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More than 2,000 years ago, near the Aegean coast of modern-day Turkey, the Greek city of Pergamon was an important center of learning and healing. Today, it is one of the 26 newest UNESCO World Heritage sites, joining such significant natural and cultural sites as France's prehistoric cave paintings of Pont d'Arc, China's extensive Grand Canal, and Denmark's remarkably preserved fossil record at Stevns Klint.
Each summer, the Paris-based United Nations agency meets—as it did recently in Doha, Qatar—to grant this coveted status to natural and man-made sites around the globe, almost always ensuring boosts in tourism and preservation assistance. The latest inscriptions bring the number of sites deemed most noteworthy—and fascinating—on the planet to 1,007. Here are 15 of the newest additions.
Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato, Italy
The Barolo, Barbaresco, and Barbera d'Asti vines that produce the wines over which you lovingly linger are now part of Italy's 50th World Heritage site, giving it more sites than any other country. Tucked between the coastal mountains of Liguria Appenines and the Po River, the roughly 25,000-acre area covers five distinct wine-growing regions and a landscape that includes the Castle of Grinzane Cavour. Vine pollen dating back to the fifth century BCE, when Etruscans and Celts traded here, has been found in the area; the local dialect still includes Etruscan and Celtic words related to wine. More than 2,000 years ago, Pliny the Elder declared Piedmont one of the most favorable wine-growing regions in ancient Italy, and it remains so to this day.
Read the Entire Story: 15 World Heritage Sites You Haven't Heard of Yet.