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03 Aug 2010 17:25
A historic road and prehistoric caves in Mexico were added on Sunday to the prestigious list of World Heritage sites, along with “spectacular” red cliffs in China and volcanic peaks on Reunion Island.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (Unesco) World Heritage Committee, which is meeting in Brazil until Tuesday, has been considering applications for 39 sites this year. So far, it has approved 27 applications.
Sunday’s additions included sites along Mexico’s Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, the inland road for silver transport in colonial times that stretched from Mexico City north to Texas and New Mexico.
Mexico’s prehistoric caves of Yagul and Mitla in the Central Valley of Oaxaca also got a nod for the seeds found there dating back 10 000 years.
The committee said the seeds are among the earliest known evidence of agrarian activity on the continent.
China’s “spectacular red cliffs” and “dramatic natural pillars” in its south-west sub-tropical zone are known as China Danxia. In designating the site, the committee said the region preserves broad-leaf evergreen forests and about 400 species of rare or threatened flora and fauna.
Site designations also went to volcanos and other landscapes in La Reunion National Park, on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa; the Phoenix Islands Protected Area in the Pacific nation of Kiribati; and the 18th-century Sao Francisco Square in the north-east Brazilian town of Sao Cristovao.
Unesco has now registered 910 World Heritage properties, a designation that boosts tourism and obligates governments to protect the sites from destruction.—Sapa-dpa
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