UNESCO Announces 9 New Additions to World Heritage Site List

The list includes Madrid's Retiro Park.

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee announced the newest additions to its list of World Heritage Sites on Sunday, including Madrid's Retiro Park and the Trans-Iranian Railway.

The nine new additions are spread throughout Europe and Asia and include locations that stand as significant contributions to the development of human culture.

In addition to Retiro Park, one other Madrid monument made the list. The Paseo del Prado, a tree-lined boulevard near the park, was one of the first places in a major European city "where all citizens, without distinction of class, could enjoy leisure and a stroll," Spain's foreign ministry explained in a statement, according to Reuters.

Plaza Parterre inside Retiro park.
Plaza Parterre inside Madrid's Retiro park. Luis Soto/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The foreign ministry said the designation was "especially symbolic" during the pandemic, a time during which the boulevard "fully fulfilled the function for which it was originally created."

After news of sites' inclusion on the list emerged, Madrid Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida tweeted that he was "Proud of our city, and happy for Spain and the legacy of its capital."

In addition, the committee also voted to include China's Emporium of the World, a site that dates back to the 10th century AD. The site holds religious buildings and archaeological remains of docks, bridges and transportation networks that stand as reminders of " the city's vibrancy as a maritime emporium during the Song and Yuan periods."

Retiro Park
Luis Soto/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A collection of 11 spa towns in seven European countries — including Austria, Belgium, Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, and the UK — were added as markers of "the international European spa culture that developed from the early 18th century to the 1930s."

And Saudia Arabia's Ḥimā Cultural Area in a mountainous part of the country was added for its "substantial collection of rock art images" that contain more than 7,000 years of history.

Rounding out the list of this year's additions are the 16th-century Cordouan Lighthouse in France, the Darmstadt Artists' Colony on Mathildenhöhe in Germany; the 14th century frescoes in Padua, Italy; India's 12th-century Kakatiya Rudreshwara Temple; and the Trans-Iranian railway.

The World Heritage Site Committee will continue voting on new additions through July 28.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.

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