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New heritage sites named by Unesco

Updated July 10, 2017

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WARSAW: Britain’s Lake District, an area of wild beauty that beguiled poets and artists from William Wordsworth to Beatrix Potter, was named on Sunday as a World Heritage site by Unesco.

The UN’s cultural body meeting this weekend in Krakow praised the region’s “picturesque aesthetic” as well as its links with Romantic art and literature. “The special significance of the Lake District lies in the interaction between social, economic, cultural and environmental influences,” it said in a statement.

Considered the cradle of the British Romanticism movement pioneered by the likes of Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Colerigde and Robert Southey, the region becomes Britain’s 31st World Heritage site.

Unesco’s heritage committee considered 33 sites for the prestigious status at its annual gathering in Poland this weekend.

Also, ancient caves in west Germany with art dating back to the Ice Age and disused silver ore mines in southern Poland were among the sites added to Unesco’s list of heritage treasures during its current session.

The caves are in the western German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, where archaeologists have discovered ancient instruments and carvings made from mammoth ivory, including a 40,000-year-old figure known as the Venus of Hohle Fels. Historians say it is the oldest known image of a human.

The old mines in Tarnowskie Gory are an underground tourist site, visited partly by boat, and are the only industrial site that was added to the list this year.

The UN cultural organisation also added an ancient temple site in Cambodia to its world heritage list bringing the number of heritage sites in the Southeast Asian country to three.

Sambor Prei Kuk, or “temple in the richness of the forest” in the Khmer language, located 206 km north of the capital Phnom Penh, is home to numerous temples, ten of which are octagonal.

Unesco said the area had been identified as Ishanapura, the capital of the ancient Chenla empire, a Khmer civilisation that flourished in the late sixth and seventh centuries and preceded the Khmer empire. Its remains cover an area of 25 square kilometers. The site has become increasingly popular with foreign tourists.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2017