Get out that bucket list: 21 new UNESCO sites have been added to the ever-growing roster of significant sites around the globe.
The committee for UNESCO — which is the United Nations Organization for Education, Science, and Culture — just made the decisions in Istanbul in mid-July.
What else was happening in Turkey back in mid-July? Ah yes, a military coup. So due to security concerns, the meetings ended abruptly and will convene again in Paris... to add even more sites.
But meanwhile, here are a handful of the newly minted UNESCO sites worthy of your travel consideration.
1. Gorham's Cave Complex, U.K.
These natural sea caves in Gibraltar are considered to be among the last known places Neanderthals lived in Europe. Formed from Jurassic limestone 17 kilometers long, these amazing caves join Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London in being the newest of 30 UNESCO sites in the U.K.
2. Archipiélago de Revillagigedo, Mexico
Out in the Pacific sits this set of four volcanic islands, often called “Mexico’s little Galapagos” because of its unique eco-system. You can see these by boat and even scuba dive here along with hammerheads, tiger sharks, and barracudas.
3. Western Tien-Shan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan
If you want a unique vacation this year, get yourself to the ‘Stans! The “Mountain of Heaven” as this range is called, is just calling our name. No need to worry about what to do once you get here. From heliskiing to rock-climbing, the numerous adventure options won’t let you down.
4. Khangchendzonga National Park, India
Located in Sikkim, one of the most beautiful areas of India, the Khangchendzonga Mountain is the third highest peak in the world. Trekking the Himalayas is a common tourist activity in India but many choose the Western side from Manali. If you go East here in Sikkim, you can avoid crowds and see the beauty all on your own.
5. Mistaken Point, Canada
These jagged cliffs show the water marks left by three billion years of evolution. In Newfoundland, the fossil site is great for science nerds and nature lovers alike. Not only is it a great viewpoint, but it houses the oldest known large fossils in the world.
6. Stećci Medieval Tombstones, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia
There’s so much more to Europe than Paris and Berlin. You’ll find more to this region than these tombstones, which are scattered throughout the countries, but on their own these are pretty cool too. As UNESCO says, they're a “unique cultural phenomenon."
So what requirements does a site need to meet UNESCO's list? “Sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria” to be considered, according to the group. The criteria are impressive.
See the full list of UNESCO sites here.
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