PARIS, France — The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Tuesday added 13 cultural sites in Asia, Africa, Arab Region, Latin America and Europe to its World Heritage List and one extension to an existing cultural site in Mexico.
Among the additions, the ancient city of Dholavira, the southern center of the Harappan Civilization in India that flourished between 3000 and 1500 BCE (Before the Common Era), is one of the best preserved urban settlements from the period in Southeast Asia, UNESCO said in a press release.
The prehistoric Jomon Era archeological sites in northern Japan bear a unique testimony to the development over some 10,000 years of the pre-agricultural yet sedentary Jomon culture and its complex spiritual belief system and rituals, read the press release.
Eight Sudanese-style mosques in northern Cote d’Ivoire preserve an architectural style thought to have originated around the 14th century in part of the Empire of Mali, which from the 16th century spread south from the desert regions into the Sudanese savannah.
“They present highly important testimonies to the trans-Saharan trade that facilitated the expansion of Islam and Islamic culture and reflect a fusion of Islamic and local architectural forms in a highly distinctive style that has persisted over time,” according to the committee.
Built on three closely spaced hills in the Balqa highland of west-central Jordan, the city of As-Salt was an important trading link between the eastern desert and the west during the Ottoman period.
The remote and mountainous landscape of Hawraman/Uramanat in Iran bears testimony to the traditional culture of the Hawrami people, an agropastoral Kurdish tribe that has inhabited the region since about 3000 BCE, the committee said in the press release.
Four of the newly added World Heritage sites are located in Latin America.
The site in the Arica and Parinacota Region of Chile bears testimony to a culture of marine hunter-gatherers who resided in the region from approximately 5450 BCE to 890 BCE. Presenting the oldest known archaeological evidence of the artificial mummification of bodies, it bears a unique testimony to the complex spirituality of the Chinchorro culture, according to the committee.
The Chankillo solar observatory and ceremonial center on the north-central coast of Peru is a prehistoric site (250-200 BC). This archeo-astronomical complex comprises a set of constructions in a desert landscape that, together with natural features, functioned as a calendrical instrument, using the Sun to define dates throughout the year.
The committee noted that the site “shows great innovation by using the solar cycle and an artificial horizon to mark the solstices, the equinoxes and every other date within the year with a precision of 1-2 days.”
The Sitio Roberto Burle Marx in Brazil, developed by architect and artist Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994), which exhibits an ecological conception of form as a process, including social collaboration which is the basis for environmental and cultural preservation, is the first modern tropical garden to be inscribed on the World Heritage List.
The modernistic Atlantida Church complex in Uruguay was added to the list as it “provides an eminent example of the remarkable formal and spatial achievements of modern architecture in Latin America during the second part of the 20th century, embodying the search for social equality with a spare use of resources, meeting structural imperatives to great aesthetic effect.”
In Europe, the Rosia Montana Mining Landscape in Romania was a site of extensive gold mining during the Roman Empire. The site demonstrates a fusion of imported Roman mining technology with locally developed techniques, unknown elsewhere from such an early era.
Mining on the site was also carried out, to a lesser extent, between medieval times and the modern era. The site was simultaneously inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger pending the removal of threats to its integrity posed by possible extractive activities.
Germany and the Netherlands saw 102 components from one section of the frontiers of the Roman Empire inscribed as a transnational property. Almost all of these archaeological remains are buried underground. Waterlogged deposits in the property have enabled a high degree of preservation of both structural and organic materials from the Roman periods of occupation and use.
Germany also saw the serial sites of Speyer, Worms and Mainz in the Upper Rhine Valley added to the World Heritage List as they “tangibly reflect the early emergence of distinctive Ashkenaz customs and the development and settlement pattern of the ShUM communities” and “the buildings that constitute the property served as prototypes for later Jewish community and religious buildings as well as cemeteries in Europe.”
France’s Mediterranean city of Nice was honored for it being the “winter resort town of the Riviera.” “The diverse cultural influences of the winter residents and the desire to make the most of the climatic conditions and scenery of the place shaped the urban planning and eclectic architectural styles of those areas, contributing to the city’s renown as a cosmopolitan winter resort,” said the committee.
These additions were made during the extended 44th session of the World Heritage Committee held online and chaired from Fuzhou, China, which is examining nominations from both 2020 and 2021.
The session also extended an existing cultural site in Mexico, adding elements to the “earliest 16th century monasteries on the slopes of Popocatepetl” inscribed in 1994. The ensemble is part of the first construction program for the evangelization and colonization of the northern territories of Mexico.