San Antonio Missions among new UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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The Spanish Missions, which includes the Alamo, have been awarded world heritage status UNESCO. Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images.

The Spanish Missions, which includes the Alamo, have been awarded world heritage status UNESCO. Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images.

Five new sites around the world, including the San Antonio Missions in Texas, were awarded UNESCO World Heritage status on Sunday, officials of the United Nation’s cultural and educational body announced during their annual meeting.

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee approved the listing of the five Spanish Roman Catholic structures, which includes the Alamo, that were built in the 18th century in and around what is now San Antonio.

The UNESCO description calls the missions “an example of the interweaving of Spanish and Coahuiltecan cultures, illustrated by a variety of features, including the decorative elements of churches, which combine Catholic symbols with indigenous designs inspired by nature.”

The missions were the only site in the U.S. considered for world heritage status during the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee in Bonn, Germany.

Adding to the 1031 cultural and natural sites already on its list, sites in Norway, Germany, Israel and Scotland were also approved for inscription.

Inscribed today as @UNESCO #WorldHeritage: Located in a dramatic landscape of mountains, waterfalls and river valleys, the site comprises hydroelectric power plants, transmission lines, factories, transport systems and towns. The complex was established by the Norsk-Hydro Company to manufacture artificial fertilizer from nitrogen in the air. It was built to meet the Western world’s growing demand for agricultural production in the early 20th century. The company towns of Rjukan and Notodden show workers’ accommodation and social institutions linked by rail and ferry to ports where the fertilizer was loaded. The Rjukan-Notodden site manifests an exceptional combination of industrial assets and themes associated to the natural landscape. It stands out as an example of a new global industry in the early 20th century. Http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1486/

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Inscribed today as @UNESCO #WorldHeritage: Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District with Chilehaus (Germany) — Speicherstadt and the adjacent Kontorhaus district are two densely built urban areas in the centre of the port city of Hamburg. Speicherstadt, originally developed on a group of narrow islands in the Elbe River between 1885 and 1927, was partly rebuilt from 1949 to 1967. It is one of the largest coherent historic ensembles of port warehouses in the world (300,000 m2). It includes 15 very large warehouse blocks as well as six ancillary buildings and a connecting network of short canals. Adjacent to the modernist Chilehaus office building, the Kontorhaus district is an area of over five hectares featuring six very large office complexes built from the 1920s to the 1940s to house port-related businesses. The complex exemplifies the effects of the rapid growth in international trade in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1467/ © Department for Heritage Preservation Hamburg picture library

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Sites must meet 10 criteria to be nominated for world heritage status. The official designation of a site is meant to raise awareness among citizens and governments for heritage preservation and conservation. Countries may also received financial assistance for preservation.

More sites are set to be granted world heritage status during the remainder of UNESCO’s annual meeting, which runs until July 8.

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