|Source: UNESCO. Kulangsu: a Historic International Settlement, China. © Cultural Heritage Conservation Center of THAD / Qian Yi | Image Source: Nomination File (Update).|
The World Heritage Committee inscribed 21 new sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2017, and extended or modified the boundaries of five sites already on the list. The new inscriptions bring to 1,073 the total number of sites on the World Heritage List.
In Asia Pacific the new natural sites are:
|Source: UNESCO. Mount Bukadaban at dusk. Qinghai Hoh Xil, China © Peking University / Hoh Xil Nature Reserve Administration | Image Source: Nomination File.|
Qinghai Hoh Xil, located in the north-eastern extremity of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, is the largest and highest plateau in the world. This area of alpine mountains and steppe systems is situated more than 4,500 m above sea level, and subzero average temperatures prevail all year round. The site’s geographical and climatic conditions have nurtured a unique biodiversity. More than one third of the plant species, and all the herbivorous mammals are endemic to the plateau. The property includes the complete migratory route of the Tibetan antelope, one of the endangered large mammals that are endemic to the plateau.
Landscapes of Dauria (Mongolia/Russian Federation)
Shared between Mongolia and the Russian Federation, this site is an outstanding example of the Daurian Steppe eco-region, which extends from eastern Mongolia into Russian Siberia and north-eastern China. Cyclical climate changes, with distinct dry and wet periods lead to a wide diversity of species and ecosystems of global significance. The different types of steppe represented, such as grassland and forest, as well as lakes and wetlands serve as habitats for rare species of fauna, such as the white-naped crane and the great bustard, as well as millions of vulnerable, endangered or threatened migratory birds. It is also a critical site on the migration path for the Mongolian gazelle.
The new cultural sites in Asia Pacific and the Middle East are:
Temple Zone of Sambor Prei Kuk, Archaeological Site of Ancient Ishanapura (Cambodia)
The archaeological site of Sambor Prei Kuk, “the temple in the richness of the forest” in the Khmer language, has been identified as Ishanapura, the capital of the Chenla Empire that flourished in the late 6th and early 7th centuries. The vestiges of the city cover an area of 25 sq km and include a walled city centre as well as numerous temples. The art and architecture developed here became models for other parts of the region and lay the ground for the unique Khmer style of the Angkor period.
Kulangsu: a Historic International Settlement (China)
Kulangsu is an island located on the estuary of the Chiulung River, facing the city of Xiamen. With the opening of a commercial port at Xiamen in 1843, and the establishment of the island as an international settlement in 1903, this island off the southern coast of the Chinese empire suddenly became an important window for Sino-foreign exchanges. Kulangsu is an exceptional example of the cultural fusion that emerged from these exchanges. There is a mixture of different architectural styles on the island, including traditional Southern Fujian style, Western classical revival style and veranda colonial style. The most exceptional testimony of the fusion of various stylistic influences was a new architectural movement, the Amoy Deco Style, which is a synthesis of the Modernist style of the early 20th century and Art Deco.
Historic City of Ahmadabad (India)
The walled city of Ahmadabad, founded by Sultan Ahmad Shah in the 15th century, is on the eastern bank of the Sabarmati river. It presents rich architectural heritage from the sultanate period, notably the Bhadra citadel, the walls and gates of the Fort city and numerous mosques and tombs as well as temples of later periods. The urban fabric is made up of densely-packed traditional houses (pols) in gated traditional streets (puras) with characteristic features such as bird feeders, public wells and religious institutions. The city flourished as the capital of the state of Gujarat for six centuries, up to the present day.
Historic City of Yazd (Iran)
Yazd is located in the middle of the Iranian plateau, 270 km southeast of Isfahan, close to the Spice and Silk Roads. It bears living testimony to the use of limited resources for survival in the desert. Water is supplied to the city through a qanat system developed to draw underground water. The earthen architecture of Yazd has escaped the modernisation that destroyed many traditional earthen towns, retaining its traditional districts, the qanat system, traditional houses, bazaars, hammams (bath houses), mosques, synagogues, and the garden of Dolat-abad.
Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region (Japan)
Located 60 km off the western coast of Kyushu island, the island of Okinoshima is an exceptional example of the tradition of worship of a sacred island. The archaeological sites that have been preserved on the island are virtually intact, and provide a chronological record of how the rituals performed there changed from the 4th to the 9th centuries.
Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town (Palestine)
The use of local limestone shaped the construction of the old town of Hebron /Al-Khalil during the Mamluk period, between 1250 and 1517. The centre of interest of the town was the site of Al Mosque -Ibrahim / the tomb of the Patriarchs, whose buildings are in a compound built in the 1st century to protect the tombs of the patriarch Ibrahim and his family. This place became a site of pilgrimage for the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The town was sited at the crossroads of trade routes for caravans travelling between southern Palestine, Sinai, Eastern Jordan, and the north of the Arabian Peninsula. Although the subsequent Ottoman period (1517-1917) heralded an extension of the town to the surrounding areas and brought numerous architectural additions, particularly the raising of the roof level of houses to provide more upper stories, the overall Mamluk morphology of the town is seen to have persisted with its hierarchy of areas, quarters based on ethnic, religious or professional groupings, and houses with groups of rooms organised according to a tree-shaped system.
The site of Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town was inscribed simultaneously on the List of World Heritage and on the List of World Heritage in Danger, the only addition this year.
Located in southwestern Turkey, in the upper valley of the Morsynus River, the site consists of the archaeological site of Aphrodisias and the marble quarries northeast of the city. The temple of Aphrodite dates from the 3rd century and the city was built one century later. The wealth of Aphrodisias came from the marble quarries and the art produced by its sculptors. The city streets are arranged around several large civic structures, which include temples, a theatre, an agora (marketplace), and two bath complexes.
Read the WorkSmart Asia blog post on the 2016 World Heritage Site additions, including and explanation of the qanat.
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