Six Incredible New Unesco World Heritage Sites Worth Visiting

Six Incredible New Unesco World Heritage Sites Worth Visiting



Unesco
has been spotlighting and protecting sites of cultural
and natural importance since 1978, when the first 12 World Heritage
Sites were named. Fast-forward four decades and there are now 1,121
such designated places across the world, including the 29 new sites
that have been named for 2019. These are the ones you should visit
now.

The best new Unesco World Heritage Sites for 2019


Prosecco region

Veneto, Italy

After a decade of lobbying, the hills of Conegliano and
Valdobbiadene in Italy’s Prosecco region were finally awarded
Unesco status. Stretching for 30km, the chequerboard hills are
famed for the sparkling wine that has been cultivated here for
centuries, with the prosecco produced around Conegliano and
Valdobbiadene adopting a distinctive (wine buff code for superior)
taste largely credited to the unique geology of the area.

The landscape is characterised by steep hills, ciglioni (small
plots of vines built on narrow terraces), forests and farmland,
while the grapes grown reflect the efforts of generations of
producers that have worked, largely by hand, on the terrain since
the 17th century. The region is best explored when slightly
sloshed, so hire a driver and pop as many prosecco bottles on route
as you please, making sure that Borgoluce is one of your stops.
This family-run vineyard produces its own standout buffalo
mozzarella to soak up the fizz.


Frank Lloyd Wright buildings

Various locations, US

Despite the US’s withdrawal from Unesco last year, eight of
Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings made the list in 2019, making it the
first example of modern American architecture to be awarded the
honour.

Visiting Wright’s work can quite easily form the basis of an
all-American road trip, but three of the eight Unesco-listed
buildings should shoot to the top of your list should you be in
their neighbourhood. Hollyhock House was the first house Wright
designed in Los Angeles and, since its recent restoration, has
attracted a cult following of art-aficionados; the Guggenheim is an
integral part of Manhattan and the result of six separate plans and
749 drawings; Taliesin West is hailed as Wright’s “desert
laboratory”, where he experimented with the blurring of exterior
and interior boundaries, which went on to become one of his key
design signatures.


Jaipur,

India

Joining World Heritage Cities such as Bergen, Rhodes and Cusco,
Jaipur is an intoxicating mix of elegance and energy, chaos and
creativity. Founded in 1727 by Sawai Jai Singh II, the capital of
Rajasthan is believed to be the first planned city in India. It’s
built according to a grid plan that created large public squares
called chaupars, which for centuries have remained the thriving
hives of the city.

It’s in these squares that Jaipur becomes abuzz with sprawling
markets that spill out onto narrow lanes, miles of street food
vendors line up to place hot kathi rolls (likened to a chicken
tikka burrito) and steaming hot cups of Masala Chai into passing
hands and they’re home to artisan traders flogging everything from
silver to spices. Uniform coral-coloured building facades have
earned it the moniker of”the Pink City”, and the finest mix of
Rajasthan and Mughal architecture can be seen at the City Palace,
which has a wedding-cake-esque exterior trimmed with intricate
ochre-coloured detailing. Visit in the evenings when the front of
the palace transforms into an elaborate light show.


Paraty

Brazil

After you’ve ridden the waves at Ipanema, played volleyball with
other beach bums in Leblon and done cha-cha with showgirls in
Copacabana, it’s time to tackle the four-hour journey from Rio de
Janeiro to the pretty shores of Paraty – that’s less party and more
arty.

Sandwiched between the Serra da Bocaína National Park and the
Atlantic Ocean, the coastal town was once the end point of the Gold
Path, a road built by slaves in the late 17th century. Much of the
colonial architecture dates back to the 18th century and has been
immaculately preserved with cobbled streets leading to
pastel-fronted churches, art galleries and hole-in-the-wall dining
rooms occupied by locals playing chess.

Don’t expect any flash hotels or resorts, as it’s still very
much an under-the-radar Brazilian hideaway. Instead, book into one
of the many pousadas (guesthouses) that line the canal ways and
paddleboard along the still waters to pick up your pão de quejo
(cheese bread) each morning.


Babylon

Iraq

After a bid that started in 1982 and five successive refusals,
the ancient ruins of Babylon in Iraq have finally become a
Unesco-acknowledged site. Situated 85km south of Baghdad, the
ancient city was once the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire and
was the site of the mythical Hanging Gardens. Visible signs of
villages, the outer and inner city walls, plus expansive palaces
and detailed temples date back to between 626 and 530 BCE here,
representing a unique testimony to one of the most influential
empires that the world has ever seen.

Unfortunately, the monuments aren’t very well preserved as they
shared a site with one of Saddam Hussein’s work-in-progress replica
palaces and a US military base. Thankfully, being awarded Unesco
status includes aid for restoration, which will help further
preserve and protect the site from future damage.


Bagan

Myanmar

Set to become what Angkor Wat is to Cambodia and Machu Picchu is
to Peru, Bagan is a sacred landscape dotted with hundreds of
glistening, golden Buddhist temples, ornate frescoes and treasured
archaeological remains. Exploring the temples on foot will
highlight the stylistic differences between each one and provide an
invaluable insight into the importance of the Bagan region which,
between the 11th and 13th century, was the capital of the Pagan
Empire.

As part of winning the Unesco award, certain conservation
targets must be met, which includes moving hotels that currently
crowd the area to a dedicated hotel zone outside of the
now-protected site. It’s a popular place for pilgrimages and
already fast emerging as a tourist hotspot, so shun the crowds by
taking a crack-of-dawn hot air balloon trip where the views alone
will forgo the need for your morning caffeine fix.

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