Biblical sites in Israel, Albanian museum city join UN World Heritage List

18 July 2005

Biblical settlement mounds in Israel, a museum city in Albania, a 3,000-year-old necropolis in Italy and a sacred grove dotted with shrines in Nigeria are among 17 sites newly inscribed on the United Nations list of places to be preserved as part of the heritage of humankind.

With the latest inscriptions, Bahrain, Moldova, and Bosnia and Herzegovina for the first time enter the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List, which now numbers 812 sites – 628 cultural, 160 natural and 24 mixed – in 137 States Parties.

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee added the new sites at a weeklong meeting ending in Durban, South Africa, yesterday.

The new sites are:

The Museum-City of Gjirokastra in Albania, a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town, with a 13th-century citadel;The Qal'at al-Bahrain Archaeological Site in Bahrain, an artificial mound created by many successive layers of human occupation from 2300 B.C. to the 16th century A.D;The Residential and Cultural Complex of the Radziwill Family at Nesvizh in Belarus, dating from the 16th century;The Struve Arc in Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Moldova, Russia, Sweden and Ukraine, a chain of survey triangulations carried out between 1816 and 1855 by the astronomer Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve;The Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp, Belgium, a printing plant and publishing house dating from the Renaissance and Baroque periods;The Old Bridge Area of the Old City of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which developed in the 15th and 16th century as an Ottoman frontier town;The Humberstone and Santa Laura works in Chile where workers from Chile, Peru and Bolivia lived in company towns and forged a distinctive communal culture;The historic centre of Macao in China, a port under Portuguese administration until 1999, with historic streets and residential, religious and public buildings;The colonial town of Cienfuegos in Cuba, a trading place for sugar cane, tobacco and coffee founded in 1819 and initially settled by immigrants of French origin;The city of Le Havre in France, a port severely bombed during World War II and rebuilt according to a plan that maintains its unity and integrity;The mausoleum of Oljaytu in Soltaniyeh, Iran, built in 1302-1312, an outstanding example of Persian architecture and a key monument in the development of its Islamic architecture;The Biblical tells of Megiddo, Hazor and Beer Sheba in Israel, pre-historic settlement mounds containing substantial remains of cities with biblical connections;The four Nabatean towns of Haluza, Mamshit, Avdat and Shivta in Israel, spread along routes linking them to the Mediterranean end of the Incense and Spice route;Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica in Italy, containing outstanding vestiges dating back to Greek and Roman times, with 5,000 tombs dating from the 13th to 7th century B.C.;The Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove in Nigeria, one of the last remnants of primary high forest in southern Nigeria, regarded as the abode of the goddess of fertility Osun and dotted with shrines and sculptures honouring Osun and other Yoruba deities;The historical centre of Yaroslavl in Russia, renowned for its many 17th century churches, an outstanding example of the urban planning reform Empress Catherine the Great ordered for the whole of Russia in 1763;Kunya-Urgench in Turkmenistan, containing a series of monuments from the 11th to 16th centuries, including a mosque, the gates of a caravanserai, fortresses, mausoleums and a minaret.


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