Another nine historic sites added to UN World Heritage List

27 June 2011

Nine historic sites in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia have been added to the World Heritage List, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced today.

UNESCO said the newest entrants are: the ancient villages of northern Syria; the cultural sites of Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates; the Persian Garden in Iran, the cultural landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana in Spain; the pile dwellings in the European Alps; Selimiye Mosque in Turkey; the Konso cultural landscape in Ethiopia; Fort Jesus in Kenya; and the citadel of the Ho Dynasty in Viet Nam.

A total of 35 nominated sites are being reviewed by the World Heritage Committee, which is holding its 35th session at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, to determine whether they should be added to the World Heritage List.

In a press statement UNESCO said the 40 ancient villages of northern Syria provide testimony to rural life in late antiquity and during the Byzantine period.

The United Arab Emirates’ cultural sites of Al Ain constitute a serial property that testifies to sedentary human occupation of a desert region since the neolithic period with vestiges of many prehistoric cultures, including circular stone tombs from about 2500 BC.

The Persian Garden includes nine gardens in as many provinces of Iran. They exemplify the diversity of Persian garden designs that adapted to different climate conditions while retaining principles that have their roots in the times of Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC.

In the cultural landscape of Serra de Tramuntana, on the Spanish island of Mallorca, millennia of agriculture in an environment with scarce resources has transformed the terrain and displays an articulated network of devices for the management of water.

The pile dwellings which are spread through the Alps in Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia encompass the remains of prehistoric pile-dwelling (or stilt house) settlements built from around 5000 BC to 500 BC on the edges of lakes, rivers or wetlands.

The 16th-century Selimiye Mosque, which dominates the skyline of the former Ottoman capital of Edirne, is considered to be the most harmonious example of Ottoman architecture of the time.

The Konso cultural landscape is comprised of 55 square kilometres of arid stone-walled terraces and fortified settlements that is an example of a living cultural tradition stretching back more than 400 years.

Fort Jesus, built by the Portuguese in 1593, is a well preserved example of 16th century Portuguese military fortification and a landmark in the history of this type of construction.

The 14th-century Ho Dynasty citadel, built according to feng shui principles, testifies to the flowering of neo-Confucianism in late 14th century Viet Nam and its spread to other parts of East Asia.

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