UNESCO Spotlight: Five New Sites in Iran, Turkey and Mongolia

UNESCO Spotlight: Five New Sites in Iran, Turkey and Mongolia

A sacred Mongolian mountain rumored to be the final resting place of Genghis Khan, a prosperous ancient Greek city where St. Paul founded a church, and a Turkish troglodyte village populated by semi-nomads: these are three of the 24 most recent additions to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.

Each year the UNESCO World Heritage Committee considers sites to add to its list of the world’s most incredible places. And each year, it chooses some that are in MIR’s favorite destinations.

We’re laying claim to five of the new additions:

French citadel in Susa, Iran. Photo: Tim Littler

French citadel in Susa, Iran
Photo: Tim Littler

1. Susa, Iran

The archaeological site of Susa, Iran dating from, at the latest, 4000 BC, represents one of the oldest settlements in the world. It was the capital of the Elamites in 2000 BC and was plundered by Nebuchadnezzer I, of the Babylonian Empire. The Achaemenids made it their capital from 521 BC. The ruins of the Palace of Darius, dating from about this time, can still be seen and wandered through. The palace features enormous columns and carved animals that hint at what must have once been an impressive royal residence.

Stop in Susa on our rail journey by private train Heart of Persia.

 

Nomads in Iran. Photos: Hilary Cline

Nomads in their temporary shelters of sticks and fabrics in Iran
Photos: Hilary Cline

2. Cultural Landscape of Maymand, Iran

Maymand, Iran is a very small, very ancient cave village in Kerman Province. People have been continuously living here for 2,000 to 3,000 years. Petroglyphs dating back 10,000 years, and pottery shards from 6,000 years ago have been discovered in the vicinity of the town, which is made up of hundreds of hand-dug cave dwellings. The caves are used as winter quarters for semi-nomadic herders who live in temporary shelters made of sticks and logs in the mountain pastures during spring and summer.

You can pay a visit to the cave town of Maymand, Iran, on a handcrafted custom trip. Custom and private travel is our specialty. We’ve been designing unforgettable custom itineraries for nearly 30 years now.

 

Inside the Diyarbakir Fortress. Photo: Inga Belova

Inside the Ulu Cami Mosque in Diyarbakir Fortress
Photo: Inga Belova

3. Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens Cultural Landscape, Turkey

Diyarbakir, called Amida under the Roman and Byzantine empires, has been an important city since the time of ancient Greece. An intact medieval wall constructed of black basalt surrounds the Old Town. Many medieval mosques and madrassahs survive here, including the 11th century Ulu Cami, or Great Mosque, with its alternating bands of black basalt and white limestone. The town has a flourishing bazaar and a neighborhood of old merchant houses as well.

You can pay a visit to Turkey‘s Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens on a handcrafted custom trip. Custom and private travel is our specialty. We’ve been designing unforgettable custom itineraries for nearly 30 years now.

 

Ephesus, Turkey. Photo: Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism

A still-vital amphitheater in Ephesus, Turkey
Photo: Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism

4. Ephesus, Turkey

Ephesus was a major prosperous Greek city, most likely founded in the 10th century BC, though settlements in the area go back to the Neolithic age. It was famous for its Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Today, the ruins are some of the best-preserved and best-understood in the world and offer a glimpse into life in one of the most sophisticated cities in ancient Greece and Rome. The city was later a center of the early Christian faith, and St. Paul preached here and directed an epistle to the congregation. One of the greatest archeological sites in the world, the marble streets, public baths and monuments of Ephesus demonstrate the power and vitality of the ancient world.


You can pay a visit to Ephesus, Turkey on a handcrafted custom trip. Custom and private travel is our specialty. We’ve been designing unforgettable custom itineraries for nearly 30 years now.

The Mongolian steppe. Photo: Peter Guttman

Riding through the transition zone between the Mongolian steppe and the Russian taiga
Photo: Peter Guttman

5. Great Burkhan Khaldun Mountain and its Surrounding Sacred Landscape, Mongolia

7,700-foot Burkhan Khaldun Mountain rises from the transition zone where the Mongolian steppe meets the Russian taiga, in northeast Mongolia’s Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area. The mountain has been considered sacred since before the time of Genghis Khan, who is said to have climbed to its top to pray. Some Mongolians believe it to be the place where the conqueror was born and is buried, though his tomb has so far not been discovered.

We can arrange for you to visit sacred Burkhan Khaldun Mountain near the Mongolia/Russia border on a handcrafted custom trip. Custom and private travel is our specialty. We’ve been designing unforgettable custom itineraries for nearly 30 years now.

Learn more about the 24 new UNESCO World Heritage Sites inscribed in 2015.

 

See UNESCO Sites with MIR

In 2016, MIR celebrates 30 years of journeys to destinations at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Clients rave about our on-the-ground support and stellar Tour Managers. MIR’s full service, dedication, commitment to quality, and destination expertise have twice earned us a place on National Geographic Adventure’s list of “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.”

30 years of travel expertise means that the specialists at MIR know how to get there, what to do while you’re there, and how to enhance your trip in each of our destinations.

Wondering which destination or itinerary is right for you? In addition to browsing the pages of our free catalog, you can narrow down your choices online using our Trip Finder and the Destination Map. Or chat with our Private Journeys department to have a trip handcrafted to your interests, pace and budget.

Contact MIR today at info@mircorp.com or 1-800-424-7289.

Top photo: Feeling small in Ephesus, Turkey. Photo: Peter Guttman

PUBLISHED: January 28, 2016

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