The World Heritage Committee recently attributed world heritage status to 29 new sites so that the list of world heritage sites now contains 1121 entries from around the world. The World Heritage Committee consists of representatives of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and this year’s meeting was held in the city of Baku in Azerbaijan. To meet the requirements, each site must meet at least one of ten natural and cultural criteria. These criteria are: to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius; to exhibit an important interchange of human values; to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition; to be an outstanding example of architecture or landscape which illustrates significant stages in human history; to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement; to be directly associated with events or living traditions of outstanding universal significance; to contain superlative natural phenomena; to be an outstanding example of the representative major stages of Earth’s history; to be an outstanding example of significant on-going biological processes and to contain the most significant natural habitat for biodiversity.
However, this year’s session in Azerbaijan to reveal the new world heritage sites received heavy criticism as Djulfa, the sacred site of Armenian Christians that contained thousands of Armenian monuments, could not be a candidate as the government of Azerbaijan has ordered the destruction of Djulfa.
Some of the manmade sites added to the list include 10 churches in Pskov in Russia, with the oldest church dating back to the 12th century, a sanctuary in Tenoes in northern Portugal called Jesus de Monte, the Khan Palace in Azerbaijan, the water management system of Augsburg in Germany and the city Babylon in Iraq. Eight buildings designed by the American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, were also added to the list. Wright’s work has been labeled as “organic architecture” because of the way the buildings became part of the open plains of the landscape, the faded boundaries between exterior and interior and his influential use of materials like steel and concrete.