The new additions to the UNESCO World Heritage were announced at the beginning of this week after a 10 day conference in Krakow, Poland. A few eyebrows were certainly raised over some of the nominations. The Lake District for example, although nice enough, is it really on par with say the Grand Canyon and Macchu Picchu as a site of "outstanding universal value"? UNESCO already has a few questionable sites on the list and here is a look at just a few of them...
An irrigation system, Oman
There is nothing more thrilling than a good irrigation system. The Aflaj Irrigation Systems of Oman are over 1,500 years old and are a key example of a design dating as far back as 5,000 years ago. It's still vital to agricultural life today and was given a place on the list in 2006. But seriously, an irrigation system, really?
The idea behind the Brazilian capital's ambitious design was to nourish economic and social development. There would be straight lines, rational planning and enough space for everyone. The architect, Oscar Niemeyer, wanted the metropolis to look like a bird from above. But, in reality it's not all that. The vast amounts of space make the city impersonal and difficult to get around. The chief architect for the 2012 London Olympics even described it as an 'office campus for a government'.
Thomas Jefferson had his grand plantation home here in Virginia. He designed it personally and it was built on the back of slave labour in the 18th century. It's pretty enough and today functions as a history museum that educates visitors on the life of the founding father. Of course, American patriots will like it but to better understand the complex history of the American Revolution, you should head to Washington D.C.
A disused prison, Australia
Already ticked off the Sydney Opera House? The next big Australian tourist destination to head to is a former prison, Port Arthur. If that's not enough there are another 10 former Australian prisons also listed by UNESCO. These Australian Convict Sites are evidence of mass convict transportation and European colonial expansion.
A copper mine, Sweden
Falun Mine operated for nearly 1,000 years before closing down in 1992. It produced the majority of Europe's copper and contributed to funding Sweden's wars in the 17th century. According to UNESCO, it 'illustrates the activity of copper production in the region since at least the 13th century'. Spine-tingling stuff.