Thursday, July 19, 2018

Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica (Italy)

The site consists of two separate elements, containing outstanding vestiges dating back to Greek and Roman times: The Necropolis of Pantalica contains over 5,000 tombs cut into the rock near open stone quarries, most of them dating from the 13th to 7th centuries BC. 
Vestiges of the Byzantine era also remain in the area, notably the foundations of the Anaktoron (Prince’s Palace). 
The other part of the property, Ancient Syracuse, includes the nucleus of the city’s foundation as Ortygia by Greeks from Corinth in the 8th century BC. 
The site of the city, which Cicero described as ‘the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of all’, retains vestiges such as the Temple of Athena (5th century BC, later transformed to serve as a cathedral), a Greek theatre, a Roman amphitheatre, a fort and more. 
Many remains bear witness to the troubled history of Sicily, from the Byzantines to the Bourbons, interspersed with the Arabo-Muslims, the Normans, Frederick II of the Hohenstaufen dynasty (1197–1250), the Aragons and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. 
Historic Syracuse offers a unique testimony to the development of Mediterranean civilization over three millennia.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Grand Canal (China)

The Grand Canal is a vast waterway system in the north-eastern and central-eastern plains of China, running from Beijing in the north to Zhejiang province in the south. 
Constructed in sections from the 5th century BC onwards, it was conceived as a unified means of communication for the Empire for the first time in the 7th century AD (Sui dynasty). 
This led to a series of gigantic construction sites, creating the world’s largest and most extensive civil engineering project prior to the Industrial Revolution. 
It formed the backbone of the Empire’s inland communication system, transporting grain and strategic raw materials, and supplying rice to feed the population. 
By the 13th century it consisted of more than 2,000 km of artificial waterways, linking five of China’s main river basins. 
It has played an important role in ensuring the country’s economic prosperity and stability and is still in use today as a major means of communication.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Heritage of Mercury. Almadén and Idrija (Spain)

The property includes the mining sites of Almadén (Spain), where mercury (quicksilver) has been extracted since antiquity, and Idrija (Slovenia), where mercury was first found in AD1490. 
The Spanish property includes buildings relating to its mining history, including Retamar Castle, religious buildings and traditional dwellings. 
The site in Idrija notably features mercury stores and infrastructure, as well as miners’ living quarters, and a miners’ theatre. The sites bear testimony to the intercontinental trade in mercury which generated important exchanges between Europe and America over the centuries. 
Together they represent the two largest mercury mines in the world, operational until recent times.

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Val d'Orcia (Italy)

The landscape of Val d’Orcia is part of the agricultural hinterland of Siena, redrawn and developed when it was integrated in the territory of the city-state in the 14th and 15th centuries to reflect an idealized model of good governance and to create an aesthetically pleasing picture. 
The landscape’s distinctive aesthetics, flat chalk plains out of which rise almost conical hills with fortified settlements on top, inspired many artists. 
Their images have come to exemplify the beauty of well-managed Renaissance agricultural landscapes. 
The inscription covers: an agrarian and pastoral landscape reflecting innovative land-management systems; towns and villages; farmhouses; and the Roman Via Francigena and its associated abbeys, inns, shrines, bridges, etc.

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Historic City of Ahmedabad (India)

The walled city of Ahmedabad, founded by Sultan Ahmad Shah in the 15th century, on the eastern bank of the Sabarmati river, presents a rich architectural heritage from the sultanate period, notably the Bhadra citadel, the walls and gates of the Fort city and numerous mosques and tombs as well as important Hindu and Jain temples of later periods. 
The urban fabric is made up of densely-packed traditional houses (pols) in gated traditional streets (puras) with characteristic features such as bird feeders, public wells and religious institutions. 
The city continued to flourish as the capital of the State of Gujarat for six centuries, up to the present.

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Saturday, July 14, 2018

The English Lake District (England)

Located in northwest England, the English Lake District is a mountainous area, whose valleys have been modelled by glaciers in the Ice Age and subsequently shaped by an agro-pastoral land-use system characterized by fields enclosed by walls. 
The combined work of nature and human activity has produced a harmonious landscape in which the mountains are mirrored in the lakes. 
Grand houses, gardens and parks have been purposely created to enhance the landscape’s beauty. 
This landscape was greatly appreciated from the 18th century onwards by the Picturesque and later Romantic movements, which celebrated it in paintings, drawings and words. 
It also inspired an awareness of the importance of beautiful landscapes and triggered early efforts to preserve them.

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor (China)

This property is a 5,000 km section of the extensive Silk Roads network, stretching from Chang’an/Luoyang, the central capital of China in the Han and Tang dynasties, to the Zhetysu region of Central Asia. 
It took shape between the 2nd century BC and 1st century AD and remained in use until the 16th century, linking multiple civilizations and facilitating far-reaching exchanges of activities in trade, religious beliefs, scientific knowledge, technological innovation, cultural practices and the arts. 
The thirty-three components included in the routes network include capital cities and palace complexes of various empires and Khan kingdoms, trading settlements, Buddhist cave temples, ancient paths, posthouses, passes, beacon towers, sections of The Great Wall, fortifications, tombs and religious buildings.

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