2019 nominees for UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites

One of the 2019 nominees is the ancient city of Bagan, in Myanmar, pictured, home to thousands of temples, monuments and monasteries.
a sky view of a mountain: Risco Caido and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria Cultural Landscape, in Spain, are also on the list.
a large brick building with Ziggurat of Ur in the background: The archaeological remains of Babylon, in Iraq, could be added to the UNESCO list.
a large waterfall over a fire: Iceland's Vatnajökull National Park is among list submissions.
a large mountain in the background: Another proposed addition is the Dilmun Burial Mounds, in Bahrain.

A bird-filled estuary along China’s Yalu River, ancient Bagan temples peering out above treetops in Myanmar and an Alpine road in Austria popular with thrill seekers are among this year’s nominations for the UNESCO World Heritage List. 

This week the committee responsible for the list begins 11 days of deliberations in Baku, Azerbaijan, to decide which destinations should be added to a portfolio that already names 1,092 sites in 167 countries.

Those that make the grade will earn valuable tourism currency as well as the nominal protection conveyed by UNESCO.

Spectacular spots

Inaugurated in 1978, UNESCO’s site list includes famous destinations such as Yellowstone National Park in the United States, India’s Taj Mahal, Petra in Jordan and the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador.

The 2019 nomination list is separated into different categories — from natural properties such as Iceland’s Vatnajökull National Park to cultural sites such as Babylon in Iraq and mixed sites, which combine natural and cultural elements, such as Paraty in Brazil.

There’s one US-based nomination: the 20th century architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.

In January 2019, the United States quit UNESCO, claiming the organization was anti-Israel because it had granted full membership to Palestine and identified ancient Jewish locations as Palestinian heritage sites. Israel also cut ties with the agency.

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, in a statement issued in 2017, when the United States first filed its intent to depart, called a US withdrawal “a loss to UNESCO.”

Lengthy process

The selections for 2019 follow a lengthy evaluation during which field experts are sent to check out the nominated destinations and assess what is being done to preserve them.

Sites that don’t get selected can still be nominated in subsequent years.

UNESCO’s Twitter account will announce new inscriptions as they’re decided. The process will conclude by July 10.

Those gathering in Azerbaijan will also take a look at the state of conservation of the properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Last year, the Committee voted to remove the world’s second largest coral reef, the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve system, from this list after the government of Belize worked with non-governmental groups to protect the reef.

This year, sites including the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal and the Ancient City of Nessebar in Bulgaria are proposed as new additions to the list of World Heritage in Danger.

Meanwhile, the Birthplace of Jesus, the Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem in Palestine and the Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works in Chile are due to be examined as potentially worth removing from the “in danger” list.

2019 nominees

Here’s the list of destinations nomination for the UNESCO list in 2019:

Natural sites:

• Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Coast of Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf of China (Phase I) (China)

• Hyrcanian Forests (Iran)

• Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex (Thailand)

• French Austral Lands and Seas (France)

• Alpi del Mediterraneo — Alpes de la Méditerrané (France / Italy / Monaco)

• Vatnajökull National Park — (Iceland)

Mixed sites (natural and cultural):

• Extension of the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region, North Macedonia] (Albania)

• Paraty — Culture and Biodiversity (Brazil)

Cultural sites:

• Ancient ferrous metallurgy site (Burkina Faso)

• Dilmun Burial Mounds (Bahrain)

• Babylon (Iraq)

• Budj Bim Cultural Landscape (Australia)

• Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City (China)

• Jaipur City, Rajasthan (India)

• Ombilin Coal Mining Heritage of Sawahlunto (Indonesia)

• Mozu-Furuichi Kofun Group: Mounded Tombs of Ancient Japan (Japan)

• Megalithic Jar Sites in Xiengkhuang –Plain of Jars (Lao People’s Democratic Republic)

• Bagan (Myanmar)

• Seowon, Korean Neo-Confucian Academies (Republic of Korea)

• Großglockner High Alpine Road (Austria)

• Frontiers of the Roman Empire — The Danube Limes (Austria/Germany/Hungary/Slovakia)

• Writing-on-Stone / Áísínai’pi (Canada)

• Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří Mining Region (Czech Republic / Germany)

• Landscape for Breeding and Training of Ceremonial Carriage Horses at Kladruby nad Labem (Czech Republic)

• Water Management System of Augsburg (Germany)

• Krzemionki prehistoric striped flint mining region (Poland)

• Royal Building of Mafra — Palace, Basilica, Convent, Cerco Garden and Hunting Park, Tapada (Portugal)

• Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga (Portugal)

• Monuments of Ancient Pskov (Russia)

• Risco Caido and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria Cultural Landscape (Spain)

• Jodrell Bank Observatory (United Kingdom)

• Historic Centre of Sheki with the Khan’s Palace (Azerbaijan)

• Le Colline del Prosecco di Conegliano a Valdobbiadene (Italy)

• The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright (United States of America)

• Sunken City of Port Royal — A Relict and Continuing Cultural Landscape (Jamaica)

• Colonial Transisthmian Route of Panamá (Panama)

Sites proposed for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger:

• The Sundarbans (Bangladesh)

• Ancient City of Nessebar (Bulgaria)

• Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region (Albania / North Macedonia)

• Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California (Mexico)

• Kathmandu Valley (Nepal)

• Babylon (Iraq)

Sites to be examined in view of possible withdrawal from List in Danger:

• Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Palestine)

• Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Chile)

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