Tue, Jul 11, 2017 - Page 6 News List

UNESCO adds ancient caves, mines to heritage list


Researchers measure works in the “Hohlenstein Stadel” cave north of Langenau, Germany, in a photograph taken in 2012.

Photo: EPA via the German UNESCO Commission

Ancient caves in west Germany with art dating back to the Ice Age and disused silver ore mines in southern Poland were among the sites that UNESCO on Sunday added to its list of heritage treasures.

The group’s World Heritage List Committee added the mines, caves and nine other sites to the roster of places called out for special recognition during its 11-day session in Poland that started on Sunday last week.

The committee so far has added 22 sites to the list.

The designation, which recognizes the outstanding universal values of the sites, is meant to draw attention to them and the need to preserve them.

Among the other new sites on the list are the modernist architecture in Asmara, the capital city of Eritrea; the historic city of Yazd, in Iran; Japan’s sacred and restricted-access island of Okinoshima; and Los Alerces National Park in Argentina.

The caves are in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, where archeologists have discovered ancient instruments and carvings made from mammoth ivory, including a 40,000-year-old figure known as the Venus of Hohle Fels that historians say it is the oldest known image of a human.

The mines in Tarnowskie Gory are an underground tourist site, visited partly by boat, and are the only industrial site that was added to the list this year.

Also added were Turkey’s third-century BC Aphrodisias temple; England’s Lake District and the Valongo Wharf Archeological Site in Rio de Janeiro.

Heated controversies surrounded the addition to the World Heritage List of west China’s Qinghai Hoh Xil mountain area on the Tibetan Plateau and of Hebron, which was described in the submission as a Palestinian site, drawing vehement protests from Israel.

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