Three new cities on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2012
The 36th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee was held in Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation, from June 24 to July 6, 2012. At this meeting, the Committee inscribed a total of 26 new sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List: 5 natural sites, 20 cultural sites, and 1 mixed site.
Further to this meeting, the Organization of World Heritage Cities is delighted to welcome three new World Heritage Cities. Attending the meeting of the World Heritage Committee, the Secretary General of the OWHC, Mr. Denis Ricard, declared: “We are honored and privileged to welcome within our select club of World Heritage Cities these three new inscriptions. These cities, towns and villages, whose safeguarding and preservations are the responsibility of mankind, contribute to the enrichment of our collective memory and represent marvelous new places to visit and to discover”.
The new World Heritage Cities are:
1. Rabat, modern capital and historic city: a shared heritage. Rabat, Morocco.
On Atlantic coast in the northwest of the country, is the product of a fertile exchange between the Arabo-Muslim past and Western modernism. The inscribed city encompasses the new town conceived and built under the French Protectorate from 1912 to the 1930s, including royal and administrative areas, residential and commercial developments and the Jardins d’Essais botanical and pleasure gardens. It also encompasses older parts of the city dating back to the he 12 th century. The new town is one of the largest and most ambitious modern urban projects built in Africa in the 20 th century and probably the most complete. The older parts include Hassan Mosque (started in 1184) and the Almohad ramparts and gates, the only surviving parts of the project for a great capital city of the Almohad caliphate as well as remains from the Moorish, or Andalusian, principality of the 17 th century.
Source : UNESCO
2. Historic Town of Gran-Bassam, Côte d'Ivoire
The first capital of Côte d’Ivoire, the Historic Town of Grand-Bassam, is an example of a late 19th and early 20th-century colonial town planned with quarters specializing in commerce, administration, housing for Europeans and housing for Africans. The site includes the N’zima African fishing village alongside colonial architecture marked by functional houses with galleries, verandas and gardens. Grand-Bassam was the most important port, economic and judicial centre of Côte d’Ivoire. It bears witness to the complex social relations between Europeans and Africans, and to the subsequent independence movement. As a vibrant centre of the territory of French trading posts in the Gulf of Guinea, which preceded modern Côte d’Ivoire, it attracted populations from all parts of Africa, Europe and the Mediterranean Levant.
Source : UNESCO
3. Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications, Portugal
The site, extensively fortified from the 17th to 19th centuries, represents the largest bulwarked dry ditch system in the work. Within its walls, the town contains barracks and other military buildings as well as churches and monasteries. While Elvas contains remains dating back to the 10th century A.D., its fortification began when Portugal regained independence in 1640. The fortifications designed by Dutch Jesuit Padre João Piscásio Cosmander represent the best surviving example of the Dutch school of fortifications anywhere. The site also contains the Amoreira Aqueduct, built to enable the stronghold to withstand lengthy sieges.
Source : UNESCO