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6 Middle Eastern and North African Sites Nominated in the Unesco World Heritage List 2023

This Saturday onwards, the 45th extended session of The UNESCO World Heritage Committee will commence, starting from Saudi Arabia. Their journey will consist of assessing 50 sites that have been nominated for the World Heritage List. Among the 50 sites that have been nominated, here are six sites from the Middle East and North Africa that are up for a spot on this incredible list:

Uruq Bani Ma’arid, Saudi Arabia

Photo: Spa

Uruq Bani Ma’arid is an enchanting desert region located in the southwestern part of Saudi Arabia, boasting a mesmerizing landscape of vast sand dunes, rocky plateaus, and extreme temperatures. This remote region holds historical significance as it was once crisscrossed by ancient trade routes and played a pivotal role in the cultural and economic history of the Arabian Peninsula.
In recent years, Uruq Bani Ma’arid has emerged as an exciting tourist destination, with efforts focused on developing infrastructure and promoting eco-tourism initiatives. Visitors are captivated by its unique desert vistas, diverse wildlife, and thrilling adventures like dune bashing and camel trekking. Moreover, the region is a treasure trove of historical sites, featuring ancient inscriptions and petroglyphs that provide valuable insights into its rich cultural heritage. While exploring Uruq Bani Ma’arid, travelers can immerse themselves in the positive and captivating aspects of this remarkable desert landscape.

The Cultural Landscape of Masouleh, Iran

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Masouleh is a picturesque village in Iran renowned for its unique cultural landscape. Nestled in the Alborz Mountains, it’s characterized by its distinct architecture, with houses built into the hillside, creating a stunning tiered effect. The village’s cultural richness is evident in its centuries-old customs, traditional clothing, and artisanal crafts. Visitors are captivated by the vibrant, tight-knit community and the lush greenery that surrounds Masouleh, making it a popular destination for those seeking an authentic Iranian cultural experience.

Masouleh’s cultural landscape is a testament to the region’s historical and architectural significance. The village’s layout, designed to adapt to its mountainous terrain, showcases Iran’s ingenuity in sustainable living. With its cobblestone streets, vibrant bazaars, and hospitable locals, Masouleh offers an immersive journey into Iranian culture, attracting travelers eager to explore the depth of heritage and beauty this unique village has to offer.

Ancient Jericho/Tell es-Sulta, Palestine

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Ancient Jericho, also known as Tell es-Sultan, is a historic archaeological site located in the modern-day West Bank, Palestine. This site is renowned for its rich history, with evidence of human habitation dating back over 11,000 years, making it one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. Notably, Jericho is famous for its ancient defensive walls, considered some of the earliest fortifications ever built.

Archaeological excavations at Tell es-Sultan have unearthed a treasure trove of artifacts, providing valuable insights into the evolution of human civilization in the region. Jericho’s strategic location near vital trade routes and its unique archaeological findings make it a significant site for understanding the development of urban life, agriculture, and early settlements in the ancient Near East.

Hyrcanian Forests, Azerbaijan/Iran

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Hyrcanian forests are situated along the southern shoreline of the Caspian Sea, spanning across northern Iran and a small portion of Azerbaijan. This unique ecological region enjoys a temperate climate influenced by the Caspian Sea, characterized by high precipitation levels and mild temperatures. Its geographical location plays a pivotal role in shaping the remarkable biodiversity found within these ancient woodlands, with a mosaic of ecosystems ranging from dense forests to wetlands, all contributing to the region’s ecological significance.

The Persian Caravanserai, Iran

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

he Persian caravanserai is a historical architectural marvel prevalent in Iran and neighboring regions. These structures, dating back to ancient times, served as crucial rest stops for travelers along the Silk Road and other trade routes. Typically characterized by a central courtyard surrounded by chambers, caravanserais provided shelter, food, and protection for merchants and their caravans. They played a vital role in fostering trade and cultural exchange, exemplifying Persian architectural ingenuity and the importance of commerce in the region’s history. Today, many of these caravanserais stand as enduring testaments to Iran’s rich heritage and its role in facilitating global trade and cultural exchange.

Djerba, Tunisia

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Djerba, an island located off the southeastern coast of Tunisia in the Mediterranean Sea, is known for its rich history, stunning beaches, and unique culture. It boasts a blend of Berber, Arab, and Jewish influences, making it a captivating destination for travelers. The island’s main town, Houmt Souk, features a lively market, while its historic sites, such as the Ghriba Synagogue, offer a glimpse into its diverse heritage. Djerba’s beautiful sandy shores, like Sidi Mahrez and Seguia Beach, make it a popular spot for sunseekers, adding to its allure as a picturesque getaway in North Africa.

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