The World Heritage Committee holding its 34th session in Brasilia under the chairmanship of João Luiz da Silva Ferreira, today inscribed two new sites on the World Heritage List.
The new sites include 1 natural property and 1 mixed (natural and cultural) property.
The natural site is:
The Central Highlands of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s highlands are situated in the south-central part of the island. The property comprises the Peak Wilderness Protected Area, the Horton Plains National Park and the Knuckles Conservation Forest. These montane forests, where the land rises to 2,500 metres above sea-level, are home to an extraordinary range of flora and fauna, including several endangered species such as the western-purple-faced langur, the Horton Plains slender loris and the Sri Lankan leopard. The region is considered a super biodiversity hotspot.
Papahānaumokuākea is a vast and isolated linear cluster of small, low lying islands and atolls, with their surrounding ocean, roughly 250 km to the northwest of the main Hawaiian Archipelago and extending over some 1931 km. The area has deep cosmological and traditional significance for living Native Hawaiian culture, as an ancestral environment, as an embodiment of the Hawaiian concept of kinship between people and the natural world, and as the place where it is believed that life originates and to where the spirits return after death. On two of the islands, Nihoa and Makumanamana, there are archaeological remains relating to pre-European settlement and use. Much of the monument is made up of pelagic and deepwater habitats, with notable features such as seamounts and submerged banks, extensive coral reefs and lagoons. It is one of the largest marine protected areas (MPAs) in the world.
These new inscriptions bring the total number of World Heritage Properties to 892. The World Heritage Committee will continue examining nominations for inscription of new sites on Saturday, 31 July.
The World Heritage Committee, holding its 34th session chaired by João Luiz da Silva Ferreira, the Minister of Culture of Brazil, has inscribed the site of Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Georgia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The Committee expressed its serious concern about irreversible interventions carried out on the site as part of a major reconstruction project. The Committee believes this project will undermine the integrity and authenticity of the site and should be immediately halted.
The construction of Bagrati Cathedral, named after Bagrat III, the first king of united Georgia, started at the end of the 10th century and was completed in the early years of the 11th century. The Gelati Monastery, whose main buildings were erected between the 12th and 17th centuries, is a well-preserved complex, with wonderful mosaics and wall paintings. The cathedral and monastery represent the flowering of medieval architecture in Georgia.
In March 2010, fire almost completely destroyed the Muzibu Azaala Mpanga building, the main structure at the site which contained four royal Buganda tombs. The property, an outstanding example of an architectural style developed by the Buganda Kingdom since the 13th century, will be reconstructed.
The Committee also decided to remove the Galapagos Islands from the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Galapagos Islands, which have been called a unique “living museum and showcase of evolution” were inscribed on the Danger List in 2007 because of threats posed by invasive species, unbridled tourism and over-fishing.
The Committee found that significant progress had been made by Ecuador in addressing these problems. It welcomed the Government’s continuing efforts to strengthen conservation measures, especially in dealing with introduced species.
An ancient ceremonial ground used by a Pre-Columbian civilization for human sacrifices has been uncovered on Peru’s northern coast, archaeologists said on Thursday.
The discovery appears to reinforce prevailing theories about a ceremony known as “the presentation” that was carried out by the Moche people, an agricultural civilization that flourished between 100 B.C. and 800 A.D.
Carlos Wester La Torre, director of the Bruning Museum in Peru and a leader of the dig, said the ceremonial site likely hosted ritual killings of prisoners of war.
Photographs taken at the site show more than half a dozen skeletons on the floor of the hall.
“There was a great ceremonial hall or passage integrated into the rest of the architecture that establishes the presence of certain figures of the Moche elite and also the practice of complex rituals such as human sacrifice,” Wester told Reuters.
His team uncovered a 60-meter-long (197-foot-long) corridor opening up to face three equidistant porticos and five thrones on the archaeological site’s main pyramid.
The remnants of a mural found within the corridor depict three high priests whose ornamentation confirms the involvement of the culture’s political leadership in the ceremony, he said.
Peru is believed to be one of the places in the world where agriculture first developed and has hundreds of ancient archaeological sites, including the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu.
Italian police have recovered hundreds of ancient artifacts in their latest effort to crack down on the looting of art, and have looted art, and they chose a unique setting to display them Friday: the Colosseum.
The 337 pieces displayed in the ancient Roman arena include vases, bronze tools and marble statues of Venus, some dating as far back as the 8th century B.C.
Police said the pieces are worth some euro15 million (about $20 million) overall. They said the pieces were returned from Switzerland in June after a two-year investigation.
Italy has aggressively pursued the return of art it says was illegally looted from its soil and sold to museums or private collections worldwide.
This probe grew out of an investigation into an Italian art dealer later convicted of art trafficking.
The objects were seized in Geneva, part of a massive haul of some 20,000 artworks from all around the world, the art squad of the Carabinieri police said.
The pieces returned to Italy also include “kraters” — huge vases used to mix wine and water — statuettes and drinking cups. Police say the objects were looted mostly from southern Italian regions and, after their spectacular display Friday at the Colosseum, they will return there.
As part of its campaign, Italy has secured the return of dozens of Roman, Greek and Etruscan artifacts in deals with museums including the Met and California’s J. Paul Getty Museum. In exchange, Italian art officials have agreed to give the museums long-term loans of equally significant treasures.
The World Heritage Committee will consider requests for the inscription of new sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List when it meets for its 34th session in Brasilia (Brazil), from 25 July to 3 August.
During this year’s session – to be chaired by João Luiz Ferreira, the Brazilian Minister of Culture and President of the World Heritage Committee – 35 States Parties to the World Heritage Convention will present properties for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Three of those countries – Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Tajikistan – have no properties inscribed on the World Heritage List to date.
Thirty two new properties in total were submitted for inscription on the World Heritage List this year: 6 natural, 24 cultural and 2 mixed (i.e. both natural and cultural) properties, including four transnational nominations. In addition, 9 extensions to properties already listed have been proposed (see list below).
Natural properties submitted for inscription to the World Heritage List:
Pirin National Park (extension, Bulgaria)
Pitons, cirques and remparts of Reunion Island (France)
Phoenix Islands Protected Area (Kiribati)
Dinosaur Ichnites of the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal / Spain)
Putorana Plateau (Russian Federation)
Monte San Giorgio (extension of “Monte San Giorgio”, Switzerland, Italy)
Tajik National Park, Mountains of the Pamirs (Tajikistan)
Cultural properties submitted for inscription to the World Heritage List:
Australian Convict Sites (Australia)
City of Graz – Historic Centre and Schloss Eggenberg (extension of “City of Graz – Historic Centre”) (Austria)
Augustowski Canal – a work of man and nature (Belarus / Poland)
Major Mining Sites of Wallonia (Belgium)
São Francisco Square in the Town of São Cristóvão (Brazil)
Historic Monuments of Dengfeng in “The Centre of Heaven and Earth” (Originally “Historic monuments of Mount Songshan”) (China)
Konso Cultural Landscape (Ethiopia)
Episcopal City of Albi (France)
Upper Harz Water Management System (extension of “Mines of Rammelsberg and Historic Town of Goslar”) (Germany)
The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (India)
Matheran Light Railway (extension of the “Mountain Railways of India”) (India)
Sheikh Safi al-din Khānegāh and Shrine Ensemble in Ardabil (Islamic Republic of Iran)
Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex (Islamic Republic of Iran)
The Triple-arch Gate at Dan (Israel)
Fort Jesus, Mombasa (Kenya)
Bikini Atoll, nuclear tests site (Marshall Islands)
Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (Mexico)
Prehistoric Caves of Yagul and Mitla in the Central Valley of Oaxaca (Mexico)
Seventeenth-century canal ring area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht (Netherlands)
Røros Mining Town and the Circumference (extension of “Røros Mining Town”) (Norway)
Historic Villages of Korea: Hahoe and Yangdong (Republic of Korea)
Church of the Resurrection of Suceviţa Monastery (extension of the “Churches of Moldavia”) (Romania)
At-Turaif District in ad-Dir’iyah (Saudi Arabia)
Palaeolithic Rock Art Ensemble in Siega Verde (extension of “Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley”), (Portugal, Spain)
The Mercury and Silver Binomial. Almadén and Idrija with San Luis Potosí (Spain / Mexico /Slovenia)
Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral with Related Monastic Buildings, St. Cyril’s and St. Andrew’s Churches, Kiev Pechersk Lavra (extension of “Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kiev Pechersk Lavra”) (Ukraine)
Darwin’s Landscape Laboratory (United Kingdom)
Ngorongoro Conservation Area (re-nomination under additional criteria) (United Republic of Tanzania)
Mount Vernon (United States of America)
Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi (Viet Nam)
Mixed properties submitted for inscription to the World Heritage List:
Central Highlands of Sri Lanka: its Cultural and Natural Heritage ( Sri Lanka)
Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Hawaii (United States of America)