In central France, a series of lava domes and cinder cones make up the Chaîne des Puys volcanic chain. Its geological features are a living illustration of plate tectonics.

Chaîne des Puys

In central France, a series of lava domes and cinder cones make up the Chaîne des Puys volcanic chain. Its geological features are a living illustration of plate tectonics.
Photograph by Andia, Getty Images

See UNESCO’s Newest World Heritage Sites

From sacred mountain monasteries to lush volcanic chains, these cultural and natural sites were recognized for their outstanding value to humanity.

Last week, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization convened in Manama, Bahrain, for the 42nd session of the annual World Heritage Committee. Representatives from 21 States Parties were tasked with selecting new World Heritage sites, monitoring the conservation of current sites, and reviewing the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Nominees must meet one of 10 criteria—six cultural and four natural—ranging from Earth's most biodiverse landscapes to artistic works of universal significance. This year, the committee recognized 19 new sites for their “outstanding universal value,” extended the boundaries of Central Sikhote-Alin, a Russian biosphere reserve, and removed the Belize Barrier Reef from the List of World Heritage in Danger. [See UNESCO's 2017 inscriptions.]

“Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations,” according to UNESCO's mission statement. “Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.”

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