UNESCO inscribed nine new sites to the World Heritage List at its meeting in Istanbul

The remains of the church of the Holy Redeemer, among the ruins of the historical city of Ani, Turkey.
The remains of the church of the Holy Redeemer, among the ruins of the historical city of Ani, Turkey. (TRT World and Agencies)

The archaeological site of Ani in Turkey, rock art in China and an ancient water-supply system in Iran were among nine new sites added to the World Heritage List by UNESCO on Friday.

The annual session of UNESCO, being held in Istanbul this year, also added the archaeological site of Nalanda Mahavihara in India and a medieval ceremonial centre in Mircronesia along with its picks from Greece, Spain, United Kingdom.

A serial property combining 30 sites located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, western Serbia, western Montenegro and central and southern Croatia representing cemetries and medieval tombstones or stecci were also inscribed by the World Heritage Committee to the list.

The medieval city of Ani, located on a secluded plateau of northeast Turkey, was long considered a site which needed to be preserved under the World Heritage status and it was finally added to the list this year.

It combines residential, religious and military structures, characteristic of a medieval urbanism built up over the centuries by Christian and then Muslim dynasties. The site is a comprehensive representation of medieval architecture and its evolution between the 7th and 13 centuries CE, according to UNESCO.

The Zuojiang Huashan rock art landscape in China, meanwhile, is all that remains today of the bronze age culture -- known as "bronze drum" after its most characteristic artifacts -- once prevalent across the country's south.

The site in Iran is an example of an ancient water-supply system -- known as qanat -- suited for the most arid areas while Nan Madol, the site in Mircronesia, contains mediaeval palaces and tombs.

The Micronesian site is a series of 99 artificial islets built with walls of basalt and coral boulders.

It was, however, immediately placed on UNESCO's list of heritage-in-danger.

The UN agency warned threats to the site were notably the construction of navigation channels which was leading to the uncontrolled growth of the mangrove, making the historic edifices more fragile.

The heritage-in-danger list is intended to highlight the risks facing world heritage sites that need protection and allows the committee to allocate immediate support from the World Heritage Fund.

UNESCO named the old towns of Djenne in Mali and Shakhrisyabz in Uzbekistan on Wednesday on its heritage-in-danger list during its 40th meeting of its World Heritage Committee in Istanbul.

All five of Libya's World Heritage sites were named on Thursday by the agency as at risk of damage from the civil war that continues to rage in the country.

Meanwhile, the complex of churches and holy sites in the Georgian town of Mtskheta was removed from the in-danger list, where it had been listed since 2009.

UNESCO will consider 18 more nominations to be added to the World Heritage List before its session ends on July 20.

The nine additions to the World Heritage List

Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape (China)

Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (India)

The Persian Qanat (Iran)

Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia (Federated States of Micronesia)

Stećci – Medieval Tombstones Graveyards (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia)

Archaeological Site of Philippi (Greece)

Antequera Dolmens Site (Spain)

Archaeological Site of Ani (Turkey)

Gorham's Cave Complex (United Kingdom)

Source: TRTWorld and agencies