Four new sites made it to the World Heritage list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The new sites, announced Friday, include China’s Zuojiang Huashan rock art cultural landscape, Iran’s ancient aqueducts known as Qanat, and India’s archaeological site of Nalanda Mahavihara.
The World Heritage Committee also selected Micronesia’s artificial islets of Nan Madol and simultaneously placed it on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Made of basalt and coral boulders, the 99 artificial islets of Nan Madol are home to ruins ranging from temple to tombs dating between A.D. 1200 and 1500.
Gathered in Istanbul from July 10-20, the committee is reviewing 27 sites of special cultural or natural significance which have been nominated for the World Heritage List.
For Turkey, the meeting will decide whether Ani, an archaeological site in the eastern city of Kars, will be designated as a World Heritage Site. Ani hosted empires and kingdoms throughout its history, from the Bagratid Kingdom of Armenians to Byzantine, before it fell into the hands of Turks after the conquest of Seljuk Sultan Alparslan in 1064.
Last year, Diyarbakır Fortress and Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape along with the ancient city of Ephesus in Turkey were inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in the German city of Bonn, raising the total number of Turkish cultural assets included on the permanent list to 15.
To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of 10 selection criteria of which the first is to represent a “masterpiece of human creative genius” – such sites will need controlled tourism in the future.