UNESCO has released their list of newly inscribed properties for 2015, adding 24 new sites of cultural and natural significance to the World Heritage list.

This newly released list of World Heritage Sites includes a good number that are located in the Middle East.  These are singled out and elaborated on as follows :

  1. Aqueduct of Padre, Mexico
  2. Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale, Italy
  3. Baekje Historic Areas, Republic of Korea
  4. Baptism Site “Bethany Beyond the Jordan” (Al-Maghtas), Jordan

( Refer UNESCO pictures )

Baptism site of JC in Wadi Al Kharrar

Baptism site of JC in Wadi Al Kharrar

Tell Al Kharrar Monastery Northern Church

Tell Al Kharrar Monastery Northern Church


UNESCO said: “Situated on the eastern bank of the River Jordan, nine kilometres north of the Dead Sea, the archaeological site consists of two distinct areas: Tell Al-Kharrar, also known as Jabal Mar-Elias (Elijah’s Hill) and the area of the churches of Saint John the Baptist near the river.  Situated in a pristine natural environment the site is believed to be the location where Jesus of Nazareth was baptized by John the Baptist.



 It features Roman and Byzantine remains including churches and chapels, a monastery, caves that have been used by hermits and pools in which baptisms were celebrated, testifying to the religious character of the place. The site is a Christian place of pilgrimage.”



  1. Champagne Hillsides, Houses and Cellars, France
  2. Christiansfeld, a Moravian Church Settlement, Denmark
  3. Climats, terroirs of Burgundy, France
  4. Cultural Landscape of Maymand, Iran

UNESCO said: “Maymand is a self-contained, semi-arid area at the end of a valley at the southern extremity of Iran’s central mountains. The villagers are semi-nomadic agro-pastoralists. They raise their animals on mountain pastures, living in temporary settlements in spring and autumn. During the winter months they live lower down the valley in cave dwellings carved out of the soft rock (kamar), an unusual form of housing in a dry, desert environment.  This cultural landscape is an example of a system that appears to have been more widespread in the past and involves the movement of people rather than animals.”

  1. Diyarbakır Fortress and Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape, Turkey

UNESCO said: “Located on an escarpment of the Upper Tigres River Basin that is part of the so-called Fertile Crescent, the fortified city of Diyarbakır and the landscape around has been an important centre since the Hellenistic period, through the Roman, Sassanid, Byzantine, Islamic and Ottoman times to the present. The site encompasses the Amida Mound,known as İçkale (inner castle), the 5.8km-long city walls of Diyarbakır with their numerous towers, gates, buttresses, and 63 inscriptions from different periods, as well as Hevsel Gardens, a green link between the city and the Tigris that supplied the city with food and water.”

  1. Ephesus, Turkey

UNESCO said: “Located within what was once the estuary of the River Kaystros, Ephesus comprises successive Hellenistic and Roman settlements founded on new locations, which followed the coastline as it retreated westward. Excavations have revealed grand monuments of the Roman Imperial period including the Library of Celsus and the Great Theatre. Little remains of the famous Temple of Artemis, one of the “Seven Wonders of the World,” which drew pilgrims from all around the Mediterranean. Since the 5thcentury, the House of the Virgin Mary, a domed cruciform chapel seven kilometres from Ephesus, became a major place of Christian pilgrimage. The Ancient City of Ephesus is an outstanding example of a Roman port city, with sea channel and harbour basin.”

  1. Fray Bentos Cultural-Industrial Landscape, Uruguay
  2. Great Burkhan Khaldun Mountain and its surrounding sacred landscape, Mongolia
  3. Necropolis of Bet She’arim: A Landmark of Jewish Renewal, Israel
  4. Rjukan–Notodden Industrial Heritage Site, Norway
  5. Rock Art in the Hail Region of Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia

Rock Art in the Hail Region of Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia

This property includes two components situated in a desert landscape: Jabel Umm Sinman at Jubbah and the Jabal al-Manjor and Raat at Shuwaymis. A lake once situated at the foot of the Umm Sinman hill range that has now disappeared used to be a source of fresh water for people and animals in the southern part of the Great Narfoud Desert. The ancestors of today’s Arab populations have left traces of their passages in numerous petroglyphs and inscriptions on the rock face. Jabal al-Manjor and Raat form the rocky escarpment of a wadinow covered in sand. They show numerous representations of human and animal figures covering 10,000 years of history.

  1. San Antonio Missions, USA
  2. Singapore Botanical Gardens, Singapore
  3. Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining, Japan
  4. Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District with Chilehaus, Germany
  5. Susa, Iran

Located in the south-west of Iran, in the lower Zagros Mountains, the property encompasses a group of archaeological mounds rising on the eastern side of the Shavur River, as well as Ardeshir’s palace, on the opposite bank of the river. The excavated architectural monuments include administrative, residential and palatial structures. Susa contains several layers of superimposed urban settlements in a continuous succession from the late 5th millennium BCE until the 13thcentury CE. The site bears exceptional testimony to the Elamite, Persian and Parthian cultural traditions, which have largely disappeared.

  1. The Forth Bridge, United Kingdom
  2. The par force hunting landscape in North Zealand, Denmark
  3. Tusi Sites, China
  4. Blue and John Crow Mountains, Jamaica

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