The Gulf and world heritage

Nabatean tombs at Al Hijr, Saudi Arabia

The latest additions to UNESCO’s World Heritage List include a healthy number of sites in the Gulf and wider Middle East.

Saudi Arabia makes its debut on the list, with the Al Hijr archaeological site (also known as Madain Saleh) deemed worthy. The complex of about 100 tombs is an important Nabatean ruin (the Nabateans built Petra in Jordan, perhaps best known as the location of the Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade).

The Socotra Archipelago in Yemen was one of the natural sites added to the list. It is a location of great biodiversity and home to many unique plants.

Other new inscriptions on the list include Armenian monastic sites in Iran, which the UN agency said represented “the last regional remains of this culture that are still in a satisfactory state of integrity and authenticity”.

UNESCO also inscribed the Bahá’i Holy Places in Israel as being of cultural significance. These include houses as well as tombs and modern buildings.

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