Unesco adds five World Heritage Sites

NEW YORK -- Unesco has named five additional European historic attractions in Germany, Italy and Hungary to its list of protected World Heritage Sites.

More than 300 of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's 730 designated heritage sites are located in European countries.

Germany's Baltic Sea ports of Wismar and Stralsund -- cited as the best-preserved member cities of the medieval Hanseatic trading league -- as well as a 40-mile stretch of the Rhine Valley join 25 other such sites in the country.

The Upper Middle Rhine Valley was chosen for its collection of 60 towns, two-millennia of history, and proliferation of monuments, including castles, abbeys, terraced vineyards and the famed Lorelei Rock, according to Unesco.

Meanwhile, the Tokaji Wine Region Cultural Landscape in Hungary was nominated thanks to its 800-year-old wine industry, and the Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto in Sicily join some 35 other heritage sites protected in Italy.

The eight Sicilian towns of Caltagirone, Militello Val Di Catania, Catania, Modica, Noto, Palazzolo, Ragusa and Scicli were rebuilt after a 1693 earthquake that killed 93,000 people; reconstruction was guided by some of the world's first earthquake-proof building codes.

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