The inscriptions were carried out by the World Heritage Committee, which has been holding its 27th session, under the chair of Vera Lacoeuilhe (Sainte-Lucie) at UNESCO Headquarters since June 30. The World Heritage List now numbers 754 sites, including 149 natural, and 582 cultural and 23 mixed sites "of outstanding universal value".
The new natural sites are:
Australia: Purnululu National Park (N i, iii)
The 239,723-hectare Purnululu National Park is located in the State of Western Australia. It contains the deeply dissected Bungle Bungle Range composed of Devonian-age quartz sandstone eroded over a period of 20 million years into a series of beehive-shaped towers or cones, whose steeply sloping surfaces are distinctly marked by regular horizontal bands of dark-grey cyanobacterial crust (single-celled photosynthetic organisms). These outstanding examples of cone karst owe their existence and uniqueness to several interacting geological, biological, erosional and climatic phenomena.
China: Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas (N i, ii, iii, iv)
Consisting of seven geographical clusters of protected areas within the boundaries of the Three Parallel Rivers National Park, in the mountainous northwest of Yunnan province, the 1.7-million-hectar site features sections of the upper reaches of three of the great rivers of Asia: the Yangtze (Jinsha), Mekong and Salween run roughly parallel, north to south, through steep gorges which, in places, are 3,000 m deep and are bordered by glaciated peaks more than 6000m high. The site is an epicentre of Chinese biodiversity. It is also one of the richest temperate regions of the world, in terms of biodiversity.
Mongolia / Russian Federation: Uvs Nuur Basin (N ii, iv)
The Uvs Nuur Basin (1,068,853 hectares) is the northern-most of the enclosed basins of Central Asia. It takes its name from the Uvs Nuur Lake, a large, shallow and very saline lake, important for migrating birds, waterfowl, and seabirds. The site is made up of 12 clusters representing the major biomes of eastern Eurasia. The steppe ecosystem supports a rich diversity of birds and the desert is home to a number of rare gerbil, jerboas and the marbled polecat. The mountains are important refuges for the globally endangered snow leopard, mountain sheep (argali) and the Asiatic ibex.
Switzerland: Monte San Giorgio (N i)
The pyramid-shaped, wooded mountain (peak 1,096 metres above sea level), to the south of Lake Lugano in Canton Ticino covers a surface area of 849 hectares. Monte San Giorgio lies to the south of Lake Lugano in Canton Ticino. It is regarded as the best fossil record of marine life from the Mid Triassic Period (245-230 million years ago). The current extent of discoveries includes more than 10,000 fossil specimens, representing many species. Notable among the vertebrate material - which includes large, articulated skeletons up to 6 metres in length - is the presence of ichthyosaurs, nothosaurs, placodonts, and the remarkable 'giraffe necked' saurian, Tanystropheus.
Vietnam: Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park (N i)
The vast area of dramatic, forested highland karst landscape extending to the border of the Lao People's Democratic Republic is geologically very diverse and includes spectacular formations including 65 kilometres of caves and underground rivers. The reserve is largely covered by tropical forest, with a high level of biodiversity and numerous endemic species. Preliminary faunal surveys have identified 461 vertebrate species, comprising 65 species.
The new cultural sites are:
Afghanistan: The cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley (C i, ii, iii, iv, vi)
This site showcases the artistic and religious developments which from the 1st to the 13th centuries characterized ancient Bakhtria, integrating various cultural influences into the Gandhara school of Buddhist art. The area contains numerous Buddhist monastic ensembles and sanctuaries, as well as fortified edifices from the Islamic period. It also bears testimony to the tragic destruction by the Taleban of the two standing Buddha statues, which shook the world in March 2001.
Argentina: Quebrada de Humahuaca (C ii, iv, v)
The property follows the line of a major cultural route along the spectacular valley of the Rio Grande, from its source in the cold high desert plateau of the High Andean lands to its confluence with the Rio Leone some 150 kilometres to the south. The valley shows substantial evidence of its use as a major trade route over the past 10,000 years. It features visible traces of prehistoric hunter-gatherer communities, of the Inca Empire (15th to 16th century) and of the fight for independence in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Chile: Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaiso (C iii)
The colonial city of Valparaiso presents an interesting example of late 19th century urban and architectural development in Latin America. In its natural amphitheatre-like setting, the city is characterized by a vernacular urban fabric adapted to the hillsides. It contrasts with the geometrical layout utilized in the plain, where a great variety of church spires are to be seen. Infrastructure elements dating back to early industrialization are well preserved in the city. Among them are many "elevators", or cable cars, on the steep hillsides.
Czech Republic: The Jewish Quarter and St Procopius' Basilica in Trebic (C ii, iii)
The ensemble of the Jewish Quarter, the old Jewish cemetery and the Basilica of St Procopius in Trebic are reminders of the co-existence of Jewish and Christian cultures from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The Jewish Quarter bears an outstanding testimony to the different aspects of the life of this community. St Procopius Basilica, built as part of the Benedictine monastery in the early 13th century, is an exceptional witness to the influence of Western-European architectural heritage in this region.
Gambia: James Island and Related Sites (C iii, vi)
James Island and Related Sites present a testimony to the main periods and facets of the encounter between Africa and Europe along the River Gambia, a continuum that stretched from pre-colonial and pre-slavery times to independence. The site is particularly significant for its relation to the beginning and the abolition of the slave trade. It also documents early access to the interior of Africa.
India: Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (C iii, v)
The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka are in the foothills of the Vindhyan Mountains on the southern edge of the central Indian plateau. Within massive sandstone outcrops, above comparatively dense forest, are five clusters of natural rock shelters, displaying paintings that appear to date from the Mesolithic period right through to the Historical period. The cultural traditions of the inhabitants of the 21 villages in the buffer zone bear a strong resemblance to those represented in the rock paintings.
Iran: Takht-e Soleyman (C i, ii, iii, iv, vi)
The archaeological site of Takht-e Suleyman, in north-western Iran, is situated in a valley in a volcanic mountain region. The site includes the principal Zoroastrian sanctuary partly rebuilt in the Ilkhanid (Mongol) period (13th century) as well as a temple of the Sasanian period (6th and 7th centuries AD) dedicated to Anahita. The site has important symbolic significance. The designs of the fire temple, the palace and the general layout have had significant influence on the development of Islamic architecture.
Iraq: Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (C iii, iv)
The ancient city of Ashur is located on the Tigris River in northern Mesopotamia in a specific geo-ecological zone, at the borderline between rain-fed and irrigation agriculture. The city dates back to the 3rd millennium BC. From the 14th to the 9th centuries BC, it was the first capital of the Assyrian Empire, a city-state and trading platform of international importance. It also served as the religious capital of the Assyrians, associated to the god Ashur. The city was destroyed by the Babylonians, but revived during the Parthian period in the 1st and 2nd century AD.
Israel: The White City of Tel-Aviv - the Modern Movement (C ii, iv)
Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 and developed under the British Mandate (1920-1948). The White City was constructed from the early 1930s till 1948, based on the urban plan by Sir Patrick Geddes, reflecting modern organic planning principles. The buildings were designed by architects who were trained in Europe where they practiced their profession before emigrating to Palestine. They created an outstanding architectural ensemble of the modern movement in a new cultural context.
Italy: Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy (C ii, iv)
The nine Sacri Monti ('Sacred Mountains') of northern Italy are groups of chapels and other architectural features created in the late 16th and 17th centuries and dedicated to different aspects of the Christian faith. In addition to their symbolic spiritual meaning, they are of great beauty by virtue of the skill with which they have been integrated into the surrounding natural landscape of hills, forests, and lakes. They also house much important artistic material in the form of wall paintings and statuary.
Kazakhstan: The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi (C i, iii, iv)
The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, in the town of Yasi, now Turkestan, was built at the time of Timur (Tamerlane), from 1389 to 1405. Persian master builders experimented with architectural and structural solutions under the supervision of the emperor in this partly unfinished building. These solutions were used in the construction of Samarkand, the capital of the Timurid Empire. Today, it is one of the largest and best-preserved constructions of the Timurid period.
Mexico: Franciscan Missions in the Sierra Gorda of Querétaro (C ii, iii)
The Franciscan missions of Sierra Gorda were built during the last phase of the conversion to Christianity of the interior of Mexico in the mid 18th century and became an important reference for the continuation of the evangelization and colonization of California, Arizona and Texas. The richly decorated church façades are of special interest as they represent an example of the joint creative efforts of the missionaries and the Indios. The rural settlements that grew around the missions have retained their vernacular character.
Poland: Wooden Churches of Southern Little Poland (C iii, iv)
The wooden churches of southern Little Poland represent outstanding examples of the different aspects of medieval church-building traditions in Roman Catholic culture. The building - using the horizontal log technique, common in eastern and northern Europe since the Middle Ages - were sponsored by noble families and became status symbols. They offered an alternative to the stone structures erected in urban centres.
Russian Federation: Citadel, Ancient City and Fortress Buildings of Derbent (C iii, iv)
The Citadel, Ancient City and Fortress buildings of Derbent were part of the northern limes of the Sasanian Persian Empire, which extended east and west of the Caspian Sea. The fortification was built in stone. It consisted of two parallel walls that formed a barrier from the seaside up to the mountain. The town of Derbent was built between these two walls, and has retained part of its medieval fabric. The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century.
South Africa: Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape (C ii, iii, iv, v)
Mapungubwe is set hard against the northern border of South Africa joining Zimbabwe and Botswana. It is an open, expansive savannah landscape on the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe. Mapungubwe developed into the largest kingdom in the sub-continent before it was abandoned in the 14th century. What survives are the almost untouched remains of the palace sites and also the entire settlement area dependent upon them, as well as two earlier capital sites, the whole presenting an unrivalled picture of the development of social and political structures over some 400 years.
Spain: Renaissance Monumental Ensembles of Úbeda and Baeza (C ii, iv)
The urban morphology of the two small cities of Ubeda and Baeza in southern Spain dates back to the Moorish 9th century and to the Reconquista in the 13th century. An important development took place in the 16th century, when the cities were subject to renovation along the lines of the emerging Renaissance. This planning intervention was part of the introduction into Spain of new humanistic ideas from Italy, and they went on to have a great influence on the architecture of Latin America.
Sudan: Gebel Barkal and the Sites of the Napatan Region (C i, ii, iii, iv)
The property includes several archaeological sites, over more than 60 km in the Nile valley, of the Napatan (900 to 270 BC) and Meroitic (270 BC to 350 AD) cultures, of the second kingdom of Kush. Tombs, with and without pyramids, temples, living complexes and palaces are to be found on the site.
United Kingdom: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (C ii, iii, iv)
The historic landscape garden features elements that illustrate significant periods of the art of gardens from the 18th to the 20th centuries. The gardens house botanic collections (conserved plants, living plants and documents) which have been considerably enriched through the centuries. Since their creation in 1759, the gardens have made a significant and uninterrupted contribution to the study of plant diversity and botanic economics.
Zimbabwe: Matobo Hills (C iii, v, vi)
The area exhibits a profusion of distinctive rock landforms rising above the granite shield that covers much of Zimbabwe. The large boulders provide abundant natural shelters and have been associated with human occupation from the early Stone Age right through to early historical times, and intermittently since. They also feature an outstanding collection of rock paintings. The Matobo Hills continue to provide a strong focus for the local community which still uses shrines and sacred places, closely linked to traditional, social and economic activities.
The Committee also extended one natural site and two cultural sites, all already inscribed:
Brazil: Central Amazon Conservation Complex (N ii, iv)
The 6,096,086 hectares of Central Amazon Conservation Complex which includes the Jaú National Park that was inscribed on the List in 2000, make up the largest protected area in the Amazon Basin and one of the planet's richest regions in terms of biodiversity. It also includes an important sample of varzea ecosystems, igapó forests, lakes and channels which take the form of a constantly evolving aquatic mosaic that is home to the largest array of electric fish in the world. The site protects key threatened species, including giant arapaima fish, the Amazonian manatee, the black caiman, and two species of river dolphin.
China: Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (C i, ii, iii, iv, vi)
These tombs were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2000. The property inscribed this year as an extension consists of two distinct burial sites of the Ming Dynasty emperors. Xiaoling, the first emperor of that dynasty is buried there, as are 13 others. The tombs provide outstanding evidence of Chinese beliefs and traditions from the 14th onward and significant examples of architecture and applied arts, designed in keeping with the Chinese concepts of geomancy (fengshui).
Panama: Archaeological Site of Panamá Viejo and the Historic District of Panamá (C ii, iv, vi)
This property was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997. The archaeological property of Panamá Viejo, inscribed this year as an extension, covers the location and ruins of the first European settlement on the American mainland and pre-Hispanic remains. It features impressive ruins. Moreover, older remains, dating to up to 1,000 years before the arrival of the Europeans, were excavated on this site.