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Israel caves declared UNESCO World Heritage site

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News,World

JERUSALEM (AP) — The U.N. cultural agency has designated a network of ancient, man-made caves outside of Jerusalem a World Heritage site.

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee added the caves of Beit Guvrin-Maresha — known as a "city under a city" — to the prestigious list of during its annual meeting in Qatar on Sunday.

The 2,000-year-old caves are comprised of chambers and networks with various functions, and are situated below the ancient twin towns of Maresha and Beit Guvrin.

Israel now boasts a total of eight World Heritage sites, including Masada, the Old City of Acre and the Bahai Holy Shrines in Haifa.

Only countries that have signed the World Heritage convention, pledging to protect their natural and cultural heritage, can nominate a site, which must have an "outstanding universal value" to qualify.

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