Unesco World Heritage Sites 2017 Picks Range from Eritrea to England


The ancient city of Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, was another controversial choice, thanks to its inclusion as a Palestinian World Heritage Site. In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel described the decision as “delusional.”

Many more of the 21 new inductees, spread among 18 cultural sites and three natural ones, are more easily accessible and without controversy.

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Aphrodisias, a third-century Greco-Roman site in Turkey, is another addition to the World Heritage Sites list.

Credit
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey

At least one, the Lake District of northwestern England, is well loved, receiving over 18 million visitors a year. Unesco noted “the combined work of nature and human activity” in the region, including sheep farming on deforested hillsides, stone villages and grand country estates.

“What makes it so beautiful and dramatic is a lot of it is pretty barren,” said Janel Jensen, the Europe program manager for REI, which runs a nine-day walking trip, May to October, that includes hiking in the Lake District (from $4,199 a person). “You get an uninterrupted panorama of hills, valleys, lakes and streams.”

Tour operators working in Iran lauded the inclusion of Yazd, a remote city in the central Iranian plateau that developed an underground water system and maintains its traditional Persian architecture and Zoroastrian temples.

“In terms of architecture, original temples, gardens and mosques, a lot of things are traditional and intact,” said Annie Lucas, the vice president of Mir Corporation, which guides trips in Iran.

Ms. Lucas reported that Iran has recently resumed issuing travel visas to Americans, which were halted earlier this year, seemingly in response to President Trump’s travel ban. Mir’s 12-day trip to Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan and Yazd starts at $5,995 a person.

In French Polynesia, Taputapuatea, an ancient ceremonial site on Raiatea Island, also made the list. Oceania Cruises offers an excursion to the site on several South Pacific itineraries including a 12-day cruise departing from Tahiti on Feb. 13 (from $3,149 a person).

Other new inductees include Aphrodisias, a third-century Greco-Roman archaeological site in southwestern Turkey; the temples of Sambor Prei Kuk in Cambodia, extolled for their forest setting and lack of crowds; Los Alerces National Park in Argentina, noted for protecting some of the last stands of native Patagonian forest; and the 19th-century Valongo Wharf in Rio de Janeiro, where slaves were traded.

“The Valongo Wharf in Rio tells a story that’s powerful,” said Jonny Bealby, the founder of Wild Frontiers, a travel company devoted to off-the-beaten path trips. “It reminds us of the story of humanity and, good or bad, gives us a sense of our history.”

The 15th-century walled city of Ahmedabad, the capital of the Gujarat state of India, also made the list. “Few tourists go there,” said Catherine Heald, the co-founder and chief executive of Remote Lands, which has been guiding trips to the city, known for its textiles, forts and winding streets for over 11 years.

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