The 41st UNESCO annual conference is being held from 2-12 July in Krakow, Poland. There, a committee will decide on which sites are of "outstanding universal value" and thus merit a protected status under international law. There are currently 1,052 World Heritage sites, including the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu and Stonehenge to name but a few. There are 35 nominations for this year's convention, here is a look at just a few...
Asmara ? Eritrea Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, is situated in the Horn of Africa and has a population of approximately 1 million. Italian colonial rule from the late 19th to mid 20th century has left the city with a variety of unusual and modernist architecture. The buildings feature neo-Romanesque, neo-classical, futuristand art-decostyles. Distinctive Italian style architecture is also present, notably in the wide streets and piazzas. But, these historic building are falling into ruin and are threatened by town planning, a place on the UNESCO list would ensure the monuments would be preserved and restored.
Taputapuatea - Raiatea
The small commune of
Taputapuateais located on Raiatea Island in the Pacific ocean. The French colony was once a significant religious centre in Polynesia and priests from neighboring islands would meet to worship the ancient deities and share their knowledge of the cosmos. Evidence of this ancient culture dating from 1000AD is to be found in surviving stone structuresand marae (communal sacred spaces of worship). Many artifacts like these on the Pacific Islands were destroyed by Christian settlers in the 19th century, so few are still standing. A UNESCO status means these archeological sites would preserve the memory of a civilization which has long since disappeared.
Ahmedabad ? India Ahmedabadis the 6th largest city in Indiawith a fast growing population of more than 6.3 million. The stunning location was chosen by The Times of India as the best city to livein 2016. Sites to look out for include the Jama Mosquebuilt by the sultan in 1424 and Sabarmati Ashram, where Mahatma Ghandi lived for many years. The city features rare architectural styles, specifically the Indo-Saracenic stylewhich is a fusion of Hindu and Persian designs.
Los Alerces National Park ? Argentina
As of this year there are 203 natural sites on the UNESCO list, and the beatiful
Los Alerces National Parkon Argentina could soon join that list. Established in 1937, the site features the largest alerce forest in all of Argentina. Alerce trees are found in Chile and Argentina but their numbers have been dramatically reduced over the last decades due to logging. The trees can be as high as 45m and are the longest living trees in the world, indeed some of the trees in the park are as old as 3,000 years.
Yazd ? Iran
There are 814 cultural sites on the list already, could
Yazdbe next? The 5,000 year olddesert town is famous for its exquisite Persian architecture. There are Persian mosaics in the Jame Mosque of Yazd, majestic wind towers and one of the world's largest networks of underground water channels, also known as qanats.