Six natural and cultural sites were named to UNESCO’s World Heritage List by the World Heritage Committee on June 23, 2014. The group also approved extensions of three other sites already on the list.
One of the new additions is the Bolgar Historical and Archaeological Complex located on the shores of Russia’s Volga River south of the city of Kazan.
The site contains evidence of the medieval city of Bolgar, an early settlement of the civilization of Volga-Bolgars which was the first capital of the Golden Horde in the 13th century.
Credit: Makhmutov R.Z./UNESCO
Precolumbian chiefdom settlements with stone spheres of the Diquis
Four archaeological sites in southern Costa Rica, which are considered unique examples of the complex social, economic and political systems of the period between 500-1500 AD.
The sites contain artificial mounds, paved areas, burial sites and, most significantly, a collection of stone spheres, whose meaning, use and production remain largely a mystery.
Credit: Museo Nacional de Costa Rica/UNESCO
Trang An Landscape Complex
A mixed natural and cultural property located on the southern shore of the Red River delta, Trang An is a spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks permeated with valleys, some of which are submerged, and surrounded by steep, almost vertical cliffs.
Some of the highest altitude caves have revealed archaeological traces of human activity dating back almost 30,000 years.
Credit: Xuan Lam/UNESCO
Great Himalayan National Park
The park, located in the western part of the Himalayan Mountains in northern India, is characterized by high alpine peaks, alpine meadows and riverine forests.
It is part of the Himalaya biodiversity hotspot and includes 25 forest types with a rich mix of fauna species, several of which are threatened.
Credit: IUCN/Graeme Worboys/UNESCO
Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary
This wildlife sanctuary provides critical habitat for a range of plant and animal species, including critically endangered trees, plants and the iconic Philippine Eagle and Philippine Cockatoo.
Credit: IUCN/Naomi Doak/UNESCO
This fossil-rich coastal cliff offers exceptional evidence of the impact of the Chicxulub meteorite that crashed into the planet at the end of the Cretaceous era, about 65 million years ago, which researchers think caused the most remarkable mass extinction ever.
The Stevns Klint site holds a record of the cloud of ash formed by the impact of the meteorite – the exact site of the impact being at the bottom of the ocean off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula.
Credit: Jacob Lautrup/UNESCO
South China Karst
This is an extension of the South China Karst site. The property was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2007 and is one of the world’s most spectacular examples of humid tropical to subtropical karst landscapes.
This site now includes 12 elements including the most significant types of karst landforms along with characteristics such as natural bridges, gorges and large cave systems.
Credit: Jim Thorsell/UNESCO
First listed in 1979, this extension reduces the amount of property on the Belarus side and greatly increases the amount in the Polish section.
Situated on the watershed of the Baltic Sea and Black Sea, the forest includes both conifers and broadleaved trees.
This transboundary property is exceptional for the opportunities it offers for biodiversity conservation. It is home to the largest population of the property’s iconic species, the European bison
Credit: Mateusz Szymura/UNESCO
The Wadden Sea
This is an extension of the Dutch and German Wadden Sea site, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2009.
The sea is the largest unbroken system of intertidal sand and mud flats in the world.