Must-Vist 2019 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Asia
Earlier this July, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee held a meeting at the glorious walled city of Baku, Azerbaijan to select its newest heritage sites in the world. Of the 37 nominees, 29 prevailed and were named a part of the coveted list.
It’s no ordinary feat to be part of the UNESCO’s Heritage List. Each site undergoes much scrutiny and needs to possess an "outstanding universal value". In addition, these international locales should meet at least one of the 10 selection criteria: have played significance in human history, a natural phenomena or beauty, displays human creative genius, and a significant natural habitat for biodiversity, to name a few.
With Asia’s rich culture and colourful history, it’s no surprise that almost half—13 including Australia—of the new inscribed sites are located in the largest continent in world. Azerbaijan, for one, had its own historic centre of Sheki with the Khan’s palace become a part of the current 1,121 heritage sites.
A long-awaited recognition was handed to Iraq, after the ancient city of Babylon was finally recognised as a heritage site. This once bustling empire still has a lot of its history unearthed, with only 18 per cent of the 10 sq. km having been excavated. This is one of the reasons as to why it took more than three decades before the United Nation’s cultural body decided to include this site on the list.
Meanwhile, recognised for their architectural beauty, South Korea’s nine neo-Confucian academies or seowon, the Jaipur City in India, and Bagan in Myanmar all also received a nod from the international body.
Other new entrees in Asia, including Australia, are: Dilmun Burial Mounds (Bahrain), Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City (China), Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Coast of Yellow Sea-Bohain Gulf of China, Phase I (China), Ombilin Coal Mining Heritage of Sawahlunto (Indonesia), Hyrcanian Forests (Iran), Mozu-Furuichi Kofun Group: Mounded Tombs of Ancient Japan (Japan), Megalithic Jar Sites in Xiengkhuan-Plain of Jars (Laos), Budj Bim Cultural Landscape (Australia).
Scroll through the gallery and see the magnificence of the newly inscribed UNESCO sites: