UNESCO announces 34 new world heritage sites

UNESCO announces 34 new world heritage sites

Five are in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia’s Hima rock art complex 

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has announced 34 newly inscribed sites treasured for their outstanding universal value

The committee that decides which sites are UNESCO-listed didn’t meet in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, so the new list is longer than usual. Once a site is added, it is entitled to funds and advice on ways to maintain it.

Only five of the new sites are natural, while the rest are cherished for their cultural value.

This year’s list saw the inclusion of the Hima rock art complex in Saudi Arabia (pictured). The site is the sixth to be recognised in the country, joining the Al-Ahsa Oasis, Historic Jeddah, At-Turaif district in ad-Dir’iyah north-west of Riyadh,  Al-Hijr Archaeological Site and rock art in the Hail Region. 


Saudi Arabia has forged close links with UNESCO. In 2019, the kingdom was elected to the global heritage body’s executive board and in the same year, the Saudi Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud, and UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay, signed a letter of intent confirming Saudi Arabia’s US$25m contribution to Unesco’s heritage preservation initiatives.

Other new additions to Unesco’s World Heritage list in the region include As-Salt, Jordan, Trans-Iranian Railway, Iran, Cultural Landscape of Hawraman/Uramanat and Iranand Arslantepe Mound, Turkey.

The remaining additions from other regions are listed below:


  • The Great Spa Towns of Europe, Austria, Belgium, Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom
  • Colonies of Benevolence, Belgium/the Netherlands
  • Cordouan Lighthouse, France
  • Nice, Winter Resort Town of the Riviera, France
  • Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt, Germany
  • Frontiers of the Roman Empire: The Lower German Lines, Germany, the Netherlands
  • Frontiers of the Roman Empire: The Danube Limes (Western Segment), Austria, Germany, Slovakia
  • ShUM Sites of Speyer, Worms and Mainz, Germany
  • The Porticoes of Bologna, Italy
  • The Works of Jože Plečnik in Ljubljana: Human Centered Urban Design, Slovenia
  • The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales, United Kingdom
  • Petroglyphs of Lake Onega and the White Sea, Russia
  • Padua’s 14th Century Fresco Cycles, Italy
  • Paseo del Prado and Buen Retiro, a landscape of Arts and Sciences, Spain
  • Roșia Montană Mining Landscape, Romania
  • Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands, Georgia

Bath, England


  • Jomon Prehistoric Sites in northern Japan
  • Quanzhou: Emporium of the World in Song-Yuan China
  • Amami-Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, the northern part of Okinawa Island and Iriomote Island, Japan
  • Getbol, Korean Tidal Flats, South Korea
  • Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex, Thailand
  • Dholavira: a Harappan City, India
  • Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple, Telangana, India

Jomon, Japan

South America

  • Sítio Roberto Burle Marx, Brazil
  • Settlement and Artificial Mummification of the Chinchorro Culture in the Arica and Parinacota Region, Chile
  • Chankillo Archaeoastronomical Complex, Peru
  • The Work of Engineer Eladio Dieste: Church of Atlántida, Uruguay

Sítio Roberto Burle Marx, Brazil


  • Ivindo National Park, Gabon
  • Sudanese Style Mosques, Ivory Coast

Ivindo National Park, Gabon

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