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Botswana’s Okavango Delta became the 1000th site inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Okavango was inscribed as a natural site by the World Heritage Committee, which is meeting in Doha (Qatar) under the Chair of Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani.

Okavango Delta (Botswana) © Department of Wildlife and National Parks / Ian Johnson
Okavango Delta (Botswana) © Department of Wildlife and National Parks / Ian Johnson

The committee also inscribed sites in France, Israel, Italy, Turkey and the United States. The list now totals 1001 properties. The new sites, are:

Okavango Delta (Botswana)

This delta in northwest Botswana comprises permanent marshlands and seasonally flooded plains. It is one of the very few major interior delta systems that do not flow into a sea or ocean, with a wetland system that is almost intact. One of the unique characteristics of the site is that the annual flooding from the river Okavango occurs during the dry season, with the result that the native plants and animals have synchronised their biological cycles with these seasonal rains and floods. It is an exceptional example of the interaction between climatic, hydrological and biological processes. The Okavango Delta is home to some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammal, such as the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog and lion.

Decorated Cave of Pont d’Arc, known as Grotte Chauvet-Pont d’Arc, Ardeche (France)

Located in a limestone plateau in southern France, the property contains the earliest known and best preserved figurative drawings in the world.

Caves of Maresha and Bet Guvrin in the Judean Lowlands as a Microcosm of the Land of the Caves (Israel)

This “city under a city” is characterised by a selection of man-made caves, excavated from the thick and homogenous layer of soft chalk in Lower Judea.

Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato (Italy)

Five distinct wine-growing areas with outstanding landscapes and the Castle of Cavour, an emblematic name both in the development of vineyards and in Italian history.

Bursa and Cumalıkızık: The Birth of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey)

The site illustrates the creation of an urban and rural system establishing the Ottoman Empire in the early 14th century. The property illustrates key functions of the social and economic organisation of the new capital which evolved around a new civic centre.

Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape (Turkey)

The acropolis of Pergamon was the capital of the Hellenistic Attalid Dynasty, a major centre of learning in the ancient world. Monumental temples, theatres, stoa or porticos, gymnasium, altar and library were set into the sloping terrain surrounded by an extensive city wall.

Monumental earthworks of Poverty Point (United States of America)

The complex comprises five mounds, six concentric semi-elliptical ridges separated by shallow depressions and a central plaza. It was created and used for residential and ceremonial purposes by a society of hunter fisher-gatherers between 3 700 and 3 100 B.C.

The 38th session of the World Heritage Committee began on 15 June 2014 and will continue through to 25 June.

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