In 2023, Unesco has added 42 sites to its list of World Heritage Sites, among them many made of stone

New in the World Heritage List are the deer stones on the slopes of the Khangai Ridge in central Mongolia, dating from about 1200 to 600 BCE and once used for ceremonial and funerary practices. Photo: Ts.Turbat / UndescoNew in the World Heritage List is the archaeological site of Koh Ker in Cambodia, a urban ensemble of numerous temples and sanctuaries including sculptures, inscriptions, wall paintings, and archaeological remains. Photo: National Authority for Preah Vihear (NAPV) / Unesco

This brings the total number to 1199 in 168 countries, many of which used stone as a building material

42 sites with special significance for the culture and history of peoples were included in the Unesco World Heritage List in 2023. 33 of the newly inscribed sites are cultural sites, 9 are natural sites. This brings the total number to 1199 in 168 countries. The decision to do so was made at the September 2023 meeting of the relevant committee of the United Nations Cultural Organization in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

195 countries have signed the Cultural Heritage Convention.

New in the World Heritage List is the Prehistoric Site of Talayotic, located on the island of Menorca in the western Mediterranean Sea, displaying a diversity of prehistoric settlements and burial places. Photo: CIMe / Unesco

World Heritage status gives sites access to technical and financial support from Unesco. The hope is that the notoriety will also bring them protection in cases of conflict or disrespect.

However, this protection is rather a mere appeal: so, after the Historic Centre of Odesa (January 2023), 2 more sites in Ukraine have now been added to the List of World Heritage in Danger, namely Saint Sophia’s Cathedral and complex of monastic and Lavra buildings in Kyiv-Pechersk and the Historic Centre of Lviv.

This year has been a special one for World Heritage in Africa, as the current new inscriptions have surpassed the striking threshold of 100 sites on the list, according to Unesco’s webpage.

Also newly included are 3 “Sites of Memory“: the World War I gravesites in Belgium and France, the memorials of genocide in Rwanda, and the ESMA Museum and Place of Memory – former secret center for detention, torture and extermination in Argentina.

World Heritage List

List of World Heritage in Danger

The Historic Center of Lviv in Ukraine have been added to the List of World Heritage in Danger. Photo: Silvan Rehfeld / Unesco

(27.12.2023, USA: 12.27.2023)