Unesco Adds 7 New Medieval Sites, So Put These On Your Bucket List

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It is certainly ironic that a medieval heritage list could ever be updated – but according to UNESCO, it's possible. At the World Heritage Committee meeting held in Doha, Qatar, last month, 26 new sites were added to the UNESCO list of places deemed worthy of special protection due to their outstanding international importance. The list, which includes both natural phenomenon and man-made masterpieces, now comprises 1007 sites.

Seven of the new sites added last month date from the medieval period, all of them situated in the eastern region of the world. These breathtaking places now officially rank comparably to Machu Picchu, the Pyramids of Giza, the Galápagos Islands, and Angkor in Cambodia.

From Russia to Myanmar, here are seven new old things to add to your bucket list:

1. Namhansanseong (South Korea)

In a mountainous region southeast of Seoul, lies the remains of the fortress-city of the Joson Dynasty (1392-1910). Built by Buddhist monks, the settlement was intended to be an emergency capital. It dates from the 7th century, but was rebuilt several times in anticipation of military attacks. The city gives us insight into the kinds of defensive military engineering concepts from that period, based on Chinese and Japanese influences.

2. Bolgar Historical and Archaeological Complex (Russia)

This complex is the remaining evidence of the medieval settlement “Bolgar,” created by the Volga-Bolgars civilization between the 7th and 15th centuries. The settlement lies on the shores of the Volga River, in what is now Russia, though it represents the cultural transformations that took place in Eurasia over centuries. The Volga-Bolgars accepted the Islamic faith in 922 AD, and therefore, the site remains a sacred destination to Tatar Muslims.

3. The Grand Canal (China)

From the northern capital of Beijing to the Zhejiang province in the south, an impressive waterway system dating from the 5th century still runs. The Grand Canal was constructed as a means of communication for the Empire, and led to many of the most extensive civil engineering projects prior to the Industrial Revolution. It continues to play a significant role in China’s economic prosperity.

4. Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang’an-Tianshan Corridor (China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan)

This 5,000-kilometer section of the extensive Silk Roads network spanning China, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan dates from the 2nd century BC and 1st century AD, and continued to be in use until the 16th century. The network linked many civilizations, facilitated trade, and helped populations exchange knowledge and cultural practices.

5. Pyu Ancient Cities (Myanmar)

The remains of a cities in Halin, Beikthano, and Sri Ksetra located in Myanmar reflect the Pyu Kindoms that thrived between 200 B.C and 900 A.D. The cities included moats, burial grounds, and Buddhist monument stupas.

6. Bursa and Cumalıkızık: (Turkey)

In the southern Marmara Region, the city of Bursa and surrounding village of Cumalıkızık are thought of as the birthplace of Ottomon Empire. The sites feature the beginnings of the civilization, including mosques, public baths, tombs, and a kitchen for the poor.

7. Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat (India)

Rani-ki-Vay was built in the 11th century AD as a memorial to the king. It is a testament to Indian craftsmen's ability to master stepwell construction, a distinctive form of subterranean water resource and storage systems. The temple highlights the sanctity of water, and features beautifully sculpted panels of great artistic merit.