"I would have never felt the need to do the work if I already had the answers," says photographer Carolyn Drake, who spent six years documenting Central Asia's borders, geography, ethnicities, and tumultuous history.
This year's list includes eight newly minted cultural and natural heritage sites across seven Asian countries.
In the future, competition for energy reserves in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan will be between Russia and China, with time being on Beijing's side.
Photographer Matthieu Paley spent more than a decade photographing the Afghan Kyrgyz people, who live in one of the world's most remote and inhospitable areas.
A panoramic view of the Fann Mountains of northwest Tajikistan on September 24, 2012. (erh1103/Flickr)