WORLD -- August 2, 2010 at 5:06 PM ET
From China to Amsterdam, Meet Your New UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Photos courtesy of UNESCO. Click images for larger view.
The U.N.'s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has been meeting in Brazil to consider new cultural sites to add to its World Heritage List of places with "outstanding universal value." Five more sites were added on Sunday, bringing the total to 911. Here's a look at some of the newest additions:
The Episcopal City of Albi in France | Located about 50 miles northeast of Toulouse and most well known for the Gothic Cathédrale Ste-Cécile of Albi, Albi's history dates back to the Albigensian Crusade in the 13th century. According to UNESCO, following the crusade against the Cathar heretics Albi became a powerful Episcopal city. The Cathedral is the largest brick building in the world and was originally designed as a fortress, resting atop a hill overlooking the Tarn River. Albi is the birthplace of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and the Toulouse-Lautrec museum houses the largest collection of the artist in the world.
The Historic Monuments of Dengfeng in China | The historic monuments of the Dengfeng, formally referred to as "Historical Monuments of Dengfeng in The Center of Heaven and Earth" are located in central China's Henan province. Located at the foot of Mount Song, one of the most sacred mountains in China, the Dengfeng encompasses 13 ancient structures and sites including the Shaolin Temple, Songyang Academy, Taishi, Shaoshi and Qimu Towers and the pagoda of the Songyue Temple Central China's Henan province, according to China's official Xinhua news agency. It gains its significance as "the center of Heaven and Earth" from Chinese literature.
Canal Ring in Amsterdam | The Grachtengordel (Canal Ring), built between the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century was a project designed to extend the city by "draining the swampland, using a system of canals in concentric arcs and filling in the intermediate spaces," according to the World Heritage site. The draining of swampland created great urban spaces for additional buildings and houses, making the project one of the largest urban extensions of its time, UNESCO explains.
Sarazm in Tajikistan | Sarazm -- the name meaning, "where the land begins" -- is located in northwestern Tajikistan, near the border with Uzbekistan. UNESCO added this site noting its significance as "an archaeological site bearing testimony to the development of human settlements in Central Asia, from the 4th millennium BCE to the end of the 3rd millennium BCE." It is the first World Heritage Site in Tajikistan.
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long-Hanoi in Vietnam | Built in the 11th century by the Ly Viet Dynasty, the Thang Long Imperial Citadel stood as the "centre of regional political power for almost 13 centuries without interruption." The site is culturally significant as it represents a convergence place of Chinese influences, from the north, meeting the Champa culture from the south. Its structure has been likened to the Forbidden City in Beijing.
UNESCO also added nine sites on Saturday. Those include Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, Turaif District in Saudi Arabia, Australia's penal colony sites, the Jantar Mantar astronomical observation site in India, a shrine in Ardabil, Iran, the Tabriz historic bazaar complex, and the historic villages of Hahoe and Yangdong in South Korea.