07/02/2012 08:45 am ET Updated Jul 02, 2012

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 26 New Sites Added To List Of Tourism Hot Spots (PHOTOS)

A group of 26 iconic, fantastic and endangered places around the globe are the latest entrants on the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.

Among the newly-recognized sites are the birthplace of Jesus and the Church of the Nativity; the ninth-century mosque of Isfahan, Iran; the historic city of Rabat, Morocco; the site of Xanadu, China; and the baroque opera house of Bayreuth, Germany.

Also making the list are Rio de Janiero's "Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea," a not-so-subtle-nod to the seaside city that will host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

The World Heritage designation, which today protects nearly 1,000 of the world's most stunning cultural and natural sites, will give a burst of publicity to the 26 newest entries, which can lead to better funding, better preservation and more tourism to each destination.

Take a look at all of the newest World Heritage Sites, with these photos courtesy of UNESCO: