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UNESCO new world heritage sites

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To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria.

The following cultural properties have been inscribed on the World Heritage List

Bursa and Cumalikizik: the Birth of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey


Bursa and Cumalikizik: The Birth of the Ottoman Empire is a serial nomination of eight component sites in the City of Bursa and the nearby village of Cumalikizik, in the southern Marmara Region. The site illustrates the creation of an urban and rural system establishing the Ottoman Empire in the early 14th century. The property illustrates key functions of the social and economic organization of the new capital which evolved around a new civic centre. These include commercial districts of khans, kulliyes (religious institutions) integrating mosques, religious schools, public baths and a kitchen for the poor as well as the tomb of Orhan Ghazi, the founder of the Ottoman dynasty. One component outside the historic centre of Bursa is the village of Cumalikizik, the only rural village of this system to show the provision of hinterland support for the capital.

Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey, Germany


Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey are located  along the Weser River on the outskirts of Hoxter where they were erected between 822 and 885 A.D. in a largely preserved rural setting. The Westwork is the only standing structure that dates back to the Carolingian era, while the original imperial abbey complex is preserved as archaeological remains which are only partially excavated. The Westwork of Corvey uniquely illustrates one of the most important Carolingian architectural expressions. It is a genuine creation of this period, and its architectural articulation and decoration clearly illustrate the role played within the Frankish empire by imperial monasteries in securing territorial control, administration, as well as the propagation of Christianity and of the Carolingian cultural and political order throughout Europe.

Caves of Maresha and Bet-Guvrin in the Judean Lowlands as a Microcosm of the Land of the Caves, Israel


This“city under a city” is characterized by a selection of man-made caves, excavated from the thick and homogenous layer of soft chalk in Lower Judea. It includes chambers and networks with varied forms and functions, situated below the ancient twin towns of Maresha and Bet Guvrin, that bear witness to a succession of historical periods of excavation and usage stretching over 2,000 years, from the Iron Age to the Crusades, as well as a great variety of subterranean construction methods. The original excavations were quarries, but these were converted for various agricultural and local craft industry purposes, including oil presses, columbaria (dovecotes), stables, underground cisterns and channels, baths, tomb complexes and places of worship , and hiding places during troubled times.

Decorated cave of Pont d’Arc, known as Grotte Chauvet-Pont d’Arc, Ardeche, France


Located in a limestone plateau of the Ardeche River in southern France, the property contains the earliest known and best preserved figurative drawings in the world, dating back as early as the Aurignacian period (30,000 to 32,000 BP), making it an exceptional testimony of prehistoric art. The cave was closed off by a rock fall approximately 20,000 years BP and remained sealed until its discovery in 1994, which helped keep it in pristine condition. Over 1,000 images have so far been inventoried on its walls, combining a variety of anthropomorphic and animal motifs. They are of exceptional aesthetic quality, demonstrate a range of techniques, including the skillful use of colour, combinations of paint and engraving, anatomical precision, three-dimensionality and movement. They include several dangerous animal species difficult to observe at that time, such as mammoths, bears, wildcats, rhinos, bison and aurochs, as well as 4,000 inventoried remains of prehistoric fauna, and a variety of human footprints. A replica of the cave is under construction, and is due to open in April 2015.

Erbil Citadel, Iraq


Erbil Citadel (Iraq) is a fortified settlement on the top of an imposing ovoid-shaped tell (a hill created by many generations of people living and rebuilding on the same spot) Located in the  Kurdistan region, Erbil Governorate.  A continuous wall of tall 19th century facades still conveys the visual impression of an impregnable fortress, dominating the city of Erbil. The Citadel features a peculiar fan-like pattern, dating back to Erbil’s late Ottoman phase. Written and iconographic historical records document the antiquity of settlement on the site – Erbil corresponds to ancient Arbela, an important Assyrian political and religious centre – while archaeological finds and investigations suggest that the mound conceals the levels and remains of previous settlements.

Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah, Saudi Arabia


Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah (Saudi Arabia) is situated on the eastern shore of the Red Sea. From the 7th century A.D. it was established as a major port for Indian Ocean trade routes, channeling goods to Mecca. It was also the gateway for Muslim pilgrims to Mecca who arrived by sea. These twin roles saw the city develop into a thriving multicultural centre, characterized by a distinctive architectural tradition, including tower houses built in the late 19th century  by the city’s mercantile elites, and combining Red Sea coastal coral building traditions with influences and crafts from along the trade routes.

Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point, United States of America


Monumental earthworks of Poverty Point owes its name to a 19th century plantation close to the site. It is located in the Lower Mississippi Valley on a slightly elevated and narrow landform. The complex comprises five mounds, six concentric semi-elliptical ridges separated by shallow depressions and a central plaza. It was created and used for residential and ceremonial purposes by a society of hunter fisher-gatherers between 3,700 and 3,100 B.C. Research has not clarified yet whether the complex had a steady residential function or was a campground occupied temporarily during ceremonies of trading fairs. It is a remarkable achievement in earthen construction in North America that was not surpassed for at least 2,000 years.

Namhansanseong, Republic of Korea


Namhansanseong was designed as an emergency capital for the Joson Dynasty (1392-1910) , in a mountainous site 25 kilometres  south-east of Seoul. Built and defended by Buddhist monk-soldiers, it could accommodate 4,000 people and fulfilled important administrative and military functions. Its earliest remains date from the 7th century, but  it was rebuilt several times, notably in the early 17th century in anticipation of an attack from the Sino-Manchu Qing dynasty. The city embodies a synthesis of the defensive military engineering concepts of the period, based on Chinese and Japanese influences, and changes in the art of fortification following the introduction from the West of weapons using gunpowder. A city that has always been inhabited, and which was the provincial capital over a long period, it contains evidence of a variety of military, civil and religious and has become a symbol of Korean sovereignty.

Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir, Palestine


Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines - Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir, is located a few kilometres south-west of Jerusalem, in the Central Highlands between Nablus and Hebron. The Battir hill landscape comprises a series of farmed valleys, known as widian, with characteristic stone terraces, some of which are irrigated for market garden production, while others are dry and planted with grape vines and olive trees. The development of terrace farming in such a mountainous region is supported by a network of irrigation channels fed by underground sources. A traditional system of distribution is then used to share the water collected through this network between families from the nearby village of Battir.

Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape, Turkey


Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape (Turkey) rises high above the Bakircay Plain in Turkey’s Aegean region. The acropolis of Pergamon was the capital of the Hellenistic Attalid Dynasty, a major centre of learning in the ancient world. Monumental temples, theatres, stoa or porticos, gymnasium, altar and library were set into the sloping terrain surrounded by an extensive city wall. The rock-cut Kybele Sanctuary lies to the north-west on another hill visually linked to the acropolis. Later the city became capital of the Roman province of Asia known for its Asclepieion healing centre. The acropolis crowns a landscape containing burial mounds and remains of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires in and around the modern town of Bergama on the lower slopes.

Pyu Ancient Cities, Myanmar


Pyu Ancient Cities includes the remains of three brick, walled and moated cities of Halin, Beikthano and Sri Ksetra located in vast irrigated landscapes in the dry zone of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River basin. They reflect the Pyu Kingdoms that flourished  for over 1,000 years between 200 B.C and 900 A.D. The three cities are partly excavated archaeological sites. Remains include excavated palace citadels, burial grounds and early industrial production sites, as well as monumental brick Buddhist stupas, partly standing walls and water management features – some still in use -  that underpinned the organized intensive agriculture.

Qhapaq Nan, Andean Road System, Argentina, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru


Qhapac Nan,  Andean Road System is an extensive Inca communication, trade and defense network of roads covering 30,000 kilometres. Constructed by the Incas over several centuries and partly based on pre-Inca infrastructure, this extraordinary network through one of the world’s most extreme geographical terrains, linked the snow-capped peaks of the Andes – at an altitude of more than 6,000 metres – to the coast, running through hot rainforests, fertile valleys and absolute deserts. It reached its maximum expansion in the 15th century, when it spread across the length and breadth of the Andes. The Qhapac Nan Andean Road System  includes 273 component sites, spreading over more than 6,000 kilometres. They were selected to highlight the social, political, architectural and engineering achievements of the network, along with its associated infrastructure for trade, accommodation and storage, and  sites of religious significance.

Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat, India


Rani-ki-Vav  (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat  is located on the banks of the Saraswati River and  was  initially built as a memorial to a king in the 11th century AD.  Stepwells are a distinctive form of subterranean water resource and storage systems on the Indian subcontinent, and have been constructed since the 3rd millennium BC. They evolved over time from what was basically a pit in sandy soil towards elaborate multi-storey works of art and architecture. Rani-ki-Vav was built at the height of craftsmens’ ability in stepwell construction and the Maru-Gurjara architectural style, reflecting mastery of this complex technique and great beauty of detail and proportions. Designed as an  inverted temple highlighting the sanctity of water, it is divided into seven levels of stairs with sculptural panels of high artistic quality; more than 500 principle sculptures  and over a thousand minor ones combine religious, mythological and secular imagery, often referencing literary works. The fourth level is the deepest and leads into a rectangular tank of  9.5 by 9.4 metres, at a depth of 23 metres. The well is located at the westernmost end of the property and consists of a shaft, 10 metres in diameter and 30 metres deep.

Shahr-I Sokhta, Iran (Islamic Republic of)


Shahr-i Sokhta, meaning ‘Burnt City’ is located at the junction of Bronze Age trade routes crossing the Iranian plateau. The remains of the mud brick city represent the emergence of the first complex societies in eastern Iran. Founded around 3200 BC, it was populated during four main periods up to 1800 BC, during which time there developed several distinct areas within the city. These include a monumental area, residential areas, industrial zones and a graveyard. Changes in water courses and climate change led to the eventual abandonment of the city in the early second millennium. The structures, burial grounds and large number of significant artefacts unearthed there, and their well-preserved state due to the dry desert climate, make this site a rich source of information regarding the emergence of complex societies and contacts between them in the third millennium BC.

Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan


Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor is a 5,000 kilometre section of the extensive Silk Roads network, stretching  from Chang’an/Luoyang, the central capital of China in the Han and Tang Dynasties, to the Zhetysu Region of Central Asia. It took shape between the 2nd century BC and 1st century AD and remained in use until the 16th century, linking multiple civilizations, and facilitating far-reaching exchanges of activities in trade, religious beliefs, scientific knowledge, technological innovation,  cultural practices and the arts. The 33 components included in the  routes network include capital cities and palace complexes of various empires and Khan kingdoms, trading settlements, Buddhist cave temples, ancient paths, posthouses, passes, beacon towers, sections of The Great Wall, fortifications, tombs and religious buildings.

The Grand Canal, China


The Grand Canal is a vast waterway system in the north-eastern and central-eastern plains of China, running from Beijing in the north to Zhejiang province in the south. Constructed in sections from the 5th century B.C. onwards, it was conceived as a unified means of communication for the Empire for the first time in the 7th century A.D (Sui Dynasty). This led to a series of gigantic worksites, creating the world’s largest and most extensive civil engineering project prior to the Industrial Revolution. It formed the backbone of the Empire’s inland communication system, transporting grain and strategic raw materials, and supplying rice to feed the population. By the 13th century it consisted of more than 2,000 kilometres of artificial waterways, linking five of China’s most important river basins. It has played an important role in ensuring the country’s economic prosperity and stability and continues today as a major means of internal communication.

The Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato, Italy


Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato covers five distinct wine-growing areas with outstanding landscapes and the Castle of Cavour, an emblematic name both in the development of vineyards and in Italian history. It is located in the southern part of Piedmont, between the Po River and the Ligurian Appenines, and encompasses the whole range of technical and economic processes relating to the winegrowing and wine making that has characterized the region for centuries. Vine pollen has been found in the area dating from the 5th century BC, when Piedmont was a place of contact and trade between the Etruscans and the Celts; Etruscan and Celtic words, particularly wine-related ones, are still found in the local dialect. During the Roman Empire, Pliny the Elder mentions the Piedmont region as being one of the most favourable for growing vines in ancient Italy; Strabo mentions its barrels.

Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites, Japan


Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites (Japan) is an historic sericulture and silk mill complex established in 1872  in the Gunma Prefecture north west of Tokyo. Built by the Japanese Government with machinery imported from France, it consists of four sites that attest to the different stages in the production of raw silk: production of cocoons in an experimental farm; a cold storage facility for silkworm eggs; reeling of cocoons and spinning of raw silk in a mill; and a school for the dissemination of sericulture knowledge. It illustrates Japan’s desire to rapidly adopt the best mass production techniques, and became a decisive element in the renewal of sericulture and the Japanese silk industry in the last quarter of the 19th century. It marked Japan’s entry into the modern, industrialized era, and propelled it to become the world’s leading exporter of raw silk, notably to France and Italy.

Van Nellefabriek, Netherlands


Van Nellefabriek (Netherlands) was designed and built in the 1920s on the banks of a canal in the Spaanse Polder industrial zone northwest of Rotterdam. The site is one of the icons of 20th century industrial architecture, comprising a complex of factories, with facades consisting essentially of steel and glass, making large-scale use of the curtain wall principle. It was conceived as an “ideal factory”; open to the outside world, whose interior working spaces evolved according to need, and in which daylight was used to provide pleasant working conditions. It embodies the new kind of factory that became a symbol of the modernist and functionalist culture of the inter-war period and bears witness to the long commercial and industrial history of the Netherlands  in the field of  importation and processing of food products from tropical countries, and their industrial processing for marketing in Europe.

The following natural properties have been inscribed on the World Heritage List
Okavango Delta, Botswana


This delta in northwest Botswana comprises permanent marshlands and seasonally flooded plains. It is one of the very few major interior delta systems that do not flow into a sea or ocean, with a wetland system that is almost intact. One of the unique characteristics of the site is that the annual flooding from the river Okavango occurs during the dry season, with the result that the native plants and animals have synchronised their biological cycles with these seasonal rains and floods. It is an exceptional example of the interaction between climatic, hydrological and biological processes. The Okavango delta is home to some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammal, such as the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog and lion.

The Committee also approved extensions for the following sites
Mixed properties
Ancient Maya City and Protected Tropical Forests of Calakmul, Campeche, Mexico


Ancient Maya City and  Protected Tropical Forests of Calakmul, Campeche, is a renomination and extension of the existing 3,000 ha cultural World Heritage property, Ancient Maya City of Calakmul, Campeche. It now becomes mixed natural and cultural property. The site is located in the central/southern portion of the Yucatan Peninsula, in southern Mexico and includes the remains of the important Maya city Calakmul, set deep in the tropical forest of the Tierras Bajas. The city played a key role in the history of this region for more than 12 centuries and is characterized by well-preserved structures providing a vivid picture of life in an ancient Maya capital. The property also falls within the Mesoamerica biodiversity hotspot. This hotspot is the third largest in the world and encompasses all subtropical and tropical ecosystems from central Mexico to the Panama Canal.

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