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Erbil Citadel in Kurdistan among new UNESCO heritage sites

Two historic factories on opposite sides of the world were among several sites designated by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as World Heritage Sites in Doha, Qatar this weekend.

The newly-designated sites include both cultural and natural-made landmarks.

The Erbil Citadel located in Iraqi Kurdistan dates back about 6,000 years and was a key Assyrian religious and cultural center. The Citadel has a continuous fortress wall of 19th century facades overlooking the the city of Erbil which dates back to the late Ottoman Empire.

Japan’s government-operated Tomioka Silk Mill, now a heritage site, was built in 1872. The factory played a key role in the global silk trade and helped to propel Japan into the modern industrial age.

The modernist, eco-friendly Van Nellefabriek (Van Nelle factory) in the Netherlands completed in 1931 also made the list. The building’s glass design was meant to symbolize that a work environment could be a pristine, healthy space for workers.

According to a UNESCO press statement, countries who apply for designation as a World Heritage Site must be of “outstanding universal value” and must bear “a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared.”

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