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World heritage list


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WORLD HERITAGE LIST
NEW SITES INSCRIBED BY UNESCO’s WORLDE HERITAGE COMMITTEE IN ITS 30th MEETING
VILNIUS, LITHUANIA, 6 – 16 JULY 2006

NATURAL SITES (2)


  • Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries (China), home to more than 30% of the world's highly endangered pandas, covers 924,500 ha with seven nature reserves and nine scenic parks in the Qionglai and Jiajin Mountains. The sanctuaries constitute the largest remaining contiguous habitat of the giant panda, a relict from the paleo-tropic forests of the Tertiary Era. It is also the species' most important site for captive breeding. The sanctuaries are home to other globally endangered animals such as the red panda, the snow leopard and clouded leopard. They are among the botanically richest sites of any region in the world, outside the tropical rain forests, with between 5,000 and 6,000 species of flora in over 1,000 genera.




  • Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary (Colombia). The site includes Malpelo island (350 ha) and the surrounding marine environment (857,150 ha). This vast marine park, the largest no-fishing zone in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, provides a critical habitat for internationally threatened marine species, and is a major source of nutrients resulting in large aggregations of marine biodiversity. It is in particular a ‘reservoir' for sharks, giant grouper and billfish and is one of the few places in the world where sightings of the short-nosed ragged-toothed shark, a deepwater shark, have been confirmed. Widely recognized as one of the top diving sites in the world, due to the presence of steep walls and caves of outstanding natural beauty, these deep waters support important populations of large predators and pelagic species (e.g. aggregations of over 200 hammerhead sharks and over 1,000 silky sharks, whale sharks and tuna have been recorded) in an undisturbed environment where they maintain natural behavioural patterns.

CULTURAL SITES (16)


  • Harar Jugol, The Fortified Historic Town (Ethiopia) - The fortified historic town of Harar is located in the eastern part of the country on a plateau with deep gorges surrounded by deserts and savannah. The walls surrounding this sacred Muslim city were built between the 13th and 16th centuries. Harar Jugol, said to be the fourth holiest city of Islam, numbers 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, and 102 shrines. The most common houses in Harar Jugol are traditional townhouses consisting of three rooms on the ground floor and service areas in the courtyard. Another type of house, called the Indian House, built by Indian merchants who came to Harar after 1887, is a simple rectangular two-storied building with a veranda overlooking either street or courtyard. A third type of building was born of the combination of elements from the other two. The Harari people are known for the quality of their handicrafts, including weaving, basket making and book-binding, but the houses with their exceptional interior design constitute the most spectacular part of Harar's cultural heritage This architectural form is typical, specific and original, different from the domestic layout usually known in Muslim countries. It is also unique in Ethiopia. Harar was established in its present urban form in the 16th century as an Islamic town characterized by a maze of narrow alleyways and forbidding facades. From 1520 to 1568 it was the capital of the Harari Kingdom. From the late 16th century to the 19th century, Harar was noted as a centre of trade and Islamic learning. In the 17th century it became an independent emirate. It was then occupied by Egypt for ten years and became part of Ethiopia in 1887. The impact of African and Islamic traditions on the development of the town's specific building types and urban layout make for the particular character and even uniqueness of Harar.




  • Stone Circles of Senegambia (Gambia, Senegal). Consisting of four large groups of stone circles that represent an extraordinary concentration of over 1,000 monuments in a band 100 km wide along some 350 km of the River Gambia. The four groups, Sine Ngayène, Wanar, Wassu and Kerbatch cover 93 stone circles and numerous tumuli, burial mounds, some of which have been excavated to reveal material that suggest dates between 3rd century BC and 16th century AD. Together the stone circles of laterite pillars and their associated burial mounds present a vast sacred landscape created over more than 1,500 years. It reflects a prosperous, highly organized and lasting society. The stones were quarried with iron tools and skillfully shaped into almost identical cylindrical or polygonal seven-ton pillars, on average about two metres high. Each circle contains between 8 and 14 pillars and is 4 to 6 metres across. All are located near the burial mounds. This outstanding site is representative of a much wider megalithic zone in the region, which in terms of size, consistency, and complexity appears to be unrivalled anywhere in the world. The finely worked individual stones display precise and skillful working practices and contribute to the imposing order and grandeur of the overall complexes.




  • Chongoni Rock Art Area (Malawi). Situated within a cluster of forested granite hills and covering an area of 126.4 km2, high up the plateau of central Malawi, the area features the richest concentration of rock art in Central Africa on 127 sites. They reflect the comparatively scarce tradition of farmer rock art, as well as paintings by BaTwa hunter-gatherers who inhabited the area from the Late Stone Age. The Chewa agriculturalists, whose ancestors lived in the area from the late Iron Age, practised rock painting until well into the 20th century. The symbols in the rock art, which are strongly associated with women, still have cultural relevance amongst the Chewa, and the sites are actively associated with ceremonies and rituals.



  • Aapravasi Ghat (Mauritius) – In the district of Port Louis, is the 1,640 m2 site where the modern indentured labour diaspora began. In 1834, the British Government selected the island of Mauritius to be the first site for what it called "the great experiment" in the use of "free" labour to replace slaves. Between 1834 and 1920, almost half a million indentured labourers arrived from India at Aapravasi Ghat to work in the sugar plantations of Mauritius, or to be transferred to Reunion Island, Australia, southern and eastern Africa or the Caribbean. The buildings of Aapravasi Ghat are among the earliest explicit manifestations of what was to become a global economic system and one of the greatest migrations in history.




  • Agave Landscape and Ancient Industrial Facilities of Tequila (Mexico) - A 34,658 ha site, between the foothills of the Tequila Volcano and the deep valley of the Rio Grande River, is part of an expansive landscape of blue agave, shaped by the culture of the plant which has been used since the 16th century to produce tequila spirit and over at least 2,000 years to make fermented drinks and cloth. Within the landscape are working distilleries reflecting the growth in the international consumption of tequila in the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, the agave culture is seen as part of national identity. The area encloses a living, working landscape of blue agave fields and the urban settlements of Tequila, Arenal, and Amatitan with large distilleries where the agave ‘pineapple' is fermented and distilled. The listed property includes fields, distilleries and factories (both active and not), tabernas (distilleries that were illegal under Spanish rule), towns and Teuchitlan archaeological sites. The property numbers numerous haciendas, or estates, some of which date back to the 18th century. The architecture of both factories and haciendas is characterized by brick and adobe construction, plastered walls with ochre lime-wash, stone arches, quoins and window dressings, and formal, neo-classical or baroque ornamentation. It reflects both the fusion of pre-Hispanic traditions of fermenting mescal juice with the European distillation processes and of local technologies and those imported from Europe and the U.S.A. The property also covers archaeological sites which bear testimony to the Teuchitlan culture which shaped the Tequila area from 200 to 900 A.D., notably through the creation of terraces for agriculture, housing, temples, ceremonial mounds and ball courts.




  • Kondoa Rock Art Sites (United Republic of Tanzania) Kondoa Rock Art Sites, on the eastern slopes of the Masai escarpment bordering the Great Rift Valley are natural rock shelters, overhanging slabs of sedimentary rocks fragmented by rift faults, whose vertical planes have been used for rock paintings over at least two millennia. The spectacular collection of images from over 150 shelters over 2,336 km2, many with high artistic value, displays sequences that provide a unique testimony to the changing socio-economic base of the area from hunter-gatherer to agro-pastoralist societies, and the beliefs and ideas associated with them. Some of the shelters are still considered to have ritual associations with the people who live nearby reflecting their beliefs, rituals and cosmological traditions.




  • Old town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof (Germany). Located on the Danube river in Bavaria, this medieval town contains many buildings of exceptional quality that testify to its history as a trading centre and to its influence on the region as of the 9th century. It has preserved a notable number of historic structures spanning some two millennia, including ancient Roman, Romanesque and Gothic buildings. Regensburg’s 11th - 13th -century architecture – including the market, City Hall and Cathedral, still defines the character of the town marked by tall buildings, dark, narrow lanes, and strong fortifications. The buildings include medieval Patrician houses and towers, a large number of churches and monastic ensembles as well as the Old Bridge, which dates from the 12th century. The town is also remarkable for the vestiges that testify to its rich institutional and religious history as one of the centres of the Holy Roman Empire that turned to Protestantism.




  • Sewell Mining Town (Chile) - Situated 85 km south of the capital, Santiago in an environment marked by extreme climate more than 2,000 m up the Andes, Sewell Mining Town was built by the Braden Copper company in the early 20th century to house workers at what was the world’s largest underground copper mine, El Teniente. It is an outstanding example of the company towns that were born in many remote parts of the world from the fusion of local labour and resources from an industrialized nation, to mine and process high-value natural resources. At its peak Sewell numbered 15,000 inhabitants, but was largely abandoned in the 1970s. The town was built on a terrain too steep for wheeled vehicles around a large central staircase rising from the railway station. Along its route formal squares of irregular shape with ornamental trees and plants constituted the main public spaces or squares of the town. Off the central staircase, paths ran along the contours leading to smaller squares and secondary staircases linking the town’s different levels. The buildings lining the streets are timber, often painted in vivid green, yellow, red and blue. Designed in the U.S.A., most of them were built on a 19th century American model, but the design of the Industrial School (1936), for example, is of modernist inspiration. Sewell is the only mountain industrial mining settlement of considerable size of the 20th century to have been built for year-round use.




  • Yin Xu (China) - The archaeological site of Yin Xu, close to Anyang City, some 500 km south of Beijing, is an ancient capital city of the late Shang Dynasty (1300 to 1046 BC). It testifies to the golden age of early Chinese culture, crafts and sciences, a time of great prosperity of the Chinese Bronze Age. A number of royal tombs and palaces, prototypes of later Chinese architecture, have been unearthed on the site. The site includes the Palace and Royal Ancestral Shrines Area (1,000m x 650m), with more than 80 house foundations, and the only tomb of a member of the royal family of the Shang Dynasty to have remained intact, the Tomb of Fu Hao. The large number and superb craftsmanship of the burial accessories found there bear testimony to the advanced level of Shang handicraft industry, and form now one of the national treasures of China. Numerous pits containing bovine shoulder blades and turtle plastrons have been found in Yin Xu. Inscriptions on these oracle bones bear invaluable testimony to the development of one of the world’s oldest writing systems, ancient beliefs and social systems.



  • Vizcaya Bridge (Spain) – Vizcaya Bridge straddles the mouth of the Ibaizabal estuary west of Bilbao. It was designed by the Basque architect, Alberto de Palacio and completed in 1893. The 45-metre-high bridge with its span of 160 m, merges 19th-century iron–working traditions with the then new lightweight technology of twisted steel ropes. It was the first bridge in the world to carry people and traffic on a high suspended gondola and was used as a model for many similar bridges in Europe, Africa and the Americas but only a few of which survive. With its innovative use of lightweight, twisted steel cables, it is regarded as one of the outstanding architectural iron constructions of the Industrial Revolution.




  • Bisotun (Islamic Republic of Iran) - Bisotun is located along the ancient trade route linking the Iranian high plateau with Mesopotamia and features remains from the prehistoric times to the Median, Achaemenid, Sassanian, and Ilkhanid periods. The principal monument of this archaeological site is the bas-relief and cuneiform inscription ordered by Darius I, The Great, when he rose to the throne of the Persian Empire, 521 BC. The bas-relief portrays Darius holding a bow, as a sign of sovereignty, and treading on the chest of a figure who lies on his back before him. According to legend, the figure represents Gaumata, the Median Magus and pretender to the throne whose assassination led to Darius’s rise to power. Below and around the bas-reliefs, there are ca. 1,200 lines of inscriptions telling the story of the battles Darius waged in 521-520 BC against the governors who attempted to take apart the Empire founded by Cyrus. The inscription is written in three languages. The oldest is an Elamite text referring to legends describing the king and the rebellions. This is followed by a Babylonian version of similar legends. The last phase of the inscription is particularly important, as it is here that Darius introduced for the first time the Old Persian version of his res gestae (things done). This is the only known monumental text of the Achaemenids to document the re-establishment of the Empire by Darius I. It also bears witness to the interchange of influences in the development of monumental art and writing in the region of the Persian Empire. There are also remains from the Median period (8th to 7th centuries B.C.) as well as from the Achaemenid (6th to 4th centuries B.C.) and post-Achaemenid periods.




  • Genoa: Le Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli (Italy) - The Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli, in Genoa’s historic centre (late 16th and early 17th centuries) represent the first example in Europe of an urban development project with a unitary framework, where the plans were specially parcelled out by a public authority and a particular system of ‘public lodging’, based on legislation. The Rolli palaces were residences built by the wealthiest and most powerful aristocratic families of the Republic of Genoa at the height of its financial and seafaring power. The site includes an ensemble of Renaissance and Baroque palaces along the so-called ‘new streets’ (Strade Nuove). The grand residence palaces erected on the Strada Nuova (now Via Garibaldi) in the late 16th century, formed the quarter of the nobility, who under the constitution of 1528, had assumed the government of the Republic. Palaces are generally three or four stories high and feature spectacular open staircases, courtyards, and loggias overlooking gardens, positioned at different levels in a relatively tight space. The influence of this urban design model is evidenced by Italian and European literature over the following decades. The palazzi offer an extraordinary variety of different solutions, achieving universal value in adapting to the particular characteristics of the site and to the requirements of a specific social and economic organization. They also offer an original example of a network of public hospitality houses for visits of state, as decreed by the Senate in 1576. The owners of these palazzi were obliged to host state visits, thus contributing to the dissemination of knowledge of an architectural model and a residential culture which attracted famous artists and travellers, and of which a significant example is a collection of drawings by Pieter Paul Rubens.




  • Aflaj Irrigation Systems of Oman (Oman) - The property includes five aflaj irrigation systems and represents some 3,000 such systems still in use in Oman. The origins of this system of irrigation may date back to 500 A.D., but archaeological evidence suggests that irrigation systems existed in this extremely arid area as early as 2,500 B.C. Aflaj, is the plural of falaj which, in classical Arabic means to divide into shares and equitable sharing of a scarce resource to ensure sustainability remains the hallmark of this irrigation system. Using gravity, water is channelled from underground sources or springs to support agriculture and domestic use, often over many kilometres. The fair and effective management and sharing of water in villages and towns is still underpinned by mutual dependence and communal values and guided by astronomical observations. Numerous watchtowers built to defend the water systems form part of the listed property reflecting the historic dependence of communities on the aflaj system. Other buildings listed in association with the aflaj are mosques, houses, sundials, and water auction buildings. Threatened by the lowering level of the underground water table, the aflaj represent an exceptionally well-preserved form of land use.




  • Centennial Hall in Wroclaw (Poland) - The Centennial Hall (Jahrhunderthalle in German and Hala Ludowa in Polish), a landmark in the history of reinforced concrete architecture, was erected in 1911-1913 by Max Berg, at the time municipal architect in Breslau, as the Polish city of Wrocław was called at the time, when it was part of Germany. The Centennial Hall, a multi-purpose recreational building, is a centrally-planned structure situated on the Exhibition Grounds. The structure of the Centennial Hall is a symmetrical quatrefoil form with a vast circular central space (65m diameter, 42m high) that can seat some 6,000 persons. The 23m-high dome is topped with a lantern in steel and glass. The windows are made of exotic hardwood and, in order to improve the acoustics, the walls are covered with an insulating layer of concrete mixed with wood or cork. The elevations have no decoration or ornament, but the exposed concrete texture is marked with the imprints of the wooden formwork. On the west side of the Centennial Hall is a monumental square modelled like an ancient forum. On its north side is the Four-Dome Pavilion designed by architect Hans Poelzig in 1912 to house an historical exhibition. In the northern section of the Exhibition Grounds, Poelzig designed a concrete pergola surrounding an artificial pond. Adjacent to the entrance is the office building of the company administrating the Exhibition Grounds (Breslauer Messe A.G.), built in 1937 to the design by Richard Konwiarz. A monumental gateway leading to the forum, is in the form of a colonnade with reinforced concrete columns, designed by Max Berg in 1924. The Centennial Hall is a pioneering work of modern engineering and architecture, which exhibits an important interchange of influences in the early 20th century, becoming a key reference in the later development of reinforced concrete structures.




  • Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)Much of the landscape of Cornwall and West Devon was transformed in the 18th and early 19th centuries as a result of the rapid growth of pioneering copper and tin mining. Its deep underground mines, engine houses, foundries, new towns, smallholdings, ports and harbours, and ancillary industries together reflect prolific innovation which, in the early 19th century, enabled the region to produce two thirds of the world’s supply of copper. The substantial remains are a testimony to the contribution Cornwall and West Devon made to the industrial revolution in the rest of Britain and to the fundamental influence the area had on the mining world at large. Cornish technology embodied in engines, engine houses and mining equipment were exported around the world. Cornwall and West Devon were the heartland from which mining technology rapidly spread. When Cornish and West Devon mining declined in the 1860s, large numbers of miners emigrated to work and live in mining communities based on Cornish traditions, in for instance South Africa, Australia, and Central and South America, where Cornish engine houses still survive.




  • Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Syrian Arab Republic)The two castles represent the most significant examples illustrating the exchange of influences and documenting the evolution of fortified architecture in the Near East during the time of the Crusades (11th to 13th century). The Crac des Chevaliers was built by the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem from 1142 to 1271. With further construction by the Mamluks in the late 13th century, it ranks among the best-preserved examples of the Crusade castles. It is an archetype of the medieval castle, particularly of the military orders and includes eight round towers built by the Hospitallers and a massive square tower added by the Mamluks. Similarly, the Qal’at Salah El-Din (Fortress of Saladin), even though partly in ruins, still represents an outstanding example of this type of fortification, both in terms of the quality of construction and the survival of historical stratigraphy. It retains features from its Byzantine beginnings in the 10th century, the Frankish transformations in the late 12th century and fortifications added by the Ayyubids dynasty (late 12th to mid-13th century).



EXTENSIONS (4)


  • Kvarken Archipelago / High Coast (Finland, Sweden) The High Coast is located on the west shore of the Gulf of Bothnia, a northern extension of the Baltic Sea. The area covers 142,500 ha including a marine component of 80,000 ha, which includes a number of offshore islands. The irregular topography of the region - a series of lakes, inlets and flat hills rising to 350 m - has been largely shaped by the combined processes of glaciation, glacial retreat and the emergence of new land from the sea. Since the last retreat of the ice from the High Coast 9,600 years ago, the uplift has been in the order of 285 m which is the highest known 'rebound'. The High Coast site affords outstanding opportunities for the understanding of the important processes that formed the glaciated and land uplift areas of the Earth's surface.

The Kvarken Archipelago (added in 2006 as an extension to the World Heritage site of the High Coast) numbers 5,600 islands and islets and covers a total of 194,400 ha (15% land and 85% sea). It features unusual ridged washboard moraines, "De Greer moraines", formed by the melting of the continental ice sheet, 10,000 to 24,000 years ago. The Archipelago is continuously rising from the sea in a process of rapid glacio-isostatic uplift, whereby the land, previously weighed down under the weight of a glacier, lifts at rates that are among the highest in the world. As a consequence of the advancing shoreline, islands appear and unite, peninsulas expand, lakes evolve from bays and develop into marshes and peat fens. This property is essentially a "type area" for research on isostacy; the phenomenon having been first recognized and studied here.


  • Medieval Monuments in Kosovo - The four edifices of the site reflect the high points of the Byzantine-Romanesque ecclesiastical culture that developed in the Balkans between the 13th and 17th centuries with its distinct style of wall painting. The Patriarchate of Peć Monastery is a group of four domed churches, on the outskirts of Peć featuring series of wall paintings. The 13th-century frescoes of the Church of Holy Apostles are painted in a unique, monumental style. Early 14th-century frescoes in the church of the Holy Virgin represent the appearance of the new so called Palaiologian Renaissance style, combining the influences of the eastern Orthodox Byzantine and the western Romanesque traditions. The style played a decisive role in subsequent Balkan art..




  • Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley (Andorra) - The Madriu-Perafita-Claror Valley offers a microcosmic perspective of the way people have harvested the resources of the high Pyrenees over millennia. Its dramatic glacial landscapes of craggy cliffs and glaciers, with high open pastures and steep wooded valleys covers an area of 4,247-ha., 9% of the total area of Andorra. It reflects past changes in climate, economic fortune and social systems, as well as the persistence of pastoralism and a strong mountain culture. The site features houses, notably summer settlements, terraced fields, stone tracks, and evidence of iron smelting




  • Kathmandu Valley, (Nepal) (Natural) - The cultural heritage of the Kathmandu Valley is illustrated by seven groups of monuments and buildings which display the full range of historic and artistic achievements for which the Kathmandu Valley is world famous. The seven include the Durbar Squares of Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu), Patan and Bhaktapur, the Buddhist stupas of Swayambhu and Bauddhanath, and the Hindu temples of Pashupati and Changu Narayan.


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