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Nineteen new World Heritage sites approved for their 'outstanding universal value'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 26th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Nineteen new sites "of outstanding universal value" has been added to UNESCO's World Heritage list -- the top honor for monuments, buildings, sites or natural features. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO World Heritage Committee is scheduled to meet in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh for its 37th annual session.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - It's an exciting year for Qatar and Fiji, which are celebrating the addition of their first World Heritage sites. Of the reported 34 sites up for consideration, Italy and China led the pack with two new inscriptions apiece.
 
Of the two nations now granted protected status, Fiji's Levuka Historical Port Town, with its low line of buildings set among coconut and mango trees along the beach front was the first colonial capital of Fiji, ceded to the British in 1874. It developed from the early 19th century as a centre of commercial activity by Americans and Europeans who built warehouses, stores, port facilities, residences, and religious, educational and social institutions around the villages of the South Pacific Island's indigenous population.

In addition, the Al Zubarah Archaeological Site is a ruined and deserted town located on the north western coast of the Qatar peninsula in the Madinat ash Shamal municipality. Zubarah was once a thriving pearl fishing and trading port positioned midway between the Strait of Hormuz and the west arm of the Persian Gulf. It is one of the largest and best preserved examples of an 18th-19th century merchant town in the Gulf.

Other sites include Japan's Mount Fuji, Namibia's Namib Sand Sea, the Red Bay Basque Whaling Station in Canada and North Korea's Kaesong Fortress.

A full list of the 19 sites granted UNESCO World Heritage status by the committee follows below"

1. Xinjiang Tianshan, in China
2. Mount Etna, in Italy
3. El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve, in Mexico
4. Namib Sand Sea, in Namibia
5. Tajik National Park, in Tajikistan
6. Red Bay Basque Whaling Station, in Canada
7. Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, in China
8. Historic Monuments and Sites in Kaesong, in North Korea
9. Levuka Historical Port Town, in Fiji
10. Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, in Germany
11. Hill Forts of Rajashtan, in India
12. Golestan Palace, in Iran
13. Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany, in Italy
14. Fujisan, sacred place and source of artistic inspiration, in Japan
15. Historic Centre of Agadez, in Niger
16. Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region, in Poland and Ukraine
17. University of Coimbra -- Alta and Sofia, in Portugal
18. Al Zubarah Archaeological Site, in Qatar
19. Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora, in Ukraine

The UNESCO World Heritage List features 981 sites from 160 countries that are party to the World Heritage Convention. Of these, 759 are cultural, 193 natural and 29 mixed properties.

On a note of pressing urgency, the UNESCO committee made a few changes to its "List of World Heritage in Danger." Iran's Bam citadel was removed from the danger list while East Rennell of the Solomon Island was added, along with the six World Heritage sites in war-torn Syria.

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee has put off its decision on whether to place the Great Barrier Reef on the "in danger" list until 2014.

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