Kenyan fort among sites awarded UN heritage status

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 08:11

Paris: An ancient Ethiopian settlement, a fort in Kenya and Vietnam`s Ho Dynasty citadel have been added to a list of world heritage sites, UN cultural agency UNESCO said on Monday.

The Konso Cultural Landscape in the highlands of Ethiopia features stone-walled terraces and fortified settlements dating back 400 years and was described by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation as "a spectacular example of a living cultural tradition stretching back 21 generations".

Fort Jesus in Kenya was built by the Portuguese at the end of the 16th century to protect the port of Mombassa and represents an outstanding example of Portuguese military fortification of the period, UNESCO said.

It has also given special protected status to the 14th century Ho Dynasty citadel whose buildings represent "a new style of southeast Asian imperial city”.

The committee met at UNESCO`s Paris headquarters on Monday where members considered a list of 35 nominations.

During the session, it also added to the list a group of ancient villages in Northern Syria, Iran`s Persian Garden and desert settlements in the United Arab Emirates.

Spain`s Serra de Tramuntana landscape, the Selimiye Mosque in Turkey and a group of prehistoric Alpine settlements were also awarded heritage status.

The 111 "prehistoric pile dwellings" found in Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia feature the remains of pile-dwelling, or stilt house, settlements built from around 5,000 to 500 BC on the edges of lakes, rivers or wetlands, according to UNESCO.

"The settlements are a unique group of exceptionally well-preserved and culturally rich archaeological sites, which constitute one of the most important sources for the study of early agrarian societies in the region," the body said in a statement.

The committee will continue its review on Tuesday.

Bureau Report



First Published: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 08:11

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