The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) revealed its new list of World Heritage sites, and Bahrain and Iraq are on it. 

The list this year contains 29 sites - out of 35 nominations - which Mechtild Rössler, the director of the organization's World Heritage Center in Paris, described as "a relatively high but not unusual number," according to The New York Times. 

UNESCO has so far granted this title to 1,121 properties around the world. 

Nominees are selected under the condition of meeting at least one of the 10 criteria imposed by the organization. The list includes conditions such as "to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius" and "to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance." 

The World Heritage List, which started in 1978, is a forgiving one. For example, Jamaica's nomination of its Sunken Pirate City - "a 17th-century haven for buccaneers that was submerged by an earthquake" - didn't go through this year because it was not ready.  

But, as the NYT reported, UNESCO will assist the site until it's ready. 

In addition to helping incomplete sites reach the list, the organization also legally protects the properties selected - mainly from wars and human/animal trespassing. 

Babylon, Iraq

Source: UNESCO

The city of Babylon, situated 85km south of Baghdad, Iraq, is one of the most known around the world. It was the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire between 626 and 539 BCE, according to UNESCO, and "its remains, outer and inner-city walls, gates, palaces, and temples, are a unique testimony to one of the most influential empires of the ancient world."

"The city's association with one of the seven wonders of the ancient world—the Hanging Gardens—has also inspired artistic, popular and religious culture on a global scale."

Babylon scored two out of the 10 criteria:

(iii) "to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared."

(vi) "to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria)."

Dilmun Burial Mounds, Bahrain

Source: UNESCO

Bahrain is home to the Dilmun Burial Mounds, which were built between 2050 and 1750 BCE and "span over 21 archaeological sites in the western part of the island." 

The Dilmun civilization, described as "enigmatic," thrived during the 2nd millennium BCE, during the time Bahrain was a prosperous trade hub - which helped residents "develop an elaborate burial tradition applicable to the entire population." There are 11,774 burial mounds; 15 other sites include 17 royal mounds, "constructed as two-storeyed sepulchral towers."

"These tombs illustrate globally unique characteristics, not only in terms of their number, density and scale, but also in terms of details such as burial chambers equipped with alcoves."

Dilmun Burial Mounds scored two out of the 10 criteria:

(iii) "to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared."

(iv) "to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history."

Here's the full list of UNESCO's 2019 World Heritage List

  • Australia: Budj Bim Cultural Landscape
  • Azerbaijan: Historic Centre of Sheki with the Khan's Palace
  • Bahrain: Dilmun Burial Mounds
  • Brazil: Paraty and Ilha Grande -- Culture and Biodiversity
  • Burkina Faso: Ancient ferrous metallurgy sites of Burkina Faso
  • Canada: Writing-on-Stone/Áísínai'pi
  • China: Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City
  • China: Migratory Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Coast of Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf of China, Phase I
  • Czech Republic: Landscape for Breeding and Training of Ceremonial Carriage Horses at Kladruby nad Labem
  • Czech Republic/Germany: Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří Mining Region
  • France: French Austral Lands and Seas
  • Germany: Water Management System of Augsburg
  • Iceland: Vatnajökull National Park
  • India: Jaipur City, Rajasthan
  • Indonesia: Ombilin Coal Mining Heritage of Sawahlunto
  • Iran: Hyrcanian Forests
  • Iraq: Babylon
  • Italy: Le Colline del Prosecco di Conegliano a Valdobbiadene
  • Japan: Mozu-Furuichi Kofun Group: Mounded Tombs of Ancient Japan
  • Republic of Korea: Seowon, Korean Neo-Confucian Academies
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic: Megalithic Jar Sites in Xiengkhuang -- Plain of Jars
  • Myanmar: Bagan
  • Poland: Krzemionki Prehistoric Striped Flint Mining Region
  • Portugal: Royal Building of Mafra -- Palace, Basilica, Convent, Cerco Garden and Hunting Park, Tapada
  • Portugal: Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga
  • Russian Federation: Churches of the Pskov School of Architecture
  • Spain: Risco Caido and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria Cultural Landscape
  • United Kingdom: Jodrell Bank Observatory
  • United States: The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright