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June 27, 2013

Sites in Germany and Italy bring to 19 the number of sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List this year

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE

Photo: Burgos Cathedral, Spain (UNESCO World Heritage Site). The Cathedral of Burgos was begun in the 13th century at the same time as the great cathedrals of the Ile-de-France and was completed in the 15th and 16th centuries. The entire history of Gothic art is summed up in its superb architecture and its unique collection of works of art, including paintings, choir stalls, reredos, tombs and stained-glass windows. Photo Credit: Lumiago.

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE

Photo: Pilgrimage Church of Wies, Germany (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Miraculously preserved in the beautiful setting of an Alpine valley, the Church of Wies (1745-54), the work of architect Dominikus Zimmermann, is a masterpiece of Bavarian Rococo. Photo Credit: Rita Willaert.

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE

Photo: The Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India (UNESCO World Heritage Site), are about 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. The caves include paintings and sculptures described by the government Archaeological Survey of India as “the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting”, which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales. The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BCE, with the second group of caves built around 400-650 CE according to older accounts, or all in a brief period between 460 to 480 according to the recent proposals of Walter M. Spink. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India, and since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo Credit: Amit Rawat.

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE

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Photo: A view of Himeji-jo from the West Bailey, Japan (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Himeji-jo is perhaps the most well known castle in Japan. It has remained in its current condition for almost 400 years. Unlike other Japanese castles, this one has not been damaged by warfare—and that includes WWII. The “White Heron” castle was originally constructed in 1333, but later improved by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and later by Terumasa Ikeda, a son-in-law of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Photo Credit: Jpellgen.

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Photo: Maloti Drakensberg Tranboundary, South Africa (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Cathedral Peak area trail Ukhahlamba Drakensberg National Park South Africa. Photo Credit: Jono Hey.

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Photo: Agricultural Landscape of Southern Oland, Sweden (UNESCO World Heritage Site). The southern part of the island of Oland in the Baltic Sea is dominated by a vast limestone plateau. Human beings have lived here for some five thousand years and adapted their way of life to the physical constraints of the island. As a consequence, the landscape is unique, with abundant evidence of continuous human settlement from prehistoric times to the present day. Photo Credit: Allie Caulfield.

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Photo: Khami ruins, Zimbabwe (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Khami, which developed after the capital of Great Zimbabwe had been abandoned in the mid-16th century, is of great archaeological interest. The discovery of objects from Europe and China shows that Khami was a major centre for trade over a long period of time. Photo Credit: Lars Lundqvist.

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Photo: Putorana Plateau, Russian Federation (UNESCO World Heritage Site). This site coincides with the area of the Putoransky State Nature Reserve, and is located in the central part of the Putorana Plateau in northern Central Siberia. It is situated about 100 km north of the Arctic Circle. The part of the plateau inscribed on the World Heritage List harbours a complete set of subarctic and arctic ecosystems in an isolated mountain range, including pristine taiga, forest tundra, tundra and arctic desert systems, as well as untouched cold-water lake and river systems. A major reindeer migration route crosses the property, which represents an exceptional, large-scale and increasingly rare natural phenomenon. Photo Credit: Filipp Solovev.

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Photo: Detail of Qutb Minar (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi. Built in the early 13th century a few kilometres south of Delhi, the red sandstone tower of Qutb Minar is 72.5 m high, tapering from 2.75 m in diameter at its peak to 14.32 m at its base, and alternating angular and rounded flutings. The surrounding archaeological area contains funerary buildings, notably the magnificent Alai-Darwaza Gate, the masterpiece of Indo-Muslim art (built in 1311), and two mosques, including the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, the oldest in northern India. Photo Credit: Chaostrophy.

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Photo: Iguacu National Park, Brazil (UNESCO World Heritage Site). The park shares with Iguazu National Park in Argentina one of the world’s largest and most impressive waterfalls, extending over some 2,700 m. It is home to many rare and endangered species of flora and fauna, among them the giant otter and the giant anteater. The clouds of spray produced by the waterfall are conducive to the growth of lush vegetation. Photo Credit: Claudio Alejandro Mufarrege.

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Photo: Historic Centre of Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Situated on the banks of the Vltava river, the town was built around a 13th-century castle with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements. It is an outstanding example of a small central European medieval town whose architectural heritage has remained intact thanks to its peaceful evolution over more than five centuries. Photo Credit: Matthias Ripp.

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Photo: Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay, Burgundy Region, France (UNESCO World Heritage Site). This stark Burgundian monastery was founded by St Bernard in 1119. With its church, cloister, refectory, sleeping quarters, bakery and ironworks, it is an excellent illustration of the ideal of self-sufficiency as practised by the earliest communities of Cistercian monks. Photo Credit: Jim Forest.

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Photo: The Statue of Liberty, USA (UNESCO World Heritage Site). The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in the middle of New York Harbor, in Manhattan, New York City. The statue, designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886, was a gift to the United States from the people of France on the centenary of American independence. The statue is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom. Photo Credit: A Herrero.

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Photo: Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India (UNESCO World Heritage Site). An immense mausoleum of white marble, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, the Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage. Photo Credit: Michael Baun.

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Photo: Everglades National Park, Florida, USA (UNESCO World Heritage Site). This site at the southern tip of Florida has been called ‘a river of grass flowing imperceptibly from the hinterland into the sea’. Photo Credit: Stig Nygaard.

During the 37th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, which is being held until 27 June 2013, in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap (Cambodia), 19 new sites have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. This brings the List to a total of 981 properties being divided into 759 cultural, 193 natural and 29 mixed properties, in 160 States Parties.

The latest inscriptions are:

Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe (Germany). Descending a long hill dominated by a giant statue of Hercules, the monumental water displays of Wilhelmshöhe were begun by Landgrave Carl of Hesse-Kassel in 1689 around an east-west axis and were developed further into the 19th century. Reservoirs and channels behind the Hercules Monument supply water to a complex system of hydro-pneumatic devices that supply the site’s large Baroque water theatre, grotto, fountains and 350 meter long Grand Cascade. Beyond this, channels and waterways wind across the axis, feeding a series of dramatic waterfalls and wild rapids, the geyser-like Grand Fountain which leaps 50m high, the lake and secluded ponds that enliven the Romantic garden created in the 18th century by Carl’s great-grandson, Elector Wilhelm I. The great size of the park and its waterworks along with the towering Hercules statue constitute an expression of the ideals of absolutist Monarchy while the ensemble is a remarkable testimony to the aesthetics of the Baroque and Romantic periods.

Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany (Italy). Twelve villas and two pleasure gardens spread across the Tuscan country side make up this site which bears testimony to the influence the Medici family exerted over modern European culture through its patronage of the arts. Built between the 15th and 17th centuries, they represent an innovative system of rural construction in harmony with nature and dedicated to leisure, the arts and knowledge. The villas embody an innovative form and function, a new type of princely residence that differed from both the farms owned by rich Florentines of the period and from the military might of baronial castles. The Medici villas form the first example of the connection between habitat, gardens, and the environment and became an enduring reference for princely residences throughout Italy and Europe. Their gardens and integration into the natural environment helped develop the appreciation of landscape characteristic Humanism and the Renaissance.

Bochnia Royal Salt Mines (Poland) is an extension to the Polish Wieliczka Salt Mine, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1978, which is now to be known as the Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines. The Wieliczka Saltworks Castle used for the management of the property was also added to the site. The rock salt deposit in Wieliczka-Bochnia has been mined since the 13th century and is the oldest of its type in Europe. Spread over several levels, it has 300 km of galleries with underground chapels, storerooms and more. It includes altars and statues sculpted in the salt, making a fascinating pilgrimage into the past of a major industrial undertaking that developed over 700 years.

Hill Forts of Rajasthan (India). The serial site, situated in the state of Rajastahan, includes six majestic forts in Chittorgarh; Kumbhalgarh; Sawai Madhopur; Jhalawar; Jaipur, and Jaisalmer. The ecclectic architecture of the forts, some up to 20 kilometres in circumference, bears testimony to the power of the Rajput princely states that flourished in the region from the 8th to the 18th centuries. Enclosed within defensive walls are major urban centres, palaces, trading centres and other buildings including temples that often predate the fortifications within which developed an elaborate courtly culture that supported learning, music and the arts. Some of the urban centres enclosed in the fortifications have survived, as have many of the site’s temples and other sacred buildings. The forts use the natural defenses offered by the landscape: hills, deserts, rivers, and dense forests. They also feature extensive water harvesting structures, largely still in use today.

Five natural sites were inscribed:

• Xinjiang Tianshan (China)
• Mount Etna (Italy)
• El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve (Mexico)
• Namib Sand Sea (Namibia)
• Tajik National Park (Tajikistan)

Fourteen cultural sites were inscribed:

• Red Bay Basque Whaling Station (Canada)
• Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, (China)
• Historic Monuments and Sites in Kaesong (Democratic People’s Reublic of Korea)
• Levuka Historical Port Town (Fiji)
• Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe (Germany)
• Hill Forts of Rajashtan (India)
• Golestan Palace (Iran)
• Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany (Italy)
• Fujisan, sacred place and source of artistic inspiration (Japan)
• Historic Centre of Agadez (Niger)
• Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine (Poland / Ukraine)
• University of Coimbra - Alta and Sofia (Portugal)
• Al Zubarah Archaeological Site (Qatar)
• Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora (Ukraine)

Three sites received extensions:

• Mount Kenya-Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (Kenya)
• Maloti Drakensberg Transboundary World Heritage Site (Lesotho / South Africa)
• Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines (Poland)

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Edited & Posted by Surender Hastir | 12:49 PM | Link to this Post


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