snow Mountain Area

- Julong Lake Area

- Laowoshan Area

- Hongshan Area

- Qianhu Mountain Scenic Area

- Laojun Mountain Scenic Area

Tusi Sites

The Tusi Sites are three examples of the Tusi system in which inheritance of official positions was granted to tribal leaders in ethnic minority regions.

The practice was used in China’s feudal period between the 13th and 20th century. Laosicheng Site, Hailongtun Site and Tang Ya Tusi Site are located in mountainous regions in southwest China. They are also testimony to the traditional cultures and cultural practices of the Tujia, Gelao and Miao Ethnic Peoples. Originally the Tentative Site included a fourth location, Rongmei Tusi Site, but it was left out of the final nomination.

The system was abolished in 1953, when the People's Republic of China established the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Region.

West Lake

The West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou is an implementation of the classical Chinese landscape ideal by improving the natural landscape with bridges, causeways, pavillions etc.

The 'improved' landscape had a profound impact on the design of gardens not only in China but also further afield.

Wudang Mountains

The Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains has been made a WHS for its many Taoist monasteries and secular buildings which have had a profound influence on Chinese art and architecture.

The Wudang Mountains are a small mountain range in Hubei province.

Wulingyuan

Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area is famous for its approximately 3,100 tall quartzite sandstone pillars, some over 200 meters in height. They are a kind of karst formation.

Between the peaks lie ravines and gorges with streams, pools and waterfalls, and some 40 caves, as well as two large natural bridges. Remote from the outside world, the site is 85% covered with trees, and 99% covered with vegetation.

Xidi and Hongcun

The Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui - Xidi and Hongcun are two exceptionally well preserved traditional Chinese villages from the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

Their townscapes are developed in harmony with the natural environment, using the geomantic principles of Feng Shui.

The Huizhou style is the predominant architecture in the villages: white walls, dark tiles, horse-head gables, stone drums or mirrors and open interior courtyards are common features. It was the style favoured by the local merchant class.

Xinjiang Tianshan

Xinjiang Tianshan is a mountain range that holds glaciers, snowcapped peaks, alpine meadows, lakes and canyons.

These mountains are in stark contrast with the surrounding six deserts, of which part of the Taklamakan Desert is within the WH area borders.

This site covers the Chinese part of the Tianshan mountains, which extend into Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Tomur is its highest peak at 7,443m.

The site has 4 components:

- Tomur

- Kalajun-Kuerderning

- Bayinbuluke

- Bogda

Yin Xu

Yin Xu is an archaeological site containing the remains of Yin, the last capital of China's Shang Dynasty (1766 BC - 1050 BC).

It represents the golden age of early Chinese culture, crafts and sciences in a time of great prosperity.

Yinxu is also famous for the discovery of 'oracle bones', inscriptions on animal bones and tortoise shells which are thought to be the beginnings of Chinese characters and writing. They bear invaluable testimony to the development of one of the world's oldest writing systems, ancient beliefs and social systems.

Yungang Grottoes

The Yungang Grottoes are excellent examples of Buddhist cave art, dating from the 5th and 6th centuries.

They are located near the city of Datong in the Chinese province of Shanxi. The site stretches about 1 kilometer from east to west, and holds 53 caves with 51,000 statues.

Yungang is a relic of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534) of the nomadic Toba people. They recruited 3,000 monks from along the Silk Route to turn Buddhism into their state religion.

The caves can be divided into 3 phases:

1 - Caves 16-20 (Five Caves of Tan Yao, where the Wei-rulers were depicted as living Buddhas).

2 - Caves 1, 2, 3, 5-13 (more varied and Chinese in concept).

3 - Caves 4, 14, 15, 20 and the rest (smaller caves).

During these phases, the 'foreign' Indian Buddhism turned into a Chinese folk religion.

In 494, the Wei moved their capital from Datong to Luoyang and the Yungang Grottoes slowly fell into decay. The caves used to be protected by wooden temple buildings, but most of them burnt down. Many of the artwork was stolen in the early 20th century and now resides in museums and private collections around the world.

Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art

The Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape comprises three locations with thousands of pictographs, painted on steep cliff faces along the river in a karst landscape.

The paintings were made by between the 5th century BCE to the 2nd century AD by the Luoyue people. The site is a cultural landscape and also includes hamlets and villages where people still perform rituals connected to the rock art.

The pictographs can be seen from boats and wooden platforms. They cover four distinct phases of painting, and include depictions of bronze drums, ferry boats and human figures.

Colombia
Cartagena

The Port, Fortresses and Group of Monuments, Cartagena, comprise the surviving remains of military constructions and an important way station for exploration and trade developed by the Spanish in the New World.

Cartagena, formally known as Cartagena of the Indies is a large city seaport on the northern coast of Colombia. Founded in 1533 by Don Pedro de Heredia, and named after the port of Cartagena in Spain's Murcia region, it was a major center of early Spanish settlement in the Americas.

A few years after it had been founded, the Spaniards designed a defense plan in which the main strategy was the construction of a walled military fortress to protect the city against the plundering of English, Dutch and French pirates.

Coffee Cultural Landscape

The Coffee Cultural Landscape comprises 6 landscapes and 18 urban centres within the coffee producing areas in the Andes.

The growing of coffee started here in the 19th century, and currently accounts for 35% of Colombia's total production.

Los Katios National Park

Los Katíos National Park is known for its high biodiversity and high regional endemism.

It lies in northwest Colombia and is contiguous to Darién National Park in Panama. Because of its location on the Darien isthmus, it filtered the interchange of flora and fauna between North and South America.

The park comprises two main regions:

- the mountains of the Serranía del Darién

- the floodplain of the Atrato river, with lowland swamp forests

Notable fauna species found in Los Katios include the giant anteater, tapir, jaguar, spectacled caiman and American manatee. More than 450 species of birds have been recorded.

Malpelo

Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary is a protected area for sharks, turtles and other sea animals.

The designated zone includes Malpelo Island and its surrounding marine environment. The island is located in the Pacific Ocean 500km off the Colombian coast.

The site is a fishing-free area, turning it into an "oasis in an oceanic desert". Malpelo holds a unique shark population; swarms of 500 hammerhead sharks and hundreds of silky sharks are frequently seen by diving expeditions. It is also the habitat of the critically endangered hawksbill and leatherback turtles.

Qhapaq Ñan

Qhapaq Nan is the Andean road system created by the Inca civilization.

They used it for the purposes of communication, trade and defence. It reached its maximum expansion in the 15th century. The central square of Cusco, known as Hanan Hauk'aypata, is the origin of the four main roads that allowed the Incas to easily travel by foot to every corner of their territory.

This is a serial nomination of over 720km of stretches of road and 291 archaeological sites, stretching across Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

San Agustín

San Agustín Archaeological Park is a pre-Columbian archaeological site containing the largest collection of megalithic sculptures on the continent.

They were constructed during the Agustinian Culture, which flowered from the 1st century AD.

The site consists of 3 separate locations:

- San Agustín

- Alto de los Idolos

- Alto de las Piedras

Santa Cruz de Mompox

The Historic Centre of Santa Cruz de Mompox has preserved its Spanish colonial character well.

The city was founded on May 3, 1537 by Don Alonso de Heredia as a safe port on the Magdalena. Santa Cruz de Mompox became quite prosperous as a port for the transportation of goods upriver into the interior. A royal mint was established here and the town was famous for its goldsmiths. This prosperity had begun to wane in the Nineteenth Century, but continued until early in the Twentieth Century when the river shifted and sediment accumulated on this arm of the river.

Tierradentro

The National Archaeological Park of Tierradentro is well known for its pre-Columbian hypogea, which were found in several excavations and in various archeological locations.

The typical hypogeum has an entry oriented towards the west, a spiral staircase and a main chamber, usually 5 to 8 meters below the surface, with several lesser chambers around, each one containing a corpse. The walls are painted with geometric, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic patterns in red, black and white. Some statues and remains of pottery and fabrics can be seen scarcely due to grave robbery before the hypogea were constituted as protected areas.

The precolumbian culture that created this funeral complex inhabited this area during the first millennium A.C. Tierradentro Archaeological park features hypogea dating from 6th to 9th centuries AD. The details in the sculptures and pictoric patterns are similar to the San Agustín culture.

Congo (Democratic Republic)
Garamba National Park

Garamba National Park aims to protect the world's last known wild population of the critically endangered northern white rhinoceros.

It comprises an area of savannah, marshland and forests in the far northeast of the DR of Congo, on the border with South Sudan.

The park was established in 1938, making it one of Africa's oldest national parks. It covers 492,000 ha. At an altitude of 700-1,000 m, Garamba is much flatter and has a different vegetation than the more mountaineous other Congolese WHS.

Since inscription in 1980, the park has been declared ‘In Danger’ twice. The northern white rhino population dwindled as a result of poaching from 1,000 in 1960 to 21 at the moment of WH inscription. It suffered further from 1996 on, due to the influx of South Sudanese refugees and rebels. In 2005 there were only four remaining northern white rhinos in Garamba National Park. However, they have not been seen since 2006 and it is feared they have been killed and the species has become extinct in the wild.

Kahuzi-Biega National Park

Kahuzi-Biéga National Park encompasses a montane and a lowland area, covered by primary tropical forest that is one of the last refuges of the endangered Eastern Lowland Gorilla.

The Eastern Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) is the largest subspecies of the Gorilla and the largest living primate. They are predominantly herbivorous, eating mostly leaves. They tend to be sociable and very peaceful, living in groups of 5 to 30.

A status report on the park provided by the DR of Congo in 2008 mentions 125 gorillas still living in the mountains, and 31 in the lowlands. They are threatend by the high population density, mining and the presence of Rwandan Interahamwe.

Prior to the conflicts in Congo and Rwanda of the 1990's, an estimated 600 gorillas remained throughout the range. The ongoing fighting in the Congo has moved within the boundaries of the park causing looting, burning of the forest, and poaching of the animals. Consequently the park was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger in 1997.

The park is located in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, near to the western side of Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border. It is named after two extinct volcanoes, Mount Kahuzi and Mount Biéga.

Okapi Wildlife Reserve

The Okapi Wildlife Reserve is home to about 5,000 of the estimated 30,000 okapi surviving in the wild.

The Reserve, created in 1992, is located in the north-east of the DR of Congo.

This Wildlife Reserve is part of the Ituri rainforest. The reserve also contains other many endemic and threatened species of primates and birds. It shares the same geographical region and many features with two other WHS, Dja Faunal Reserve and Salonga National Park.

Some 4,000 people live inside the reserve, mostly Mbuti pygmies.

Salonga National Park

Salonga National Park is Africa's biggest tropical rainforest reserve. It consists of two locations: a northern and a southern sector, separated by a 40km wide settlement zone.

It is a very isolated park, located at the central basin of the Congo river and crossected by many rivers. The park can only be reached via water transport, and in parts is considered to be completely virgin and never accessed by man. It covers an area of 3,656,000 ha.

The park is also home to many endangered fauna species notably the bonobo. The bonobo or pygmy chimpanzee is only found in the wild here and in surrounding reserves. The bonobo diverges about 0.4 % from the common chimpanzee genome. It is possible that the formation of the Congo river led to the speciation of this particular chimpanzee species (they're not great swimmers). They're now an endangered species, with 29,500 - 50,000 individuals left.

Virunga National Park

Virunga National Park covers an area of 7 active volcanoes with a high diversity in plants and animals.

Vulnerable or endangered species that live here include the hippopotamus, the mountain gorilla, the lowland gorilla and the eastern chimpanzee.

Covering 7,800 km2 , the Virunga National Park lies in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, bordering Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Rwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda. It was established in 1925 as Africa's first national park (then called Albert National Park), in order to protect the mountain gorillas. From the mid-1980s poaching and the Congo Civil War have seriously damaged the park’s forests and its wildlife population. The site has been In Danger since 1994. Since then 130 park rangers have been killed in the line of duty.

Varying in altitude from 680 m to 5,109 m, Virunga has a wide range of habitats: from savannah and marshlands to permanent glaciers and snow. It covers the western shores of Lake Edward, known for its 20,000 hippopotamuses. The Ruwenzori Mountains lie on the Ugandan border and rise to alpine meadows and a glacier, while Nyiragongo and Nyamuragira are the most active African volcanoes with substantial associated lava plains.

Congo (Republic)
Sangha Trinational

Sangha Trinational is a transboundary conservation zone of mostly forest landscape. It is centered along the Sangha river, a tributary to the Congo River.

The site is home to rare and endangered fauna species, including large ape populations such as the critically endangered Western Lowland Gorilla.

It is made up of three contiguous national parks:

- Lobéké National Park in Cameroon

- Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in Congo

- Dzanga-Ndoki National Park in the Central African Republic.

Costa Rica
Cocos Island

Cocos Island National Park covers primarily a marine ecosystem, globally significant for sharks.

The park consists of Cocos Island and its surrounding marine zone. It is located in the Pacific Ocean 550km off the coast of Costa Rica. It is the point of land nearest to the Galapagos Islands, which lie 630km to the south-west.

The marine area is considered a safe haven because commercial fishing is not allowed. 300 species of fish are found, including large species such as sharks, rays, tuna and dolphins. This also makes it one of the best scuba diving spots in the world.

Cocos Island is uninhabited except for park rangers. It differs from neighbouring islands because it is not dry and barren, but covered with a humid tropical forest. It is also mountainous and there are many waterfalls. Although its ecosystem has been severely damaged by introduced species like pigs and rats, it still contains many endemic species (for example three species of endemic land birds).

Guanacaste

The 'Area de Conservación Guanacaste' is a habitat for threatened or rare fauna species like the Saltwater Crocodile, False Vampire Bat, Olive Ridley Sea Turtle, Leatherback Sea Turtle, Jaguar, Jabiru Stork, Mangrove Vireo and Mangrove Hummingbird.

The ecosystem ranges from 12 miles into the Pacific Ocean to the coastal dry tropical forest.

The site comprises Santa Rosa, Guanacaste, Rincón de la Vieja National Parks and the Junquillal Bay Wildlife Refuge. In 2004 the original site was extended to include the Sector Santa Elena.

Stone Spheres of the Diquís

The Precolumbian chiefdom settlements with stone spheres of the Diquís are four archaeological sites containing mysterious stone balls.

The settlements date from the Chiriqui Period (800-1500 CE), during which a hierarchical society developed in southern Costa Rica. The area contains artificial mounds, paved areas and burial sites.

Stone spheres or petrospheres are spherical man-made objects composed of stone. These are rare in their perfection and large size (up to 2.57m diameter). They were sculpted from a material called gabbro. The meaning and use of the stone spheres remain largely unknown.

The Diquí sites had been abandoned following the Spanish Conquest, and were covered by thick layers of sediments and vegetation. They were rediscovered, and often damaged in the process, in the 1930s as the United Fruit Company was clearing the jungle for banana plantations

This is a serial nomination of 4 archaeological sites: Finca 6, Batambal, El Silencio and Grijalba-2.

Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves

Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves/ La Amistad National Park is a mountain range that contains the highest peaks in Costa Rica and Panama.

The range is of global importance as it is a centre of endemism for many plant and animal groups and as an important habitat for many large mammals (Baird's Tapir, Puma, Jaguar) and birds that are now threatened in much of their range.

Croatia
Cathedral of St. James in Sibenik

The Cathedral of Saint James in Sibenik is a Gothic-Renaissance construction built entirely from stone.

It was built in three phases, by three architects, between 1431 and 1535. Its style started out as Venetian Gothic, but was turned to Renaissance by the two latter architects (Georgius Mathei Dalmaticus and Niccolá di Giovanni Fiorentino). These were also responsible for the characteristic sculptures. Slabs of stone from the island of Brac were used, even for the dome where stone wedges held the tiles in place.

The cathedral suffered damage during both World War II and the fighting in 1991. The reconstructions that have been carried out since have been true to the original model and techniques.

Dubrovnik

The Old City of Dubrovnik is a late-medieval walled city known for its Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque monuments.

It developed under the name of “Ragusa” from the 14th century on as a maritime city-state. In its heydays during the 15th and 16th centuries it was a rival of Venice. A devastating earthquake in 1667 destroyed most of its public buildings and ended the city’s prosperity.

Dubrovnik’s city walls, which were mainly during the 12th-17th centuries, are fully intact. They encircle most of the Old City, and are almost 2km long.

Euphrasian Basilica in Porec

The Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in the Historic Centre of Porec is one of the best examples of early Byzantine architecture and art (mosaics).

The basilica was rebuilt from the year 553 under the Byzantine Empire and bishop Euphrasius on the site of the older basilica that had become dilapidated.

For the construction, parts of the former church were used and the marble blocks were imported from the coast of the Sea of Marmara. The wall mosaics were executed by Byzantian masters and the floor mosaics by local experts. The construction took about ten years.

The complex is composed of:

- A 6th-century octagonal baptistery - Built in the 5th century together with the pre-Euphrasian basilica, and underwent considerable alterations.

- A 16th-century bell tower - Built in the 16th century from top of which there is a view over Porec, the surrounding countryside and the sea.

- A colonnaded atrium - Built after the basilica, it is covered on all four sides by a portico which houses a rich collection of stone monuments.

- An Episcopal 6th-century residence (The Bishop's Palace) - Also built in the 6th century, but very little remains of the original building.

- A trefil-shaped memorial chapel - Built in the 17th and 19th centuries.

Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes National Park comprises 16 lakes that are known for their scenic beauty and distinctive colours, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue.

The Plitvice Lakes lie in a basin of karstic rock, mainly dolomite and limestone, which has given rise to their most distinctive feature. The lakes are separated by natural dams of travertine, which is deposited by the action of moss, algae and bacteria. The colours change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.

The site has been on the World Heritage List in Danger from 1992-1997, as a result of the so-called 'Plitvice Lakes Incident' and its consequences, which in March 1991 was the start of bloody Croatian War of Independence and Freedom.

Primeval Beech Forests

The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe cover forests of the European beech in 12 countries.

They comprise the largest remaining 'virgin' forests of the European beech ('Fagus sylvatica'). They also hold the largest and tallest beech specimens in the world.

Split

The Historic Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian is both an archeological and an urbanistic monument that has been in use from Roman times.

At the end of the third century AD, the Roman Emperor Diocletian (from local Illyrian origin) built his palace here. He spent the last years of his life in it, after abdicating in 305.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, his palace was divided into small houses for the local population. Diocletian's mausoleum was turned into a cathedral. Romanesque churches from the 12th and 13th centuries, medieval fortifications, Gothic palaces of the 15th century, and other palaces in Renaissance and Baroque style make up the rest of the protected area.

Stari Grad Plain

The Stari Grad Plain is an agricultural landscape of vineyards and olive trees that has been in continuous use since Greek Antiquity.

The farming land on the island of Hvar is divided into regular-sized parcels, which are called chora. Their authentic dry stone walls mark the boundaries between the individual parcels. Also, little beehive-shaped sheds (for storage of tooling) and cisterns were constructed. These methods were introduced to Hvar by Greeks from the island of Pharos, who colonized the area in the 4th century BCE.

The Greeks also founded a town, Paros (now Stari Grad). The historic part of the city of Stari Grad is part of the core world heritage area too, although the remaining evidence of the Greek period is limited here.

Stećci

The 'Stećci Medieval Tombstones Graveyards' are 28 medieval cemeteries in south-eastern Europe.

The decoration and inscriptions on the mostly limestone monolithic tombstones represent a specific tradition of the area. They include Christian religious symbols, dancing and hunting scenes, geometric shapes and Cyrillic inscriptions.

The inscribed tombstones have been selected from the surviving 70,000 or so still standing in the region and date from the 12th to the 16th centuries. The singular ‘Stećak’ (plural: Stećci) means ‘tall, standing thing'.

Trogir

The historic city of Trogir shows a medieval townscape on classical foundations that has survived almost intact into the 21st century.

Trogir was founded by Greek colonists in the 3rd century BCE on a little island. It flourished under the Romans and expanded its power significantly under Venetian rule (13th 15th centuries).

Venetian Works of Defence

Venetian Works of Defence Between 16th and 17th centuries: Stato da Terra – Western Stato da Mar are 6 fortifications along the Adriatic Sea that date from the historic Republic of Venice.

They represent the evolution of Venetian military solutions and their innovations in architecture and methods. In the whole, they created a defensive line that guarded the Venetian commercial network.

Cuba
Alejandro de Humboldt National Park

Alejandro de Humboldt National Park covers a range of ecosystems unparalleled in the insular Caribbean.

The karst landscape is crossected by many rivers. The park has a high biodiversity, with high numbers of endemic flora, and vertebrates and invertebrates.

The park lies in the eastern Cuban provinces of Holguín and Guantánamo. It was named after the German scientist Alexander von Humboldt who visited the island in 1800 and 1801.

Camagüey

The Historic Centre of Camagüey has an unusual radius-concentric urban model.

The nucleus is the Plaza Mayor, from where numerous churches and convents can be found in equidistant position to the four winds. Most of Camagüey’s churches are the result of the city’s prosperity in the 18th century, when so many new ones were built that it got the nickname “City of Churches”.

The city’s domestic architecture is reminiscent of Andalusia. Clay is used as the main construction product, both in buildings and in the large earthenware jars that were used for storing water. Houses are generally low, having one floor only. The streets are narrow, opened up by 7 large squares and 13 smaller ones.

Camagüey (then named Santa Maria del Puerto del Principe) was built in 1528 as one of the first Cuban villages. Nowadays it is Cuba’s 3rd city in number of inhabitants.

Cienfuegos

The Urban Historic Centre of Cienfuegos is the best extant example of 19th-century urban planning principles in the Americas.

The city was founded in 1819. Its homogenic architecture and streetplan was influenced by the Spanish Enlightenment and French colonists. The latter were invited here by request of the Spanish crown, which wanted to attract white settlers after the Haitian rebellion of 1791.

The main public square Parque José Marti (former Square of Arms) contains a band shell, the Worker’s Arch and fountains, and is surrounded by monumental buildings like the Cathedral, City Hall and Theatre. The streets are of a neo-classic straight and symmetric design, with use of porches and arcades.

Cienfuegos, situated on a Bay, is one of the prime seaports of Cuba.

Desembarco del Granma National Park

Desembarco del Granma National Park has been recognized for its marine terraces and pristine sea cliffs.

Its terrestrial area has several karst features and rich endemic flora, while coral reefs can be found in the sea. The submarine terraces of Cabo Cruz and Maisí are like gigantic stepping stones.

This national park lies in south-eastern Cuba. It was named after the yacht in which Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Raúl Castro, and 79 of their supporters sailed from Mexico to Cuba in 1956 and incited the Cuban Revolution.

First Coffee Plantations

The Archaeological Landscape of the First Coffee Plantations in the Southeast of Cuba forms a unique testimony of agricultural exploitation for coffee production.

The plantations are located in the mountain valleys of the Sierra Maestra.

The designated zone contains the remains of 171 historic coffee plantations. They were established in the 19th and early 20th century, by French colonial plantation owners who had fled Haiti after independence.

Old Havana

Old Havana and its Fortification System represents a historically important colonial city.

Havana was founded by the Spanish in 1519 in the natural harbor of the Bay of Havana. It became a stopping point for the treasure laden Spanish Galleons on the crossing between the New World and the Old World.

The designated area consists of a set of 18 fortifications along the coast and the harbour, the old city center (Habana Vieja) and 19th century extensions. The Castillo de la Real Fuerza is the the oldest extant colonial fortress in the Americas. Other important remaining castles include Castillo del Morro, La Cabaña fortress and San Salvador de la Punta Fortress.

The pattern of the early urban setting has survived in the historic centre.

San Pedro de la Roca Castle

San Pedro de la Roca Castle, Santiago de Cuba, is a 17th century fortress which is considered the best preserved and most complete example of Spanish-American military architecture.

The castle and associated batteries protected the canal that leads up to the harbour of Santiago.

The castle was designed by the Italian Giovanni Battista Antonelli in Renaissance style. It was built on a promontory (morro in Spanish) with steep cliffs. Series of stairways connect the various levels, with constructions dating from various ages.

The fortress has been damaged and rebuilt several times after earthquakes and piracy attacks.

Trinidad and the Valley de los Ingenios

Trinidad and the Valley de los Ingenios are linked because of the sugar trade, which resulted in Trinidad's prosperity in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Trinidad was founded in 1514, and became a bridgehead of the conquest of the American continent. It was a departure point in 1518 for Cortéz. The town had a largely Spanish population. Nowadays it is one of the best preserved cities in the Caribbean from the time when the sugar trade was the main industry in the region. Many stone buildings from that period survive, including impressive public buildings and single-storey domestic houses with verandas and multi-coloured walls.

The Valley de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugarmills) is a series of three interconnected valleys about 12 kilometres outside of Trinidad. The San Luis, Santa Rosa and Meyer valleys were a centre for sugar production from the late 18th century until the late 19th century. A large number of slaves were employed at the sugar plantations. Sugar mills such as Manacas-Iznaga, San Isidro and Palmarito remain, as well as a few villages of craftsmen, plantation houses and slave quarters.

Viñales Valley

Viñales Valley is a living cultural landscape where traditional agriculture is practiced.

Due to its fertile soil and favourable climate, farming started here in the 17th century. It got a boost in the 1860s because of the rise in tobacco cultivation, which still is the main crop.

The valley lies in the western Cuban province of Pinar del Rio. This is a karstic depression, a plain surrounded by cliffs up to 400m high rising like islands from the bottom of the valley (the mogotes). The cliffs hold numerous caves such as Cueva del Indio, Cueva de San Miguel and Caverna de Santo Tomás. Inside there is dripstone and rock art. The natural flora and fauna is characterized by many local endemic species.

Cyprus
Choirokoitia

Choirokoitia (also known as Khirokitia) is one of the most important prehistorical sites in the eastern Mediterranean area.

The site is only partly recovered, and archaelogical work is still going on.

Human life in Choirokoitia started around 7000 BC, in the Neolithicum. Where the people came from is not known for sure. It is possible that the neolithic villages on Cyprus were a result of colonization from the Middle East.

What do we know about the people that lived here? The village probably had about 300 inhabitants. They practised agriculture and animal husbandry, and didn't usually live longer than 35 years. One of their most remarkable customs was to bury their dead under the floors of the houses of the living relatives. In this way the dead remained close to the living.

Painted Churches in the Troödos Region

The Painted Churches in the Troödos Region are 9 Byzantine churches and monasteries in the Troödos Mountains.

What they have in common is that they all are covered with old and colorful frescoes. Some of them date from as early as the 11th century.

Another feature of some of these churches is that they are two buildings in one: on the inside there's the classical form of a Byzantine church, on the outside it often looks like a stable or a farm. The extra layer on the outside was constructed to be able to cope with the heavy snowfall that can occur in the Troödos Mountains.

Paphos

Paphos is an archeological site from Antiquity.

It has been inhabited since the Neolithic Age. In ancient times it was known for its Aphrodite-cult: the Myceneans - the rulers of Cyprus at the time - erected temples for this fertility goddess.

The site consists of numerous places of architectural and historical meaning: villas, palaces, theatres, forts, tombs and mosaics.

Czechia
Cesky Krumlov

The Historic Centre of Cesky Krumlov is best known for the fine architecture and art of the old town and Krumlov Castle.

Construction of the town and castle began in the late 13th century at a ford in the Vltava River, which was important in trade routes in Bohemia. The town became the seat of the Duchy of Krumlov.

Between 1938 and 1945 it was annexed by Nazi Germany as part of the so-called Sudetenland. The town's German-speaking population was expelled after liberation by the American Army during World War II and it was restored to Czechoslovakia.

Gardens and Castle at Kromeríz

The Gardens and Castle at Kromeríz are a Baroque aristocratic ensemble of residence and pleasure garden.

The Pleasure Garden is a rare and complete example of a Baroque garden. It was the creative design of Filiberto Lucchese and the execution of his design by Giovanni Pietro Tencalla. Count Karel Liechtenstein-Castelcorn acted as their patron, renovating the palace in a Baroque style in 1664.

The castle used to be the principal residence of the bishops and (since 1777) archbishops of Olomouc. It houses a splendid art collection, with works by Dutch, Flemish, and Italian masters, many of them acquired by Bishop Karel in 1673. The Kromeríz musical archive is outstanding too, as is the Library.

Holasovice

Holašovice Historic Village is a historic rural village which has preserved its typical vernacular architecture from the 18th and 19th centuries.

From the 16th century on, settlers from Bavaria and Austria arrived. They brought with them the tradition of masonry building for domestic structures.

The village was deserted after the Second World War, allowing its medieval plan and vernacular buildings in the South Bohemian Folk or Rural Baroque style to remain intact. It was restored and repopulated from 1990.

Holy Trinity Column

The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc is a work of art celebrating the power and glory of the Roman Catholic Church.

Its construction started in 1717. The total height is 35 meters.

The column is the work of the master stonemason Václav Render, who designed it and mostly paid for it himself. After his death in 1733 he left his fortune to the city of Olomouc. The artist Ondrej Zahner finished his work between 1745 and 1752.

The column is the most splendid example of a Baroque column construction craze all over Central Europe, which started out with Plague columns decorating many town centres in the 17th century and later turned to Trinity columns.

Kutna Hora

Kutna Hora: Historical Town Centre with the Church of Saint Barbara and the Cathedral of our Lady at Sedlec symbolize the wealth this city derived from silver mining.

The earliest traces of silver have been found dating back to the 10th century. The silver boom started in the 13th century.

The town of Kutná Hora has several interesting late medieval buildings, built in Gothic style. They include the Italian Court (location of the Mint) and the Little Castle.

The late Gothic Saint Barbara Church dates from the 1380s. Saint Barbara is the patron saint of miners.

The Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec was rebuilt by Jan Blazej Santini in the Gothicizing Baroque style (early 18th century). It lies 1.5km outside of Kutna Hora, and was part of a Cistercian monastery.

Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape

Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape is an artifical landscape that evolved during the Enlightenment under the guidance of the House of Liechtenstein.

The design started in the 17th century with the creation of avenues connecting Valtice with other parts of the estate. During the 18th century a framework of avenues and paths providing vistas and rides was developed, imposing order on nature in the manner of the Renaissance artists and architects.

In the 19th century major projects were started: the landscape became fashioned according to English romantic principles of landscape architecture under supervision landscape artist Bernhard Petri.

The landscape park has two centres:

- Valtice Castle and town

- Lednice Castle and village

These two localities are connected by Bezruè Avenue. There is also one more village in the park - Hlohovec. The surrounding area is covered with pines, ponds and holds numerous bigger or smaller pavilions scattered throughout the whole complex, often serving as hunting lodges. Baroque and Romantic elements are mingled.

Litomysl Castle

Litomysl Castle is a monumental Renaissance castle dating from the years 1568-1581.

It is an outstanding and immaculately preserved example of the arcade castle, a type of building first developed in Italy and modified in the Czech lands to create an evolved form of special architectural quality.

The noble family of Pernstejn's rebuilt the original Mediaeval castle into a Renaissance castle in the second half of the 16th century. Despite of later reconstructions of interiors especially at the end of the 18th century the appearance of the castle remained almost intact including the unique scoring decoration of facades and fronton.

Pilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk

The Pilgrimage Church at Zelena Hora was designed by the Czech-Italian architect Jan Blazej Santini Aichl, who delivered a masterpiece out of a combination of gothic and baroque styles.

The church was the first major shrine to St. John (Jan) of Nepomuk, a local martyr who had died in 1393. Abbot Vaclav Vejmiuva of the nearby Cistercian Abbey was a great follower of St. John, and had the church constructed in close collaboration with the architect Santini.

Already from its beginnings (1721) the church was meant as a place of pilgrimage. The cloister, which encircles the chapel and is based on a ten-point-star groundplan, was completed later (in 1769).

Prague

The Historic Centre of Prague played a prominent role in medieval Central Europe. It has seen continuous urban development from the Middle Ages to the present, resulting in an architectural ensemble of outstanding quality.

The WHS area consists of the following parts:

1. Old Town (Stare Mesto), with the Old Town Square, Astronomical Clock and Charles Bridge

2. Lesser Town (Male Strana) on the left (west) bank of the river Vltava and below the Prague Castle

3. New Town (Nove Mesto), including the Wenceslas Square

Telc

The Historic Centre of Telc is a medieval planned town that has preserved its original layout and the castle-settlement relationship very clearly.

The quality of its architecture is high, particularly the Renaissance market place and chateau.

The triangular market place possesses great beauty and harmony as well as great cultural importance, surrounded as it is by intact and well preserved Renaissance buildings with a dazzling variety of facades.

Trebic

The Jewish Quarter and St. Procopius Basilica of Trebic bear witness to the coexistence of and interchange of values between the Jewish and Christian cultures from the Middle Ages until the Second World War.

The St. Procopius Basilica originally was constructed in the 13th century as part of a Benedictine Abbey. It is made of granite and sandstone, and has both Romanesque and early Gothic features. The existence of the Abbey at this site stimulated the development of a marketplace, which attracted among others also Jewish merchants.

Trebic's Jewish Quarter is the most representative in its kind in Central Europe, It is considered the most complete, including synagogues, Jewish schools, a hospital and a factory. The quarter has a characteristic condominium structure: there were often several owners in one house and buildings were internally subdivided.

Above the Jewish Quarter is the Jewish Cemetery, consisting of about 4000 tombstones. All Jewish inhabitants were deported in WWII, nobody returned.

Tugendhat Villa

The Tugendhat Villa is a masterpiece of the Modern Movement in architecture. It was created by the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

The building in Brno was built in 1930 for Fritz Tugendhat, owner of a Brno textile factory.

Exquisite materials and modern technologies were used in the construction of this house. Its main structure is made of reinforced concrete with steel frames. The exterior of the house is painted white. The back wall of the living area is made of onyx panels from the Atlas Mountains.

The original furniture was also designed by Mies van der Rohe, such as the so-called Tugendhat chair.

The house had central heating and an air-conditioning system with a regulated fine-spray humidifying chamber.

Côte d'Ivoire
Comoé National Park

Comoé National Park around the Comoé River has a high diversity of plant life.

It also is a habitat for internationally protected bird species (partly migratory), and other animals like the chimpanzee and dwarf crocodile. At 1,149,450 ha, the park covers a very large area.

In 2003 it was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger due to poaching, over-grazing of the park by cattle, and absence of management.

Grand-Bassam

The historic town of Grand-Bassam was a colonial town and seaport. Built in the 19th century, it was the French colonial capital of Cote d'Ivoire.

Europeans and Africans lived here together, divided into separate quarters. It also had important commercial and administrative zones, in which historic buildings in a sober and functional colonial style have been preserved.

Mount Nimba

Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve includes significant portions of Mount Nimba, a geographically unique area with a high number of endemic plant and animal species.

These species include multiple types of duikers, big cats, civets, and several types of viviparous toads. It also has a population of chimpanzees using stones as tools.

Mount Nimba is shared between Guinea, Ivory Coast and Liberia. The part of the latter country is excluded from the protected areas. The mountain reaches 1752m, and is part of a 40km long ridge.

The Nature Reserve consists of high altitude grassland, plains savannah and primary forest including rain forest.

The site has been in danger since 1992, since Guinea allowed mining for iron ore and because of the massive arrival of Liberian refugees. The area suffers also from lack of management, poaching and uncontrolled fires.

Taï National Park

Taï National Park contains one of the last areas of primary tropical forest in West Africa.

It was inscribed as a World Heritage Site due to the breadth of its flora and fauna - especially those which are endangered such as the pygmy hippopotamus. The park holds about 150 endemic flora species. The region's isolation between two major rivers has added to its particular character.

Three mammal species of the Taï National Park are on IUCN's red list of endangered species:

- Pygmy Hippopotamus

- Chimpanzees

- Jentink's Duiker

The Tai Forest reserve was created in 1926 and promoted to National Park status in 1972. It was recognised as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1978.

Denmark
Christiansfeld

Christiansfeld a Moravian Settlement was founded in 1773 by the Moravian Church, following a strict city plan.

From the German village of Herrnhut, the first Moravian missions were directed to the Dano-Norwegian Empire. Christiansfeld is the best-preserved example of such settlements in Europe.

The town was named after the Danish king Christian VI.

Ilulissat Icefjord

The Ilulissat Icefjord has been inscribed because of its unique glaciological characteristics and its scenic beauty. It is situated in western Greenland, north of the Arctic Circle.

The site consists of Sermeq Kujalleq, the most productive glacier draining the inland icecap op Greenland, and the iceberg-filled fjord named Kangia. It also takes in part of the inland ice itself and some of the surrounding land.

Ilulissat Icefjord is the pre-eminent glacier in the northern hemisphere. Although there are many more glacier-related sites on the World Heritage List, this site is only surpassed by Antarctica in terms of size and calving.

Jelling

Jelling Mounds, Runic Stones and Church are outstanding examples of the pagan Nordic culture and its transition into Christianity.

They were created as a royal monument in the 10th century. The site symbolizes the creation of a unified Denmark and the introduction of Christianity there.

The burial mounds are said to have been those of King Gorm of Denmark and his wife Thyra, the parents of King Harald of Denmark. Yet archaeological excavations and research shows that only the North mound contains a burial chamber. It is plausible that this chamber once held the bones of Gorm the Old, bones that later has been found underneath what is now Jelling Church.

The small Jelling stone is erected by Gorm in the memory of his wife Thyra around the year 950. Harald Bluetooth erected the larger of the two Jelling stones around 965 - bearing the words:

"King Haraldr ordered this monument made in memory of Gormr, his father, and in memory of Thyrvé, his mother; that Haraldr who won for himself all of Denmark and Norway and made the Danes Christian."

Kronborg Castle

Kronborg Castle is a Renaissance castle, built in 1574-1585 by Danish King Frederik II.

It has played a significant role in the history of this part of northern Europe, because of its strategic position between the North Sea and the Baltic.

Another claim to fame is that Kronborg ('Elsinore') was the setting for Shakespeare's play Hamlet.

Kujataa

Kujataa Greenland: Norse and Inuit Farming at the Edge of the Ice Cap is a cultural landscape that represents the local farming and hunting cultures adapted to life in the Arctic.

The site has 5 components with features such as archaeological sites, agricultural lands and sheep farms. They include both elements belonging to the Norse Greenlandic culture, the first emigrants from Europe to settle here and introduced farming, and to the Thule Inuit culture.

Par force hunting landscape

The par force hunting landscape in northern Zealand is an intentionally designed landscape used for hunting by the Danish kings in the 17th and 18th centuries.

‘Par force’ stands for ‘by force (of dogs)’, the noblest form of hunting where a specific animal was run down and exhausted by mounted hunters and dogs before the kill was made. This technique was developed in France and adopted widely across Europe by the royalty and nobility to display their power.

The landscape consists of man-made forests and ride systems in a rigid grid pattern. It covers 3 main components: Store Dyrehave, Gribskov and Jægersborg Hegn/Jægersborg Dyrehave. Also, 6 paths formerly connecting Store Dyrehave and Gribskov are included.

Roskilde Cathedral

Roskilde Cathedral is made of red brick in the Gothic style, and dates from about 1280.

Since then each century has added its own extensions in various styles. The interior of the cathedral has been changed in the course of time too. Before 1536 the cathedral was Catholic. After the Reformation the side altars were removed and new furniture was installed for the new Protestant service.

Roskilde Cathedral was admitted to the World Heritage List in 1995. As reasons for inclusion its role in the use of brick for religious buildings, the succesive architectural styles and the mausoleum of the Danish Royal Family were named.

Stevns Klint

Stevns Klint is a geological site which illustrates the impact of an asteroid that created global mass extinction of species some 65 million years ago.

It is testimony to the Chixulub event, which in terms of meteorite impact is deemed as equally iconic as Vredefort Dome.

These cliffs show high quality exposure of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary section: the border is visible as a reddish layer in the strata. In 1980, a scientific team started to study the fish clay at Stevns Klint and found large traces of iridium, commonly found in cosmic material. This gave rise to a new theory that mass extinction wasn’t caused by extensive vulcanism in India, but was due to the impact of a giant asteroid.

The cliffs of Stevns Klint are also rich in fossils. There is a significant fossil record before and after the K/T boundary layer.

The site comprises a 15km long coastline, consisting of two component parts. The stretch is interrupted around Stevns Kridtbrud, where an active quarry exists,

Wadden Sea

The Wadden Sea is a shallow body of water with tidal flats and wetlands, rich in biological diversity

The word wad is Dutch for "mud flat". The area is typified by extensive tidal mud flats, deeper tidal trenches (tidal creeks) and the islands that are contained within this, a region continually contested by land and sea. The landscape has been formed for a great part by storm tides in the 10th to 14th centuries, overflowing and carrying away former peat land behind the coastal dunes. The present islands are a remnant of the former coastal dunes.

Dominica
Morne Trois Pitons

Morne Trois Pitons National Park is a significant area of volcanic activity.

Main point is the 1,342m high volcano Morne Trois Pitons ("mountain of three peaks"). Other sights include the Valley of Desolation, a region of boiling mud ponds and small geysers; the Boiling Lake, Titou Gorge, and Emerald Pool.

Dominican Rep.
Santo Domingo

The Colonial City of Santo Domingo has high symbolic value as an early colonial settlement in the New World: it was founded in 1498.

It boasts the Western Hemisphere's first cathedral, its first monastery, its first hospital, its first university, and its first court of law.

The historic enclave of Santo Domingo, known as the Colonial City, covers three sq km. Inside the walls are dozens of historical buildings and sites, including palaces, forts, museums, and churches.

Ecuador
Galapagos Islands

The Galápagos Islands are famed for their vast number of endemic species and the studies by Charles Darwin that led to his theory of evolution by natural selection.

It is an archipelago made up of 13 main volcanic islands, 6 smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets. The oldest island is thought to have formed between 5 and 10 million years ago, a result of tectonic activity. The youngest islands, Isabela and Fernandina, are still being formed, with the most recent volcanic eruption in 2005.

The islands are distributed around the equator, 965 kilometres (about 600 miles) west of Ecuador.

Qhapaq Ñan

Qhapaq Nan is the Andean road system created by the Inca civilization.

They used it for the purposes of communication, trade and defence. It reached its maximum expansion in the 15th century. The central square of Cusco, known as Hanan Hauk'aypata, is the origin of the four main roads that allowed the Incas to easily travel by foot to every corner of their territory.

This is a serial nomination of over 720km of stretches of road and 291 archaeological sites, stretching across Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Quito

The City of Quito has the best-preserved, least altered historic centre in Latin America.

It is located on an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains. The city's elevation is 9,300 ft (2,850 m) above sea level. Quito's origins date back to the first millennium when the Quitu tribe occupied the area and eventually formed a commercial center. In 1462 the Incas conquered the Kingdom of Quito. In 1533, Rumiñahui, an Inca war general, burned the city to prevent the Spanish from taking it, thereby destroying any traces of the ancient prehispanic city.

Indigenous resistance to the Spanish invasion continued during 1534, with Diego de Almagro founding Santiago de Quito, later to be renamed San Francisco de Quito. In 1563, Quito became the seat of a royal audiencia (administrative district) of Spain and became part of the Viceroyalty of Peru with its capital in Lima. The Spanish promptly established the Catholic religion in Quito, with the first church (El Belén) built even before the city had been officially founded.

Sangay National Park

Sangay National Park contains two active volcanoes (Tungurahua and Sangay) and ecosystems ranging from tropical rainforests to glaciers.

It is home to the endangered spectacled bear and mountain tapir (both only found in the Northern Andes). The park is located in the Morona Santiago, Chimborazo and Tungurahua provinces of Ecuador.

Santa Ana de los Rios de Cuenca

The Historic Centre of Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca with its cobblestone streets, towering cathedrals, and marble and whitewashed buildings has a distinctive colonial air.

The town is laid out according to a strict grid. It is located in the Andean highlands at about 2500m (8200 ft) above sea level. Cuenca is now the third largest city in Ecuador.

Notable monuments include:

- New Cathedral

- Old Cathedral

- Carmelite Monastery

- Church of Santo Domingo.

Egypt
Abu Mena

Abu Mena was a town, monastery complex and Christian pilgrimage center in Late Antique Egypt.

It was built in remembrance of the martyr Menas of Alexandria, who died in 296 A.D. This archeological site is located about 45 km southwest of Alexandria.

Ancient Thebes

Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis is an archaeological site that represents Egyptian civilization at its height during the New Kingdom (1570-1069 BC).

Thebes was its capital and the religious center. Successive pharaohs created temples, monuments, public buildings and tombs – to worship the god Amun and to glorify themselves.

The inscribed area includes the two great temples of Karnak and Luxor on the east bank of the Nile, and the Necropolis on the west bank.

Historic Cairo

Historic Cairo encompasses the historic centre on the eastern bank of the Nile, which includes no less than 600 classified monuments dating from the 7th to 20th centuries.

Among them are Islamic Cairo, overlooked by the Cairo Citadel, Coptic Cairo and its many old churches and ruins of Roman fortifications.

Nubian Monuments

The Nubian Monuments from Abu Simbel to Philae cover a string of ancient archaeological sites in southern Egypt.

They were built by various pharaohs from the 2nd millennium BC onwards in their attempt to gain or retain dominance over the Nubian kingdom and its natural assets such as gold, copper and ivory.

In the 1960s, the two masterpieces of this set (the temples of Abu Simbel and the sanctuary at Philae) were moved in their entirety to a nearby location due to the creation of the Aswan High Dam and Lake Nasser.

Pyramids (Memphis)

'Memphis and its Necropolis - the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur' recognizes the universal admiration for the Pyramids, their antiquity and the exceptional civilization they represent.

Memphis was the capital of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, from its foundation (ca. 3100 BC) until 2200 BC. The ruins of Memphis are 19 km south of Cairo, on the west bank of the Nile. There are some extraordinary funerary monuments, including rock tombs, ornate mastabas, temples and pyramids.

Giza is a complex of ancient monuments including the three pyramid complexes known as the Great Pyramids, the massive sculpture known as the Great Sphinx, several cemeteries, a workers' village and an industrial complex. It is located ca. 25km southwest of Cairo center.

Dahshur is a royal necropolis located in the desert on the west bank of the Nile approximately 40 kilometres south of Cairo. It is known chiefly for several pyramids, two of which are among the oldest, largest and best preserved in Egypt: the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid.

Saint Catherine Area

Saint Catherine's Monastery at the mouth of an inaccessible gorge at the foot of Mount Sinai is one of the oldest continuously functioning Christian monasteries.

The monastery was built by order of Emperor Justinian I between 527 and 565, enclosing the Chapel of the Burning Bush ordered built by Helena, the mother of Constantine I, at the site where Moses is supposed to have seen the burning bush; the living bush on the grounds is purportedly the original. The site is sacred to three major world religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Wadi Al-Hitan

Wadi Al-Hitan (Whale Valley) is a remote valley 150 km southwest of Cairo where hundreds of fossil whale skeletons are being exposed by the wind.

They lie trapped in a sandstone formation that represents an ancient sea bed.

Wadi Al-Hitan is the most important site in the world to demonstrate the evolution of the whales from land animals to a marine existence. According to the IUCN, "It exceeds the values of other comparable sites in terms of the number, concentration and quality of its fossils, and their accessibility and setting in an attractive and protected landscape."

The fossil whales were first discovered during the winter of 1902-03.

El Salvador
Joya de Ceren

Joya de Ceren Archaeological Site is a pre-Columbian Maya farming village that has been preserved remarkably intact after it was destroyed by volcanic ash around 600 AD.

Loma Caldera, a nearby volcano, erupted and buried the village under 14 layers of ash. The villagers were apparently able to flee in time - no bodies have been found - although they left behind utensils, ceramics, furniture, and even half-eaten food in their haste to escape. The site was discovered in 1976 by Payson Sheets, a professor of anthropology. Since then the excavation process has continued. About 70 buildings have been uncovered.

Even more important than the buildings, however, are the paleoethnobotanical remains. The low temperature of the wet ash from Loma Caldera, as well as its rapid fall, ensured the preservation of much of the plant material. Of great importance is the discovery of manioc fields, the first time manioc cultivation had been found at a New World archaeological site.

Eritrea
Asmara

Asmara: a Modernist City of Africa is an Italian planned colonial city based on early modernist architecture.

The urban ensemble was designed during several stages of development on an orthogonal grid plan with diagonal axes. The city was divided into quarters following the principles of racial segregation. During the short fascist period of 1935-1941 the city received its distinct modernist and rationalist public buildings, which mostly have survived intact since then.

Estonia
Struve Geodetic Arc

The Struve Geodetic Arc is a chain of survey triangulations stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea.

The chain was established and used by the German-born Russian scientist Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve in the years 1816 to 1855 to establish the exact size and shape of the earth.

The area of the Arc designated as a WHS consists of 34 stations, spanning 10 countries and over 2,820 km. Originally there were 265 stations, in only 2 countries (the Russian Empire and the Union between Sweden & Norway).

Tallinn

The Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn was one of the best fortified cities in Europe, with 66 towers adorning the city wall.

Only about 20 of them remain today. Its history as a trading town can still be seen in the wealth of its buildings.

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is named after taani linnus, which means Danish castle. The Castle in question was built by King Waldemar of Denmark in the 13th century. The settlement quickly developed itself into a busy port. In 1248 Tallinn became a member of the Hanseatic League, a chain of European trading cities.

Ethiopia
Aksum

Aksum is an archeological site that covers the remains of an influential city of ancient Ethiopia. The ruins include stelae, tombs, castles and obelisks.

The city was the original capital of the eponymous kingdom of Axum. The kingdom had its own written language called Ge'ez, and also developed a distinctive architecture exemplified by giant obelisks, the oldest of which (though much smaller) date from 5000-2000 BC. This kingdom was at its height under king Ezana, baptized as Abreha, in the 4th century AD (which was also when it officially embraced Christianity).

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church claims that the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Aksum houses the Biblical Ark of the Covenant in which lie the Tablets of Law upon which the Ten Commandments are inscribed. This same church was the site Ethiopian emperors were crowned for centuries until the reign of Fasilides, then again beginning with Yohannes IV until the end of the empire. Axum is considered to be the holiest city in Ethiopia and is an important destination of pilgrimages.

Fasil Ghebbi

Fasil Ghebbi, Gondar Region, are the remains of a fortress-city that was the residence of the Ethiopian emperor Fasilides and his successors.

The founder of Gondar was Emperor Fasiladas who, tiring of the pattern of migration that had characterised the lifestyle of so many of his forefathers, moved his capital here in 1636 AD. By the late 1640s he had built a great castle here, which stands today in a grassy compound surrounded by other fortresses of later construction. With its huge towers and looming battlemented walls, it seems like a piece of medieval Europe transposed to Ethiopia.

In addition to this castle, Fasiladas is said to have been responsible for the building of a number of other structures. Perhaps the oldest of these is the Enqulal Gemb, or Egg Castle, so named on account of its egg-shaped domed roof. Other buildings include the royal archive and the stable.

Beyond the confines of the city to the north-west by the Qaha River there is another fine building sometimes associated by Fasiladas - a bathing palace. The building is a two-storeyed battlemented structure situated within and on one side of a rectangular pool of water which was supplied by a canal from the nearby river. The bathing pavillion itself stands on pier arches, and contains several rooms which are reached by a stone bridge, part of which could be raised for defence.

Besides such secular buildings, Fasiladas is reputed to have erected no fewer than seven churches, as well as seven bridges.

Harar

Harar is a fortified historic town in southeastern Ethiopia. It has been a major commercial center, linking African and Islamic trade routes.

It has been recognized by Unesco as 'an inland urban settlement with a distinct architectural character and social organization, which cannot be compared to any other town in East Africa.'

It is considered "the fourth holiest city of Islam" with 82 mosques and 102 shrines. The Islamic is town characterized by a maze of narrow alleyways and forbidding facades.

Konso

Konso Cultural Landscape represents a living cultural tradition that has existed for over 400 years in a dry environment.

The Konso people migrated to these highlands, where they constructed terraces to support agricultural fields.

The area has 12 stone walled settlements. They hold thatch-roofed public structures and domestic buildings.

Within the area are also associated sacred forests and shrines. The Konso are noted for their erection of wakas: memorial statues to a dead man.

Lalibela

The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are exceptionally fine examples of a long-established Ethiopian building tradition.

After the decline of the Axumite state, a new Christian dynasty emerged in the 12th century. This Zagwe dynasty made its capital in Roha, some hundreds of kilometres south of Axum.

According to a legendary account, King Lalibela was born in Roha. His name means 'the bee recognises its sovereignty'. God ordered him to build 10 monolithic churches, and gave him detailed instructions as to their construction and even their colours. When his brother Harbay abdicated, time had come for Lalibela to fulfil this command. Construction work began and is said to have been carried out with remarkable speed, which is scarcely surprising, for, according to legend, angels joined the labourers by day and in the night did double the amount of work which the men had done during the hours of daylight.

Lower Valley of the Awash

The Lower Valley of the Awash is one of the most important palaeontological sites on the African continent.

It is here that in 1974 the skeleton fragments of 'Lucy' were found, who is estimated to have lived 3.2 million years ago. 'Lucy' stands for several hundred pieces of bone representing about 40% of the skeleton of an individual Australopithecus afarensis.

In this valley of the Awash river in Ethiopia's Afar Depression also numerous other pre-human hominid remains have been found.

Lower Valley of the Omo

The Lower Valley of the Omo River is a prehistoric site where many hominid fossils have been found.

They are of fundamental importance in the study of human evolution.

Several hominid fossils and archaeological localities, dating to the Pliocene and Pleistocene, have been excavated by French and American teams. Fossils belonging to the genera Australopithecine and Homo have been found at several archaeological sites, as well as tools made from quartzite, the oldest of which date back to about 2.4 million years ago.

Simien National Park

Simien National Park is a spectacular landscape created by erosion and with high biodiversity.

It comprises one of the principal mountain massifs of Africa, separated by broad river valleys. A number of peaks rise above 4000m, including Ras Dashen.

The dramatic landscape of the Simien Mountains is the result of massive seismic activity in the area about 40 million years ago. Molten lava poured out of the Earth's core reaching a thickness of 3000m. Subsequent erosion over the millennia has left behind the jagged landscape of the Simien Mountains: the gorges, chasms and precipices. The famous pinnacles - the sharp spires that rise abruptly from the surrounding land - are volcanic necks: the solidified lava and last remnant of ancient volcanoes.

The mountains are home to three of Ethiopia's larger endemic mammals: the walia ibex, the more common gelada baboons, and the very rarely seen Ethiopian wolves.

Tiya

Tiya in southern Ethiopia is an archeological site, which is distinguished by 36 standing stones or stelae.

They are marking a large, prehistoric burial complex of an ancient Ethiopian culture.

FYR of Macedonia
Ohrid Region

The Natural and cultural heritage of the Ohrid Region comprises the ancient city of Ohrid and nearby Lake Ohrid. The city of Ohrid has been a cultural centre of great importance for the Balkan and the Slavonic language. Its churches are renowned for their frescoes and icons.

As an episcopal city, Ohrid was an important cultural center. Almost all surviving churches were built by the Byzantines and by the Bulgarians. The Bulgars had conquered the city in 867. The name Ohrid first appeared in 879. Between 990 and 1015, Ohrid was the capital and stronghold of the Bulgarian Empire. From 990 to 1018 Ohrid was also the seat of the Bulgarian Patriarchate

The lake is one of the deepest and oldest lakes in Europe. Its water holds many endemic species of fish, molluscs etc. The lakeshore reed beds and wetlands provide critical habitat for hundreds of thousands of wintering water birds, including rare and threatened species such as the Dalmatian Pelican, Ferruginous Duck, Swan, Spotted Eagle, and Eastern Imperial Eagle.

Fiji
Levuka

Levuka Historical Port Town is an urban landscape in the Pacific that represents 19th century British colonisation.

Local warlord Cakobau set up the first administration of the Kingdom of Fiji here in 1852, supported by foreign settlers. In 1874 the land became part of the British Empire.

The site includes residential and commercial buildings, churches, schools and constructions related to port activities.

Finland
Fortress of Suomenlinna

The Fortress of Suomenlinna are military fortifications built on six islands to guard the entrance to Helsinki's harbour.

The old name for Suomenlinna (which means Finnish castle) is Sveaborg (Swedish castle). It was built in a time that Finland was part of Sweden, hence the original name.

The Swedish architect Ehrensvärd started the construction in 1748. The Fortress was meant to be a stronghold for the Swedes against the Russians. The task was so enormous that large parts of the army were dedicated to help build the site. They transformed a few little islands off the coast of Helsinki into a city with more inhabitants than Helsinki itself.

All the effort didn't hinder the Russians taking over in 1808. They also used it as a fortress, and added their own constructions.

Finally in 1918 the Fortress became Finnish. Nowadays it is a popular park with museums, interesting flora and beaches.

High Coast / Kvarken Archipelago

The High Coast and the Kvarken Archipelago are outstanding examples of glaciation processes.

Both sites, on either side of the Gulf of Bothnia, hold numerous islands and islets. The High Coast is important for research on isostacy, in which the land rises as the weight of the glaciers melts off of it. This phenomenon was first recognised and studied here.

Kvarken features unusual ridged washboard moraines, "De Greer moraines", formed by the melting of the continental ice sheet, 10,000 to 24,000 years ago.

Old Rauma

Old Rauma is an outstanding example of a traditional Nordic city constructed in wood. The town was built in the 15th century around a Franciscan monastery. It is a harbour town at the Gulf of Bothnia.

There are about 600 original wooden houses left. The oldest date from the 18th century when Rauma was rebuilt after a ravaging fire. Most of them though are from the 1890s, as a result of prosperity brought on by seafaring.

Petäjävesi Old Church

Petäjävesi Old Church is an 18th century wooden church that exemplifies Scandinavian Lutheran church architecture and the long tradition of log building in Scandinavia.

The design was influenced by European architectural trends such as Renaissance and Gothic, which were combined with the vernacular technique of log jointing.

The church was constructed between 1763 and 1765 as a small village church, because the trip to the parish church in Jämsä took too long. Petäjävesi church was built on a peninsula, where two lakes meet: so the congregation would reach it by boat (or over the ice in the winter). The bell tower was added in 1821.

The church was abandoned in 1879 for a new church. In the 1920s the Austrian art historian Josef Strzygowski noticed the architectural and historical value of the church and since 1929 it has been restored several times.

Sammallahdenmäki

The Bronze Age Burial Site of Sammallahdenmäki consists of 33 stone cairns, dating mainly from the Bronze Age (1500-500 B.C.).

It is an extraordinary example of Finland's Bronze Age culture because it presents the ancient monuments in a well preserved natural environment.

Two of the most spectacular cairns are the quadrangular "Chuch Floor" and the dike-like "Long Ruin of Huilu".

In 2002, eight cairns were excavated, revealing burnt human bone. This indicates that the cairns contained cremation burials.

Struve Geodetic Arc

The Struve Geodetic Arc is a chain of survey triangulations stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea.

The chain was established and used by the German-born Russian scientist Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve in the years 1816 to 1855 to establish the exact size and shape of the earth.

The area of the Arc designated as a WHS consists of 34 stations, spanning 10 countries and over 2,820 km. Originally there were 265 stations, in only 2 countries (the Russian Empire and the Union between Sweden & Norway).

Verla Groundwood and Board Mill

The Verla Groundwood and Board Mill is a well preserved 19th century mill village.

It consists of a number of buildings in a rural setting, including the mill, board-drying plant, storehouses and the owner's residence. The mill produced mainly (paper)board for export to Russia, Europe and the USA.

The first groundwood mill at Verla was founded in 1872 by Hugo Nauman but was destroyed by fire in 1876. A larger groundwood and board mill, founded in 1882 by Gottlieb Kreidl and Louis Haenel, continued to operate until 1964. Wood-processing mills were common in the Nordic countries, but Verla represents the best-preserved example that remains from the 19th century.

France
Albi

The Episcopal City of Albi was built around the original cathedral and episcopal group of buildings. Red brick and tiles are the main feature of most of the edifices.

Among the buildings of the town is the Sainte Cécile cathedral, a masterpiece of the Southern Gothic style, built between the 13th and 15th centuries. Built as a statement of the Christian faith after the upheavals of the Cathar heresy , this gigantic brick structure was embellished over the centuries.

The Palais de la Berbie, formerly the Bishops' Palace of Albi is one of the oldest and best-preserved castles in France. This imposing fortress was completed at the end of the 13th century.

The Old Bridge (Pont Vieux) is still in use today after almost a millennium of existence. Originally built in stone (in 1035), then clad with brick, it rests on 8 arches and is 151m long. In the 14th century, it was fortified, reinforced with a drawbridge and houses were built on the piers.

Amiens Cathedral

Amiens Cathedral has played an important role in the development of gothic architecture. It dates from the 13th century.

Work was started in 1220, under Bishop Evrard de Fouilloy. The architects involved were Robert de Luzarches (until 1228), Thomas de Cormont (until 1258), and his son Renaud de Cormont (until 1288).

Arles

Arles, Roman and Romanesque Monuments, represents the evolution of a classical Roman settlement into an important medieval city.

The WHS comprises a serial nomination of 8 sites.

The remains from Roman times include:

- Roman theater

- Arena or amphitheater

- Alyscamps (Roman necropolis)

- Thermae of Constantine

- Cryptoporticus

- Ramparts of the Roman Castrum

- Small parts belonging to the Roman Forum, at the Muséon Arlaten

The Church of St. Trophime, formerly a cathedral, is a major work of Romanesque architecture, and the representation of the Last Judgment on its portal is considered one of the finest examples of Romanesque sculpture, as are the columns in the adjacent cloister.

Avignon

The Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon Bridge comprises a group of late medieval buildings linked to the Papacy.

Here the popes and antipopes lived from 1309-1432 during the Catholic schism.

The WHS designated historic centre of Avignon lies in the north of the walled city. It includes the following monuments:

- Place du Palais

- Palais des Papes

- Cathedral of Notre-Dame des Doms

- the Petit Palais

- the Tour des Chiens

- the Ramparts

- Saint-Benezet Bridge

Belfries

The Belfries of Belgium and France are 56 bell-towers, built between the 11th and 20th centuries.

They are mostly found in town centers, and connected to the local town hall or church. At their time, the Belfries represented the growing importance of cities instead of the feudal system in the Middle Ages.

After several fires, stone began to be used as building material instead of wood. Mainly square, robust towers were built in this period. Later, from the 14th to the 17th century when most of the still remaining belfries were built, the towers lose their defensive character. They become narrower, and the styles are influenced by Baroque. In the 19th and 20th centuries, newly created belfries had a more symbolic value of independence and prosperity.

Bordeaux

Bordeaux, Port of the Moon, encompasses the historic centre of Bordeaux as an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble created in the Age of Enlightenment.

A bend in the river Garonne has created a natural harbour here, and because of its shape it's called Port of the Moon.

The most prominent examples of the period of Enlightenement, created from the 1730s, are:

- Place Royale (today Place de la Bourse)

- Allées de Tourny

- Place Dauphine (Gambetta nowadays), Place d'Aquitaine, Place de Bourgogne and Place Tourny

- public garden

- Grand Theatre

- Palais Rohan

- Place des Quinconces

Bordeaux has been a commercial centre for ages, primarily based on its wine export. It was founded as a Roman settlement in 56 B.C.

Bourges Cathedral

Bourges Cathedral is considered a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, with beautiful decoration. It is also notable for the simplicity of its plan, which did without transepts.

The cathedral was developed as an integral concept in the late 12th and 13th century. It retains most of its original ambulatory glass, which dates from about 1215.

The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Stephen. It was built on the site of a Gallo-Roman church.

Burgundy

The Climats, terroirs of Burgundy comprise 1,247 vineyard parcels and the commercial towns of Beaune and Dijon.

The vineyards are distinct from one another due to their specific natural conditions such as soil and microclimate. They cover the Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune south of Dijon.

Canal du Midi

The Canal du Midi is a 240 km long canal that in its time (late 17th century) was a great engineering achievement.

It is one of the technologically most significant canals in the world: it uses lock staircases, reservoirs, aqueducts, dams, bridges, and tunnels. The largest work on the canal is the dam of Saint-Ferréol

The canal is located in the south of France, connecting the Garonne River at Toulouse to the Étang de Thau on the Mediterranean. Four adjoining channels are also included.

The original purpose of the Canal du Midi was to be a shortcut between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, avoiding the long sea voyage around hostile Spain, Barbary pirates, and a trip that in the 17th century required a full month of sailing.

Pierre-Paul Riquet designed the canal with monumental grandeur, displaying the power of 17th century France. The surrounding landscape was also taken into account: the canal was framed by trees and plantations.

Causses and Cévennes

The Causses and the Cévennes, Mediterranean agro-pastoral Cultural Landscape is a landscape that has evolved over three millennia.

It is located in the higher regions of the Massif Central, in an area of granite and limestone slopes and deep valleys.

Its distinct features include:

- chestnut farming

- low stone sheep housing

- mulberry cultivation (for silk)

- drove roads (used by cattle and sheep moving to and from the pastures)

- military architecture (like the Tour du Viala-du-Pas-de-Jaux)

- farm complexes (like those of Les Monziols)

Champagne

'Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars' is a cultural landscape shaped by the production of sparkling wines since the 17th century.

The area is divided into 3 clusters:

- Saint-Nicaise Hill in Reims

- Avenue of Champagne in Epernay

- hillsides of Hautvillers, Aÿ and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ

Chartres Cathedral

Chartres Cathedral is considered the finest example in France of the Gothic style of architecture.

The current cathedral was mostly constructed between 1193 and 1250. It is in an exceptional state of preservation. The majority of the original stained glass windows survive intact, while the architecture has seen only minor changes since the early 13th century.

The building's exterior is dominated by heavy flying buttresses. The west end holds two contrasting spires - one, a 105 metre plain pyramid dating from the 1140s, and the other a 113 metre tall early 16th century Flamboyant spire on top of an older tower. Equally notable are the three great facades, each adorned with hundreds of sculpted figures illustrating key theological themes and narratives.

Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay

The Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay is an early Cistercian monastery based on the ideal of self-sufficiency.

The Abbey of Fontenay was founded by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux in 1118. Located in a small forested valley 60 kilometres northwest of Dijon, it achieved great prosperity in the 12th and 13th centuries. Fontenay enjoyed the protection of the Kings of France but was plundered in the Hundred Year's War and the Wars of Religion. Later, its fortunes declined, and the refectory was demolished by the monks in 1745. The abbey was closed in the French Revolution.

The church of the abbey was built from 1139 to 1147 in the prevalent Romanesque style, and marked by the austerity typical of Cistercian architecture. It has a cruciform plan.

Apart from the demolished refectory, the abbey retains almost all of its original buildings: church, dormitory, cloister, chapter house, caldarium or "warming room", dovecote and forge, all built in Romanesque style, with later abbot's lodgings and infirmary.

Decorated cave of Pont d'Arc

The Decorated cave of Pont d'Arc is an underground cave covered with the oldest known pictorial drawings in the world.

They date back to as early as the Aurignacian period (30,000 to 32,000 BP). A second phase of human occupation dates from 25,000 - 27,000 BP.

Over 1,000 drawings have been found, which often are of high artistic and aesthetic quality. They display anthropomorphic and zoomorphic motifs. In contrast to other Paleolithic cave art, the walls of cave feature many predatory animals such as cave lions, panthers, bears, and cave hyenas. In addition to the paintings and other human evidence, fossilized remains, prints, and markings from a variety of animals, some of which are now extinct, were discovered.

The cave was closed off by a rock fall approximately 23,000 years BP and remained sealed until its rediscovery on December 18, 1994 by a group of speleologists. Jean-Marie Chauvet was one of them, and the grotto was subsequently named "Chauvet Cave" after him. The site has been closed to the public since then.

Fontainebleau

The Palace and Park of Fontainebleau has been influential for its architecture and interior decor made by Italian artists.

King Francis I, who reigned from 1515-1547, brought in painters, sculptors and architects from Italy to ornate this palace with its many frescoes and sculptures.

The chateau introduced to France the Italian Mannerist style in interior decoration and in gardens.

The castle as it is today is the work of many French monarchs, building on the structure of Francis I: from Henri IV to Louis XVI and Napoleon. At Fontainebleau Napoleon bade farewell and went into exile to Elba in 1814.

Fortifications of Vauban

The Fortifications of Vauban are twelve groups of fortified buildings that form a defensive ring around France.

They were constructed by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban (1633-1707), military engineer of King Louis XIV and influential far beyond the French borders. The remaining sites include both fortifications and various kinds of military buildings.

The 12 sites selected to be part of the World Heritage are:

- Arras: citadel

- Besançon: citadel, city walls and Fort Griffon

- Blaye-Cussac-Fort-Médoc: citadel of Blaye, city walls, Fort Paté and Fort Médoc

- Briançon: city walls, Redoute des Salettes, Fort des Trois-Têtes, Fort du Randouillet, ouvrage de la communication Y and the Asfeld Bridge

- Camaret-sur-Mer: Tour dorée (lit. "Golden Tower") aka. Tour Vauban

- Longwy: ville neuve

- Mont-Dauphin: place forte

- Mont-Louis: citadel and city walls

- Neuf-Brisach: ville neuve/Breisach (Germany): gateway of the Rhine

- Saint-Martin-de-Ré: city walls and citadel

- Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue/Tatihou: watchtowers

- Villefranche-de-Conflent: city walls, Fort Libéria and Cova Bastera

Two sites initially nominated by France were removed from the final list:

- Bazoches, Nièvre: château

- Belle-Île-en-Mer, Morbihan: citadel and walls surrounding Le Palais

Fortified City of Carcassonne

The Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne is a medieval town which structure has evolved since the Late Roman period.

The site consists of 3km long fortifications, which enclose the castle, medieval town cathedral.

The fortress was thoroughly restored from 1853 by the theorist and architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. This restoration has been strongly criticized, as it was not overly authentic (for example in the use of slates, where local practice was traditionally of tile roofing).

Gulf of Porto

Gulf of Porto: Calanche of Piana, Gulf of Girolata, Scandola Reserve is a natural area with dramatic geological landforms and wealthy undersea life.

It also is the habitat of the rare osprey, peregrine falcons and bearded vultures. The Gulf is situated on the western coast of Corsica, between Punta Muchillina and Punta Nera.

The sheer cliffs of the Gulf contain many grottos and are flanked by numerous stacks and almost inaccessible islets and coves. The coastline is also noted for its red cliffs, some 900 metres high, sand beaches, and headlands.

Lagoons of New Caledonia

The Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems comprise a group of six lagoons that contain coral reef ecosystems with great species diversity and a high level of endemism.

It is home to endangered dugongs and an important nesting site for the Green Sea Turtle.

New Caledonia is an Endemic Bird Area with 23 species being found only in New Caledonia.

This reef system is one of the largest in the world. It covers 23,400 km2. The six designated lagoons are:

- Grand Lagon Sud

- Zone Côtière Ouest

- Zone Côtière Nord-Est

- Grand Lagon Nord

- Atolls d’Entrecasteaux

- Atoll d’Ouvéa et Beautemps-Beaupré

Le Havre

Le Havre, the city rebuilt by Auguste Perret, is an outstanding post-war example of urban planning and architecture.

As a result of numerous air-raids during World War Two, the port of Le Havre lost its administrative and cultural center as well as much of its housing in the center of the city. 5000 people died and more than 80,000 people were left homeless.

Reconstruction planning began in 1945 with Auguste Perret as chief architect and city planner. It lasted until 1964. Historical patterns like streets and squares were preserved, as well as the 16th-century cathedral and 19th-century law courts that survived the bombings. Modernist buildings based on reinforced concrete were added.

Loire Valley

The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes is a cultural landscape symbolic of human interaction with the river Loire. It comprises historic towns and villages, great castles and cultivated lands, mainly tracing back to the Renaissance and the Age of the Enlightenment.

The designated area covers a 200km long, thin stretch of land along the river. It includes the towns of Blois, Chinon, Orléans, Saumur and Tours.

The site is an extension to the Castle of Chambord, which was already a separate WHS since 1981. This is one of the most recognizable châteaux in the world because of its very distinct French Renaissance architecture.

Lyon

Lyon has been a flourishing trading city since Roman times. It owes that continuous prosperity to its strategic location at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. The city was known especially for the silk trade, but it also held important financial institutions and an early printing industry.

Lyon was founded as Lugdunum in 43 BC. Under Roman rule it was connected by a network of roads, and it even held the headquarters of the Imperial government.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Lyon subsequently became part of Lotharingia, Burgundy, the Holy Roman Empire and (the Kingdom of) France respectively. From the 16th century onwards the city expanded beyond its traditional quarters at the Croix-Rousse and Fourvière hills.

Mont-Saint-Michel

Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay is characterized by the rocky tidal island that holds a 11th century Benedictine abbey and a fortified medieval village. The complex was built at a unique natural location, resulting in an unforgettable silhouette.

The tides in the Bay can vary greatly, at roughly 14 metres (46 ft) between high and low water marks. The coastal flats have been polderised to create pastureland.

The monastery was an important place in medieval Christianity. It was dedicated to the archangel St Michael. The first monastic establishment here dates from the 8th century.

The mount is depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry, which commemorates the 1066 Norman conquest of England. Norman ducal patronage financed the spectacular architecture of the abbey in subsequent centuries.

The core zone also includes the Old Windmill of Moidrey, which is located on the top of a hill adjacent to the Bay. The Mill was built in 1806 to produce flour.

Nancy

Place Stanislas, Place de la Carrière, and Place d'Alliance in Nancy are 18th century works of urban planning. The three squares and the surrounding monuments sprouted from the brain of the Polish king and duke of Lorraine, Stanislaw Leszczynsk.

The responsible architect was Emmanuel Héré. He was assisted by the iron worker Jean Lamour and the sculptors Guibal and Cyfflé. The project was carried out from 1752 to 1756. The squares are embellished with statues, fountains and a triumphal arch. Characteristic are the gilded gates and ornaments.

The squares hold a public function as well: the Opera, the Town Hall, Courts of Law, a library and a botanical garden can be accessed from here. The monuments link the medieval old town of Nancy and the new town built under Charles III in the 17th century.

Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin

The Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin is a mining and industrial cultural landscape along a 120km long coal seam in the far north of France.

It was created from the 18th to the 20th centuries, mostly after France lost its access to Belgian mines in 1815. It reached its peak in the 1930s, when it became one the leading coal-production regions in Europe. It then attracted 75,000 foreign workers. The last mine in the area closed in 1990.

This is a serial site consisting of 109 parts, spread out over 13 mining company complexes. Elements include pits, slag heaps, railway stations and mining villages with schools, religious and community buildings.

Orange

The Roman Theatre and its Surroundings and the "Triumphal Arch" of Orange comprises two of the best remaining examples of Roman theatres and arches.

The Theatre was built between 10 and 25 A.D., as one of the first Roman public buildings in this region. It owes its fame mainly because of its imposing façade or stage wall, which is 103 metres long, 1.80 metres thick and 37 metres high.

The Triumphal Arch was a commemorative urban arch acting as the gateway to the town and celebrating its Roman founders.

Roman Orange was founded in 35 BC by veterans of the Second Gallica Roman legion as Arausio (after the local Celtic water god), or Colonia Julia Firma Secundanorum Arausio. It was the capital of a wide area of northern Provence, which was parcelled up into lots for the Roman colonists.

Paris, Banks of the Seine

Paris on the banks of the Seine stretches from Saint-Chapelle and the Notre Dame in the east to the Eiffel Tower in the west. Along this kilometers long route one can find many of the main treasures of the French capital.

The Notre Dame is one of the eldest monuments: it's construction dates from the 12th century. Nearby Saint-Chapelle has the same age. Both are on the Ile de la Cité. This little island is linked with the rest of the city via many bridges, of which the Pont Neuf is the most famous.

In the middle of the route there are the two major museums: the Louvre and the Gare d'Orsay (a former train station). This is also the part where the spacious Place de la Concorde and the Egyptian Obelisk are situated.

The Eiffel Tower is at the end of the route. Built for the 1897 world fair, it still stands strong as the number one symbol for Paris.

Pitons of Reunion

The 'Pitons, cirques and remparts' of Reunion Island are renowned for their visually striking landscape and remaining high numbers of endemic plant species.

The site consists of two adjoining volcanic massifs, with remparts (steep rock walls) and cirques (imposing natural amphitheatres) that evolved due to erosion and volcanism.

The site corresponds with the core zone of La Réunion national park, which protects the middle and upper slopes of the two peaks. The park covers more than 40% of Reunion Island. The vulcanos are the dormant Piton de Neiges (3,071m) and the highly active Piton de la Fournaise (2,632m). The latter has erupted over 100 times since 1640 and is one of the most continuously active in the world. Many volcanic features can be found in the area, such as lava flows and basaltic cliffs.

The Pitons are covered with subtropical rainforests and cloud forests. It is a global centre of plant diversity with a high degree of endemism within the Mascarene archipelago, which consists of Madagascar, Mauritius and smaller islands in the Indian Ocean.

Pont du Gard

Pont du Gard (Roman Aqueduct) is one of the oldest and most remarkable Roman hydraulic works.

The bridge is 48.77m high, has three levels and was built in ca. 20 BC (newer excavations, however, suggest the construction may have taken place between 40 and 60 AD). It crosses the river Gardon near Nimes (south of France).

The aqueduct originally carried water from a source at the Fontaine d'Eure near Ucetia (Uzès) to a delivery tank or castellum divisorum in Nemausus (Nîmes), from where it was distributed to fountains, baths and private homes around the city. Although the straight-line distance between the two is only about 20 km, the aqueduct takes a winding route measuring around 50 km to avoid the Garrigue hills above Nîmes.

Prehistoric Pile Dwellings

The Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps are the remains of prehistoric stilt houses at the edges of lakes and rivers.

The site consists of 111 locations, spread out over 6 countries. They date from 5,000 to 500 BC, and represent the life of early agrarian communities in Europe.

Rising water levels since prehistory led to the abandonment of settlements which were then covered by lake and river sediments. About 30 different cultural groups were responsible for creating these pile dwellings.

Provins

Provins, Town of Medieval Fairs, is the best preserved example of a town developed for fairs in the Champagne region.

It was home to fairs from 1120, and served as a model for later fair traditions in for example Brugge and the Hanseatic cities. Provins was a veritable crossroads. Its international fairs aimed at merchants and dealers were held three times a year. They attracted traders from all over Europe and the Orient.

The nominated area consists of the Upper Town and the Lower Town. Provins originated from the Castle, which was fortified in the 11th and 12th centuries. The settlement soon grew outside it, and was then enclosed within a defensive wall. In the 13th century the town was expanded again, to include the river valley area (Lower Town). Remains in the Upper Town include small houses built in stone and timber-framed construction and the Tour de César with its remarkable donjon. In the Lower Town there are several churches, storage areas for use during the fairs, mills, wash basins, tanneries related to the textile handicraft and a sophisticated water management system of canals.

Provins was a political and military stronghold for the Counts of Champagne. The Counts understood the economic possibilities of the fairs. They reduced tolls to encourage merchants to use their roads and also implemented a "safe-conduct" escort system for those attending the fairs to protect people and goods en route. They also usurped the right to mint money themselves: the Provins denier was one of the few currencies accepted widely throughout the continent of Europe at the time.

Pyrénées - Mont Perdu

Pyrénées - Mont Perdu is a visually dramatic mountain landscape centered around the peak of Mont Perdu.

The protected area lies at the tectonic collision point of the lberian and west European plate, and on the border between Spain and France. Both sides vary greatly in natural setting and climate.

The Mont Perdu mountain range is the centrepiece of the Pyrénées and has several important geological, scenic and botanical values. It features many lakes, canyons, cirques and distinctive alpine flora. Most magnificent of the fauna species found here is the Lammergeier (Bearded Vulture) with a 3 metre wingspan. The Pyrenees is one of the rare places to see these birds in Europe.

The included areas are:

- Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park

- Vignemale Wildlife Sanctuary

- eastern part of Pyrénées Occidentales National Park

- Gavarnie Classified Reserve

The site also is a cultural landscape, where the centuries-old transhumant system of grazing continues within the area with frequent movement of herds across the French-Spanish border.

Reims

The Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint-Remi and Palace of Tau, Reims are renowned for their Gothic art and - as part of the coronation ceremony - are directly linked to the history of the French monarchy.

The cathedral is one of the great French cathedrals of the 13th century and one of the masterpieces of the classical Gothic style (along with the ones in Chartres and Amiens). The facade of the Reims cathedral is said to have the best sculptures.

The old archepiscopal Palace of Tau also played an important step role in the coronation ceremony of the French monarchy (the banquet was held there).

The Former Abbey of Saint-Remi has conserved the relics of Saint Remi (died 553), the Bishop of Reims who converted Clovis, King of the Franks, to Christianity. The abbey church is a magnificent example of mediaeval architecture.

Reims, including these World Heritage monuments, was seriously damaged by the Germans during World War I.

Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France

The Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France represent several sites related to the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

They comprise churches, bridges, hospitals and other wayside constructions along the four main and a number of subsidiary pilgrimage routes to Santiago.

Major monuments included are:

- The Romanesque church of Sainte-

Foy at Conques

- The church of Saint-Pierre

at Moissac

- The basilical church of Saint-Sernin in Toulouse

- The collegiate church of Neuvy-Saint-Sépulchre

- Village of Rocamadour

Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans

"From the Great Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains to the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, the production of open-pan salt" represent the extraction and production of salt from the middle ages to the 20th century.

Salins-les-Bains and Arc-et-Senans were connected by a brine pipeline.

Arc-et-Senans is also notable as an early Enlightenment architectural project to rationalize industrial buildings and processes according to a philosophical order. The saltworks' buildings were designed by architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. Construction began in 1775 during the reign of Louis XVI. The semicircular complex was planned to reflect a hierarchical organization of work. It was to have been enlarged with the building of an ideal city, but that project was never constructed.

Saint-Emilion

The Jurisdiction of Saint-Emilion is a cultural landscape dedicated to winemaking.

The Romans planted vineyards in what was to become Saint-Émilion as early as the 2nd century AD. Saint-Émilion is one of the four principal red wine areas of Bordeaux. Most of the vine-related monuments date from the 18th and 19th centuries.

The towns in this region hold a number of historic monuments. They include:

- the Pierrefitte menhir

- the Monolithic Church and the Collegiate Church of Saint-Emillion

- various wine chateaus

The area is also on the Pilgrimage Route to Santiago de Compostela, from which it derived great prosperity.

Saint-Savin sur Gartempe

The Abbey Church of Saint-Savin sur Gartempe is an 11th century Romanesque church noted for its well-preserved mural paintings.

These painted biblical scenes date from the late 11th, early 12th centuries, and have given the church the nickname of "Romanesque Sistine Chapel".

Below the church is the Crypt of the legendary martyr brothers St Savin and St Cyprian, also frescoed with the lives of these two saints.

Strasbourg

Strasbourg: from Grande-île to Neustadt, a European urban scene comprises the medieval historic centre of Strasbourg including its Cathedral and its German-built New Town.

The Grand Ile started out as the Roman camp of Argentoratum, and developed itself into the free city of Strasbourg. It was an important commercial centre in the Middle Ages. Johannes Gutenberg created the first European moveable type printing press here in the late 15th century.

The gothic Cathedral was the principal element of the WHS nomination, both for its artistic and technical value. Construction of the Cathedral of Notre Dame started in the late 12th century. A team coming from Chartres suggested a high gothic design. Pink sandstone from the Vosges was used for the construction. It has one 142m high filigree spire (the second one was never built). The height of this spire was unequalled until the 19th century: it was the world's tallest building from 1647 to 1874. The design of the cathedral became very influential in Germany.

The ensemble on the island Grand Ile also consists of several old churches and a network of (post-)medieval streets. Their names reflect the guild movement, from the tonneliers to the tanners. Black and white timber-framed buildings adorn the streets. Among the medieval buildings are the monumental Ancienne Douane (old custom-house) and the renowned Maison Kammerzell.

Taputapuātea

Taputapuātea is a sacral site and cultural landscape on Ra’iatea Island (part of the Society Islands) in French Polynesia.

It consists of several archaeological sites and marae (temples). Its main feature is the Taputapuātea marae complex, constructed from the 14th -18th centuries which is considered the central temple of Eastern Polynesia and which has a strong oral tradition connected with it. It is of continuing importance to a living culture: the sites fell into disrepair after the Europeans settled in this area, but were restored in 1968 and as recent as the 1990s.

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier comprises 17 locations designed by the renowned French-Swiss architect, who is seen as one of the pioneers of modern architecture.

The series shows the dissemination of his ideas over the world during a period of 50 years.

The locations span seven countries on three continents. 10 are situated in France and 2 in Switzerland, the homelands of Le Corbusier (born in Switzerland, became a French citizen). But also Chandigarh (India), National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo (Japan) and Casa Curutchet (Argentina) are included.

Versailles

The Palace and Park of Versailles have had a large influence on the artistic form of other palaces and gardens in Europe. It is a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy and its court life of the Ancien Régime.

The Palace started out as a small royal hunting lodge. From 1661, King Louis XIV expanded into one of the largest palaces in the world, and moved his court and government to Versailles. Versailles became the unofficial capital where government affairs were conducted during the reigns of the Kings Louis XIV, XV en XVI. It was used intermittently between 1682 and 1789.

After the First World War, Versailles hosted the opening of the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. Germany was blamed for causing the First World War in the Treaty of Versailles which had to be signed in the same room on 28 June 1919.

Vézelay

Vézelay, Church and Hill comprise the Benedictine Vézelay Abbey and the surrounding hill town.

A monastery has existed here since the 9th century: the buildings have been rebuilt several times since. The last major refurbishement started in 1840 and was executed by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. He restored the Romanesque church to its former glory after centuries of neglect had left it to ruins.

Vézelay Abbey was a major starting point for pilgrims on the Way of St. James to Santiago de Compostela. The church was an important place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages as it kept relics of Mary Magdalene. It also is strongly connected to the Crusades: St Bernard preached the Second Crusade there in 1146 and Richard the Lion-Hearted and Philip II Augustus met there to leave for the Third Crusade in 1190.

Vézère Valley

Decorated Grottoes of the Vézère Valley is a complex of caves in southwestern France famous for its cave paintings.

They contain some of the most well-known (Upper Paleolithic) art, dating back to somewhere between 15,000 and 13,000 BCE. They consist mostly of realistic images of large animals, including aurochs, most of which are known from fossil evidence to have lived in the area at the time.

Gabon
Lopé-Okanda

The Ecosystem and Relict Cultural Landscape of Lopé-Okanda has seen over 400.000 years of almost continuous human settlement.

Its setting can be characterized by the co-existence of tropical rainforest and savannah ecosystems.

The area holds evidence of ironworking and some 1,800 petroglyphs.

Gambia
Kunta Kinteh Island

Kunta Kinteh Island (James Island) and Related sites represent the first African-European trade route to the inland of Africa and the beginning and the conclusion of the West African slave trade.

The designated area consists of 7 separate locations:

- James Island

- Six-Gun Battery

- Fort Bullen

- Ruins of San Domingo

- Remains of Portuguese Chapel

- CFAO Building

- Maurel Frères Building

They are located along the Gambia River.

Stone Circles of Senegambia

The Stone Circles of Senegambia are the largest group of megalithic complexes yet recorded in any region of the world.

There are 1,053 Stone circles and a total of 28,931 monoliths. Their quality suggests sophisticated stone working traditions.

All circles are found near to burial mounds. Their date and purpose are still a matter of debate. The 8 to 14 stones in each circle vary in size up to ten-ton stones, from 1 to 2.5 metres high and are generally of laterite.

The stone circles lie in Gambia north of Janjanbureh and in central Senegal. Four separate locations were chosen to represent the complex:

- Kerbatch Central River Division (Gambia)

- Wassu Central River Division (Gambia)

- Sine Ngayène Kaolack (Senegal)

- Wanar Kaolack (Senegal)

Georgia
Gelati Monastery

Gelati Monastery is the distinctive expression of the flowering of feudal monarchy in medieval Georgia.

The Gelati Monastery (near Kutaisi) was founded in 1106. It remained for a long time one of the main cultural and enlightening centers in old Georgia. It had an Academy which employed the most celebrated Georgian scientists, theologians and philosophers. The Gelati Monastery has preserved a great number of murals and manuscripts dating back to the 12th-17th centuries.

Mtskheta

The Historical Monuments of Mtskheta are three medieval religious buildings in the former capital of the East Georgian Kingdom of Kartli.

Here Georgians accepted Christianity in 317 and Mtskheta still remains the headquarters of the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church.

The included monuments are:

- Jvari Monastery: a sixth century Georgian Orthodox monastery, standing on the rocky mountaintop at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers

- Svetitstkhoveli Cathedral: since long the principal Georgian church and presently functions as the seat of the archbishop of Mtskheta and Tbilisi; The current cathedral was built in the eleventh century though the site itself dates back to the 4th century

- Samtavro Monastery: includes a church and nunnery, dating from the 11th century

Upper Svaneti

Upper Svaneti is known for its architectural treasures and picturesque landscapes.

The famous Svanetian towers erected mainly in the 9th-12th centuries, make the region's villages more attractive. In the province are dozens of Georgian Orthodox churches and various fortified buildings.

The region is inhabited by the Svans, an ethnographic group of the Georgian people.

Germany
Aachen Cathedral

The Aachen Cathedral with its Palatine Chapel is the oldest in Northern Europe and has high symbolic value. It dates from about 800 AD.

The Emperor Charlemange himself had overseen the construction work, until it finally complied with his wishes. What they actually had built was a palace for him, of which now only the church remains.

During the 14th and 15th centuries new features as the choir were added to the church, in the then fashionable Gothic style. More additions followed in the following centuries, the 74 meters high tower as recent as 1884. Obviously this permanent (re)construction of the Cathedral lead to a mixture of styles.

Charlemagne died in 814, and was buried in his own Cathedral. His bones are still preserved in the Shrine of Charles.

Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch

The Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch are rare surviving monuments of the era of Charlemagne.

The abbey was founded in 764 by the Frankish Count Cancor as a proprietary church and monastery on his estate. It became a place of pilgrimage after obtaining the body of Saint Nazarius.

Popes and emperors repeatedly favoured the abbey with privileges and estates ranging from the Alps to the North Sea, so that in a short time it became not only immensely rich, but also a seat of political influence.

Its chronicle, entered in the Lorscher Codex compiled in the 1170s (now in the state archive at Würzburg) is a fundamental document for early medieval German history. Another famous document from the monastic library is the Codex Aureus of Lorsch.

Bamberg

The Town of Bamberg is listed as a World Heritage Site primarily because of its authentic medieval appearance. From the 10th century onwards, its town layout and architecture has been a great influence in Central Europe.

Some of the main monuments are:

- Cathedral (1237), with the tombs of emperor Henry II and Pope Clement II

- Alte Hofhaltung, residence of the bishops in the 16th and 17th centuries

- Neue Residenz, residence of the bishops after the 17th century

- Old Town Hall (1386), built in the middle of the Regnitz River, accessible by two bridges

- Klein-Venedig ("Little Venice"), a colony of picturesque fishermen's houses from the 19th century along one side of the river Regnitz.

- Michaelsberg Abbey, built in the 12th century on one of Bamberg's "Seven Hills"

- Altenburg, castle, former residence of the bishops

Bauhaus Sites

The Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar, Dessau and Bernau are the most prominent representations of the Bauhaus architectural school (1919-1933).

The "Staatliche Bauhaus" was founded in Weimar in 1919 by Walter Gropius. In Weimar the Art School, the Applied Art School and the Haus am Horn are part of this WHS. The Art Schools were designed by the Belgian master Henry van de Velde. The Haus am Horn was the first practical statement: a Bauhaus settlement of single family houses like this was planned. But due to political pressure the Bauhaus had to leave Weimar in 1925.

They ended up in Dessau, where the second (and more successful) phase of Bauhaus started. Prominent here were Hannes Meyer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. In Dessau the designated sites are the Bauhaus building and the group of seven Masters Houses. Especially the Bauhaus building, made out of concrete, glass and steel, is a landmark in 20th century architecture.

Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe

The Water features and Hercules within the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe is a monumental Baroque and Romantic garden landscape.

Water descends from the Giant statue of Hercules, passing a water-wheel-powered organ, various fountains, waterfalls, basins and grottoes.

The dramatic water displays were laid out by Landgrave Carl of Hesse-Kassel from 1689 on, to display his power as an absolute ruler. He derived his ideas from Italian, French and English examples of garden art. The Italian architect Giovanni Francesco Guerniero was hired for the design.

The site also includes the Neo-classical Wilhelmshöhe Palace (1785) and the Gothic Revival Löwenburg Castle (1793). The statue of Hercules is 70.5m high and is made of copper.

Berlin Modernism Housing Estates

The "Berlin Modernism Housing Estates" represent low income housing architecture from the early 20th century.

Bruno Taut, Martin Wagner and Walter Gropius were among the leading architects of these projects which exercised considerable influence on the development of housing around the world.

The six included estates are:

- Tuschkastensiedlung Falkenberg, 1913-16, by Bruno Taut

- Wohnstadt Carl Legien in Prenzlauer Berg, 1928-30, by Bruno Taut

- Ringsiedlung in Siemensstadt,1929-34, by Hans Scharoun and Martin Wagner

- Hufeisensiedlung Britz, 1925-30, by Bruno Taut

- Siedlung Schillerpark im Wedding, 1924-30, by Bruno Taut

- Weiße Stadt in Reinickendorf, 1929-31, by Otto Rudolf Salivsberg and Martin Wagner

Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust

The Augustusburg and Falkenlust castles in Brühl are considered masterpieces of the rococo. They were developed in the 18th century for Clemens August, the archbishop and worldly ruler of Cologne.

Construction of Augustusburg was started in 1725. First Johann Conrad Schlaun was appointed as architect, but August wanted something more modern and after 3 years hired Francois Cuvilliés. He made the castle into what it is now, with a lot of help of other artists like Balthasar Neumann who is responsible for the magnificent marble staircase.

Nearby Falkenlust was built as a hunting castle. The responsible architects here were Cuviliés and Leveilly. Also worth mentioning is the garden of Augustusburg. It was designed in Versailles-style by the Frenchman Dominique Girard.

Caves and Ice Age Art

The Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura comprise archaeological sites from the Aurignacian period where stone tools, figurative art and early musical instruments have been found.

It covers 2 locations with 3 caves each: the Ach Valley and the Lone River. The objects were carved from various materials, including mammoth ivory. Notable finding include the figurines of the ‘Venus of Hohle Fels’ and the ‘Lion Man’.

Classical Weimar

The ensemble "Classical Weimar" reflects a period in history when this East German town was the cultural heart of Europe.

Goethe made Weimar his home in 1775, and Herder and Schiller followed his example.

This was made possible by the patronage of (initially) Duchess Anna Amalia and (later) Duke Carl August.

The following eleven monuments are part of this WHS:

- Goethe's House

- Schiller's House

- City Church, Herder House, and Old High School

- The City Castle

- The Dowager's Palace

- The Duchess Anna Amalia Library

- The Princes' Tomb and the Historic Cemetery

- The Park on the Ilm with the Roman House, Goethe's Garden, and Garden House

- The Belvedere Castle, Orangery, and Park

- Tiefurt Castle and Park

- Ettersburg Castle and Park

Cologne Cathedral

The Cologne Cathedral is the highest expression of the Gothic Cathedral architectonic form that developed over the 12th and 13th centuries in Europe.

Already in 1248, the construction of the Cathedral was started. Until 1560 the work on this Gothic Cathedral was in progress, but an accumulation of problems prevented it to be finished.

Only during the 19th century the Cathedral was finally completed, stimulated by Emperor William I. Not anymore as a pure construction to honor God, but also as a national Prussian symbol.

Corvey

The Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey comprise an early Christian monastic complex.

It has the oldest surviving example of a Westwerk, a massive, tower-like western front typical of Carolingian churches. It also shows a rare cycle of mural paintings depicting classic mythological subjects applied to a religious building.

The complex lies in a rural area and was built between between 822 and 885. Its name, Nova Corbeia, derives from the mother monastery Corbie in the North of France.

Fagus Factory

The Fagus Factory, an operational shoe last factory, is an important example of early modern architecture.

The construction of the architectural complex started in 1911. It was built by the architect Walter Gropius. Light was required for work purposes: this lead to an almost entirely glazed building, via the innovative use of "curtain walls" (vast glass panels). It was a major break with the existing architectural and decorative values of the time.

The site contains 10 buildings, including a sawmill. Although constructed with different systems, all of the buildings on the site give a common image and appear as a unified whole. All buildings have a base of about 40cm of black brick and the rest is built of yellow bricks.

Frontiers of the Roman Empire

The Frontiers of the Roman Empire is a serial site that comprises parts of the Limes Romanus, a border defense or delimiting system of Ancient Rome.

The two sections of the Upper German-Raetian Limes in Germany cover a length of 550 km from the north-west of the country to the Danube in the south-east.

The Hadrian's Wall was built under the orders of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in AD 122. It took soldiers six years to build a wall 80 Roman miles long (117km) on the border of what is now England and Scotland. Emperor Hadrian built this wall "to separate Romans from Barbarians": it formed the most northern border of his empire. Later, there was some Roman expansion further north, resulting in the Antonine Wall.

Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz

The Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz is a series of landscape parks developed in the 18th century by Prince Leopold III Friedrich Franz of Anhalt-Dessau and his friend and adviser Friedrich Wilhelm von Erdmannsdorff.

Inspired by trips abroad (Italy, England) they were the first to introduce landscape gardening to continental Europe. They also applied the philosophical principles of the Age of Enlightenment to their landscape design: the result should not only be pretty to the eye, but also educative.

The worldheritage listed sites within the Garden Kingdom include the Kühnauer Park, the Georgium (in Dessau), the Luisium, Oranienbaum, Wörlitz Park and many small ornaments along the road.

Hildesheim Cathedral and Church

St. Mary's Cathedral and St. Michael's Church at Hildesheim are two inseparable monuments that are an exceptional testimony to the religious art of the Holy Roman Empire.

St. Mary's Cathedral was built between 1010 and 1020 in Romanesque style. It follows a symmetrical plan with two apses, that is characteristic of Ottonic Romanesque architecture in Old Saxony. The cathedral is famous for its many works of art. These include: the bronze doors, commissioned by Bishop Bernward (1015) and with reliefs from the history of Adam and of Jesus Christ, and a bronze column 15 ft. high (dating from 1020) adorned with reliefs from the life of Christ.

The Church of St. Michael also is an early-Romanesque church. It was founded ca. 1010 by Bishop Bernward. The church has a famous painted ceiling, with 1300 pieces of wood, and was the original location of the bronze Bernward doors (now in the Cathedral).

Lübeck

The Hanseatic City of Lübeck was leading among this league of merchant cities which held a monopoly over the trade of the Baltic Sea and the North Sea.

The functioning of the Hanseatic League is not only proof of early economic co-operation in Europe, but it also founded a social and cultural community which has left its mark throughout the region, particularly in the self-contained architectural world of brick Gothic.

Parts of the medieval city of Lübeck were severely destroyed during the Second World War. Its nomination for the World Heritage List was limited to three specific areas:

1. the Burgkloster, Koberg and sections between the Glockengiesserstrasse and the Aegidienstrasse.

2. the patrician residences between the Petrikirche and the Dom, the salt storehouses and the Holstentor.

3. the heart of the city, with the Marienkirche, the Rathaus and the Marktplatz.

Luther Memorials

The Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg bear testimony to the Protestant Reformation. These two towns in former Eastern Germany are closely related to the lives of Martin Luther and his fellow-reformer Melanchthon.

The site includes the houses in Eisleben where Luther was born in 1483 and died in 1546, his room in Wittenberg, the local church and the castle church where, on 31 October 1517, Luther posted his famous '95 Theses', which launched the Reformation and a new era in the religious and political history of the Western world.

Margravial Opera House

The Margravial Opera House Bayreuth is a 18th century Court Opera House. It is considered a masterwork of baroque theatre architecture.

It is the sole surviving example of a Court Opera House in the world (many others have been destroyed by fires), and its layout, design and materials have been preserved mostly unchanged. As it is located in a public urban space instead of within the walls of a private residence, the Margravial Opera House can be seen as a precursor to the later great public opera houses.

This Opera House was built between 1745 and 1750. It was commissioned by Margravine Wilhelmine, wife of the Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth. It was one of their many building projects in Bayreuth and an expression of courtly self-representation and absolutism. She surrounded herself with artists, and was a gifted composer and supporter of music herself. The interior was designed by the Italian architect Giuseppe Galli Bibiena. It is a loge theatre with three tiers of loges, made out of wood and painted canvas. It could hold an audience of 500. It is still in use as a theatre.

Maulbronn Monastery

Maulbronn Monastery Complex is the most complete surviving Cistercian monastic structure in Europe.

It includes an extensive water-management system of reservoirs and channels. The Cistercians laid out a network of approximately twenty natural and artificial lakes and ponds over several terraces. These were interconnected with an extensive system of trenches and canals.

This former monastery was founded in 1147. It further developed from the 12th to the 17th century. The main church was built in a transitional style from Romanesque to Gothic. It was of fundamental importance for the dissemination of Gothic architecture over much of northern and central Europe.

After the Reformation broke out, the Duke of Württemberg seized the monastery in 1504 and built his hunting lodge and stables there. Half a century later, the former abbey was given over to a Protestant seminary, which has occupied it ever since.

The monastery complex included a number of craft workshops, which were occupied by lay brothers. Some of these outbuildings are made of stone, others are timber-framed. The whole complex is surrounded by a wall.

Messel Pit

The Messel Pit Fossil contains unique fossils from the Eocene dating back 50 million years. The Messel Pit is a disused quarry, in an ancient lake bed, in which bituminous shale was mined.

The first animal fossil remains discovered were that of a crocodile found in 1875. Subsequent excavations have led to the identification of 40 species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and insects.

The pit first became known for its wealth of fossils around 1900, but serious scientific excavation only started around the 1970s, when falling oil prices made the quarry uneconomical. Commercial oil shale mining ceased in 1971, and a cement factory built in the quarry failed the following year. The land was slotted for use as a landfill, but the plans came to nought, and the Hessian state bought the site in 1991 to secure scientific access.

Museumsinsel (Museum Island)

The Museumsinsel (Museum Island), Berlin, was made a WHS for its modern museum design and its concept to extend the art museum to all people (by chosing a central urban setting).

The development of part of the Spreeinsel into a Museumisland started in the 1820's with the construction of the Altes Museum. In 1841, a masterplan destinated this island for the arts and sciences only. During the following century, four more museums were built:

- Neues Museum

- Nationalgalerie

- Bodemuseum

- Pergamonmuseum.

The buildings fell into disrepair after being bombed during World War II. Now they are being reconstructed.

Muskauer Park

Muskauer Park / Park Muzakowski is a mid 19th century landscape park.

It covers 3.5 square kilometres of land in Poland and 2.1 in Germany. The park extends on both sides of the Lusatian Neisse river, which constitutes the border between the countries.

The founder of the park was Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau (1785-1871), the author of the influential Hints on Landscape Gardening. He was the owner of Bad Muskau since 1811. After prolonged studies in England, in 1815 he founded the Park. As time went by, he established an international school of landscape management in Bad Muskau and outlined the construction of an extensive landscape park with the focus on 'improving' nature.

Pilgrimage Church of Wies

The Pilgrimage Church of Wies is considered a masterpiece of Bavarian Rococo.

The exuberant stucco work and frescoes in lively colours were made between 1745 and 1754 by the brothers Johann Baptist und Dominikus Zimmermann.

In 1738 a miracle appeared in this Alpine valley: tears were seen on a dilapidated wooden figure of the Scourged Saviour. This miracle resulted in a pilgrimage rush to see the sculpture. In 1740 a small chapel was built to house the statue, but it was soon realized that the building would be too small for the number of pilgrims it attracted, and thus Steingaden Abbey decided to commission a separate shrine.

Potsdam

The Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin are an eclectic artistic achievement, with influences from Italy, England, France, Flanders, Paris and Dresden.

Potsdam was the residence of the Prussian kings until 1918; its majestic buildings were built mainly during the reign of Frederick II the Great (1740-1786).

After three extensions in 1991, 1992 and 1999, the site now consists of the following places:

- Sanssouci,

- New Palace,

- Charlottenhof,

- New Garden,

- Babelsberg Park,

- Sacrow estate,

- Linstedt,

- Bornsted,

- Alexandrovka

- and many more small buildings and parks.

Prehistoric Pile Dwellings

The Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps are the remains of prehistoric stilt houses at the edges of lakes and rivers.

The site consists of 111 locations, spread out over 6 countries. They date from 5,000 to 500 BC, and represent the life of early agrarian communities in Europe.

Rising water levels since prehistory led to the abandonment of settlements which were then covered by lake and river sediments. About 30 different cultural groups were responsible for creating these pile dwellings.

Primeval Beech Forests

The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe cover forests of the European beech in 12 countries.

They comprise the largest remaining 'virgin' forests of the European beech ('Fagus sylvatica'). They also hold the largest and tallest beech specimens in the world.

Quedlinburg

Quedlinburg is a town with medieval origins that has a large number of high quality timber-framed buildings. It is located in Saxony-Anhalt, part of the former GDR.

The WHS encompasses the whole town, and consists of several separate areas:

- the historic town within the city walls (an ‘old’ and ‘new’ town, originating from the 10th and 12th centuries respectively, and adorned with many fine buildings during an economic boom in the 16th and 17th century).

- the Westendorf district around the Burgberg (Castle Hill) with the collegiate church of St. Servatius (holding the graves of the first German Royal couple) and the buildings of the Imperial foundation.

- St. Wipert’s church with its crypt (dating from ca. 1000).

- the Münzenberg: the traditionally poor part of the town, with 60 small timber-framed buildings.

In its evaluation, ICOMOS praises the towns’ imperial origins (in 919, Quedlinburg became the first capital of the Saxonian-Ottonian dynasty of the Holy Roman Empire) over its timber-framed buildings.

Rammelsberg and Goslar

The Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management System constitutes of one of the largest mining and metallurgical complexes for non-ferrous metals in Europe.

The Rammelsberg mining complex was in continuous use for at least 1000 years, before it closed its doors in 1988 due to exhaustion. The uniqueness of this site lies in its long history of mining and metal production. A variety of metals were discovered here over the ages, including copper, zinc, lead, silver and gold.

The nearby town of Goslar owns its level of development to the mining industry. It achieved great prosperity in the late Middle Ages thanks to the revenues from mining, metal production and trade. Goslar also played an important role in the Hanseatic League.

In and around Rammelsberg and Goslar a great number of monuments give testimony to this period in history. Among the worldheritage listed are mine-owners' houses, underground tunnels and transportation tracks , office buildings and churches.

Regensburg

The Old town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof has an almost intact medieval city center with many romanesque and gothic buildings.

Regensburg was an important trading centre along the Danube. It was also home of the assemblies of the Holy Roman Empire in the High Middle Ages. Its roots lie in the Roman town of Castra Regina.

Reichenau

The 'Monastic Island of Reichenau' developed around an influential Benedictine Abbey from the year 724. It lies in Lake Constance in southern Germany.

The Abbey of Reichenau housed a school, and a scriptorium and artists' workshop, that has a claim to having been the largest and artistically most influential center for producing lavishly illuminated manuscripts in Europe during the late 10th and early 11th centuries, when this area belonged to the Holy Roman Empire.

The Abbey reached its apex under Abbot Berno of Reichenau (1008-1048). During his time, important scholars, such as Hermannus Contractus, lived and worked in Reichenau.

Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District

The Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District with Chilehaus are two commercial quarters with offices and warehouses close to the port of Hamburg.

They date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The iconic Chilehaus is a ten-story office building. It is an exceptional example of the 1920s Modernist architecture (Brick Expressionism style).

Speyer Cathedral

Speyer Cathedral is one of the most important Romanesque monuments from the time of the Holy Roman Empire.

The cathedral (Dom in German) was inaugurated in 1061. Thirty years before, Emperor Koenraad II gave the order to build it. He wanted to honor a city of his choice with the biggest church of its time. This way Speyer was given the prestige of a real Royal Residence.

In 1689 the cathedral was almost totally destructed. Until today renovations are under way to save the building and reconstruct the interior in the original Romanesque style. Its architecture is a combination of eastern and western influences. The total length of the building is 134 meters, the highest point is 72 meters.

The Crypt is still the original, and harbors the graves of no less than 8 medieval German emperors and kings. They were buried there between 1039 and 1309. It includes also the grave of Emperor Koenraad II, who had to be buried elsewhere the first 2 years after he had died because the crypt was not yet finished at the time of his death.

Stralsund and Wismar

Stralsund and Wismar are two historic coastal cities in north-eastern Germany, that owe WHS status because of their role in the Hanseatic League (13th to 15th centuries) and their Swedish heritage (17th and 18th centuries).

Both towns are rich in gothic religious architecture, sharing six major 'Gothic Brick' churches between them. They also feature unaltered medieval ground plans, and city centres that survived World War II almost unscathed.

This site is considered so closely related and complementary to the Hanseatic City of Lübeck WHS, that ICOMOS recommended turning them into a serial nomination.

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier comprises 17 locations designed by the renowned French-Swiss architect, who is seen as one of the pioneers of modern architecture.

The series shows the dissemination of his ideas over the world during a period of 50 years.

The locations span seven countries on three continents. 10 are situated in France and 2 in Switzerland, the homelands of Le Corbusier (born in Switzerland, became a French citizen). But also Chandigarh (India), National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo (Japan) and Casa Curutchet (Argentina) are included.

Town Hall and Roland, Bremen

The Town Hall and Roland on the Marketplace of Bremen represent the civic autonomy and market freedom during the Holy Roman Empire.

Both Town Hall and Roland are prominently placed on the marketplace of the Hanzestadt Bremen. Bremen today still is an autonomous federal land, situated in north-western Germany.

The Old Town Hall was built in 1409 and renovated in the 17th century. It was especially designed to act as a Town Hall, and used this way over the ages.

The Roland statue is 5,55 meter high and dates from 1404. It stands in front of the Town Hall, but faces sidewards to the church. Roland statues can be found in a number of German towns, they represent market rights and freedom.

Trier

The Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier are the testimonies of a Roman colony and its recognition of Christianity.

Even before the Romans came there was a settlement in this valley. It belonged to the Gallo-Celtic tribe Treveri. Upon their culture, from which remains still can be seen in the regional museum, stumbled Julius Caesar when he conquered this territory in 57 BC.

With Caesar the 500 year long Roman history of Trier began. The city became a cross-roads and a commercial link between major towns in France and along the Rhine.

Trier has a classic rectangular layout, with the Forum (including the most important buildings) in the center. There were also several Roman Baths in town. The oldest preserved building is the Amphitheatre, dating from 100 AD.

During the reign of Constantine the Great (306-337), Trier became an even more splendid city. He built the Dome/Cathedral, the Imperial Baths, the Basilica and several more Christian places of worship (as this was the empire's new religion).

Upper Middle Rhine Valley

The Upper Middle Rhine Valley is a cultural landscape that has been formed by the transport of means and ideas for over 2,000 years.

The Middle Rhine Valley stretches for 65km between Koblenz and Mainz, in central Germany. This area is full off medieval castles, historic towns and vineyards.

The rocky Rhine Valley was already a major traffic route in Roman times. During the Middle Ages, the many castles were built. Its owners levied tolls on the roads and the river, in return for protection against robbers.

Navigating the Rhine itself was also dangerous: there are many currents. Especially the Binger Loch was an obstacle. For a long time it took the power of 40 horses to tow a ship across this treacherous point.

And don't forget the Loreley. This is the most narrow and deepest point along the way. It's also famous for its echo, which features in many legends like the one about the siren Loreley who lures sailors with her voice.

Völklingen Ironworks

The Völklingen Ironworks represent a modern ironmaking plant from the 19th and 20th centuries.

The 'Völklinger Hütte' was founded in 1873 by Julius Buch. Under the direction of the Röchling family (from 1881 on) it developed into one of the most important iron and steel works in Europe.

During its heydays, 17.000 people worked here. They manned the furnaces, stoves, coke ovens, and sintering machines. The entire process of pig iron production was executed in this 6 ha. large spot.

The iron works were closed in 1986.

Wadden Sea

The Wadden Sea is a shallow body of water with tidal flats and wetlands, rich in biological diversity

The word wad is Dutch for "mud flat". The area is typified by extensive tidal mud flats, deeper tidal trenches (tidal creeks) and the islands that are contained within this, a region continually contested by land and sea. The landscape has been formed for a great part by storm tides in the 10th to 14th centuries, overflowing and carrying away former peat land behind the coastal dunes. The present islands are a remnant of the former coastal dunes.

Wartburg Castle

Wartburg Castle has been put on the WH List because it is seen as a "outstanding monument of the feudal period in central Europe".

The origins of Wartburg Castle date back to 1067. In that year a watching tower was constructed here by Ludwig der Springer.

Its current imposing shape started to develop with the construction of the Palas (the main body) in 1155. The Landgraves of Thuringia owned and expanded the castle from that time until the 15th century.

The castle's history has been coloured with theological and artistic highlights rather than for military reasons.

During 1521 and 1522 for example, Martin Luther lived here in exile. He made good use of his time by translating the New Testament into German.

Würzburg Residence

The Würzburg Residence with the Court Gardens and Residence Square represents a highlight in 18th century Baroque palace architecture.

In 1720, the building of this baroque palace started on request of Bishop Johann. It is made of yellow sandstone, which provides a golden glow. The palace has 300 rooms, spread over 3 wings.

The ceiling over the broad staircase is decorated with frescoes made by the Venetian master Tiepolo. The paintings date from 1753, and portray the god Apollo and the four continents.

At the end of World War II, the Residence was partly wrecked by bombs. However, the ceilings (and paintings) did survive.

In the western wing lies the Hofkirche, an elegant red-golden church. The altar is decorated also with paintings of Tiepolo.

Zollverein

The Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen represents the development of traditional heavy industries in Europe, and the innovative architecture that was used.

Mining here started in the middle of the 19th century in the village of Katernberg. Because of its closeness to the major railway to Cologne, the site had the potential to grow.

And it did grow indeed. This culminated in the construction of shaft no. 12 in 1930, with its outer landmarks often named the Eiffel Tower of the Ruhr Area. The architects were Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer, for whom both functionality and aesthetic qualities counted.

Ghana
Asante Traditional Buildings

The Asante Traditional Buildings are the only surviving examples of traditional Ashanti architecture.

Their design and construction, consisting of a timber framework filled up with clay and thatched with sheaves of leaves, is rare nowadays. All designated sites are shrines, but there have been many other buildings in the past in the same architectural style. They have been best preserved in the villages, away from modern construction and warfare.

The WHS consists of a number of buildings (10, 12 or 13?) around Kumasi in central Ghana. Kumasi was once the capital of the great Ashanti Empire. The buildings consist of four rooms around a quadrangular courtyard. Three of the rooms (those for drumming, singing and cooking) are open, while the fourth (the actual shrine) is closed to all but the priest and his assistants. The inner courtyards are usually littered with fetishes. The shrine is home to Obosomfie, the spiritual abode of a deity, who manifests itself through a fetish priest. Some of the enlisted buildings still have priests, some don't.

The buildings traditionally have steep thatched roofs. Their lower walls are painted orange/red, and the upper walls are whitewashed. The walls hold symbolic murals, like those on the adinkra cloth.

Forts and Castles Gold Coast

"Forts and Castles, Volta, Greater Accra, Central and Western Regions" is the collective designation of Western-style fortifications and outposts (mostly Portuguese, Dutch and British) along the Gold Coast during the colonial period.

They were constructed as posts for the trade in gold and later slaves.

The term specifically applies to 11 ensembles designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979:

- Elmina Castle, Elmina

- Fort Saint Antony, Axim

- English Fort (Fort Vrendenburg), Komenda

- Fort Metal Cross, Dixcove

- Fort San Sebastian, Shama

- Fort Batenstein, Butri

- Fort St. Jago (Fort Conraadsburg), Elmina

- Fort Amsterdam, Abandze

- Fort Patience (Fort Leysaemhyt), Apam

- Cape Coast Castle, Cape Coast

- Fort Good Hope (Fort Goedehoop), Senya Beraku

Greece
Acropolis

The Acropolis, Athens holds a group of monuments that have been influential from Antiquity to Neo-Classicism.

Acropolis means Upper City, although it hasn't been a city where people live since the 6th century BC. The monuments are situated on a 60 meter high rock that dominates Athens. Since the 5th century the Acropolis has city walls, turning it into a strong fortification.

On top of the rock, some of the best monuments of Classical Greece can be found. The much-photographed Parthenon for example. The current remains date from the 5th century BC, though 2 earlier temples have been discovered on the site. The Parthenon was built to honour Athena Parthenos (or Pallas). It's a Doric temple, with 8 columns at the narrow sides and 17 columns along the length of each of the two long sides. Inside there was a statue of Athena, made of gold and ivory by Pheidias. Unfortunately, this hasn't survived the ages.

Archaeological Site of Aigai

The Archaeological Site of Aigai (modern name Vergina) became famous in 1977, when the tomb of Alexander the Great's father, King Philip of Macedon, was discovered there. This proved undoubtedly that Vergina was ancient Macedonia's first capital, Aegae.

Aegae was inhabited from the early Iron Age (1000-700 BC) onwards. It was the capital of the Macedonian state until King Archelaus transferred his seat to Pella. However, also then it remained customary for Macedonia's kings to be buried in the original capital.

Aegae flourished chiefly in the second half of the 4th century B.C. To this period belong the Palace, Theatre and the Tombs. In 168 B.C. the city was seized by the Romans and burnt down.

Archaeological Site of Delphi

The Archaeological Site of Delphi comprises the remains of a sanctuary that was the "navel of the world" and had a huge impact on the ancient world.

Delphi reached its height in the 4th century BC, when large numbers of pilgrims came to ask advice of its oracle. The oracle, an old priestess, was believed to be Apollo's mouthpiece. She answered the visitor's questions (via a priest), inhaling the fumes of a chasm.

In return, the pilgrims brought lots of votive gifts to the temple. Also city-states like Athens and Thebes contributed with treasuries and statues, thanking Apollo for supporting them in wars.

Delphi's fame dwindled in 191 BC, when it was taken by the Romans. It was totally closed down in the 4th century AD by Theodosius, who wanted to get rid of the pagan sanctuaries.

Archaeological site of Philippi

The Archaeological Site of Philippi comprises the ruins of a Macedon city, that saw its heyday in Roman and Early Christian times. Philippi was founded in 356 BCE by King Phillip II (and named after himself), on a strategic location on the east-west route through his empire which was later reconstructed by the Romans as the Via Egnatia.

The city later became a center of Christian faith and place of pilgrimage, because according to the New Testament it had been visited by the Apostle Paul around 49 or 50 A.D. The first church in Philippi was established in the year 343.

Notable remaining monuments within the walled city include:

- Greek theatre

- Roman Forum

- Octagon Church

- transept Basilica

- domed Basilica

- sections of paving of the Via Egnatia

Corfu

The Old Town of Corfu is noted for its defence system dating from the Venetian period. It also has preserved its remarkable British Neoclassical housing of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Venetians built two fortresses to withstand the Ottomans, in 1555 and 1588 respectively. The British demolished most of them in the 19th century, during the period when Corfu was a British protectorate (1815-1864).

Delos

Delos is a small island and archaelogical site that is part of the Cyclades island group. It has been made a WHS because of:

- its role in early archaeology,

- its part in Aegean history,

- its important role as cosmopolitan Mediterranean port from the 4th to the 1st century BC,

- it being the mythological birthplace of Apollo and Artemis.

Epidaurus

The Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus is renowned for its influential healing cult and Hellenic architecture, especially its theatre.

The site is situated on the Peloponnesus peninsula. To the ancient Greeks Asklepios was the God of Medicine. A son of Apollo, he was given the healing gift after his mother died at his birth.

From the 4th century BC, Epidauros became widely known as a sanctuary to Asclepius. There were temples and hospitals here, and people from as far as Rome to seek help. Treatments included licks from snakes.

Also, every four years the Festival of Asclepieia took place at Epidaurus. Dramas were staged and athletic competitions were held. Today's best preserved building - the theatre - links to this.

Island of Patmos

The Historic Centre (Chorá) with the Monastery of Saint John "the Theologian" and the Cave of the Apocalypse on the Island of Pátmos represent a traditional Greek Orthodox pilgrimage centre.

The designated area consists of 3 parts:

- Chorá: the town centre, including mostly 17th century small churches and residential houses

- Monastery of Hagios Ioannis Theologos: a castle-like structure that dominates the island (constructed in 1088)

- Cave of the Apocalypse: a holy place, venerated by both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox as the cave where St. John the Apostle had visions.

Meteora

The Meteora or 'columns of the sky' are a group of monasteries built on spectacular natural sandstone rock pillars in central Greece. Monks settled on these peaks from the 11th century onwards. The site was made a WHS both for its cultural (frescoes, monastic life, construction method) and natural qualities.

The Meteora group consists of six working monasteries:

- Agia Triada or Holy Trinity

- Varlaam Monastery

- Monastery of Agios Nikolaos Anapafsas

- Megalo Meteoro

- Roussanou Monastery

- Agios Stefanos

Monasteries of Daphni, Hosios Loukas and Nea Moni of Chios

The Monasteries of Daphni, Hossios Luckas and Nea Moni of Chios are masterpieces of the 'second golden age of Byzantine art'. The three monasteries date from the 11th and 12th century. They have the same typology and aesthetic features, with marble and mosaic decorations.

They are geographically distant from each other: the monastery of Daphni is located in Attica, near Athens, the Hossios Luckas is located in Phocida near Delphi, and the Nea Moni of Chios is on the Aegean island of Chios.

Mount Athos

Mount Athos is a holy mountain that has been the spiritual centre of the orthodox world since 1054, and combines natural beauty with architectural creation. It lies on a peninsula of about 50x10km in the Aegean Sea.

The area, which is forbidden to women and children, includes 20 monasteries. They have been influential on religious architecture and iconographic painting. The Monastery of Great Lavra is the first monastery built and the most prominent. Its library has one of the richest collections of Greek manuscripts in the world.

Mount Athos is also home to 12 "sketes", communities of Christian hermits.

Mycenae and Tiryns

Mycenae and Tiryns were the two greatest cities of the Mycenaean civilisation. Between 1600 and 1200 BC, its kingdom was the most powerful in Greece. Homer, in his Iliad and Odyssey, spoke of it as "rich in gold".

Mycenae consisted of a fortified citadel and surrounding settlement. Its walls were 13 meters high, and 7 meters thick. The walls of the city of Tiryns are even more immense: in parts they are 20 meters thick.

The Myceneans prospered through their trade with eastern mediterranean neighbours like the Hittites and Egyptians. Around 1200 this all came to an end, and the palaces were destroyed.

Mystras

The Archaeological Site of Mystras is a relict townscape from the 13th century.

After having conquered Constantinople in 1204, the Crusaders divided Greece among themselves. Small states were created. One of those was Mystras, established by Guillaume de Villehardouin. It started as a castle, but the inhabitants of nearby Sparta fled to this safe place and developed it into a city.

At the end of the 14th century, Mystras was the centre of the Peloponnesus and flourished as never before. It also became an intellectual centre, where artists and writers found a refuge.

In 1460, Mystras fell into Turkish hands. It lost its grand status but remained a commercial centre where at one stage 42.000 people lived. The city finally came to its end after a fire in 1825.

Olympia

The Archaeological Site of Olympia holds several masterpieces from the Ancient Greek world and was the site of the original Olympic Games. Already in the 10th century BC, Olympia became a center of worship to Zeus. It flourished until AD 426, the year in which the emperor Theodosius II closed all the ancient sanctuaries.

Olympia now is mainly remembered for the games that were held here every 4 years. They existed even in prehistoric times, but got their pan-hellenic character in 776 BC. Victors won a crown with a branch of the olive tree that stood near the temple of Zeus.

Pythagoreion and Heraion of Samos

The Pythagoreion and Heraion of Samos are the remains of two impressive classical architectural structures.

The Pythagoreion was an ancient fortified port with Greek and Roman monuments. It holds the Tunnel of Eupalinos. This, also known as the Eupalinian aqueduct, is a tunnel of 1,036 m length built in the sixth century BC. The tunnel is the second known tunnel in history which was excavated from both ends, and the first with a methodical approach in doing so. The Eupalinos tunnel was also the longest tunnel of its time.

The Heraion of Samos was a sanctuary originating from the 8th century BCE. A temple stood opposite the cult altar of the goddess Hera. It was the first of the gigantic Ionic temples. Unfortunately it stood for only about a decade before it was destroyed, probably by an earthquake. After that, an even larger one was built approximately 40 m to the West. This temple has the largest known floor plan of any Greek temple and is known as the "Polycrates Temple", named after a tyrant of Samos.

Rhodes

The Medieval City of Rhodes, built by the Christian military order Knights Hospitalers, is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe. The city center is located within a 4km long wall. It has numerous fine Frankish (Gothic) and Ottoman buildings.

Notable monuments include:

- Collachium (high town), built by the Knights Hospitalers

- Grand Masters' Palace

- St. John's cathedral

- St. Mary's church

- several Byzantine churches turned into mosques after 1523

- city ramparts

Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae

The Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae was an Ancient Greek temple known for its architecture. It is located in a rural location and was dedicated to the god of healing.

The temple was built from 420 to 400 BC. Its architect probably was Iktinos. It is a Doric temple, with dimensions of 14.48 x 38.24 m. Part of it is modelled after the temple of Apollo at Delphi.

The originality of this monument lies in its internal design. A 31 meter long frieze encircled the inside on all four sides. This masterpiece has been transported to the British Museum in London. The temple also boasts the oldest Corinthian capital that has so far been found.

Thessalonika

The Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessalonika are a group of religious monuments known for their mosaics and distinct architectural typology.

Thessaloniki is Greece's second largest city, situated in the northeast, in Macedonia prefecture. During its heydays, in the Byzantine period, it was also the empire's second city (to Constantinople, in that case).

Thessaloniki derives its name from the first daughter of King Philip of Macedon. She married Kassandros, Alexander the Great's general who succeeded him on the throne. He gave her name to the city he founded around 316 B.C.

Guatemala
Antigua Guatemala

Antigua Guatemala is known for its Spanish colonial architecture. Antigua was founded in the early 16th century.

It served as the capital for the Spanish colonial government in Central America. After several earthquakes in the 18th century, the seat of government was moved to a safer place. The name Antigua dates from this period and refers to the Old one.

In its years as capital Antigua had a population of about 80.000 people. The catholic church, including a large number of sects, was very powerful and wealthy. This resulted in the counstruction of numerous churches and monasteries, one even more beautiful than the other.

Quirigua

The Archaeological Park and Ruins of Quirigua comprise an ancient Maya site, which contains some outstanding 8th-century monuments that were constructed during the reign of Cauac Sky.

Quirigua remains important due largely to its wealth of sculpture, including the tallest stone monuments ever erected in the New World. They include carved stelae and sculpted calendars that constitute an essential source for the study of Mayan civilization.

Tikal National Park

Tikal National Park holds one of the most important archaeological findplaces in the world. In the jungle of Tikal, archaeologists discovered more than 3000 pre-Columbian monuments.

Among them are palaces, temples, houses, streets and balplaygrounds. The city was probably inhabited between 600 BC and 900 AD.

At its height from 700 AD to 800 AD the city supported a population of 90,000 Mayan Indians. They had made the transition from hunters to farmers: excavations have yielded remains of cotton, tobacco, beans, pumpkins, peppers and many fruits.

The natural surroundings of Tikal are also rewarded by this inscription. In the 22,100 ha rain forest several animal species have their home: among them howler monkeys, anteaters, crocodiles, racoons, skunks, weasels and various birds.

Guinea
Mount Nimba

Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve includes significant portions of Mount Nimba, a geographically unique area with a high number of endemic plant and animal species.

These species include multiple types of duikers, big cats, civets, and several types of viviparous toads. It also has a population of chimpanzees using stones as tools.

Mount Nimba is shared between Guinea, Ivory Coast and Liberia. The part of the latter country is excluded from the protected areas. The mountain reaches 1752m, and is part of a 40km long ridge.

The Nature Reserve consists of high altitude grassland, plains savannah and primary forest including rain forest.

The site has been in danger since 1992, since Guinea allowed mining for iron ore and because of the massive arrival of Liberian refugees. The area suffers also from lack of management, poaching and uncontrolled fires.

Haiti
National History Park

National History Park - Citadel, Sans-Souci, Ramiers is the largest fortress in the Western Hemisphere, and was built when Haiti became a free republic.

It consists of:

- the Palace of Sans Souci

- the Citadelle Laferrière

- the buildings of Ramiers

The Sans-Souci Palace was the royal residence of King Henri I (better known as Henri Christophe, a key leader during the Haitian slave rebellion) of Haiti. Construction of the palace started in 1810 and was completed in 1813.

The Citadelle Henri Christophe, known as Citadelle Laferrière is a large mountaintop fortress. It was built by Henri Christophe after Haiti gained independence from France at the beginning of the 19th century. The massive stone structure was built by up to 20,000 enslaved workers between 1805 and 1820 as part of a system of fortifications designed to keep the newly-independent nation of Haiti safe from French incursions.

Holy See
Rome

The Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura comprise major monuments of Roman antiquity and papal history.

The city of Rome exists since the 4th or 5th century BC, or - according to legend - was founded by Romulus and Remus in 753 B.C.

There are still several remains to be found in this modern city dating from the period of the Classical Roman Empire: The Forum Romanum (the former political center) still holds a central position in town. The Colosseum and a triumphal arch are around the corner.

Also, the Therms of Caracalla are not far away: a large public bath house where also restaurants, libraries and other forms of leisure activities could be performed. Except for the walls, now there are only some mosaics and wallpaintings left.

In 1990, the inscription was extended with properties of the Holy See which are located in the historic centre of Rome. Among them the Basilica of San Paolo fuori le Mura.

Vatican City

Vatican City is an important site in the history of Christianity that is also known for its Renaissance and Baroque artistic creations.

Most famous monument within this small city state is of course the San Pietro Basilica. Until 1989 this was the biggest cathedral in Christianity (now it is surpassed by his replica in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast). The current structure dates from the early 16th century, although there have been churches on this site since 326 AD.

The Sistine Chapel is the other remarkable item here. Dating from the late 15th century, this papal conference room is decorated by a series of paintings by a.o. Michelangelo. Between 1535 and 1541 he added his masterpiece: The Last Judgement. After restauration in the 1980s, visitors can enjoy again the marvellous glow of his art.

Honduras
Copan

The Maya Site of Copan in western Honduras is one of the most important sites of the Mayan civilization from the Classic era (5th century - 9th century AD). The site was abandoned shortly after 900.

The main complex consists of the Acropolis and five plazas, with ball courts, temples and altar complexes. Highlight is the hieroglyphic inscription on Hierogplyphic Stairway Plaza.

Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve

The Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve encompasses both mountainous and lowland tropical rainforest, full of diverse wildlife and plant life.

Endangered animals like the Giant Anteater, Ocelot and Jaguar can be found here.

The Reserve is located on the Río Plátano in the La Mosquitia region on the Caribbean coast of Honduras. Miskito and Paya Indians still live in the forests. They are responsible for stone inscriptions and petroglyphs.

Hungary
Aggtelek and Slovak Karst

The Caves of the Aggtelek and Slovak Karst is a transboundary karst cave system, noted for its high concentration of caves and their great variety in cave types.

There are 712 caves in total. Features include the world's highest stalagmite and an ice filled abyss.

The following caves are part of the inscribed area:

- Baradla-Domica Cave System

- Béke-barlang Cave

- Kossuth-barlang Cave

- Meteor-barlang Cave

- Rákóczi 1.sz. barlang Cave

- Rákóczi 2.sz,.barlang Cave

- Rejtek-szomboly Chasm

- Szabadság-barlang Cave

- Vass Imre-barlang Cave

- Vecsem-bükki-szomboly Chasm

- Baradla-Domica Cave System

- Diviaèia Chasm

- Drienovská Cave

- Gombasecká Cave-Silicka Jadnica Ice Cave System

- Hrušovská Cave

- Jasovská Cave

- Krásnohorská Cave

- Ochtinská aragonitová Cave

- Obrovská Chasm

- System of the Skalistý potok Cave

- Snežná diera Cave

- Zvonivá diera Chasm

- Dobšinská Ice Cave

Budapest

Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue, holds a number of influential constructions from the Middle Ages to the late 19th century.

The Budapest World Heritage Site consists of three parts:

1. Buda Castle Quarter

This holds the city's medieval sites, with Buda Castle. Also there are the remains of the original Roman town Aquincum.

2. Banks of the Danube

This includes the Parliament (1884-1904) and the suspension bridge (1849).

3. Andrássy Avenue

The extension with Andrássy Avenue in the year 2000 included the Opera, Millennium Park and the Underground Railway.

Early Christian Necropolis of Pécs

The Early Christian Necropolis of Pécs (Sopianae) contains a number of underground tombs with impressive murals depicting Christian themes.

In the first half of the 4th century Pécs (then named Sopianae by the Romans) became an important Christian city. This Christian cemetery dates back to this age.

The nomination comprises 16 monuments, among which are burial chambers, chapels and a mausoleum.

Fertö/Neusiedlersee

Fertö/Neusiedlersee Cultural Landscape is the result of the symbiotic process of human interaction with second largest steppe lake in Central Europe.

Traces of human settlement around Lake Neusiedl go back to the neolithic period. The area became densely populated from the 7th century BC onward, initially by people of the Hallstatt culture and remained so throughout Roman times.

The designated area comprises of the settlements of Podersdorf, Illmitz and Apetion, parts of Rust and Fertörákos, the Palace of Nagycenk and Fertöd Palace.

Most of the lake is surrounded by reeds which serve as a habitat for wildlife (making the lake an important resting place for migratory birds) and are harvested in winter as soon as the ice is solid enough.

Hollókö

The Old Village of Hollókö and its surroundings is a living example of rural life before the agricultural revolution of the 20th century. It developed mainly during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Hollókö is an Palóc ethnographic village, an ethnic minority group in north-east Hungary.

Hortobágy

Hortobágy National Park - the Puszta is the biggest grassland that remained in Central Europe.

Hortobágy is similar to a steppe, a grassy plain with cattle, sheep, oxen, horses, tended by herdsmen, and it provides habitat for various different species (342 bird species have been registered to appear).

The landscape features the following manmade structures:

- Early Bronze Age burial mounds (kurgans)

- low mounds (tells) that mark the sites of ancient settlements

- bridges, among which the Nine Arch Bridge (the longest stone bridge in Hungary)

- csárdas (18th and 19th century provincial inns for travellers)

Pannonhalma

The Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural Environment was the first Hungarian Christian monastery and has been influential for the spread of Christianity over Central Europe.

It was founded in 996, when Hungary was primarily a pagan culture. It's an example of an early Christian monastery that still is in use.

The hill where the monastery was constructed was called Sacred Mount of Pannonia, after the Roman name for this area.

In the 1590's the monks left the monastery due to a siege by the Turks. Monastic life resumed in the first half of the 17th century.

About 50 Benedictine monks still live in this monastery. They chiefly work in the on site boarding school.

This site has strong links with two other Benedictine WHS, Mont Saint-Michel and the Convent of St. Gall.

Tokaji Wine Region

The Tokaji Wine Region Historic Cultural Landscape consists of 28 named villages and 7,000 hectares of classified vineyards.

It is the origin of Tokaji aszú wine, the world's oldest botrytized wine.

This agricultural landscape represents a distinct viticultural tradition that has existed for at least a thousand years.

Iceland
Surtsey

Surtsey is a volcanic island that was formed in a volcanic eruption in the sea which reached the surface on 14 November 1963.

The eruption may have started a few days earlier and lasted until 5 June 1967.

The new island was named after the fire god Surtr from Norse mythology, and was intensively studied by volcanologists during its creation and, since the end of the eruption, has been of great interest to botanists and biologists as life has gradually colonised the originally barren island.

Thingvellir

Thingvellir National Park is a cultural landscape representing mediaeval Norse/Germanic culture.

It lies in the the southwest of Iceland near the peninsula of Reykjanes and the Hengill volcanic area.

The valley is one of the most important places in Icelandic history. In the year 930, the Althing, one of the oldest parliamentary institutions of the world, was founded. The Althing met yearly, where the Lawspeaker recited the law to all of the gathered people and decided disputes as well. Criminals were also punished at these assemblies; to this day, visitors can see the Drekkingarhylur ("drowning pool") in the river, where woman lawbreakers were drowned.

India
Agra Fort

Agra Fort is a 16th century Mughal red sandstone fortress.

The great Mughals Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb lived here, and the country was governed from here. It has massive red walls, with an outline of 2.5 kilometers. Within the walls, palaces, mosques and reception rooms can be found.

The most beautiful parts were added in the 17th century, by Shah Jahan. A lot of its white marble was used for the inside of Agra Fort too.

Ahmadabad

The Historic City of Ahmadabad is a walled city dating from the 15th century, especially known for its fusion of Hindu, Jain and Islamic elements.

Further notable are its wooden houses (pol). The city wall dates from 1759.

Ajanta Caves

The Ajanta Caves are rock-cut cave monuments dating from the second century BCE, containing paintings and sculpture considered to be masterpieces of both "Buddhist religious art" and "universal pictorial art".

The complex of Ajanta consists of several viharas (monastic halls of residence) and chaitya-grihas (stupa monument halls) cut into the mountain scarp in two phases.

Champaner-Pavagadh

The Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park holds a largely unexcavated city which has been built in the late 15th / early 16th century as the capital of Gujarat. It is an early Islamic, pre-Mughal city and its architecture shows the transition between the Hindu and Muslim traditions.

The monuments are situated at the foot and around the Pavagadh hill. This hill measures 800 m and was once standing as a fortress of the Hindus under the regime of the Solanki Kings and later under the Khichi Chauhans. The young Sultan of Gujarat, Mahmud Begada, captured the fort on 21 November 1484, after a siege of 20 months. He then spent 23 years rebuilding and embellishing Champaner, which he renamed Muhammadabad, after which he moved the capital there from Ahmedabad. The new city was built at the foot of the hill and not on top of it, as the previous settlements were. The town finally succumbed to attacks from the Mughal Emperor Humayun in 1535. It was then deserted with no more important construction periods.

The designated area includes over 100 monuments, including fortifications, water installations and different standing structures. At the top of the hill is the temple of Kalikameta. There are also five mosques that are in excellent state. Some of them are forerunners of the Mughal architecture, being a mix of Hindu traditions and craftsmanship with Moslem ideology. The most significant of them is the Jama Masjid, also built by Sultan Begada. It is an imposing structure on a high plinth, with a central dome, two minarets 30 meters in height, 172 pillars, seven mihrabs, and carved entrance gates with fine stone jalis.

Thousands of people visit the Patha, or pilgrims route, every year to the living village of Champaner.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) is a 19th century railway station in Mumbai, that is known for its architectural mix of Victorian Gothic Revival and traditional Indian features.

It is a symbol of the blossom period of Mumbai as a commercial city in the late 19th century.

The station was opened in 1887, on the Silver Jubilee of Empress Victoria. Its architect was Frederick William Stevens, who implemented advanced structural and technical solutions. He designed it in the Gothic Revival style. This essentially Italian style has many similarities to traditional Indian palace architecture, such as the use of turrets, colouring and ground plan. The building's major focal point is its octagonal central dome.

The station was originally named "Victoria Terminus". In 1996, in response to demands by the Shiv Sena and in keeping with the policy of renaming locations with Indian names, the station was renamed by the state government after Chhatrapati Shivaji, a famed 17th century Maratha king.

The station is among a series of Gothic public buildings that give South Mumbai its grandeur. A proposed extension to include the nearby Churchgate Buildings features on India's Tentative List.

Chola Temples

The Great Living Chola Temples are three granite temples dedicated to Shiva, that show the progressive development of Chola architecture and art.

They illustrate the Chola civilization between the 10th and 13th centuries, which succeeded the Pallavan dynasty (that was responsible for Mahabalipuram) in South India.

The three included temples are:

- Brihadisvara Temple in Thanjavur: the earliest and most representative monument. Built 1003-1010, during the reign of king Rajaraja, the founder of the Chola Empire which stretched out over South India and the neighbouring islands.

- And the temples of Gangaikondacholapuram and Darasuram, built by his successors and following the main characteristics of the one in Thanjavur

Their layout is different from other South Indian temples, as the Vimana (sanctuary) is the highest point of the complex, not the Gopuram (gates). The tall Vimanas with many tiers as the core feature of the temples and the elaborate sculpted decoration represent the divinities and mythological figures related to the Tamil beliefs.

In all three temples traditional religious rituals continue to be performed there by the general public.

Churches and Convents of Goa

The Churches and Convents of Goa are a group of Catholic religious buildings that have been influential for spreading both the faith and their Portuguese style of art and architecture around Asia.

They are located in Old Goa, which from 1565 was the capital of the Portuguese Indies. It was abandoned as such in 1760 because of a malaria outbreak.

The main buildings that are included, are:

- St. Catherine's Chapel

- Church and Convent of Francis of Assisi

- Sé Cathedral

- Basilica of Bom Jesus

- Church of Saint Cajetan including the seminary

- Church of Our Lady of the Rosary

- St. Augustine Tower

The Basilica of Bom Jesus holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, a missionary across Asia (India, Japan, China) who died in 1552. He is regarded as the patron saint of Goa. Once every decade on December 3, the body is taken down for veneration and for public viewing.

Elephanta Caves

The Elephanta Caves are two groups of caves that contain Hindu and Buddhist rock art architecture.

The reliefs and sculptures in the caves has been dated to between the 5th or 6th and 8th centuries. The Hindu caves are dedicated to the god Shiva. These were regular Hindu places of worship, and during the festival of Shiva still continue to be so.

The caves are hewn from solid basalt rock. All caves were painted in the past, but only traces remain.

The caves are located on the Elephanta Island in the Mumbai harbour. The Portuguese named the island "Elephanta Island" in honour of a huge rock-cut black stone statue of an elephant that was then installed on a mound on the island. That elephant now sits in the Jijamata Udyaan zoo in Mumbai.

Ellora Caves

The Ellora Caves are an archeological site that represents the epitome of Indian rock-cut architecture.

The 35 "caves" - actually structures excavated out of the vertical face of the Charanandri hills - comprised of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain cave temples and monasteries, were built between the 5th century and 10th century. The 12 Buddhist (caves 1-12), 17 Hindu (caves 13-29) and 5 Jain caves (caves 30-34), built in proximity, demonstrate the religious harmony prevalent during this period of Indian history.

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri is a Moghul architectural ensemble that has been influential on the evolution of town planning.

Between 1570 and 1586 Fatehpur Sikri was the capital of the Moghul-empire. The Moghuls experienced their hey-day, and their leader Akbar wanted to construct a dreamcity where he and his large harem could live a glorious life.

However, because of unknown reasons (lack of water? a large war somewhere else in the empire?) Akbar and his followers left the city suddenly.

What is remaining now is a very well preserved ghost town, that gives insight in the architectural style from its period in history. The city has a mosque, several palaces, a caravanserai and broad streets and squares. The buildings are made of red sandstone.

Great Himalayan National Park

The Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area is an undisturbed habitat in the ecologically distinct Western Himalayas.

It holds diverse flora with greatest concentration of medicinal plants known for all of the Himalayas. It is the habitat of 4 globally threatened mammals such as Snow Leopard and Himalayan Brown Bear, and 3 globally threatened birds including the Western Tragopan pheasant.

The park lies in the Himalayan mountains in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The site covers Great Himalayan National Park plus the Tirthan and Sainj Wildlife Sanctuaries.

Hampi

The Group of Monuments at Hampi represent the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara empire. This was a South Indian empire, dating from 1336 to 1646.

The buildings in the city are mostly built in the original native traditions of southern India, associated with the Hindu religion. Some of them show a certain amount of Islamic influence due the interaction with Islamic kingdoms.

Hill Forts of Rajasthan

The Hill Forts of Rajasthan are 6 military fortifications built in the Rajput cultural tradition.

The included forts are:

- Chittorgarh Fort

- Kumbhalgarh Fort

- Ranthambore Fort

- Gagron Fort

- Amber Fort

- Jaisalmer Fort

Humayun's Tomb

Humayun's Tomb, Delhi is a landmark in the development of Mughal architecture.

It was built in 1570 for Humayun the second Mughal Emperor of India. The architect was Mirak Mirza Ghiyath, under the direction of Humayun's widow. He used mainly red sandstone, with white and black marble inlays.

The tomb and the complex around it now contains about 150 graves of ruling family members.

Around the tomb is an accomplished Charbagh garden, with pools joined by channels. It was modelled after Persian and Central Asian gardens, and was the first introduction of the Garden Tomb concept in the Indian subcontinent.

Jantar Mantar

The Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Maharaja (King) Jai Singh II at his then new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1734.

It is modeled after the one that he had built for him at the Mughal capital of Delhi. He had constructed a total of five such facilities at different locations, including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur.

The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved of these. It has been inscribed on the World Heritage List as "an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period".

Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park is the world's primary protection area of the Indian rhino.

The park is located in Assam, Northeast India. The natural surroundings consist of tall elephant grass, marshland, and dense tropical moist broadleaf forests, crisscrossed by four major rivers, including the Brahmaputra, and the park includes numerous small bodies of water.

Two-thirds of the world's Great One-horned Rhinoceroses live in the park, and Kaziranga has the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world. The park also has large breeding populations of elephants, water buffalo and swamp deer. Located on the edge of the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot, the park combines high-species diversity and visibility.

Keoladeo National Park

Keoladeo National Park is famous for its (water)birds. 375 species can be found here, among them the rare Siberian crane.

The park is an important wintering place for birds from colder countries in the North, like Siberia and China.

During colonial times, the area was used as a duck hunting ground. Since 1981 it is a national park.

Keoladeo Park is situated in the town of Bharatpur, 55 kilometers from Agra. It is best visited during the monsoon, when the park comes alive and the birds start courting and nesting.

Khajuraho Group of Monuments

The Khajuraho Group of Monuments date from around 1000 AD, when the Chandella Dynasty ruled this area. Originally there were 85 temples, of which only 22 still exist. There are both Brahman and Jain temples at the site.

The temples are beautifully decorated on the outside: bands of sculptures surround the walls. These depict life in the time of the Chandellas. Some of the sculptures are remarkable because of their erotic displayings.

Khangchendzonga National Park

Khangchendzonga National Park is a mixed site known for its glacial mountains and sacred cultural landscape. This Himalayan site includes the 8586m high peak of Khangchendzonga, the 3rd highest in the world.

The landscape features glaciers and glacial lakes, and is the habitat of species such as the snow leopard, red panda and Asian black bear.

For the local Sikkimese population, the area has important sacred significance. Both shamanic and Tibetan Buddhist traditions are kept alive in this cultural landscape.

Mahabalipuram

The Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram consists of temples and reliefs from the 7th century Pallava-dynasty, known for their sculptures carved out of rock.

Mahabalipuram was a seaport of the South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas, before they lost power to the Cholas.

The sculptures were hewn out of local granite. They fall into 4 different categories by mode of execution:

1. rock-cut caves

2. monolithic temples or rathas, hewn out of a large boulder

3. bas-reliefs in the open air

4. structural temples

The bas-relief “Descent of the Ganges” (also known as Arjuna’s Penance) is considered to be a unique artistic achievement.

The sculptures of Mahabalipuram have influenced those in Cambodia, Annam and Java.

Mahabodhi Temple Complex

The Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya is one of the four holy sites of Buddhism. It is the location where Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, attained enlightenment.

The current temple dates from the 5th and 6th centuries. Being one of the few surviving examples of early brick architecture in India, it has yielded significant influence in the development of architecture in brick.

The site is located in the city of Bodh Gaya, Bihar. It consists of the main temple, six sacred places within an enclosed area and the Lotus Pond, just outside the enclosure to the south.

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary

The Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Himalayan foothills and known for its tiger and elephant populations. The park is densly forested. The Manas river a major tributary of the Brahmaputra.

The fauna of the park includes Tigers, Elephants, Rhinoceros, Wild Buffaloes, Leopards, Clouded Leopards Black Panthers, Gaurs, Swamp Deer, Capped Langurs, Golden Langurs, Assamese Macaques, Slow Loris, Hoolock Gibbons, Smooth Indian Otters, Sloth Bears, Barking Deer, Hog Deer, Sambar and Chital. It is also well known for its rare and endangered wildlife which is not found anywhere else in the world like the Assam Roofed Turtle, Hispid Hare, Golden Langur and Pygmy Hog.

In 1992, UNESCO declared it as a world heritage site in danger due to heavy poaching and terrorist activities.

Mountain Railways of India

The Mountain Railways of India are three fully operational railway tracks that are fine examples of 19th century technology and the changes they brought with them. These railways built during the British colonial period stimulated population movements between the plains and the mountains.

The site includes the following 3 railway systems:

- Darjeeling Himalayan Railway: the first of the railways to become a WHS; it is a 86 km long narrow gauge railway from Siliguri to Darjeeling in West Bengal, built 1879-1881. It uses zigzags, with traction reversal and spirals.

- Nilgiri Mountain Railway: a rack railway of 46 km long between Mettupalayam and Ooty in Tamil Nadu; it includes original stations, rolling stock and steam locs.

- Kalka-Shimla Railway: a narrow gauge railway from Kalka to Shimla in North-West India. It uses very heavy and complex engineering, including multi-arch viaducts, tunnels, retaining walls and a very large number of curves, in order to overcome the mountain conditions.

Nalanda

The 'Excavated remains of Nalanda Mahavihara' comprise the ruins of a Buddhist monastic and educational center.

The main stupa was built by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC and contains the relics of Sariputta, one of two chief male disciples of Gautama Buddha. The remains consist of an earlier cluster of stupa-centered buildings and a later linear system on a north-south axis.

Apart from religious buildings, the site contained 11 ‘viharas’ (used for study and housing). Nalanda was one of the most important places of learning in its day and is often characterised among India's early universities. It attracted scholars and students from near and far with some travelling all the way from Tibet, China, Korea, and Central Asia. The site was abandoned in the 13th century.

Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers

Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks cover a high-altitude mountain valley renowned for its diverse alpine flora. The two parks are located in the Himalayas.

Nanda Devi National Park is dominated by India's second highest mountain, the Nanda Devi. It is largely unspoilt and free from human settlement. It has been closed to foreign visitors until 1974. Threatened mammals in the area include the snow leopard and Himalayan musk deer.

The Valley of Flowers National Park lies at a distance of 23km from Nanda Devi. It is also uninhabited. It is home to tahr, snow leopard, musk deer, red fox, common langur, bharal, serow, Himalayan black bear and a huge variety of butterflies. Its diverse flora is known for its medicinal plants.

Pattadakal

The Group of Monuments at Pattadakal are temples and architectural models that show both Dravidian (South Indian) and Indo-Aryan (North-Indian) styles of architecture, and a unique blend of these two.

They were commissioned by the Chalukya Dynasty who ruled part of South India. The constructions mainly date from the 7th and 8th centuries. They include 9 Shiva Temples and 1 Jain Temple. Part of the site is still in use as an active centre of worship, mainly at the sacred bull Nandi that is made of black granite and fully intact.

Pattadakal was the ceremonial capital of the Chalukyas, who also ruled from nearby Aihole and Badami. The epogee of their art can be seen in Pattadakal, with the Virupaksha temple as the masterpiece. Pattadakal seems to have functioned as a kind of Art School, where forms of architecture and sculpture were tried out at models before applying them at the main temples.

Qutb Minar

Qutb Minar and its monuments is a group of religious and funerary buildings that display the architectural and artistic achievements of early Islamic India. They are located in South Delhi.

The complex includes:

- Quwwatu'l-Islam mosque, the earliest extant mosque in northern India.

- Qutb Minar, a red sandstone tower, 72.5 m high. Its construction was started around 1202 by Qutbu'd-Din Aibak, the first Muslim Sultan of Delhi. It has five storeys, and is the highest stone tower in India.

- Iron Pillar, built during the Gupta Empire in the 4th century AD. It is made of such pure iron that it has never rusted, a standing testimony to the metallurgical skill of ancient Indians.

- Tomb of Iltutmish

- Alai Darwaza (southern entrance)

- Alai Minar, the base of a second, unfinished minaret

Rani-ki-Vav

Rani-ki-Vav (The Queen's Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat is the most developed and ornate example of this type of Indian architecture.

Stepwells are wells or ponds in which the water may be reached by descending a set of steps. These were sites for collecting water and socialising, but also simultaneously hold great spiritual significance.

Rani-ki-Vav was built in the 11th century as a memorial by the widow of Bhimdev I, ruler of the Solanki dynasty. The vav was later flooded by the nearby Saraswati river and silted over until the late 1980s, when it was excavated by the Archeological Survey of India.

The steps begin at ground level, leading down through the cool air through several pillared pavilions to reach the deep well below. There are more than 800 elaborate sculptures among seven galleries. Many of these are in devotion to Vishnu.

Red Fort

The Red Fort Complex is considered the final flourishing of Mughal architecture, combining Islamic, Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions.

It was built in the mid-17th century, and became a symbol of power of Mughal emperor Shahjahan. It was the palace of his, Shahjahanabad. He moved his capital from Agra in a move designed to bring prestige to his reign, and to provide ample opportunity to apply his ambitious building schemes and interests.

After 1857 the site was used as the headquarters of the British Indian Army. They introduced new colonial-style buildings and functions over the earlier Mughal structures. It was also the place where Indian independence was first celebrated, and is still celebrated today.

The Complex consists of:

Red Fort, with:

- Walls, bastions and gates

- Chhatta Chowk, palace market

- Naubat Khana or Naqqarkhana Drum House

- Diwan-i-Am, Hall of Public Audience

- Palace pavilions and the Nah-i-Bihisht, Stream of Paradise

- Diwan-i-Khas, Hall of Private Audience

- Hammam Baths

- Moti Masjid, Pearl Mosque

- Hayat-Baksh Bagh, Lifegiving Garden

- British period buildings

Salimgarh Fort (an older fort, connected to the Red Fort by a bridge).

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka

The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka are a repository of rock paintings within natural rock shelters with archaeological evidences of habitation and lithic industry, from the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods through the Chalcolithic to the Mediaeval period.

They are located within the designated Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary, in an area of abundant natural resources and shelter. The shelters exhibit the earliest traces of human life in India, its rock paintings are among the world's oldest.

The inscribed area consists of 5 clusters (5 hills) of in total ca. 400 shelters. The paintings, largely in white and red, show the varied animal life which shared the forest environment with the prehistoric people, and of the various facets - economic and social - of the peoples' lives. Later more elaborate paintings such as large processions of men on horses and elephants, battle scenes depicting spears, bows, arrows, shields and swords were added. Some of the paintings are superimpositions.

The site was proposed as a cultural landscape, as it shows the cultural evolution in this microcosm from the Palaeolithic to the Medieval Period.

The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka were discovered by V.S. Wakankar in 1957. Archaeological findings from excavations in the 1970s and 1980s include knives, hand axes, chopper tools and floors.

Sanchi

The Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi, especially the sculptured decorative work on the four gateways of Stupa no. 1, comprise an unrivalled masterpiece of Early Buddhist Art.

The site has ruins of about 50 monuments, among them are 3 large stupas, temples, a monastery and monolithic pillars. Sanchi was a major Buddhist sanctuary from the 3rd century BC til the 1st century AD.

Emperor Asoka converted to Buddhism around 250 BC, and founded a sanctuary here. He also had a 12m high stone column erected with his edicts on it.

Stupa no. 1, or the 'Great Stupa' is the principal monument. It has porticoes with stone railings and is over 16m high. It is particularly famous for the extraordinarily rich decorative work on the four monumental gateways or torana that provide access. The essential theme represented in the decorative work revolves around the former lives of Buddha.

There are two other stupas on site, both dating to the 2nd century BC. All stupas are crowned by a chhatra, a parasol-like structure symbolising high rank, which was intended to honour and shelter the relics.

The Buddhist monuments at Sanchi were rediscovered in 1818, after having been overgrown for over 600 years.

Sun Temple, Konarak

The Sun Temple, Konarak is a 13th-century tmeple complex in the form of a huge chariot.

The temple is also known as the Black Pagoda. It was built in Orissa red sandstone (Khandolite) and black granite by King Narasimhadeva I (AD 1236-1264) of the Ganga dynasty.

The temple takes the form of the chariot of Surya (Arka), the sun god, and is heavily decorated with stone carving. The entire complex was designed in the form of a huge chariot drawn by seven spirited horses on twelve pairs of exquisitely decorated wheels.

Sundarbans National Park

The Sundarbans delta is the largest mangrove forest in the world. It lies at the mouth of the Ganges and is spread across areas of Bangladesh and West Bengal, India, forming the seaward fringe of the delta.

Interestingly, the Bangladeshi and Indian portions of the jungle are listed in the UNESCO world heritage list separately as the Sundarbans and Sundarbans National Park respectively, though they are simply parts of the same forest.

The Sundarbans is intersected by a complex network of tidal waterways, mudflats and small islands of salt-tolerant mangrove forests, and presents an excellent example of ongoing ecological processes. The area is known for its wide range of fauna. The most famous among these are the maneating Royal Bengal Tigers, but numerous species of birds, spotted deer, crocodiles and snakes also inhabit it. It is estimated that there are now 500 Bengal tigers and about 30,000 spotted deer in the area.

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal dates from the 17th century, as tomb for the favourite wife of Moghul-emperor Shah Jahan.

She died at the birth of her 14th child in 1630. In grief, Shah Jahan decided to construct for her a monument to show his eternal love. It took 22 years to complete.

The name Taj Mahal is derived from her nick-name Mumtaz Mahal: pearl or crown of the palace.

According to legend, Shah Jahan planned to erect a black version as tomb for himself on the other side of the river. A bridge should connect the two monuments.

The Taj is situated in the city of Agra, on the banks of the Yamuna-river. It is enclosed in a garden amidst fountains and ornamental trees. The walled complex further includes two mosques and an imposing gateway.

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier comprises 17 locations designed by the renowned French-Swiss architect, who is seen as one of the pioneers of modern architecture.

The series shows the dissemination of his ideas over the world during a period of 50 years.

The locations span seven countries on three continents. 10 are situated in France and 2 in Switzerland, the homelands of Le Corbusier (born in Switzerland, became a French citizen). But also Chandigarh (India), National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo (Japan) and Casa Curutchet (Argentina) are included.

Western Ghats

The Western Ghats are a 1,600km long mountain chain. They are believed to have been formed during the break-up of the super continent of Gondwana some 150 million years ago, as the faulted edge of the Deccan Plateau.

Its rainforests, rivers and grasslands contain a high plant and animal diversity, including rare and endemic species such as Asian Elephant, Gaur and Tiger.

This is a serial nomination of 7 different areas that include 39 components in total. Examples of these components are Periyar Tiger Reserve, Silent Valley National Park and Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.

Indonesia
Bali Subak system

The Cultural Landscape of Bali Province: the Subak System as a Manifestation of the Tri Hita Karana Philosophy comprises five sets of rice terraces and associated water temples.

The Subak System refers to the thousand year old self-governing associations of farmers who share the use of irrigation water for their rice fields. Water from volcanic lakes is diverted through rivers and channels to end up in the rice terraces.

The included areas are:

- Supreme Water Temple of Pura Ulun Danu Batur

- Lake Batur

- Subak Landscape of the Pakerisan Watershed

- Subak Landscape of Catur Angga Batukaru

- The Royal Water temple of Pura Taman Ayun

Borobudur

The Borobudur Temple Compounds is a ninth century Buddhist temple complex. It was built on several levels around a natural hill.

Borobudur is built as a single large stupa, and when viewed from above takes the form of a giant tantric Buddhist mandala, simultaneously representing the Buddhist cosmology and the nature of mind. The foundation is a square. It has nine platforms, of which the lower six are square and the upper three are circular. The upper platform features seventy-two small stupas surrounding one large central stupa. Each stupa is bell-shaped and pierced by numerous decorative openings. Statues of the Buddha sit inside the pierced enclosures.

The site was rediscovered in the 19th century, and restored in the early 20th. In 1973 a major renovation took place that was funded by UNESCO.

Two smaller Buddhist temples, Pawan and Mendut, are part of the designated area too.

Komodo National Park

The Komodo National Park was founded in order to protect the resident giant lizards, the "Komodo dragons". Open grass-woodland savannah covers some 70% of the park.

The last surviving population of the world's largest lizard, which is estimated at around 5,700 individuals, is distributed across the islands of Komodo (2,900), Rinca (900), Gili Motong (fewer than 100) and in certain coastal regions of western and northern Flores.

The park includes the three larger islands Komodo, Rinca and Padar, as well as numerous smaller ones. The national park was founded in 1980. Later it was dedicated to protecting other species than the dragon as well, including marine species. The islands of the national park are of volcanic origin.

Lorentz National Park

Lorentz National Park is an outstanding example of the biodiversity of New Guinea, and one of the most ecologically diverse national parks in the world.

It is the only nature reserve in the Asia-Pacific region to contain a full altitudial array of ecosystems spanning from marine areas, mangrove, tidal and freshwater swamp forest, lowland and montane rainforest, alpine areas, and equatorial glaciers. At 4884 meters, Puncak Jaya (formerly Carstensz Pyramid) is the tallest mountain between the Himalayas and the Andes.

The endangered Dingiso tree kangaroo is found here, as well as two threatened species of crocodiles:

- estuarine crocodile

- New Guinea crocodile

Furthermore, 411 bird species are recorded (including 20 endemic).

Prambanan

Prambanan Temple Compounds is the largest Hindu temple complex in Indonesia and one of the largest Hindu temples in south-east Asia.

It is characterised by its tall and pointed architecture, typical of Hindu temple architecture, and by the 47m high central building inside a large complex of individual temples. The temple complex dates from the 10th century, and is dedicated to Shiva.

Next to the main complex (called Loro Joggrang), the Buddhist Candi Sewu and the temples of Lumbumg, Burah and Asu also are part of this WHS.

Sangiran Early Man Site

The Sangiran Early Man Site is one of the key sites for the study of human evolution.

A second occurence of "Java Man" was discovered here: first discovered in 1891 at Trinil by Dutchman Dubois, more skulls were found by an archeological party organized by German G.H.R. von Königswald at Sangiran (near Solo).

"Java Man" at the time was one of the first known human ancestors. He is now been reclassified as part of the species Homo erectus.

About 60 more fossils have since been found here, making it the most fruitful of the early hominid sites that have been named a WHS. The skull and bone pieces have been discovered by both archeologists and locals in quite a large area. This whole area (56 square km) has been designated a WHS.

Tropical Rainforest Sumatra

The Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra is a mountainous landscape of exceptional beauty, which forests hold many endangered species including the endemic Sumatran orang-utan.

The site comprises three Indonesian national parks on the island of Sumatra. They are:

- Gunung Leuser National Park

- Kerinci Seblat National Park

- Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park

Ujung Kulon National Park

Ujung Kulon National Park contains the largest remaining lowland rainforest in Java and is also one of only two homes of the critically endangered Javan Rhinoceros. The park is located at the western-most tip of Java.

The area is covered with lowland rainforest, swamps, mangroves and grasslands. The peninsula has coral islands and coral reefs.

The National Park includes the volcanic island group of Krakatoa and other islands including Panaitan, Handeuleum and Peucang on the Sunda Strait. Krakatoa is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. It suffered a major eruption in 1883, when the combined effects of pyroclastic flows, volcanic ashes, and tsunamis had disastrous results in the region. The official death toll recorded by the Dutch authorities was 36,417, although some sources put the estimate at more than 120,000.

Iran
Armenian Monastic Ensembles

The Armenian Monastic Ensembles in Iran cover three Armenian Christian religious buildings. Based on Armenian church architecture, they also show influences from the Byzantine and Persian world. They bear testimony to the spread of Armenian culture in this part of the world.

The site consists of the Saint Thaddeus monastery, the Monastery of St Stepanos and the Dzordzor chapel. They originate from between the 7th and 14th centuries, but have been rebuilt many times due to nature and human inflicted disasters. The chapel even was moved from its original location in the 1980’s due to the construction of a dam.

The monastery of St. Thaddeus is the second religious centre for the Armenian church, after the cathedral of Echmiatsin. It is the supposed place of the tomb of St. Thaddeus, one of the twelve Apostles. This makes it into an important place of yearly pilgrimage.

Bam Cultural Landscape

Bam and its Cultural Landscape is an outstanding example of a medieval Central Asian trading settlement in a desert environment.

The survival of the town is the result of an elaborate underground water mangement system (the qanâts). They are still in use today, together with their supporting social system.

The site consists of a fortified mud-brick citadel (Arg-e Bam) with part of the old town within its walls, and the surrounding countryside including other settlements and medieval structures such as mausolea.

Bam was almost completely destroyed in an earthquake on December 26, 2003. The quake had a magnitude of 6.6 on the Richter scale.

Bisotun

Bisotun is an archaeological site located along a historical trade route in the Kermanshah Province of Iran, containing remains dating from pre-historic times through the history of ancient Persia.

It bears unique testimony to the Persian empire and the interchange of influences in art and writing in the region.

Its primary monument is the Bisotun Inscription, made in 521 BC by Darius I the Great when he conquered the Persian throne. The inscription is written in 3 languages: Elamite, Babylonian and Old Persian. It is to cuneiform script what the Rosetta Stone is to Egyptian hieroglyphs: the document most crucial in the decipherment of a previously lost script. A British army officer, Sir Henry Rawlinson, had the inscription transcribed in two parts, in 1835 and 1843.

Golestan Palace

The Golestan Palace is a 19th century royal residence in Teheran, built by the Qajar dynasty. It combines traditional Persian architecture with western influences.

The buildings were once enclosed within the mud-thatched walls of Tehran's 16th century Historic Arg (citadel). The palace was rebuilt to its current form in 1865 by Haji Abol-hasan Mimar Navai.

The site comprises 8 palace complexes around a garden. Notable features include:

- Marble Throne (Takht-e marmar)

- Hoze Khaneh, a summer chamber with cooling system

- Talar-e Aineh (Hall of Mirrors)

- Shams-ol-Emareh (Edifice of the Sun)

- Several museums

Gonbad-e Qâbus

Gonbad-e Qābus is a monumental tomb tower, the earliest and tallest in this part of Asia. It was built in 1006 as a tomb for emir Qābus ibn Voshmgir, but no traces of remains have been found inside the tower.

The 53 metres high tower was constructed using unglazed fired bricks. Its form is cylindrical, with a conical roof and standing on a stellar plan. It became the prototype for the construction of tomb towers in the history of Islamic Architecture.

The tower is the only part that remains of the historic town of Jorjan. It stands on a domed hill in a park in the center of the current city Gonbad-e Qābus.

Lut Desert

The Lut Desert in the southeast of Iran contains spectacular landforms shaped by wind erosion.

There is a mix of high sand dunes and yardangs, mushroom rock-like features where the soft material has eroded from an originally flat surface and removed by the wind and the harder material remains.

This salt desert also is known as the hottest place on earth: temperatures of over 70 degrees Celsius have been measured. The landscape is ‘hyper-arid’, seeing very little rain because it lies in a basin surrounded by mountains.

Masjed-e Jâme'

Masjed-e Jâme' of Isfahan represents a condensed history of Iranian Architecture. It displays architectural styles of different periods in the country's Islamic architecture.

The mosque was built in the four-iwan architectural style, placing four gates face to face. It later became a prototype for mosque and dome design.

Located in the historic centre of Isfahan, it is the oldest Friday mosque in Iran. It was developed from the 9th century onwards.

Maymand

The Cultural Landscape of Maymand covers a dry desert valley in Central Iran, which is home to semi-nomadic people. They practice a three phase transhumance system.

In winter, they live in troglodytic houses carved out of soft stone rocks. The designated area contains houses, animal shelters, water collection points, agro-pastoral systems and rock-art.

Meidan Emam, Esfahan

Meidan Emam, Esfahan is one of the largest city squares in the world. The square is surrounded by important historical buildings from the Safavid era.

The Shah Mosque is situated on the south side of this square. On the west side you can find Ali Qapu Palace. Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque is situated on the eastern side of this square and the northern side opens into the Isfahan Grand Bazaar.

Pasargadae

Pasargadae covers the archaeological remains of the first capital of the Persian Empire, dating from the 6th century BC.

Its most important monument is the tomb of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire who went on to conquer much of the ancient Near East, Southwest Asia, Central Asia and the Caucasus.

Pasargadae’s gardens provide the earliest known example of the Persian chahar bagh, or fourfold garden design. The complex further consists of the remains of a fortress, palaces (‘the royal ensemble’) and a 14m high stone tower. In general, the art and architecture found at Pasargadae exemplified the Persian synthesis of various traditions, drawing on precedents from Elam, Babylon, Assyria, and ancient Egypt, with the addition of some Anatolian influences.

Persepolis

Persepolis was an ancient ceremonial capital of the second Iranian dynasty, the Achaemenid Empire.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the earliest remains of Persepolis date from around 518 BC. It was Darius the Great who built the terrace and the great palaces.

Persian Garden

"The Persian Garden" comprises nine gardens from different epochs and climates. They derive from the Chahar Bagh model: the division of a site into 4 sectors, opening out into the 4 cardinal directions.

The tradition and style in the garden design of Persian gardens has influenced the design of gardens from Andalusia to India and beyond. The design is dominated by geometry and the use of water as a central element. This dates back to the 6th Century BC.

Safi al-Din Ensemble in Ardabil

The Sheikh Safi al-Din Khanegah and Shrine Ensemble in Ardabil is a Sufi spiritual retreat dating from between the early 16th century and late 18th century.

It is the burial site of Safi al-Din Ardabili (b. 1252/3), the eponymous founder of the Safawiyya order of Sufism. The complex is a fine example of medieval Iranian architecture.

The shrine was an important site of pilgrimage throughout the Safavid period (1501-1722) and underwent numerous improvements and embellishments to become one of the most beautiful of all Safavid monuments.

The site includes a library, a mosque, a school, a mausoleum, a cistern, a hospital, kitchens, a bakery and some offices.

Shahr-i Sokhta

Shahr-i Sokhta ("Burnt City") is an archaeological site of a Bronze Age urban settlement.

It is associated with the Jiroft culture, an "independent Bronze Age civilization with its own architecture and language", intermediate between Elam to the west and the Indus Valley Civilization to the east.

Covering an area of 151 hectares, Shahr-i Sokhta was one of the world's largest cities at the dawn of the urban era. In the western part of the site is a vast graveyard. It contains between 25,000 to 40,000 ancient graves

The settlement appeared around 3200 BC. The city had four stages of civilization and was burnt down three times before being abandoned in 2100 BC. The site was discovered and investigated by Aurel Stein in the early 1900s.

Shushtar

Shushtar, Historical Hydraulic System, is an island city from the Sassanian era with a complex irrigation system.

The river was channelled to form a moat around the city, while bridges and main gates into Shushtar were built to the east, west, and south. Several rivers nearby are conducive to the extension of agriculture; the cultivation of sugar cane, the main crop, dates back to 226 CE. A system of subterranean channels called Ghanats, which connected the river to the private reservoirs of houses and buildings, supplied water for domestic use and irrigation, as well as to store and supply water during times of war when the main gates were closed. Traces of these ghanats can still be found in the crypts of some houses. This complex system of irrigation degenerated during the 19th century.

Soltaniyeh

Soltaniyeh was the capital of the Ilkhanate, an empire of Mongolian origin that ruled over Persia in the 13th and 14th centuries.

The city’s main remaining feature is the ‘Dome of Soltaniyeh’, which houses the mausoleum of the Ilkhanid khan Öljeitü.

This building is considered a key monument in the history of Islamic architecture: it is the oldest double-shell dome in the world. The octagonal building is crowned with a 50m-tall dome covered in turquoise blue glazed bricks and surrounded by eight slender minarets.

The WHS comprises 13 other locations besides the Dome. They include other mausolea and tombs, and also the remains of the former city and surrounding pasture.

Susa

Susa was an ancient city of the Elamite and Achaemenid empires. It is one of the oldest-known settlements of the region, dating from as early as 4395 BCE.

The archeological site is located in the lower Zagros Mountains. It comprises two components: Susa archaeological complex and the area of Ardeshir's Palace.

Tabriz Bazaar

The Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex is one of the oldest and largest bazaars of the Middle East.

Tabriz has been a place of cultural exchange since antiquity and its historic bazaar complex was one of the most important commercial centres on the Silk Road.

The most prosperous time of Tabriz and its complex Bazaar was in the 13th century when town became the capital city of Safavid kingdom. The city lost its status as capital in the 16th century, but its Bazaar has remained important as a commercial and economic center.

Takht-e Soleyman

Takht-e Soleyman is the holiest shrine of Zoroastrianism and the most important relic of the former Sassanid Empire.

The archaeological site dates from the 6th century. It was partially rebuilt during the Ilkhanid period (13th-14th century): they added new constructions and reused the site as a palace.

The site officially comprises one location, but there are 6 sublocations such Takht-e Soleyman with its firetemple and Anahita temple, the small hill Zendan-e Suleiman (‘Solomon’s prison’), a mountain to the east that served as quarry for the construction of the site, the archaeological mound Tepe Majid and Belqeis Mountain with a citadel.

Tchogha Zanbil

Tchogha Zanbil is the ruins of the holy city of the Kingdom of Elam, centered on a great ziggurat and surrounded by three huge concentric walls.

Founded around 1250 BC, the city remained unfinished after it was invaded by Ashurbanipal in 640 BC.

Archaeological excavations between 1951 and 1962 revealed the site again, and the ziggurat is considered to be the best preserved example in the world. It is one of the few extant ziggurats outside of Mesopotamia. It was built about 1250 BCE by the king Untash-Napirisha, mainly to honour the great god Inshushinak.

The complex is protected by three concentric walls, which form three main areas of the "town." The inner area is wholly taken up with a great ziggurat dedicated to the main god, which was built over an earlier square temple with storage rooms also built by Untash-Napirisha.

The middle area holds eleven temples for lesser gods. It is believed that twenty-two temples were originally planned, but the king died before they could be finished, and his successors discontinued the building work. In the outer area are royal palaces, a funerary palace containing five subterranean royal tombs, and a necropolis containing non-elite tombs.

The Persian Qanat

The Persian Qanat is an ancient underground water mangement system used for irrigation in a desert climate. The system was communally managed. With the use of water clocks, a just and exact distribution among the shareholding farmers was ensured.

This serial site covers 11 still functioning qanats in central and eastern Iran.

Yazd

The Historic City of Yazd is a traditional earthen city where life has been adapted to its desert location, most notable via the water system of the qanats.

Yazd is a city with a long history dating back to the Achaemenid era, and was located along the Silk and Spice Roads. It prospered from trade.

Iraq
Ahwar of Southern Iraq

The Ahwar of Southern Iraq: refuge of biodiversity and the relict landscape of the Mesopotamian Cities covers the marshy delta that was home to the early Sumerian civilization.

This mixed site consists of 7 locations: three archaeological sites (Ur, Uruk and Tell Eridu) and four wetland marsh areas. The latter are the Huwaizah Marshes, Central Marshes, East Hammar and West Hammar Marshes - important for bird migration and fish species.

The area lies in the joint delta of the Tigris and Euphrates River, the river providing arable fields via the use of irrigation. Due to draining of large portions of the marshes, the marshes were diminshed to 10% of their original size by 2003.

Ashur

Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) are the remains of the first capital of the Assyrian empire from the 14th to 9th centuries BC. The Assyrian Empire took its name from the city of Ashur.

Ashur contained a large number of important religious buildings, and a handful of palaces. Documents from the 7th century BCE tell us about 34 temples and 3 palaces. Only few of these have been excavated.

The city was the centre for worship of the god Ashur and the goddess Ishtar/Inanna.

Exploration of the site of Assur began in 1898 by German archaeologists.

Erbil Citadel

The Erbil Citadel is a fortified settlement on top of a 20-30 meter high 'tell'.

It has a long settlement history, dating back to at least the Chalcolithic period and gaining prominence as Arbela during the Assyrian period.

The citadel is uninhabited since 2006 and undergoing reconstructions. Most of the remaining structures date from the 19th and 20th centuries. The oldest surviving building is the hammam (1775). The perimeter wall of the citadel is not a continuous fortification wall, but consists of the façades of approximately 100 houses that have been built against each other.

Hatra

Hatra is a ruined city that can be considered as the symbol of Parthian power which for a long time threatened that of Rome.

As centre of the empire, it flourished during the 1st and 2nd centuries BC. It was a fortified city of circular design.

Hatra is located in the Al-Jazirah region of present-day northern Iraq, 180 miles (290 km) northwest of Baghdad.

Samarra

Samarra Archaeological City is the site of a powerful Islamic capital city which ruled over the provinces of the Abbasid empire extending from Tunisia to Central Asia for a century.

It testifies to the architectural and artistic innovations that developed there and spread to the other regions of the Islamic world.

Among its architectural monuments are the 9th century Great Mosque and its Spiral Minaret, and the Caliphal Palace.

Ireland
Brú na Bóinne

Brú na Bóinne - Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne consists of 3 large and 37 small burial mounds or passage tombs from the Neolithicum.

The complex dates from 3300 - 2900 BCE. It has been made a WHS because of its artistic value and its size (the biggest remains from the Neolithic era in Europe).

The three most well-known sites within this complex (called Brú na Bóinne in Irish) are the impressive passage graves of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth.

Sceilg Mhichíl

Sceilg Mhichíl (Skellig Michael) is an early monastic complex on a difficult to access, steep rocky island. The island, also known as Great Skellig, lies about 15 kilometres west of the coast of County Kerry, Ireland. It is the larger of the two Skellig Islands.

For 600 years the island was an important centre of monastic life for Irish Christian monks. An Irish Celtic monastery, which is situated almost at the summit of the 230-metre-high rock, was built in 588. The very spartan conditions inside the monastery illustrate the ascetic lifestyle practiced by early Irish Christians. The monks lived in stone 'beehive' huts (clochans), perched above nearly vertical cliff walls.

The buildings on the island consist of the Monastery (including an oratory and St. Michael's Church) and the Hermitage.

Israel
Bahá’i Holy Places

The Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and the Western Galilee represent the Bahá’i faith and their pilgrimage tradition.

The Bahá'í Faith is a religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in nineteenth-century Persia. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories.

The designated site consists of 26 different monuments in the northern Israeli cities Acre and Haifa

Biblical Tells

The Biblical Tells and Ancient Water Systems -- Megiddo, Hazor and Beer Sheba are representative of tells that contain substantial remains of cities with biblical connections.

The three tells also present some of the best examples in the Levant of elaborate Iron Age, underground water collecting systems, created to serve dense urban communities. Their traces of construction over the millennia reflect the existence of centralized authority, prosperous agricultural activity and the control of important trade routes.

Caves of Maresha and Bet Guvrin

The Caves of Maresha and Bet Guvrin are man-made subterranean complexes up to 2,000 years old. These archaeological sites are situated below the ancient twin towns of Maresha and Bet Guvrin in Lower Judea.

In a layer of soft chalk some 475 cave complexes have been carved out during different periods. The area was in use from the Iron Age to Persian, Judaic, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine antiquity. Some forty burial sites were dug into the ground at the foot of the hills close to Maresha, including three main necropolises.

The region is close to the ancient route linking Mesopotamia to Egypt. Agricultural practice is also very old, the caves were for example in use for the pressing and storage of olive oil and for raising pigeons.

Some fifteen key caves have been opened to the public. The entire nominated property is included in the ‘National Archaeological Park of Bet Guvrin – Maresha’.

Incense Route of the Negev

The Incense Route and Desert Cities of the Negev reflects the hugely profitable trade in frankincense and myrrh.

The designated area consists of 4 locations:

- Incense & Spice Route (between Ovdat and Moa)

- Haluza

- Mamshit

- Shivta

Masada

Masada is the name for a site of ancient palaces and fortifications in the South District of Israel on top of an isolated rock plateau, or large mesa, on the eastern edge of the Judean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea.

Masada became famous after the First Jewish-Roman War (also known as the Great Jewish Revolt) when a siege of the fortress by troops of the Roman Empire led to a mass suicide of the site's Jewish Sicarii fugitives when defeat became imminent.

Masada is both recognized for its Roman fortifications and as a symbol of Jewish cultural identity.

Mount Carmel Caves

The Mount Carmel Caves are four cave sites that testify to more than 500,000 years of human evolution. They are situated on a cliff in the Mount Carmel range.

The caves included are:

- Tabun Cave (where a complete skeleton of a Neandertal woman was found)

- Jamal Cave

- El-Wad Cave

- Skhul Cave

They were first excavated in the 1920s and 1930s.

Necropolis of Bet She'arim

The 'Necropolis of Bet She'arim - A Landmark of Jewish Renewal' is the archeological site of a Jewish town and 33 ancient rock-cut Jewish tombs.

The site covers an important period in Jewish history, being the place where Rabbi Judah the Patriarch lived and where the preferred burial place for Jews was moved in 135 CE after they were barred from the Mount of Olives during the Roman occupation.

The burial sites are spread out over 3 sections. They contain inscriptions written in Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic and Palmyrean, showing the exchange with the Roman world.

The site is located 20 km east of Haifa. It is part of Beit She'arim National Park.

Old City of Acre

The Old City of Acre is renowned for its Crusader buildings and its Ottoman walled town. In 1104, during the First Crusade, the Crusaders made the town their chief port in Palestine.

The Ottomans under Sultan Selim I captured the city in 1517, after which it fell into almost total decay. Towards the end of the 18th century it revived under the rule of Dhaher al-Omar and his successors.

Old City of Jerusalem

The Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls has high religious value as a holy city for Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The UNESCO needed an extraordinary session to discuss this entry. The proposal to put Jerusalem on the list was made by Jordan (Israel was no member at the time), and the accompanying letter claimed that Jordan is not using this Committee or your deliberations as a vehicle for political claims. Jordan wanted Jerusalem on the list for the value that Jerusalem represents for the three religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Old quarters and city walls is a general description for 226 monuments from all 3 major religions. Most important monument for the Jews is the Western Wall, for the Christians it is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and for the Muslims the Dome of the Rock.

In 1982, the site was put on the List of Worldheritages in Danger. Besides political and religious violence, the site is also threatened by the rapid urbanization of its surroundings and the daily visits of masses of tourists.

White City of Tel-Aviv

White City of Tel-Aviv - the Modern Movement, covers a part of the city that was developed in the 1930s as a result of innovative town planning adapted to local conditions.

The name derives from the large number of white, or light-colored buildings built there in the Bauhaus or International style. The masterplan was created by Sir Patrick Geddes, and executed by various European (Jewish) architects.

Over 4000 buildings in these styles can still be seen in central Tel Aviv; the largest concentration in any one city in the world.

Italy
Agrigento

The Archaeological Area of Agrigento comprises the remains of a great Ancient Greek city in the mediterranean.

Agrigento or Akragas was founded in the 6th century BC by Greek settlers originating from Rhodes and Crete. They left unstable Greece, that suffered from civil war, famine and social unrest. Groups of settlers spread out over the Mediterranean, with the purpose to build their own and better Greece abroad.

These colonies acted politically independent from the motherland and each other.

The city of Akragas flourished especially in the 5th century BC, alternating between tyranny and democracy. Most of the remaining temples were built in this period. Its position was lost in 406, when the Carthaginians all but destroyed it. It was rebuilt, but suffered defeat again in 210 when Akragas was besieged by the Romans.

Aquileia

The Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia comprises the remains of a city from the Early Roman Empire, that continued to be of religious importance thereafter in spreading Christianity into central Europe.

It was a major trading center in its heydays, connected via the river Natiso to the Adriatic Sea. In 452 Aquileia was sacked by Attila’s Huns and most of its inhabitants moved away.

The Ancient Roman City is mostly unexcavated, with traces of the forum, the river port, tombs and houses visible above ground.

The Patriarchal Basilica’s main feature is its 37x20m mosaic floor dating from the 4th century. It was part of the original basilica, that has been rebuilt in the 11th century in romanesque style and later further embellished in gothic style.

The site, which covers most of the current small town of Aquileia, also includes a second basilican complex. This 5th century construction now houses the Palaeochristian Museum and also has a remarkable floor mosaic.

Arab-Norman Palermo

Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale show an exceptional cultural exchange, dating from the era of the Norman kingdom of Sicily (1130-1194). Muslim, Byzantine, Latin, Jewish, Lombard, and French traces can be found in the enlisted sites.

The serial WHS consists of 9 monuments:

- Royal Palace and Palatine Chapel

- Zisa Palace

- Palermo Cathedral

- Monreale Cathedral

- Cefalù Cathedral

- Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti

- Church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio

- Church of San Cataldo

- Admiral’s Bridge

Assisi

Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco and Other Franciscan Sites is an eclectic site that was inscribed on 5 cultural criteria. It got praised as an authentic Umbrian hill town, a sanctuary, for its art and architecture in the Basilica of San Francesco, and for the influence of the Franciscan order in the world.

The town, already a sanctuary in Roman times, has been associated with Saint Francis since the 13th century; Assisi was his birthplace, and he founded the Franciscan religious order here in 1208.

The area is also a cultural landscape, with its Hellenistic and Roman road systems and medieval pilgrimage routes. The designated area also includes four Franciscan sites outside central Assisi: Le Carceri, San Damiano, Rivotorto and Santa Maria degli Angeli.

The Basilica of Assisi was badly damaged by an earthquake that happened September 26, 1997. Part of the vault collapsed, killing four people inside the church and carrying with it a fresco by Cimabue.

Botanical Garden, Padua

The Orto Botanico of Padua is the oldest Botanical Garden in the world that has been in continuous use. It was established in 1545 by the University of Padua (and designed by Daniele Barbaro), and has been a great influence on other botanical gardens around the world.

The garden at first was geared to the growth of medicinal plants. Over the years it was enriched with plants from all over the world, brought in by the Venetian Empire. Later additions are the greenhouses, the four wrought-iron gates, an arboretum and an English garden.

The Orto Botanico is also home to an impressive scientific library of more than 50.000 volumes.

Castel del Monte

Castel del Monte is a unique masterpiece of medieval military architecture. Its form is perfect, its design a harmonious blend of cultural elements from Classical antiquity, Muslim architecture and the Cistercian Gothic of northern Europe.

Sponsor of its construction was Emperor Frederick II von Hohenstaufen. He was a man of many talents: an absolute monarch but also a great lover of culture. He spoke several languages and was interested in mathematics, astronomy and natural sciences. His stay in the Middle East (for the Crusades) heavily influenced his thinking.

The castle dates from 1240. After Frederick's death, it slowly fell into great disrepair. The mosaics and statues that have decorated the interior, were looted.

Cilento and Vallo di Diano

The Cilento is a cultural landscape that has blossomed in prehistoric times and the Middle Ages. Because of its geographical location, it played an important role in Mediterranean trade, culture and politics.

Colonization by the Greeks started here in the 7th century BC, as part of the development of Magna Graecia (the towns founded by Greeks along the coast of South Italy and Sicily). Agropoli and Poseidonia were among these new colonies, later followed by Elea.

Most of the towns and trading routes fell into decline after the region became part of the jurisdiction of Rome (3rd century BC). Only in the Middle Ages these revived, and castles and religious buildings were added to the landscape that is characterized by its east-west mountain ranges and favourable climate.

Costiera Amalfitana

The Costiera Amalfitana is a landscape with exceptional cultural and natural scenic values. The steep slopes of the Monti Lattari, rising from the coast, are dotted with colourful little towns.

Between 839 and around 1200 this area formed an independent republic, with its own money and laws. The Maritime Republic of Amalfi was an important trading power in the Mediterranean during those days.

The following towns are part of the WHS:

Amalfi - Atrani - Cetara - Conca dei Marini - Corbara - Furore - Maiori - Minori - Montalbino - Praiano - Positano - Ravello - Scala - Sant'Egidio - Tramonti - Vietri sul Mare.

Crespi d'Adda

Crespi d'Adda is a late 19th century model worker's village. It is one of the best preserved examples of the phenomenon of "company towns", which were developed by enlightened industrialists in Europe and North America.

The aim was to house factory workers close to their work and the raw materials. The urban layout of Crespi d'Adda and its architectural appearance are still unchanged.

The town was founded in 1878 by the textile manufacturer Crlstoforo Benigno Crespi, who build a number of houses for his workers around a mill. His son, Silvio Benigno Crespi, turned this into a village based on an in ideological model. Besides single-family houses, with their own gardens, he constructed common services like a school, a theatre and a hospital.

Dolomites

The Dolomites are a limestone mountain range, that is known for its natural beauty in the form of steep cliffs, pinnacles and ravines. They form part of the Alps.

The designated site contains 9 different areas:

1. Pelmo-Croda da Lago

2. Marmolada

3. Pale di San Martino – San Lucano – Dolomiti Bellunesi – Vette Feltrine

4. Dolomiti Friulane / Dolomits Furlanis e d’Oltre Piave

5. Dolomiti Settentrionali / Nördliche Dolomiten

6. Puez-Odle / Puez-Geisler / Pöz-Odles

7. Sciliar-Catinaccio / Schlern-Rosengarten – Latemar

8. Rio delle Foglie / Bletterbach

9. Dolomiti di Brenta

Etruscan Necropolises

The Etruscan Necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia bear witness to the achievements of Etruscan culture.

The necropolises of Tarquinia have some 6,000 tombs, 60 of which include wall paintings.

The most famous attraction of Cerveteri is the Necropoli della Banditaccia, encompassing a total of 1,000 tombs often housed in characteristic mounds. It is the largest ancient necropolis in the Mediterranean area.

Ferrara

Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta are the first example of Italian Renaissance town planning and its influence on the landscape.

In 1492, the plan of the city was redesigned on the order of the ruling Ercole d'Este I. Biagio Rossetti designed the new lay-out, introduced new streets linking the Renaissance city with the medieval heart and adding fortifications.

Ercole d'Este I was one of the most significant patrons of the arts in late 15th and early 16th century Italy. Ferrara at that time grew into a cultural center, renowned for music as well as for visual arts.

Ferrara is situated 50 km north-northeast of Bologna, on the Po di Volano, a branch channel of the main stream of the Po River. The associated sites in the Po Delta include (among others): Este ducal residences in Diamantina, Voghiera and Schifanoia, the Villa della Mensa and the towns of Cento and Comacchio.

Florence

The Historic Centre of Florence is the birthplace of Renaissance art and architecture. It became world leading in the arts and trade from the 14th to the 17th century.

Florence is said to hold the “greatest concentration of universally renowned works of art in the world”.

The principles developed here exerted their influence to all over Europe. It formed artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. Guided by the banking family De Medici palazzi were built, the Uffizi artmuseum was founded and Brunelleschi finished the gigantic Duomo.

Genoa

Genoa: Le Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli represent an innovative form of urban planning. They are also considered landmarks in Baroque and Mannerist architecture.

Le Strade Nuove consists of the Via Garibaldi, Via Balbi and Via Cairoli. They are known for their aristocrat houses and the Palazzi dei Rolli (palaces). The palaces were built between the 16th and 18th centuries by local noble families. They were also used for official representative purposes by the Republic of Genoa (those that were on the list, the Rollo).

Isole Eolie

The Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands) consist of seven islands off the northern coast of Sicily that are known for their worth for vulcanology. These islands are Lipari, Vulcano, Salina, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi and Panarea.

Especially Vulcano and Stromboli stand out, as both have lent their names to types of eruptions (Vulcanian and Strombolian). The Aeolian Islands are also among the earliest studied for their volcanic features (since the 18th century).

Longobards in Italy

"The Longobards in Italy, Places of Power, 568 - 774 A.D." comprises seven groups of monuments built by the Longobard / Lombard elite. They are considered a unique and exceptional testimony to the transition between antiquity and the European Middle Ages.

The included sites are:

- Cividale del Friuli

- Brescia

- Castelseprio-Torba

- Spoleto

- Campello sul Clitunno

- Benevento

- Monte Sant'Angelo

Mantua and Sabbioneta

Mantua and Sabbioneta are towns in the Po Valley that represent aspects of Renaissance town planning. Mantua shows the renewal and extension of an existing city, while Sabbioneta represents the implementation of the period’s theories about planning the ideal city.

Both towns acquired their wealth during the reign of various members of the Gonzaga family, between 1328 and 1707.

The most prominent remaining structures include:

- Mantua: Sant'Andrea Church, Palazzo Ducale, Palazzo di Tè, San Sebastiano Church

- Sabbioneta: Teatro all'antica, Palazzo Giardino

Matera

The Sassi and the park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera are the best surviving and most complete examples of rock-cut settlement in the Mediterranean region. They have been developed in close harmony with the natural environments.

Nature has provided this location with a belt of soft tufa, with two natural depressions. The caves here have been used since prehistoric times. Population pressure drove people out of the city of Matera, into these Sassi. From the 17th century on, this area was left to the poor. At first they lived in the bare caves, later these developed into house-like structures.

The Sassi were evacuated by law in 1952. 15.000 people, living in extremely poor hygienic circumstances, had to be resettled to new quarters.

Medici Villas and Gardens

The Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany are a group of residences in the countryside built by the Medici family.

They are illustrative for their patronage of the arts during the Italian Renaissance.

Modena

The Cathedral, Torre Civica and Piazza Grande in Modena are a group of romanesque structures from the 12th century.

Religious and civic values were combined into this complex. The public square around the cathedral was designed to house administrative buildings, workshops et cetera.

Modena Cathedral was one of the first buildings where an architect (Lanfranco) and a sculptor (Wiligelmo) worked together. Unusually for medieval tradition, their names were mentioned as the creators.

Ancient remains were reused in the rebuilding of the cathedral from 1099. Its facade and side portals are richly decorated with sculptures. The interior, including a 12th century rood screen, is also well preserved.

Monte San Giorgio

Monte San Giorgio is a mountain at Lake Lugano known for its marine fossils from the Mid Triassic Period.

At that time (about 240 million years ago), the area had a tropical climate and a sea full of coral, fish, (long-necked) reptiles and turtle-like creatures. The fossils of these animals were found well preserved in what had been a sea basin.

When mines were dug at Monte San Giorgio in the 2nd half of the 19th century, to extract oil from butuminous shale, the fossils were discovered. Over 10.000 specimens have been found. They include large skeletons of vertrebrae up to 6 metres long. The quality of preservation is very high and a number of 'first discoveries' of species have been made here.

The site can be compared to Ischigualasto / Talampaya (same period, but not marine) and Dorset and East Devon Coast (partly same period, but not the same quality/quantity). Ideally, the site should be extended into Italy, as many important findings were discovered there. The fossils are displayed in museums in Zürich and Lugano, and in the local area (Meride, Besano, Induna Olona).

Mount Etna

Mount Etna is one of the most active and best-studied volcanoes in the world.

It is 3,329m high and has four summit craters. There is frequent lava flow. It has the highest frequency of recorded eruptions in the world (193).

This stratovolcano has been studied and monitored since the 19th century. The Roman poet Virgil gave what was probably a first-hand description of an eruption in the Aeneid.

Naples

The Historic Centre of Naples has its individual masterpieces, a classical town layout and is associated with many events and individuals of great importance in the early history of Christianity.

Naples was founded in 470 BC. It took its fair share of damage in the earthquake of 62 AD and the eruption of the Vesuvius in 79 AD, the one that covered nearby Pompei and Herculaneum. Unlike these towns, the city was quickly rebuilt and flourished for centuries. Mainly as an autonomous kingdom, with an important interlude in the 16th century under Spanish rule (Viceroy Toledo left Naples a majestic quarter).

Since the 1990s, Naples is experiencing a renaissance. The city has become safer and cleaner, and many building works are executed in the city center to restore it to its former glory.

Piazza del Duomo (Pisa)

The Piazza del Duomo, Pisa, is a square that contains four artistically important medieval monuments. They were constructed between the 11th and 14th centuries.

The Tuscan town Pisa used to have a fleet that reigned the Mediterranean Sea. Nowadays its Tower is known worldwide. This marble building is leaning over, and has always been.

The monuments included are:

- the cathedral, with its bronze doors and mosaics

- the baptistry, a round Romanesque building with an early Renaissance pulpit

- the campanile (the 'Leaning Tower')

- the walled cemetery Campo Santo with its frescoes

Pisa native Galileo Galilei is believed to have formulated his theory about the movement of a pendulum by watching the swinging of the incense lamp (not the present one) hanging from the ceiling of the nave of Pisa's cathedral. He also had dropped balls from the Leaning Tower to demonstrate that their time of descent was independent of their mass.

Pienza

The Historic Centre of the City of Pienza is the earliest example of a Renaissance "ideal town". It was created by Pope Pius II, who decided to refurbish his poor hometown of Corsignano and turn it into his papal summer court.

Bernardo Rossellino was the main architect who executed the pope's ideas. The buildings and objects that he designed are in a Gothic style with German influences. Also, the technique of sgraffito was used all over town.

The Piazza Pio II is the main square of the town. It holds Pienza's major 15th century buildings:

- Cathedral: built by Rossellino between 1459 and 1462.

- Piccolomini Palace: home of the originally Siennese Piccolomini family, among which are the popes Pius II and Pius III, and the scholar & astronomer Alessandro Piccolomini.

- Episcopal Palace.

- Town Hall with a crenellated tower (1462).

The square also features an ornate well designed by Rossellino.

Pompei

The Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata provide a complete and vivid picture of society and daily life at a specific moment in the past.

On August 24 of the year 79 AD, the Vesuvius volcano in southern Italy suddenly erupted. It buried the surrounding towns under layers of ash and rock.

Pompei, an urbanized and commercial town of 25.000, was hit fully. The Roman colony was just recovering from a bad earthquake in 62 AD.

The site was rediscovered in the 16th century, but exploration did not begin until 1748. Besides Pompei, this WHS consists also of Herculaneum and the Villa Oplontis at Torre Annunziata. It provides a complete and vivid picture of society and daily life at a specific moment in the past that is without parallel anywhere in the world.

Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands

Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto) are the result of human impact on the steep slopes along the Ligurian coast. The landscape is heavily terraced for agriculture (vines, olive trees).

The area covers a stretch of about 15km along the coast between Cinque Terre and Portovenere. It includes:

- Monterosso al Mare

- Vernazza

- Corniglia

- Manarola

- Riomaggiore

- Portovenere

- the three islands of Palmaria, Tino, and Tinetto

Prehistoric Pile Dwellings

The Prehistoric Pile Dwellings around the Alps are the remains of prehistoric stilt houses at the edges of lakes and rivers.

The site consists of 111 locations, spread out over 6 countries. They date from 5,000 to 500 BC, and represent the life of early agrarian communities in Europe.

Rising water levels since prehistory led to the abandonment of settlements which were then covered by lake and river sediments. About 30 different cultural groups were responsible for creating these pile dwellings.

Primeval Beech Forests

The Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe cover forests of the European beech in 12 countries.

They comprise the largest remaining 'virgin' forests of the European beech ('Fagus sylvatica'). They also hold the largest and tallest beech specimens in the world.

Ravenna

The Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna are a unique collection of mosaics and monuments from the 5th and 6th centuries.

Ravenna, an important port, was known under the Romans and Byzantines as Classis. It developed into a major centre of Christian art and culture on the instigation of Galla Placidia, the wife of Western Roman Emperor Constantius III (and regent of that empire herself for a few years). She was a fervant Christian and was involved in the building and restoration of various churches throughout her period of influence.

The 8 inscribed monuments are:

- Neonian Baptistery (c. 430)

- Mausoleum of Galla Placidia (c. 430)

- Arian Baptistry (c. 500)

- Archiepiscopal Chapel (c. 500)

- Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo (c. 500)

- Mausoleum of Theodoric (520)

- Basilica of San Vitale (548)

- Basilica of Sant' Apollinare in Classe (549)

Residences of the Royal House of Savoy

The Residences of the Royal House of Savoy represent the 17th and 18th century building programme of this dynasty of absolute monarchs.

The group of 22 buildings is located in Turin (the “Command Area”) and in its province Piedmont (pleasure and hunting residences).

The Dukes of Savoy moved their court to Turin in 1562. Using their family wealth, successive dukes initiated construction and expansion programmes with an eye for town planning and overall cohesion.

Inscribed buildings in Turin:

- Palazzo Reale

- Palazzo Chiablese

- Royal Armory - Royal Library

- Palazzo della Prefettura (former State Secretariats)

- State Archives (former Court Archives)

- Former Military Academy

- Riding School with stables

- Mint [Regia Zecca]

- Façade of the Royal Theatre

- Palazzo Madama

- Palazzo Carignano

- Castello del Valentino

- Villa della Regina

In Piedmont:

- Castello di Rivoli

- Castello di Moncalieri

- Castello di Venaria

- Castello della Mandria

- Palazzina di Stupinigi

- Castello di Agliè

- Castello di Racconigi

- Pollenzo Estate

- Castello di Govone

Rhaetian Railway

"The Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes" consists of the Albula and Bernina transalpine railway lines, noted for their technical quality. The lines were built from 1908-1910.

The Albula line leads from Chur to St. Mortiz and has:

- 42 tunnels and covered galleries (16.5 km)

- 144 viaducts and bridges (2.9 km)

The Bernina line leads from St. Moritz to Tirano across the border in Italy.

It was designed to follow an existing mountain road.

Rock Drawings in Valcamonica

The Rock Drawings in Valcamonica comprises one of the largest collections of prehistoric rock art in the world. It holds approximately 250,000 petroglyphs, divided over 6 separate locations in a valley in the Italian Alps.

The rock art was created over a long period of time, starting around 8,000 BC with nomadic hunters. The greatest number was drawn by members of the Camunni tribe in the first millennium BC.

Cosmological, figurative, and cartographic motifs are featured, in some locations forming monumental hunting and ritual 'scenes'. Among the most famous symbols found in Valcamonica is the so-called "Rosa camuna" (Camunian rose), which was adopted as the official symbol of the region of Lombardy.

The drawings were first documented in 1909 by Walter Laeng, a Brescian geographer. In 1979, the site became the first Italian WHS.

Rome

The Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura comprise major monuments of Roman antiquity and papal history.

The city of Rome exists since the 4th or 5th century BC, or - according to legend - was founded by Romulus and Remus in 753 B.C.

There are still several remains to be found in this modern city dating from the period of the Classical Roman Empire: The Forum Romanum (the former political center) still holds a central position in town. The Colosseum and a triumphal arch are around the corner.

Also, the Therms of Caracalla are not far away: a large public bath house where also restaurants, libraries and other forms of leisure activities could be performed. Except for the walls, now there are only some mosaics and wallpaintings left.

In 1990, the inscription was extended with properties of the Holy See which are located in the historic centre of Rome. Among them the Basilica of San Paolo fuori le Mura.

Royal Palace at Caserta

The 18th-Century Royal Palace at Caserta, with the Park, the Aqueduct of Vanvitelli, and the San Leucio Complex is recognized because of the way in which it was adapted to the surrounding landscape and integrated already existing elements.

King Charles of Bourbon wanted a Royal Palace inland from Naples, the latter being too vulnerable for attacks from sea. The choice fell upon the ancient fiefdom of Caserta.

Luigi Vanvitelli was chosen as architect. The first stone was laid in 1752. He wasn't able to finish his work - he died in 1773. His son Carlo followed in his footsteps, and finished the impressive 250 m. wide facade and the five floors of the building. Inside, there are some 1200 rooms and 1790 windows.

The work on the gardens was started in 1753: they were designed after the models of Schönbrunn and Aranjuez. They measure 120 ha.

Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy

The Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy are groups of chapels and other architectural features created in the late 16th and 17th centuries and dedicated to different aspects of the Christian faith.

In addition to their symbolic spiritual meaning, they are of great beauty by virtue of the skill with which they have been integrated into the surrounding natural landscape of hills, forests and lakes. They also house much important artistic material in the form of wall paintings and statuary.

The Nine Sacri Monti are:

1. The Sacro Monte or Nuova Gerusalemme (New Jerusalem) of Varallo Sesia (1486)

(Comune of Varallo Sesia - Vercelli)

2. The Sacro Monte of Santa Maria Assunta, Serralunga di Crea (1589)

(Comune of Ponzano Monferrato, Serralunga di Crea - Alessandria)

3. The Sacro Monte of San Francesco, Orta San Giulio (1590)

(Comune of Orta San Giulio - Novara)

4. The Sacro Monte of the Rosary, Varese (1598)

(Comune of Varese - Varese)

5. The Sacro Monte of the Blessed Virgin, Oropa (1617)

(Comune of Biella - Biella)

6. The Sacro Monte of the Blessed Virgin of Succour, Ossuccio (1635)

(Comune of Como - Como)

7. The Sacro Monte of the Holy Trinity, Ghiffa (1591)

(Comune of Ghiffa - Verbania)

8. The Sacro Monte and Calvary, Domodossola (1657)

(Comune of Domodossola - Verbania)

9. The Sacro Monte of Belmonte, Valperga (1712)

(Comunes of Cuorgnè, Pertusio, Prascorsano, Valperga - Torino)

San Gimignano

The Historic Centre of San Gimignano is known for its medieval tower houses and works of art. The towers date from the 12th and 13th centuries, when there were 72 of them (now only 14 are left).

The two main churches in town are the Collegiata, formerly a cathedral, and Sant'Agostino. Both house a wide representation of artworks from some of the main Italian renaissance artists.

The Communal Palace, once seat of the podestá, is currently home of the Town Gallery, with works by Pinturicchio, Benozzo Gozzoli, Filippino Lippi, Domenico di Michelino, Pier Francesco Fiorentino, and others. From Dante's Hall in the palace, access may be made to a Majesty fresco by Lippo Memmi, as well as the Torre Grossa which stands fifty-four meters high.

Santa Maria delle Grazie

The Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci is a Renaissance ensemble in Milan.

It was built by Guiniforte Solari between 1466 and 1490 on a commission by Dominican monks. Later modifications include work by Donato Bramante in 1492‑1497.

The church is famous for the mural of the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. The painting measures 450 - 870 centimeters and covers the back wall of the dining hall at the monastery. The Last Supper specifically portrays the reaction given by each apostle when Jesus said one of them would betray him. It was painted between 1495 and 1498.

Siena

The Historic Centre of Siena has been well preserved since the 12th and 13rd century. Its urban fabric, size and artistic identity distinguish Siena from other medieval urban centres in Italy.

The city derived its wealth from banking activities - streets named Banchi di Sopra and Banchi di Sotto are a reminder of this. Siena also was the main rival of Florence, with which it disputed over territorial expansion.

The city had gained independence in 1189. The period that followed was to be crucial in shaping the Siena we know today. It was during the early 1200s that the majority of the construction of the Siena Cathedral (Duomo) was completed. It was also during this period that the Piazza del Campo, now regarded as one of the most beautiful civic spaces in Europe, grew in importance as the centre of secular life. New streets were constructed leading to it and it served as the site of the market, and the location of various sporting events.

Su Nuraxi di Barumini

Su Nuraxi di Barumini is the most important 'nuraghe' megalithic monument of Sardinia. It is centered around a three-story tower built around 1500s BC.

Nuraghe (Nuraxi) typically are truncated cone towers, in the shape of a beehive, built with huge square blocks of stone, and usually located in a panoramic position. The monument has no foundations, and stands only due to the of the weight of stones, which may weigh as much as several tons. Some Nuraghes are more than 20 metres in height.

Today, there are more than 8,000 Nuraghes in Sardinia, though it has been estimated that once the number was more than 30,000.

Syracuse

Syracuse and the rocky Necropolis of Pantalica is an ecclectic site that bears testimony to the development of Mediterranean civilisation in the past 3000 years.

It houses monuments of exceptional value from different periods within this timespan.

The Necropolis of Pantalica consists of about 5000 burial chambers, hewn out of the rocks. They date from the 13th to the 7th century BC, and were made by the Sicani (indigenous people of Sicily).

In Syracuse (Siracusa) itself there are two designated areas: the archeological park of Neapolis and Ortygia.

Greek and Roman monuments can be found at the Neapolis park, including a sanctuary to Apollo and a Greek theatre. On the island of Ortygia there are also ancient Greek remains, together with many splendid medieval churches and palazzi constructed by the Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Bourbons and Aragonese (to name but a few of the many rulers Siracusa has seen in its history).

The trulli of Alberobello

The trulli of Alberobello are an exceptional example of a building technique that has survived from prehistoric times until to date.

The site consists of the Monti and Aja Piccola quarters of Alberobello, and some individual buildings elsewhere in the town.

Trulli are built without using mortar: the stones are laid on top of each other. They are also characterized by their dome-shaped roofs. These roofs are in some cases painted with a magical or pagan symbol.

There are many stories about the origins of this construction style. In the Middle East, burial tombs were already built in the same manner thousands of years ago. Also it is said that this way of building makes it easier to quickly dissemble the house and relocate, or that in this manner taxes could be evaded.

Urbino

The Historic Centre of Urbino is remarkable for its legacy of Renaissance culture.

It developed under the patronage of its duke, Federico da Montefeltro (1444-1482). His court attracted many scholars and artists, and was a leading example among European courts of that time.

Monuments include:

- city walls with bastions and gates

- Ducal Palace

- Cathedral

- birthplace of Raphael

- Palazzo Odasi

- Palazzo Palma

- Albornoz fortress

Val d'Orcia

The Val d'Orcia is a cultural landscape made out of farmlands and fortified villages on hilltops.

The landscape as it unfolds nowadays was created by wealthy Siennese merchants in the 14th and 15th centuries. The farms cultivate mainly grains, vines and olives. Rows of cypresses are also a distinctive sight.

The beauty of the area inspired Renaissance painters and early travellers on the Grand Tour alike.

ICOMOS only had meagre praise for this site when it evaluated inscription as a WHS. Not enough detail and no comparisons were supplied by the Italians. There's also the issue of the City of Pienza, which is considered to be a key part of the Val d'Orcia but was already a WHS in its own right. Both sites should be combined into one.

Val di Noto

The Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (South-eastern Sicily) are eight towns are examples of 'anti-seismic' urban planning executed in the late Baroque style.

The valley owes its place on the World Heritage List to a tragic event in its history. On January the 9th 1693, a major earthquake struck this part of the world. Tenthousands of people died, and cities and towns were (partly) destructed.

After this catastrophe, large public projects were started to rebuild the affected cities. The fashionable architectural style of the period was used, Baroque, together with 'anti-seismic' urban planning.

The 8 places that are included as 'Val di Noto' are:

- Caltagirone

- Catania

- Militello

- Modica

- Noto

- Palazzolo

- Ragusa

- Scicli

Venetian Works of Defence

Venetian Works of Defence Between 16th and 17th centuries: Stato da Terra – Western Stato da Mar are 6 fortifications along the Adriatic Sea that date from the historic Republic of Venice.

They represent the evolution of Venetian military solutions and their innovations in architecture and methods. In the whole, they created a defensive line that guarded the Venetian commercial network.

Venice and its Lagoon

Venice and its Lagoon is a unique achievement of art, architecture and struggle against the elements.

The old historical centre of the city is situated on 118 islands of the Venetian Lagoon. It is criss-crossed by more than 150 canals and 400 bridges.

Records on Venice date back to the fifth and sixth centuries when refugees from the Venetian countryside took shelter in the Lagoon. The inhabitants transformed it into an important trading centre for shipping in the Mediterranean and towards the Orient.

The importance of Venice increased during the Crusades, when as a maritime power it extended its rule over the Aegean islands, Peleponesia, Crete and part of Constantinople. By the late 13th century, Venice was the most prosperous city in all of Europe.

Verona

The City of Verona is renowned for its military defensive architecture.

The city's history spans more than 2000 years: already in the first century BCE a Roman colony was established at this strategic spot. The Arena, the Theatre, the Ponte Pietra bridge and two City Gates still stand til this day.

Another important timeframe was the rule of the Scaliger family (1259-1387). They were responsible for the construction of the Castelvecchio and the adjacent bridge. They also rebuilt the city walls to extend the core of the city well beyond the ancient Roman part.

From 1405 to 1797, Verona belonged to the Venetian Republic. This wealthy period brought three new city gates and numerous palaces and public buildings.

The historic areas were touched by a severe flood in 1882 and World War II. However, restoration and reconstruction was executed with great care, preserving the unique cityscape.

Vicenza

The City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto represent the Palladian style in architecture, which became influential all over Europe and the United States.

Andrea Palladio (born as Andrea di Pietro della Gondola, 1508-1580) was educated as a stonecutter. After studying classical architecture in Rome, he developed the style named after him. In Palladianism, a villa has a dominant central focal element flanked by lower servant wings. It is strongly inspired by classical Roman principles.

In Vicenza and its outskirts, the following monuments are designated:

• Palazzo Barbaran da Porto

• Palazzo Poiana

• Palazzo Civena Trissino

• Palazzo Thiene di Scandiano

• Palazzo da Porto - Festa

• Logge della Basilica - the “Basilica Palladiana”

• Loggia del Capitaniato, now the Loggia dell’Amministrazione Communale

• Palazzo Valmarana-Braga

• Palazzo Thiene-Benin-Longare

• Palazzo da Porto-Breganze

• Palazzo Chiericati, now the Museo Civico

• Teatro Olimpico

• Arco delle Scalette

• Palazzo da Monte-Migliorini

• Palazzo da Schio

• Casa Cogollo

• Church of Santa Maria Nuova

• Loggia Valmarana in Giardino Salvi

• Palazzo Garzadori-Bortolan

• The dome of the Cathedral

• Door on the north side of the Cathedral

• Palazzo Capra

• Valmarana Chapel, Church of Santa Corona

• Villa Trissino, now Trettenero, Cricoli

• Villa Gazzotti, now Curti, Bertesina

• Villa Capra, now Valamarana - “La Rotonda”

The site was extended in 1995 to include 21 rural villas in the wider Veneto region, also designed by Palladio. They can be divided into working villa-farms and summer residences.

Villa Adriana (Tivoli)

The Villa Adriana was the retreat of the Roman emperor Hadrian, and the remains of its monuments are great examples of classical architecture.

The villa was created in the 2nd century A.D. in the cooler hillside town of Tivoli, about 30 kilometers outside Rome.

The Villa shows echoes of many different architectural orders, mostly Greek and Egyptian. Hadrian was a very well travelled emperor and borrowed these designs.

Villa d'Este

The Villa d'Este in Tivoli is a masterpiece of Italian architecture and especially garden design. Its mixture of architectural elements and water features had an enormous influence on European landscape design.

The villa was commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este (1509-1572), son of Alfonso I d'Este and Lucrezia Borgia and grandson of Pope Alexander VI. He had been appointed Governor of Tivoli.

From 1550 until his death in 1572, when the villa was nearing completion, Cardinal d'Este created a palatial setting surrounded by a spectacular terraced garden in the late-Renaissance mannerist style, which took full advantage of the dramatic slope but required innovations in bringing a sufficient water supply, which was employed in cascades, water tanks, troughs and pools, water jets and fountains, giochi d'acqua.

Villa Romana del Casale

The Villa Romana del Casale is a Late Roman Villa (or Palace), dating from the late 3rd and early 4th century AD.

What makes it unique among other surviving Roman villas are its floors, that are covered almost completely with well preserved (and coloured) mosaics. There are over 50 rooms full of them, in total ca. 3500 m².

The villa was brought to its splendour by tetrarch Marcus Aurelius Maximianius. The mosaics probably were the work of North African craftsmen. The site was excavated mostly in the 1950s.

Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont

The Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferratois is a harmonious landscape of cultivated hillsides, hilltop villages and other built elements.

It is one of the most ancient wine-producing regions in the world. The earliest traces date back to the 5th century BCE. It developed further during the Roman period. Since the 19th century it has become one of the main centers of the international wine trade, producing well-known wines such as Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Asti Spumante and Canelli Spumante.

This is a serial nomination of 6 separate locations: 5 winegrowing areas plus the Castle of Cavour (belonging to the Count of Cavour, the driving force behind modern winegrowing in Piedmont):

1. Langa of Barolo

2. Château Grinzane Cavour

3. Hills of Barbaresco

4. Nizza Monferrato – Barbera

5. Canelli and Asti Spumante

6. Monferrato of the Infernot

Jamaica
Blue and John Crow Mountains

Blue and John Crow Mountains is a remote mountainous region known for its biodiversity and relevance to the history of Jamaican Maroons.

The park covers two mountain ranges: the Blue Mountains, peaking at 2,250m, and the John Crow Mountains which is a limestone plateau. They are covered with dense tropical, montane rainforest. A wide variety in endangerd and/or endemic plant, frog and bird species is found here.

The region provided refuge to escaped indigenous slaves, the traces of which can be seen at Maroon archaeological sites such as hiding-places and a network of trails. The ‘Windward Maroons’ of the Blue Mountains region were one of two Maroon strongholds in Jamaica. They lived in and around the settlement of Nanny Town. Its spiritual association with living traditions, ideas and beliefs already earned it a place on the UNESCO List of Intangible Heritage in 2008.

Japan
Ancient Kyoto

The Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities) represent the imperial capital of Japan and formed the center of Japanese culture for thousand years (from 794).

This still can be seen in the religious wooden architecture, and the landscape gardens.

The following 17 buildings were recognized by the Unesco:

- Kamigamo Shrine

- Shimogamo Shrine

- Toji Temple

- Kiyomizu Temple

- Hieizan Enryakuji Temple

- Daigoji Temple

- Ninnaji Temple

- Byodoin Temple

- Ujigami Shrine

- Kozanji Temple

- Kokedera/Moss Temple

- Tenryuji Temple

- Kinkakuji Temple/Golden Pavilion

- Ginkakuji Temple/Silver Pavilion

- Ryoanji Temple

- Nishi-Hongwanji Temple

- Nijo Castle

Ancient Nara

The Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara comprise Buddhist and Shinto religious buildings that show the evolution of Japanese architecture.

The designated area consists of eight separate locations:

- Buddhist temples Todai-ji, Kôfuku-ji, Gango-ji, Yakushi-ji and Tôshôdai-ji

- Nara Palace

- Shinto shrine Kasuga-Taisha

- Kasugayama Primeval Forest

Fujisan

Fujisan is a volcanic mount revered as sacred and inspirational in the Shinto belief.

The site consists of a serial nomination of 25 monuments. Pilgrims have climbed this stratovolcano since ancient times.

Genbaku Dome

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) is a symbol of world peace after the destruction created by the first atom bomb.

The building, a former industrial promotion site, was the only one left standing near the centre of the explosion.

The US and China had their doubts about the inscription. The representative of the US spoke of a : "... lack of historical perspective, and protested against this and future inscription of war sites." His Chinese colleague stated that: "it was the other Asian countries and peoples who suffered the greatest loss in life and property during World War II, and that this inscription might be misused by people who deny this fact."

The park that now surrounds this monument has various other smaller monuments, to honor special groups of victims. There is also a museum where you can see the effects of the bomb on humans and artefacts.

Gusuku of Ryukyu

The Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu are a group of 9 stone monuments and archeological sites on the island of Okinawa. They are the remains of the ancient Ryukyu kingdom, which flourished between 1429 and 1609.

The “Gusuku” were walled compounds, which over the 12th to 16th centuries evolved into forts and castles of local chieftains. They were both political and religious centres. Some are still used for traditional religious rituals such as nature worship.

The unique Ryukyu culture was heavily influenced by the economic and cultural interchange with Japan, China, Korea and Southeast Asia.

The included locations are:

• Tamaudun (royal mausoleum)

• Sonohyan-utaki Ishimon (stone gate)

• Shuri-jô (castle)

• Nakijin-jô (castle)

• Zakimi-jô (castle)

• Katsuren-jô (castle)

• Nakagusuku-jô (castle)

• Shikinaen (garden villa)

• Sêfa-utaki (sanctuary)

Himeji-jo

Himeji-jo is a well preserved wooden castle, combining both functional use and aesthetic appeal. The castle is also known as Shirasagi, the white heron, because of its gracefulness.

Its origins date to 1333, when Akamatsu Norimura built a fort on top of Himeyama hill. The fort was dismantled and rebuilt as Himeyama Castle in 1346, and then remodeled into Himeji Castle two centuries later in 1581. The current building is still the over 400 years old original.

The castle consists of 83 buildings, and has a highly developed defense system. The (wooden) walls are stuck with fireproof white plaster. They have openings for firing guns and shooting arrows, and also for pouring boiling water or oil on unwelcome visitors.

Hiraizumi

Hiraizumi–Temples, Gardens, Archaeological Sites Representing the Buddhist Pure Land comprises Buddhist properties enshrining Amida Buddha and gardens made for the purpose of representing a Buddhist Pure Land.

The Ôshû Fujiwara family turned Hiraizumi into the political and administrative centre of the northern realm of Japan at the early 12th century. The town was located in a borderzone with the far north, where the indigenous people lived and where the power of the central government did not reach. The rulers set about constructing a country based on Buddhism, of which Hiraizumi was the main city. Its layout is seen as reflecting the cosmology of Pure Land Buddhism. This lead for example to a fusion of Chinese/Korean with Japanese garden design (adding the ethos of nature worship).

The city developed over a period of around 100 years, its prosperity based on wealth accumulated from gold production. Almost all of it was destroyed in 1189 when rule was taken over by rivals.

The following five sites are included:

• Chûson-ji - temple and buried garden remains. This was the spiritual heart of the city. The main surviving 12th century building is the Chûsonji Konjikidô (Golden Hall). The building later became a mausoleum in which are the mummified remains of four lords of the Ôshû Fujiwara family.

• Môtsû-ji – temple remains and reconstructed garden. The garden layout contains a variety of elements such an island, cove beach, cape, vertical stone and a 4 metre high artificial hill.

• Kanjizaiô-in Ato – remains of temples and reconstructed garden. Includes a simple pond which shape is consistent with guidelines in the Sakuteiki ("Ponds should be constructed in the shape of a tortoise or a crane.")

• Muryôkô-in Ato – archeological site of temple and buried garden.

• The sacred Mount Kinkeisan – nearly 100m high and a central reference point for constructing the city.

The Yanaginogosho Iseki (site of government offices) was part of the nomination too, but has been rejected at inscription because it had no link with the Pure Land and had no OUV of its own. After an earlier deferral in 2008, the number of designated locations already had shrunk from 9 to 6.

Horyu-ji Area

The Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area are the earliest of its kind in Japan, and masterpieces of wooden architecture. Horyu-ji was founded in 607 C.E. by prince Shotoku who was the first patron of Buddhism in Japan.

A total of 48 monuments are inscribed, at Horyu-ji and Hokki-ji. 28 of them were built before the 9th century, making them among the oldest surviving wooden buildings in the world.

A fire destroyed the original Horyu-ji buildings n 670, but structural remains survive below ground and rebuilding commenced almost immediately.

Itsukushima Shrine

The Itsukushima Shinto Shrine is a traditional Shinto religious centre set as an artistic creation in its natural environment.

Since ages, the island is known as a holy place for Shintoism. The first shrines were probably built there in the 6th century. The current one dates from the 13th century. The orange color of the wooden building contrasts beautifully with the green mountains and the blue sea.

Most famous part of the shrine is the so-called floating Torii, the photogenic orange-colored gateway which stands in the water in front of the shrine.

Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine

Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and its Cultural Landscape is a relict mining landscape that flourished between the 17th and 19th centuries due to an exchange of ideas and trade with East Asia and Europe.

It gives an overall picture of mine management from silver production to shipment. The entire process was done manually.

The mine was developed in 1526 by Kamiya Jutei, a Japanese merchant. Large amounts of quality silver could be produced due to the introduction of the traditional East Asian metal refining method. It reached its peak production of 38 tons in the early 17th century of approximately 38 tons of silver a year which was then a third of world production.

Silver production from the mine fell in the nineteenth century as it had trouble competing with mines elsewhere and it was eventually closed in 1923.

The inscribed area is located around Mount Sennoyama in Shimane Prefecture, Honshu. It is a serial nomination of 14 locations, including:

- Silver mine and mining towns (plus 3 mountain fortresses to guard them)

- Transportation routes

- Ports and port towns (Tomogaura, Okidomari, Yunotsu)

Kii Mountain Range

The Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range are testimony to the Shinto belief and its fusion into Shinto-Buddhism.

The three sacred sites lie in the forests of the Kii Mountains. They have attracted pilgrims since the 11th or 12th century.

The included sites consist of:

- three main wooden shrines: Yoshino and Omine, Kumano Sanzan and Koyasan

- three main pilgrimage routes

- sacred natural objects (trees, forests, mountains)

- stone mausolea and stupas at Koyasan Okuno-in

Nikko

The Shrines and Temples of Nikko are a traditional Japanese religious centre with Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. The surroundings of Nikko have been known for ages as a holy place. The temples and other shrines in this area originate from the 17th century and attract attention because of their rich decorations.

The well known carvings of the three see-no-evil, speak-no-evil, hear-no-evil monkeys can be seen on the Sacred Stable. A few steps from that, the Youmeimon gate boasts over 300 carvings of mythical beasts, such as dragons, giraffes, and lions, and Chinese sages.

Another reason for rewarding Nikko is that it is associated with the Shinto perception of the relationship of man with nature, in which mountains and forests have a sacred meaning and are objects of veneration. The mountaneous landscape, the trees, the rocks: they all form part of the site Nikko.

Ogasawara Islands

The Ogasawara Islands are a group of oceanic islands that display the evolution process from the birth of the islands.

It also is an habitat for valuable and endangered species, including the Bonin Flying Fox, a critically endangered bat. Also remarkable are its 134 species of land snails. Its fauna and flora with many endemic species and taxonomic disharmony is typical for isolated oceanic islands.

The nominated area consists of the Ogasawara archipelago (Mukojima, Chichijima, Hahajima), Kita-iwoto, Minami-iwoto, Nishinoshima island and marine zones. They are located 1000km south of Tokyo.

Okinoshima Island

The Sacred Island of Okinoshima has been a ritual site from the 4th – 9th century.

Ritual practices and votive offerings were made to pray for safety in navigating the seas, for boats heading to Korea and China to trade. The site includes three nearby islets, Koyajima, Mikadobashira and Tenguiwa, and 4 sites on and closer to Kyushu. There are a number of taboos and restrictions on visiting Okinoshima, including a ban of women and the prohibition “to speak of anything they have seen or heard on the Island”.

Shirakami-Sanchi

Shirakami-Sanchi is a mountain range covered with virgin temperate forest of Siebold's beech trees.

This kind of forest once covered all of North Japan: Shirakami holds the largest remaining and most pristine stand. The designated area measures almost 17,000ha. Its highest peak is 1243m.

The landscape is features deep valleys with steep slopes. It sees heavy snow during the winter months, something against which the beech trees are extremely resistant to. Its canopy is distinctively monospecific.

The rare Japanese black bear (a subspecies of the Asian black bear) can be found here, as well as the Japanese serow and many species of birds and insects.

There are no human residents or permanent man-made facilities in the core zone of Shirakami. Regional traditional bear hunters, the ‘Matagi’, spent weeks at a time in the forest during winter and early spring.

Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are traditional Japanese settlements.

The houses in the villages in the valley are unique to Japan. They are very big, and have thick thatched roofs that come down steeply. This way the snow can slide off the roofs. There is also enough space under the roofs to store supplies for long winters. The inhabitants of these villages used to earn their money in the silk-industry. They lived a very secluded life.

In Japanese, the houses are called Gassho-zukuri. Gassho means praying hands, suggesting the form of hands raised in prayer to the buddha. Here it refers to the triangular shape of the roof.

Shiretoko

Shiretoko National Park, located on the Shiretoko Peninsula in eastern Hokkaido, is one of Japan's most beautiful and unspoiled national parks.

The peninsula is home to a variety of wildlife, including brown bears, dear and foxes. In winter, the peninsula's coast along the Sea of Okhotsk becomes one of the northern hemisphere's southernmost regions to view floating ice

Shiretoko is a good example of marine and land ecosystems being correlated, and its biodiversity is very important for salmon, migratory birds and sea mammals, including sea lions.

Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution

The 'Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining' cover a series of industrial sites related to iron, steel, shipbuilding and coal mining.

They were developed during the rapid Industrial transformation in the Bakumatsu and Meiji periods (1853 - 1912).

The WHS comprises 23 component sites in southwest Japan. They are spread out over the towns and cities of Hagi, Kagoshima, Nirayama, Kamaishi, Saga, Nagasaki, Miike and Yawata.

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier comprises 17 locations designed by the renowned French-Swiss architect, who is seen as one of the pioneers of modern architecture.

The series shows the dissemination of his ideas over the world during a period of 50 years.

The locations span seven countries on three continents. 10 are situated in France and 2 in Switzerland, the homelands of Le Corbusier (born in Switzerland, became a French citizen). But also Chandigarh (India), National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo (Japan) and Casa Curutchet (Argentina) are included.

Tomioka Silk Mill

The Tomioka Silk Mill is an early industrial complex that shows the spreading of Western techologies during Japan's Meiji period.

The mill was established in 1872, and it was dedicated to the production of raw silk. This nomination also symbolizes Japan's entry to the modern industrialised world. Production at the mill ceased in 1987.

Soon after the Meiji Restoration in the late 19th Century, the Japanese Government hastened the modernization of Japan to catch up with European countries. Japanese raw silk was the most important export and sustained the growth of Japan's economy at that time. However, it was hard to keep up with the quality. With assistence from Lyon (France), the leading centre for industrialised silk production at the time, a modern facility was built with the most sophisticated machinery.

This is a serial nomination of 4 sites, which show different stages in the production of raw silk :

- Raw silk mill

- Silkworm farms

- Sericulture school

- storage facility for silkworm eggs

Yakushima

Yakushima is an island that contains the remains of a warm-temperate ancient forest and is the last ecosystem dominated by the Japanese cedar.

There are high peaks up to 2000m, all covered in dense forest. Together they form a superb scenic setting.

The Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) or Yakusugi is endemic to the island. It is a very large evergreen tree that can reach up to 70m. Some of the trees are thousands years old. The sacred values of the ancient forests of Yakusugi are also recognized.

Yakushima is Japan's wettest place, and precipitation in Yakushima is one of the world's highest at 4,000 to 10,000 mm. It also is the southernmost place in Japan where there is snow in the mountains.

The site has similarities with Tasmanian Wilderness, Garajonay and the Scandola Reserve.

Jordan
Baptism Site "Bethany Beyond the Jordan"

The Baptism Site "Bethany Beyond the Jordan" (Al-Maghtas) is a Christian pilgrimage site commemorating the location where Jesus of Nazareth was baptised by John the Baptist.

The site is located on the eastern banks of the Jordan river, and comprises two locations: Tell el-Kharrar (Elijah’s Hill) and the Zor area of the Churches of St. John the Baptist

Petra

Petra is the archaeological site of an ancient Nabatean city cut into the red sandstone rock. The remains of the city consist of Royal Tombs, obelisks, houses, streets, temples, sacrifical places, a Theatre, a Monastery and the Treasury.

It also held an extensive water engineering system. The Nabateans blended ancient Eastern traditions with Hellenistic architecture.

The city developed as an important caravan centre between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea. The main developments took place between the first centuries BC and AD. The site moved into obscurity to all but locals from the 7th century on. It was rediscovered in 1812.

On its inscription as a World Heritage Site it was described as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's heritage".

Quseir Amra

Quseir Amra is an early 8th century Umayyad building known for its well-preserved wall paintings. It is considered one of the most important examples of early Islamic art and architecture.

This 'desert castle' with a triple-vaulted ceiling was used as a retreat by the caliph or his princes for sport and pleasure. The interior walls are painted with decorations such as hunting scenes, fruit, musicians, portraits of great rulers (including the Umayyad Caliph himself), bathing nude women and a map of the northern hemisphere sky accompanied by the signs of the Zodiac.

Part of the building is a bath complex that shows a Roman influence.

Um er-Rasas

Um er-Rasas (Kastron Mefa'a) is an archeological site which contains ruins from the Roman, Byzantine and early Muslim civilizations.

It was an important Christian pilgrimage center in the 8th century. There were at least 16 churches here, and pilgrims travelled from afar to see and consult the Stylite monks that lived on stone towers. One of those towers (13m high) is still standing.

The majority of the site has not been excavated. It has survived undisturbed for 1200 years and has a high level of authenticity. Among the portions excavated so far include the Roman military camp, 'Kastron Mefaa', a frontier camp of the Limus Arabicus. and several churches. The remains date from between the late 3rd and end of the 9th century.

Particularly noteworthy is the mosaic floor of the Byzantine Church of Saint Stephen with its representation of towns in the region.

Wadi Rum

The Wadi Rum Protected Area is a true desert landscape that holds iconic landforms such as natural arches, mushroom rocks, narrow gorges and the world's most spectacular networks of honeycomb weathering features.

It was created by tectonic activity, and further shaped by erosion.

The site is also a cultural landscape. It has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, including the Nabateans. Its rock art and ancient Arabian inscriptions give an authentic narrative of Bedouin life.

Kazakhstan
Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi

The mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi is an Islamic religious monument built in the Timurid architectural style.

Khodja Ahmed Yasawi is the most prominent religious figure in the history of Sufism (a mystic movement in Islam). He also was a poet and philosopher. He died in 1166 or 1167 (some sources say 1146), and was buried in a small mausoleum attracting many pilgrims.

It was Timur who erected the immense mausoleum over the burial vault of Ahmed Yasawi in the 14th century. In fact, the "Mausoleum" is more like a multi-functional building: a meeting hall, a mosque, an archive and with rooms for the serving staff. It's situated in the town of Turkestan. After the death of Timur in 1405, the buildings remained unfinished.

Saryarka

"Saryarka - Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan" is an important site for migratory water birds on the Central Asian flyway because of its wetlands. It also is the habitat of the Saiga antelope and the Siberian white crane. Both are critically endangered.

The site comprises two protected areas:

- Naurzum State Nature Reserve

- Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve, which includes the vast Korgalzhyn-Tengiz lake system

The land consists of 120,000 ha of "virgin" steppe.

Silk Roads

Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor comprise a heritage route of some 5,000 km. The Tian-shan Corridor linked Chang'an in central China with the heartland of Central Asia.

This is part of the major trade corridor that connected China with Europe. It took shape between the 2nd century BC and 1st century AD. It flourished between the 6th and 14th century AD.

It is a serial nomination of 35 sites, spread out over China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Some of the most well-known included sites are:

- Great Wild Goose Pagoda and Small Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an

- Longmen grottoes

- Maijishan cave temple complex

- Mogao caves

- Yumen Pass

- Bashbaliq City

Tamgaly

Petroglyphs within the Archaeological Landscape of Tamgaly is the best researched and documented site of rock art in Central Asia.

It provides insight into the culture of the traditional steppes civilisations of Central Asia. The site also includes ancient settlements, bural sites and sacred sites.

Altogether over 5,000 images have been recorded in 48 different complexes. Overall the petroglyphs (rock carvings) appear to cover a period from the second half of the second millennium BC right through to the beginning of the 20th century.

Western Tien-Shan

The Western Tien-Shan is a Central Asian mountain range known for its plant biodiversity.

Especially its wild fruit and walnut forest are among the largest remaining in the world, thus providing a genetic resource for domestic fruit species. The site consists of 13 parks and nature reserves, divided over Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Kenya
Fort Jesus

Fort Jesus, Mombasa is a Portuguese fort built in 1593. It was built in the shape of a man (viewed from the air), and was given the name of Jesus.

The fort was designed by an Italian architect, Jao Batisto Cairato, who was the Chief Architect for Portuguese possessions in the East. It was the first European-style fort constructed outside of Europe designed to resist cannon fire. Today, it is one of the finest examples of 16th century Portuguese military architecture, which has been influenced and changed by both the Omani Arabs and the British.

Kenya Lake System

The Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley consists of three lakes in basins on the floor of the valley, known for their high concentration of lesser flamingo, great white pelicans and migratory birds.

The lakes are:

- Lake Elementaita

- Lake Nakuru

- Lake Bogoria

All the three lakes are shallow, alkaline and are hydro-geologically connected through sub surface seepage of water. The alkalinity of the three lakes supports the abundant growth of the green algae (spirulina platensis) which is the food of the lesser flamingoes which congregate in the lakes in great numbers.

Lake Turkana

Lake Turkana National Parks is a group of three national parks. Reasons for the park's importance include its use as a stopping point for migratory birds, as a breeding ground for the Nile crocodile, hippopotamus, and snakes. It also contains both animal and hominid fossils in the Koobi Fora deposits which are unique in the world.

Lake Turkana National Parks consist of Sibiloi National Park and two islands on Lake Turkana (South Island and Central Island).

Lamu Old Town

Lamu Old Town is the oldest and best preserved example of Swahili settlement in East Africa: it has maintained its social and cultural integrity, as well as retaining its authentic building fabric up to the present day.

Once the most important trade centre in East Africa, Lamu has exercised an important influence in cultural as well as in technical terms.

Characterized as being a conservative and closed society, Lamu has retained an important religious function with annual celebrations, and it is also a significant centre for education in Islamic and Swahili culture.

Compared with Zanzibar, Lamu has been more conservative and therefore has also best preserved its particular Swahili character.

Mijikenda Kaya Forests

The Mijikenda Kaya Forests consist of 11 separate forest sites spread over some 200 km along the coast containing the remains of numerous fortified villages, known as kayas, of the Mijikenda people.

The kayas, created as of the 16th century but abandoned by the 1940s, are now regarded as the abodes of ancestors and are revered as sacred sites and, as such, are maintained as by councils of elders. The site is inscribed as bearing unique testimony to a cultural tradition and for its direct link to a living tradition. The cultural processes are also impacting beneficially on the natural values of the site.

Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya National Park / Natural Forest protects the region surrounding Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa at 5,199 m.

The mountain is an extinct vulcano. It has 12 remnant glaciers on its slopes, which are retreating rapidly. Also there are several small lakes and it is the main water catchment area for two large rivers in Kenya; the Tana and the Ewaso Ng'iso North.

At lower altitudes Colobus and other monkeys and Cape Buffalo are prevalent. Some larger mammals such as elephants range up to 4,500 m.

Kiribati
Phoenix Islands

The Phoenix Islands Protected Area is a remote marine ecosystem known for its high biodiversity. The area consists of eight atolls and two submerged coral reefs. The islands and surrounding areas are home to some 120 species of coral and more than 500 species of fish. They are located in the central Pacific Ocean.

On January 28, 2008, the government of Kiribati formally declared the entire Phoenix group and surrounding waters a protected area, making its 410,500 square kilometres the world's largest marine protected area. The islands are all uninhabited, except for some fishermen and officials on Kanton.

Korea (DPR)
Kaesong

The Historic Monuments and Sites in Kaesong represent the ruling base of the Koryo dynasty (918-1392) with their associated tombs. The Koryo unified the country. During their reign Confucianism began to prevail over Buddhism. The city was developed in a geomantic setting, using the surrounding mountain tops as markers.

Kaesong was their capital and flourished as a commercial city. The designated area covers the 12 remaining Koryo monuments and sites. They are:

- 5 sections of the city walls

- Manwoldae Palace and Chomsongdae

- Namdae Gate

- Koryo Songgyungwan

- Sungyang Sowon

- Sonjuk Bridge and Phyochung Monuments

- Mausoleum of King Wang Kon with associated Seven Tombs Cluster and Myongrung Tombs Cluster

- Mausoleum of King Kongmin

Kaesong is the southernmost city of North Korea. It used to be one of only two locations in North Korea accessible from the south (until May 2010).

Koguryo Tombs

The Complex of Koguryo Tombs represent the Koguryo Kingdom, one of the strongest kingdoms in the north east of China and the Korean Peninsula between the 5th and 7th centuries AD.

The tombs are designated a WHS because of the burial customs they represent and their beautiful wall paintings.

Kyrgyzstan
Silk Roads