UNESCO adds 21 new properties to its World Heritage list

Your travel bucket list just got a little longer.

UNESCO announced 21 new additions to its World Heritage List in July. The committee made the decision during the 41st annual World Heritage Committee session in Krakow, Poland. Now a whopping 1,073 cultural and natural properties of "outstanding universal value" dot the world.

This year's new entries span from ancient cave art in Germany from over 43,000 years ago to a verdant Polynesian island ringed with coral that is the last part of the globe to be settled by humans.

As with all of places that have received the UNESCO accolade since 1972, these locations are unique and exemplify the best of Earth -- not just individual nations. If they were to disappear through decay, then the entire world would lose an important part of its ancestry. Sites that successfully apply for UNESCO protection are often better funded and preserved than they would be if they depended solely on the nation they are located within.

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2017's new UNESCO World Heritage Sites
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2017's new UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Aphrodisias, Turkey

Photo: Getty

Asmara: a Modernist City of Africa, Eritrea

Photo: Getty

Assumption Cathedral and Monastery of the town-island of Sviyazhsk, Russian Federation

Photo: Getty

Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura, Germany

Photo: Getty

Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town, Palestine

Photo: Getty

Historic City of Ahmadabad, India

Photo: Getty

Historic City of Yazd, Iran 

Photo: Getty

Kujataa Greenland: Norse and Inuit Farming at the Edge of the Ice Cap, Denmark

(Photo via Wikipedia)

Kulangsu: a Historic International Settlement, China

Photo: Getty

Mbanza Kongo, Vestiges of the Capital of the former Kingdom of Kongo, Angola

(Photo via Wikipedia)

Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region, Japan

Photo: Getty

Taputapuātea, France

(Photo via Wikipedia)

Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine and its Underground Water Management System, Poland

Photo: Getty

Temple Zone of Sambor Prei Kuk, Archaeological Site of Ancient Ishanapura, Cambodia

Photo: Getty

The English Lake District, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Photo: Getty

Valongo Wharf Archaeological Site, Brazil

Photo: Getty

ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape, South Africa

Photo: Getty

Los Alerces National Park, Argentina

Photo: Getty

Landscapes of Dauria Mongolia, Russian Federation

(Photo via Wikipedia)

Qinghai Hoh Xil, China

(Photo via Wikipedia)

Significant modifications to the boundaries

W-Arly-Pendjari Complex Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger

(Photo via Wikipedia)

Venetian Works of Defence between 16th and 17th centuries: Stato da Terra – western Stato da Mar Croatia, Italy, Montenegro

Photo: Municipality of Palmanova

Significant modifications to the boundaries

Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar, Dessau and Bernau Germany

Photo: Getty

Significant modifications to the boundaries

Gelati Monastery, Georgia

Photo: Getty

Significant modifications to the boundaries

Strasbourg: from Grande-île to Neustadt, a European urban scene, France

Photo: Getty

Significant modifications to the boundaries

Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe, Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Ukraine

Photo: Getty

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There are currently 23 UNESCO World Heritage Sites within the United States, with a nearly even split between cultural and natural sites.

Notably, five properties this year fall into the category of "significant modifications to the boundaries." For instance, a UNESCO World Heritage Site inscribed in 1996 consisting of Bauhaus properties in Germany was altered this year to include more buildings that fit this revolutionary style.

Only two properties ever have been removed from the World Heritage List. Dresden in Germany was deleted from the list in 2009 after a four-lane bridge in the heart of the city destroyed the 'outstanding universal value as inscribed.'

The Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman was delisted in 2007 after the nation reduced the size of the protected area by 90 percent, thus putting the creatures at risk.

Click above to see the UNESCO World Heritage Sites recently added or significantly altered.

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UNESCO World Heritage sites in US
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UNESCO World Heritage sites in US
A picture taken March 09, 2014 shows Giant Sequoia trees (Sequoiadendron giganteum) at the Giant Forest at Sequoia National Park in California. Five of the ten most massive trees on the planet are located within the Giant Forest. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - JUNE 30: People exercise near the Fort San Felipe del Morro a day after Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla gave a speech regarding the government's $72 billion debt on June 30, 2015 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Governor said in his speech that the people will have to sacrifice and share in the responsibilities for pulling the island out of debt. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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