UNESCO updates world heritage list: Ukrainian monuments at risk, new sites added

St. Sophia Cathedral and Kyiv Pechersk Lavra declared "at risk"; the Odzala-Kokoua forest, Martinique volcanoes, and Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago have been added

St. Sophia Cathedral
St. Sophia Cathedral / Rbrechko (CC BY-SA)

In recent years, global cultural heritage has faced numerous threats. As a result, UNESCO continues its efforts to preserve and expand the World Heritage List. The committee's recent decisions, particularly regarding Ukraine, have resonated with the public.

Two majestic Ukrainian monuments, the St. Sophia Cathedral and Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, have been listed as endangered sites due to war. These structures are not just stones and bricks — they symbolize the nation's spirit, pride, and history.

Lviv, often called the "gem of Ukraine," has also garnered attention. Its historic center, which has witnessed many key events in Ukrainian and European history, is now also under threat.

Beyond the threats to Ukraine's heritage, UNESCO has also focused on adding new sites to the list.


Sites proposed for inclusion:

  • St. Sophia Cathedral (Kyiv, Ukraine);
  • Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Monastic Complex (Kyiv, Ukraine);
  • Historic Center of Lviv (Lviv, Ukraine);
  • Odzala-Kokoua Forest Massif (Congo);
  • Volcanoes and forests of Mount Pelée and Piton (Martinique);
  • Ha Long Bay - Cat Ba Archipelago (Vietnam);
  • Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, including the dry forests of Andrefana (Madagascar);
  • Odzala-Kokoua Forest in Congo – a part of Africa's majestic tropical forests. This park is home to many unique species of flora and fauna.

In Martinique, a colorful island in the Caribbean, the volcanoes and forests of Mount Pelée and Piton were deemed worthy of global attention.

Pelée Mountain, Saint-Pierre, Martinique
Pelée Mountain, Saint-Pierre, Martinique / Rehcral, CC BY-SA 4.0

Ha Long Bay, known for its limestone karsts, was expanded to include the Cat Ba Archipelago. This decision highlights the bay's significance as a crucial ecological and cultural spot in Vietnam.

Ha Long Bay / Arian Zwegers

Finally, Tsingy de Bemaraha Park in Madagascar, with its unique rock formations, was also expanded to include the rare forests of Andrefana.

Tsingy de Bemaraha Park in Madagascar
Tsingy de Bemaraha Park in Madagascar / Ralph Kränzlein

In the coming days, more decisions are expected from the UNESCO committee. These decisions will surely impact humanity's cultural heritage for years to come.


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