Four new sites – located in Burkina Faso, Iran, Kyrgyzstan and Republic of Korea (ROK) – have been added to the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), it was announced today.
The addition of the Ruins of Loropéni in Burkina Faso and the Sulamain-Too Sacred Mountain in Kyrgyzstan marks the first time that these two countries have had sites inscribed on the List, the agency noted.
The Ruins of Loropéni, situated near the borders of Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Togo, is at last 1,000 years old and is the best preserved of ten fortresses in the Lobi area and is part of a larger group of 100 stone enclosures that bear testimony to the power of the trans-Saharan gold trade.
Kyrgyzstan’s Sulamain-Too Sacred Mountain, which forms the backdrop to the city of Osh, was revered for centuries by travellers along the ancient Central Asian Silk Routes. The site contains numerous places of worship, including two 16th century mosques, as well as caves with carvings depicting humans, animals and geometrical forms.
Iran’s Shushtar water system can be traced back to the 5th century B.C. and one of its canals, Gargar, is still in use, providing water to the city of Shushtar. The site includes the Salâsel Castel, the operation centre of the entire hydraulic system, as well as the tower where the water level is measured, damns, bridges, basins and mills.
Built over five centuries, beginning in 1408, the ROK’s Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty form a collection of 40 tombs scattered over 18 locations that honoured the memory of ancestors, showed respect for their achievements, asserted royal authority, protected ancestral spirits from evil and provided protection from vandalism.
The inscription of the Joseon Tombs completes the two earlier series of Korean Peninsula royal tombs already inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List: the Gyeongju Historic Areas in the Republic of Korea, and Complex of Koguryo Tombs, in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The 21-member World Heritage Committee, which is meeting in Seville, will continue reviewing nominations for new additions of cultural and natural sites, as well as the state of conservation of properties already inscribed on the List, until 30 June.