At it’s recent annual meeting in Istanbul, UNESCO added 21 new sites to the World Heritage List, ranging from an ancient water system in Iran to buildings in seven countries designed by a groundbreaking modern architect. When the list is announced, it’s big news, for the sites and their countries, of course, but also for travelers.
Many of us know the most famous UNESCO sites, such as Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal, and Prague Castle, and other must-see icons. The beauty of the list is that it identifies virtually unknown locales and ephemeral cultural touchstones, many of which might be lost to humanity forever were it not for the UNESCO designation. That’s true of the new additions to the list, which you can check out by going to the UNESCO news site and checking out press releases issued from July 15th to 17th of this year.
Vantage Adventures and Vantage Deluxe World Travel make a point of identifying UNESCO sites that you’ll visit on our journeys. And while many of the new sites are in rather out-of-the way places that few of us can easily get to, we often visit other UNESCO sites in the same countries.
One of the newly designated sites is the Persian Qanat water system. You may not see the water tunnels themselves, but on our new Splendors Of Persia: Art & Culture In Iran adventure you will see four of the nine Persian Gardens, themselves designated World Heritage Sites, and some of which are doubtless irrigated by these ancient systems. The windswept sands of the Iran’s Lut Desert have also been added to the list. This dramatically beautiful but daunting landscape occupies a vast basin in southeastern Iran, far from the populated regions of Iran, including the cities and historical sites we visit.
You have a good chance of seeing stecci, the medieval limestone grave markers just added to the list, that are found in overgrown cemeteries throughout the former Yugoslavian countries that we visit on Croatia & Pearls of the Adriatic Coast and Greece & the Southern Adriatic Cruise. Ask your Cruise Director about them — you may very well encounter them on your route.
A far different type of listing designates 17 buildings in seven countries by French architect Le Corbusier, citing them as examples of “the invention of a new architectural language that made a break with the past.” The named buildings range widely and include a legislative assembly complex in India, churches in France, an art museum in Tokyo, private residences in several countries, and the architect’s own rustic vacation cabin on France’s Cote d’Azur. In all, specific works by Le Corbusier in Argentina, Belgium, France, Germany, India, Japan, and Switzerland are noted. (The Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University is his only building in the U.S., by the way, and it doesn’t get a mention.)
We can’t promise you’ll see Le Corbusier’s work when you visit Argentina on South America Adventure: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay & Brazil, Germany on Grand European Tour, or India on Explore India: Ganges River Cruise, but you will see UNESCO sites on most of our journeys.
How many UNESCO sites have you visited? And what’s next on your list?