I have just double checked and Varanasi isn't on India's T List. Somewhat surprising and I wonder why not? Religious reasons - seems unlikely given all the other Hindu sites which are on? "Quality" - I would have thought it could press the right buttons on enough cultural criteria? I suspect there are a lot of "unauthentic" structures and I personally can't remember any "great buildings" when I have been there (not for quite a long time!) but the general cultural significance and the setting MUST allow a section near the Ghats to meet inscrirption criteria. So I support Varansai
Chernobyl - well it is "World Unique" - Hiroshima demonstrated "natural regeneration" but can't be said to have been without human interference! Again how much are we trying to stay within cureent UNESCO guidelines?. The Natural criteria are
vii. Contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
viii. To be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;
ix. To be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;
x. to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.
Interesting and unique as it may be does it really hit any of these buttons -a little bit of ix perhaps? I would say a very interesting suggestion but not within my Top 50. And we are again back with the isue of how widely are we looking for the top 50 - are we staying within the T List? Are we staying within the UNESCO rules? Or are we throwing both out and going off into the wide blue yonder? I am prepared to drop the T LIst but feel we must stick with the "current rules". Els, I think you need to "set the boundaries" here!!!