UNESCO Inscribes 9 New Heritage Sites

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The World Heritage Committee, the cultural arm of the United Nations is currently meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, for its 40th session. The committee, which meets every year to discuss ways to preserve the world’s cultural and historical treasures as well as to review new sites nominated for the World Heritage Site designation, announced the addition of the 9 new cultural sites to its growing list. Let us take a brief look at the nine sites.

Dolmens of Antequera, Spain

These are three ancient dolmen sites are located just outside Antequera, in Andalusia in southern Spain. The three dolmens —the Menga and Viera dolmens and the Tolos of El Romeral— were built during the Neolithic and Bronze Age out of large stone blocks to form chambers where the dead were buried. There are many dolmen sites scattered across the world. The dolmens at Antequera are one of the largest known ancient megalithic structures in Europe. Aside from the dolmens, two natural monuments: the Peña de los Enamorados and El Torcal mountainous formations, are also included within the property.

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Photo credit: www.axalingua.com

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Photo credit: tuhistoria.org

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Photo credit: tuhistoria.org

Archaeological Site of Ani, Turkey

The mediaeval city of Ani was once a flourishing capital of the medieval Armenian kingdom of the Bagratides during the 10th and 11th centuries CE. It was an important crossroads for merchant caravans plying the Silk Road. The city had hundreds of residential, religious and military structures built up over the centuries by Christian and then Muslim dynasties. The Mongol invasion and a devastating earthquake in 1319 marked the beginning of the city’s decline. See more: The ruined churches of Ani

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Photo credit: Romel Jacinto/Flickr

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Photo credit: Ggia/Wikimedia

Nalanda University, India

The ancient Nalanda Mahavihara or University in the State of Bihar, in north-eastern India, was established in the 5th century BC and was one of the most important centers of learning until the 13th century CE. At its peak, the school attracted scholars and students all the way from Tibet, China, Korea, and Central Asia. At Nalanda, scholars studied Buddhism, logic, Sanskrit grammar, medicine and ancient Hindu scriptures such as Vedas and Samkhya.

Nalanda was ransacked and destroyed by the invading Muslim dynasties and it was eventually abandoned and forgotten. Nalanda is now a notable tourist destination.

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Photo credit: Rajneesh Raj/UNESCO

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Photo credit: Hideyuki KAMON/Wikimedia

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The campus of the Nalanda University. Photo credit: Cpt.a.haddock/Wikimedia

Archaeological Site of Philippi, Greece

The ancient walled city of Philippi lies at the foot of an acropolis in the present-day region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. It was founded in 356 BC by the Macedonian King Philip II, the father of the Great Alexander. The city developed as a “small Rome” with an ancient theater, the Forum and the commercial market, the palaestra, the islands with private houses and early Christian churches.

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Photo credit: MrPanyGoff/Wikimedia

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Photo credit: MrPanyGoff/Wikimedia

Gorham's Cave Complex, UK

The steep limestone cliffs on the eastern side of the Rock of Gibraltar contain four caves with archaeological and paleontological deposits that provide evidence of Neanderthal occupation over a span of more than 125,000 years. Gorham's cave is one of the last sites that we know were occupied by Neanderthals. After that, anatomically modern humans were the only hominid walking the earth.

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Photo credit: Clive Finlayson/Gibraltar Museum

Nan Madol: Ceremonial Centre of Eastern Micronesia

Nan Madol is a series of 99 artificial islets off the south-east coast of Pohnpei that were constructed with walls of basalt and coral boulders. These islets harbour the remains of stone palaces, temples, tombs and residential domains built between 1200 and 1500 CE. These ruins represent the ceremonial centre of the Saudeleur dynasty, a vibrant period in Pacific Island culture. The huge scale of the edifices, their technical sophistication and the concentration of megalithic structures bear testimony to complex social and religious practices of the island societies of the period.

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Photo credit: Takuya Nagaoka/UNESCO

Stećci Medieval Tombstones Graveyards

This series of property consist of 30 sites spread over four countries — Bosnia and Herzegovina, western Serbia, western Montenegro and central and southern Croatia. They represents cemeteries and regionally distinctive medieval tombstones, or stećci. The tombstones of the cemeteries, which date from the 12th to 16th centuries CE, feature a wide range of decorative motifs and inscriptions that represent iconographic continuities within medieval Europe as well as locally distinctive traditions.

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Photo credit: Adnan Šahbaz/UNESCO

The Persian Qanat, Iran

Qanat, or water canals that run along underground tunnels for dozens of kilometers and bring water from aquifers to the arid desert, are ubiquitous in Iran. The eleven qanats representing this system include rest areas for workers, water reservoirs and watermills. The traditional communal management system still in place allows equitable and sustainable water sharing and distribution.

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Photo credit: S.H. Rashedi/UNESCO

Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape, China

Located on the steep cliffs in the border regions of southwest China, these 38 sites of rock art illustrate the life and rituals of the Luoyue people. They date from the period around the 5th century BCE to the 2nd century CE. In a surrounding landscape of karst, rivers and plateaux, they depict ceremonies which have been interpreted as portraying the bronze drum culture once prevalent across southern China. This cultural landscape is the only remains of this culture today.

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Photo credit: Zhu Qiuping/UNESCO

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