World Heritage list grows

August 10, 2008 at 7:50 am Leave a comment

Associated Press – August 10, 2008

QUEBEC CITY, Canada

Baha’i holy places in Israel, the Monarch butterfly biosphere reserve of Mexico and the historic center of Camaguey, a Spanish colonial town in Cuba first settled in 1528, are among the new sites added to the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee met last month in Quebec City to add the 19 cultural sites and eight natural sites to the list, which now numbers 878 sites in 145 countries. Detailed information about each site is available at whc.unesco.org/en/news/453.

In Mexico, in addition to the butterfly reserve, the fortified town of San Miguel and the Sanctuary of Jesus Nazareno de Atotonilco, cited for their architecture, were added to the list.

In Europe, new UNESCO World Heritage sites are the ancient stone walls, shelters and landscape of Stari Grad on the Adriatic island of Hvar in Croatia; 17th-century fortifications along the borders of France; innovatively designed Modernist housing in Berlin, dating from 1910-1933; the Italian towns of Mantua and Sabbioneta, cited for architecture and their role in Renaissance culture; eight wooden churches dating to the 16th through 18th centuries in Slovakia; the Rhaetian Railway, which includes two historic railway lines in Italy and Switzerland that cross the Alps; and the historic center of the republic of San Marino, which dates to the 13th century, and San Marino’s Mount Titano.

In Asia and the South Pacific, new sites added to the World Heritage list are Cambodia’s Temple of Preah Vihear; the “tulou” of China’s Fujian province, which are circular communal earthen houses; Melaka and George Town, historic cities of the Straits of Malacca in Malaysia; the Kuk swamps in New Guinea, which contain archaeological evidence of thousands of years of farming, and three sites on islands in Vanuatu associated with a 17th-century chief, Roi Mata.

In the Middle East, the World Heritage list now includes, in Iran, the Armenian monasteries of St. Thaddeus and St. Stepanos and the Chapel of Dzordzor; Al-Hijr, Saudi Arabia’s first World Heritage property, an archaeological site preserving Nabataean civilization dating to the 1st century B.C., and the Socotra islands in Yemen, cited for their biodiversity.

In Africa, Kenya’s Mijikenda Kaya Forests were recognized for the remains of fortified villages dating back centuries that are now considered sacred sites, and Le Morne, a mountain on the coast of Mauritius, was included for its history as a shelter for runaway slaves.

Natural properties added to the UNESCO list, in addition to the Mexico butterfly reserve, are Canada’s Joggins Fossil Cliffs, a fossil-rich area of Nova Scotia; China’s Mount Sanqingshan National Park, noted for its scenic landscape and “fantastically shaped” granite peaks and pillars; the coral reefs and lagoons of New Caledonia; Surtsey, an Icelandic island formed by volcanic eruptions in the 1960s and which is a pristine laboratory for plant and animal life; two nature reserves in the steppe and lakes of northern Kazakhstan; and a geologically significant mountainous area of Switzerland known as the Glarus Overthrust.

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Entry filed under: Others, Preah Vihear Issue, Tourism. Tags: .

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