Thursday, October 29, 2009

7 Man-made Wonders (New Heritage Sites)

Tulou in Fujian, China - Some 46 large, earthen residences such as this dot a secluded valley in southwestern Fujian Province, China. Built to house entire family clans, some of these giant structures, called tulou, have stood in the region since the 11th century.
Fujian's tulou complex is among 27 new World Heritage sites named in July 2008 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The group chose from among 43 nominated sites.UNESCO chose the tulou, which are generally circular or square and can house up to 800 people, for their unique architecture and harmonious relationship with the environment.

Rhaetian Railway Lines, Central Alps - Trains on Rhaetian Railways' Albula and Bernina lines frequently encounter deep snow as they traverse the Alps between Switzerland and Italy.

Opened in 1904, the picturesque routes pass through a total of 55 tunnels and cross 196 viaducts and bridges. The beauty and architectural uniqueness of the lines and their importance in connecting the isolated villages earned the routes a designation as a United Nations World Heritage site in July 2008.

Stari Grad Plain, Croatia - Ancient Stari Grad—literally "old town"—town rests where the Stari Grad Plain meets the Adriatic Sea on Hvar island. The UN named the plain, a fertile grape- and olive-growing region, to its list of World Heritage sites in July 2008. In awarding the designation, the group noted that the site's physical and cultural landscapes remain "practically intact" from the days of Greek colonization in the fourth century B.C.

San Marino Historic Center and Mount Titano - Guaita Fortress sits on a precipice of Mount Titano in the tiny, landlocked republic of San Marino.
Nestled in north-central Italy, San Marino was founded as a city-state in the 13th century and is considered the world's oldest republic. Its historic city center—replete with bastions, fortification towers, convents, and basilicas—was named to the UN's list of World Heritage sites in July 2008.

Madain Salih (Al-Hijr), Saudi Arabia - The ancient city of Madain Salih is the largest conserved site of Nabataean civilization south of Petra in Jordan.

Built between the first century B.C. and the first century A.D., the city contains more than a hundred well-preserved monumental tombs, among other buildings. In July 2008 Madain Salih became the first location in Saudi Arabia to receive the UN's World Heritage designation.

Mausoleum of the Báb, Israel - The Mausoleum of the Báb in Haifa, Israel, is one of 26 Baha'i holy places added in July 2008 to the UN's World Heritage list. The historic sites, which include houses, gardens, a cemetery, and a group of modern buildings, are spread over 11 locations in the cities of Acre and Haifa. A UN group said it chose the holy places as examples of the importance of pilgrimage in the Baha'i faith.

St. Thaddeus Church, Iran - The seventh-century Armenian church of St. Thaddeus in Azerbaijan Province, Iran, is one of three monasteries in northwestern Iran given World Heritage status by the UN in July 2008.

St. Stepanos Church and the Chapel of Dzordzor were also added to the list. In making the designation, the UN cited, among other things, the monasteries' importance in disseminating Armenian culture into ancient Azerbaijan and Persia.

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