The latest properties to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage list for 2013 have just been announced and include 9 cultural and 5 natural sites;
Cultural UNESCO World Heritage Inscriptions 2013
Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, China – The landscape of the 16,000 hectares of picturesque rice terraces have just been inscribed on the world heritage list. Located in south Yunnan province in China, the Honghe Hani rice terraces run from the Ailao Mountains, right down to Hong River. And the resident Hani people implemented and perfected a complicated irrigation system over more than 1,300 to channel waters from the forests atop the mountains.
Mount Fuji, Japan – The beautiful, snow-tipped Fujisan, aka Mount Fuji, in Japan has been added to the UNESCO register. The stratovolcano, which rises to 12,388 feet (3,776 m) last erupted in 1707. The very first ascent was in 663 AD and over the centuries Fuji has been the inspiration for artists, poets, musicians and craftsmen. Pictured above, looming over Tokyo city.
Agadez, Niger – The rich heritage of Agadez is highlighted within its earthen buildings including palaces, minarets and churches. The historic center of Agadez lies next to the Sahara Desert and is especially notable for its traditional handicraft practices.
Levuka, Fiji – The former Fijian colonial capital in Melanasia was Levuka which came under British rule in 1874. The historical port town represents the colonial commercial industries, as well as the naval powers of the time and is an important Pacific port town settlement.
Red Bay Basque Whaling Station, Canada – The archaeological site of Red Bay was formed in the 16th century by the Basque mariners. The whaling station in Labrador in Canada was founded in the 1530s for the purpose of whaling and the butchery process, until no local whales remained just 70 years later.
University of Coimbra, Portugal – The rich architecture that makes up the Coimbra University complex of buildings has earnt it a place on this year’s heritage list. Located in Coimbra in central Portugal, includes cultural hotspots such as the 12th century Santa Cruz Cathedral and Royal Palace of Alcáçova; home to the main university. There is also the baroque Joanine Library and an 18th century Botanical Garden.
Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region, Poland and Ukraine – The 16 tserkvas, aka churches, make up the new UNESCO inscription. The churches are constructed of wood, with the oldest dating back to the 16th century and are located within the Polish and Ukrainian Carpathian Region in Eastern Europe.
Al Zubarah, Qatar – The important trading center of Al Zubarah on the coast of Qatar rose to prominence thanks to the local pearl trade in the 18th century. The Archaeological site in the gulf was frequented by merchants and contains important heritage and culture, including mosques, palaces and houses all set within the walled town.
Hill Forts of Rajasthan, India – Six majestic hill forts within the Indian region of Rajasthan make up this new UNESCO inscription. Including the rich and varied architecture of the Chittorgarh, Jaipur, Kumbhalgarh, Jaisalmer, Sawai Madhopur and Jhalawar hill forts. The opulence of these walled forts that date back to the 8th century, amply display the power and influence of the period.
Natural UNESCO World Heritage Inscriptions 2013
El Pinacate Biosphere Reserve, Mexico – The biosphere reserve of El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar covers almost 715,000 hectares within Mexico. Considered a national park of two halves, the Pinacate is a stark red and black lava field, formed from the dormant Pinacate Volcano. And the vast Gran Altar Desert features vast sand dunes which rise to 200 meters.
Mount Etna, Italy – The active Mount Etna volcano has just been inscribed on the World Heritage List. Etna is the world’s most active strato volcano and in fact is almost always spewing dust (which is how the locals tell the weather and direction of the wind!) a hotspot for biological and ecological study, Etna sits on Sicily’s east coast and rises to 10,922 feet (3,329 meters).
Namib Sand Desert, Namibia – The stark and mysterious Namib Desert covers a vast area of more than 3 million hectares. The coastal desert is punctuated by undulating sand dunes and is unique in that it’s the only desert to be affected by sea fog. The Namib Desert supports unique endemic flora, fauna and wildlife.
Xinjiang Tianshan, China – The vast Tianshan mountain range in Central Asia is geographically unique as well as scenically stunning. With glaciers, forests, meadows, lakes and canyons, the Xinjiang Tianshan range supports an important variety of wildlife and flora.
Tajik National Park, Tajikistan – The rugged peaks and plateaus of the Pamir Mountains make up the 2.5 million hectares of the Tajik National Park. Home to multiple peaks exceeding 7,000 meters and the largest valley glacier (after the Polar region), the park also supports endemic wildlife such as snow leopards, Siberian Ibex and Marco Polo Argali sheep. The Pamir Mountains suffer strong and frequent earthquakes which provides a valuable insight for geologists into the tectonic activity.
By Julie Bowman