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New wonders on UNESCO's World Heritage List

Last updated on: July 3, 2012 08:31 IST

New WONDERS on UNESCO's World Heritage List

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India's 1600-km long mountain chain of Western Ghats, which has forests older than the Himalaya mountains, has been added to the List of World Heritage Sites by the United Nations.

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Photographs: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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Western Ghats, India

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The Western Ghats mountain chain is recognised as one of the world's eight "hottest hotspots" of biological diversity. The chain's forests, which are older than the Himalaya mountains, influence the Indian monsoon.

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Photographs: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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Western Ghats, India

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The ghats, which start at the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra and run through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, end at Kanyakumari. The site was added to the World Heritage list by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

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Photographs: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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Margravial Opera House Bayreuth, Germany

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A historic opera house in Germany, a border town and its fortifications in Portugal, and eight interconnected lakes in Chad are some of the other sites that have been added to the list.

The Margravial Opera House Bayreuth in Germany, which was built in the 18th century, is considered a masterpiece of Baroque theatre architecture. It is the only entirely preserved example of its type where an audience of 500 can experience Baroque court opera culture and acoustics authentically, as its auditorium retains its original material.

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Photographs: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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Border town of Elvas

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The border town of Elvas and its fortifications in Portugal was also added to the list as the site represents the largest bulwarked dry ditch system in the world.

While Elvas contains remains dating back to the 10th century, its fortification began when Portugal regained independence in 1640.

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Photographs: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Tags: Elvas , Portugal

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Lakes of Ounianga, Chad

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The Lakes of Ounianga in Chad, which are 18 interconnected lakes in the arid Ennedi region of the Sahara Desert covering an area of 62,808 hectares, were also added to the list.

The saline and freshwater lakes are home to diverse fauna and microorganisms.

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Image: A view of Lakes of Ounianga in Chad from space
Photographs: Courtesy: NASA

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Bahrain Masjed-e Jame, Iran

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Other inscriptions to the list this year include a site in Bahrain Masjed-e Jame of Isfahan.

This grand example of Persian architecture is located in Yazd city, Iran.

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Photographs: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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Gonbad-e Qabus, Iran

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Another site in Iran finds a place in the exclusive list. Gonbad-e Qabus, a 53-metre high tomb, "is an outstanding and technologically innovative example of Islamic architecture that influenced sacral building in Iran, Anatolia and Central Asia," says the UNESCO website.

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Photographs: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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Heritage of Mercury Almaden and Idrija

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The World Heritage Committee meets once a year, and is responsible for the implementation of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, which defines the kind of natural or cultural sites which can be considered for inscription on the World Heritage List.

Another site included on the list is the Heritage of Mercury Almaden and Idrija in Slovenia/Spain, which are described by the UNESCO website as sites "which bear testimony to the intercontinental trade in mercury which generated important exchanges between Europe and America over the centuries. The two sites represent the two largest mercury mines in the world and were operational until recent times".

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Photographs: Courtesy: http://whc.unesco.org

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The Landscape of Grand-Pr, Canada

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The UNESCO website describes this rural landscape in Canada as "an exceptional example of the adaptation of the first European settlers to the conditions of the North American Atlantic coast"

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Photographs: Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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TOP photo features of the week

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