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Nalanda Mahavihara World Heritage site in India, Copyright: picture-alliance/dpa/R.Raj
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/R.Raj

UNESCO names new World Heritage sites

July 15, 2016

An ancient university in India and rock art in China are among the four new additions to UNESCO's World Heritage List. More additions are expected to come this week.


The Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape in China encompasses 38 sites of rock art which illustrate how the Luoyue people lived from the 5th century BC to the 2nd century AD. In particular, the art portrays the bronze drum culture that used to be prevalent across southern China.

The one-of-a-kind site was one of four added to UNESCO's prestigious World Heritage List Friday (15.07.2016), the organization announced on Twitter:

UNESCO is holding its annual World Heritage Committee session in Istanbul from July 10-20, during which it reviews its World Heritage List, which incorporates over 1,000 sites around the globe. While 27 new sites are under review for the list, 48 sites endangered by war or natural catastrophe could also potentially be removed over the course of the meeting.

UNESCO World Heritage status is highly coveted by applying countries, as it boosts tourism and interest in the region.

Also added to the World Heritage List on Friday was the archaeological site of the Nalanda Mahavihara University in Bihar in north-eastern India. The site, which includes remains of a Buddhist religious education institution that functioned without interruption from the 3rd century BC to the 13th century AD, features artworks made of stucco, stone and metal. Nalanda is considered the oldest university on the Indian Subcontinent.

In Iran, an ancient system of aqueducts known as the Persian Qanat was also added to the World Heritage list. Eleven qanats are comprised in the system, which is still in place. It is seen as a positive example of how dry, arid climates can achieve sustainable water sharing over a great distance and over many centuries.

Nan Madol World Heritage site in Micronesia, Copyright:
Nan Madol is a series of 99 islets made of basalt and coral in MicronesiaImage: picture-alliance/dpa/J-M. La-Roque

The fourth World Heritage site to be added can be found in Micronesia. Made of basalt and coral boulders, Nan Madol is a series of 99 artificial islets that are home to ruins ranging from temple to tombs from the years 1200 to 1500. They are representative of the Saudeleur dynasty, which was considered a vibrant period in Pacific Island culture, and give evidence of the complex social and religious practices of the time.

Click through the gallery below for additional sites applying for World Heritage status:

kbm/rb (dpa, AP, unesco.org)

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