Italy's Dolomite mountains are among 13 new sites added to UNESCO's world heritage list.
Other new natural sites added to the list included the Wadden Sea wetlands, an area rich in wildlife in Germany and the Netherlands; and northern China's Mount Wutai, a sacred Buddhist site known for its five flat peaks and a landscape with 53 monasteries.
But in a rare move, UNESCO dropped Germany’s Elbe River valley at Dresden from the heritage list because of a bridge under construction across the river, saying this spoils the landscape.
Dresden, whose historic centre has been painstakingly restored since it was ravaged by Allied bombs in 1945, is often referred to as the Florence of the Elbe because of the baroque architecture that gives it a distinctive skyline.
The UN agency’s World Heritage Committee announced the additions to the list at a June meeting in Seville, Spain. The new designations included the first UNESCO World Heritage sites in the countries of Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and Kyrgyzstan.
The Cape Verde site was the city of Cidade Velha, the first European colonial outpost in the tropics, which UNESCO said bears testimony to the history of slavery.
In Burkina Faso, the designated site was the ruins of Loropeni, a thousand-year-old fortress important in the trans-Saharan gold trade.
In Kyrgyzstan, the site was Sulamain, a sacred mountain on the Silk Road with ancient petroglyphs and places of worship, including two 16th century mosques.
In Europe, other newly designated World Heritage sites were Stoclet House in Belgium, a 1911 building considered important in the history of the architectural styles of Art Nouveau, Art Deco and modernism; the Tower of Hercules, a lighthouse and landmark in Spain dating to the first century; La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle, Swiss towns that were planned to accommodate the watchmaking industry; and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and canal in northeastern Wales, built without locks and considered an engineering and architectural feat of the Industrial Revolution.
Elsewhere in the world, UNESCO added to its World Heritage list the Shushtar hydraulic system in Iran, an engineering masterpiece that dates to the 5th century B.C.; the sacred city of Caral-Supe, a 5,000-year-old archaeological site in Peru; and the royal tombs of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea, built from 1408 to 1966.
There are now a total of 890 properties on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
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