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UNESCO lists Khangchendzonga National Park and Chandigarh’ Capitol Complex in World Heritage Sites

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has added Sikkim’s Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP) and Chandigarh’ Capitol Complex in its list of World Heritage Sites.

Decision in this regard was taken by the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO held in Istanbul in Turkey.

Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP)

  • KNP was added in the ’mixed’ heritage site category of the list i.e. it exhibits qualities of both natural and cultural significance.
  • With this, it becomes the first ‘mixed’ heritage site from India to make it to the list.
  • KNP covers 25% of Sikkim and is home to a significant number of endemic, rare and threatened plant and animal species including large number of bird and mammal species.
  • Geographically the park includes a unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers and spectacular snow-capped mountains covered with ancient forests.
  • The park combines the religious and cultural practices of Buddhism as well as the ecological significance of the region.
  • It signifies an outstanding example of traditional knowledge and environmental preservation.

Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex

  • Chandigarh’s famed Capitol Complex designed by Swiss-French architecture Le Corbusier was added in the list in the Transnational category.
  • The site was added in the list as part of the UNESCO’s recognition of Le Corbusier’s architectural works in different parts of the world.
  • The Capitol Complex includes the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Punjab and Haryana Secretariat and Punjab and Haryana Assembly.
  • The complex was designed by Le Corbusier in the 1950s when the city was constructed as a symbol of independent, modern India.

India’s three sites inscribed in Word Heritage List

  • The 40th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO, three sites from India were inducted in Word Heritage List. Earlier Bihar’s Nalanda University was added in the list.
  • With this, India becomes first country to get three sites inscribed in the Word Heritage List at a single session of the committee meeting.
  • With these additions, India now has 35 world heritage sites, including 27 cultural heritage sites, 7 natural sites and 1 mixed site.

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UNESCO announces 9 new World Heritage Sites

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN cultural agency added nine new sites on its World Heritage List.

Decision in this regard was taken at the 40th session of The World Heritage Committee meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. With these inclusions, the recorded sites on the World Heritage now stand at 981 which include both cultural and natural wonders.

9 new World Heritage Sites are

  • Old city of Ani (Turkey): It is Turkish province of Kars. Once it had served as the capital of the Armenian kingdom in the 10th century.
  • Zuojiang Huashan rock art cultural landscape (China): Dates back to the 5th century BC. The landscape straddles steep cliffs in southwest China and represent the only trace left of the Luoyue people.
  • Qanat (Iran): They are ancient aqueducts trapped into alluvial aquifer and transported water underground across vast valleys. It helps in sustaining agricultural life and settlements in the arid areas.
  • Nalanda Mahavihara (India): It is an archaeological site having remains of a monastic and scholastic institution dating from the 3rd century BC to the 13th century AD.
  • Artificial islets of Nan Madol (Micronesia): They are 99 artificial islets made of basalt and coral boulders. They are home to ruins ranging from temple to tombs dating between 1200 and 1500 AD.
  • Stecci Sites: Located in Bosnia, central and western Montenegro, southern Croatia and western Serbia.They are medieval tombstones and graveyards carved from limestone, they feature decorative motives and inscriptions.
  • Ancient Philippi (Spain): It is Greek archaeological site founded in 356 BC by the Macedonian King Philip II. It is located in the present-day region of eastern Macedonia and Thrace.
  • Antequera Dolmens (Spain): It is comprises of three megalithic monuments as well as two natural mountainous formations.
  • Gorham’s Cave Complex (Britain): They are natural sea caves in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. The site provides evidence of Neanderthal occupation over a span of more than 125,000 years.

About UNESCO World Heritage List

  • The UNESCO World Heritage Site list includes sites of special cultural or physical significance.
  • The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
  • The committee comprises of 21 UNESCO member states which are elected by the General Assembly.
  • Each World Heritage Site included in the list remains part of the legal territory of the state where it is located.
  • But inclusion of sites in the list by UNESCO is in the interest of the international community to preserve each site.
  • Presently, Italy with 50 sites is home to the greatest number of World Heritage Sites.

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