14 July 2006
3 new cities on the 2006 UNESCO List
Québec City, Canada, 13 July 2006. Gathered in Vilnius, Lithuania, the World Heritage Committee inscribed 3 new cities on the UNESCO List, which have within their boundaries listed Word Heritage Sites. "It is a great honour as well as a great privilege to welcome new members in the large family of World Heritage Cities; each and everyone of those cities and towns bear such an exceptional value that its preservation is now a matter of concern to the whole world; they are treasures that enrich our collective memory and new places for everyone to visit and discover" said Denis Ricard, the Secretary general of the Organization.
The new members are:
Genoa: Le Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli (Italy). The Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli, in Genoa’s historic centre (late 16th and early 17th centuries) represent the first example in Europe of an urban development project with a unitary framework, where the plans were specially parcelled out by a public authority and a particular system of ‘public lodging’, based on legislation. The Rolli palaces were residences built by the wealthiest and most powerful aristocratic families of the Republic of Genoa at the height of its financial and seafaring power. The site includes an ensemble of Renaissance and Baroque palaces along the so-called ‘new streets’ (Strade Nuove). The grand residence palaces erected on the Strada Nuova (now Via Garibaldi) in the late 16th century, formed the quarter of the nobility, who under the constitution of 1528, had assumed the government of the Republic. Palaces are generally three or four stories high and feature spectacular open staircases, courtyards, and loggias overlooking gardens, positioned at different levels in a relatively tight space. The influence of this urban design model is evidenced by Italian and European literature over the following decades. The palazzi offer an extraordinary variety of different solutions, achieving universal value in adapting to the particular characteristics of the site and to the requirements of a specific social and economic organization. They also offer an original example of a network of public hospitality houses for visits of state, as decreed by the Senate in 1576. The owners of these palazzi were obliged to host state visits, thus contributing to the dissemination of knowledge of an architectural model and a residential culture which attracted famous artists and travellers, and of which a significant example is a collection of drawings by Pieter Paul Rubens.
Harar Jugol (Ethiopia). The fortified historic town of Harar is located in the eastern part of the country on a plateau with deep gorges surrounded by deserts and savannah. The walls surrounding this sacred Muslim city were built between the 13th and 16th centuries. Harar Jugol, said to be the fourth holiest city of Islam, numbers 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, and 102 shrines. The most common houses in Harar Jugol are traditional townhouses consisting of three rooms on the ground floor and service areas in the courtyard. Another type of house, called the Indian House, built by Indian merchants who came to Harar after 1887, is a simple rectangular two-storied building with a veranda overlooking either street or courtyard. A third type of building was born of the combination of elements from the other two. The Harari people are known for the quality of their handicrafts, including weaving, basket making and book-binding, but the houses with their exceptional interior design constitute the most spectacular part of Harar’s cultural heritage This architectural form is typical, specific and original, different from the domestic layout usually known in Muslim countries. It is also unique in Ethiopia. Harar was established in its present urban form in the 16th century as an Islamic town characterized by a maze of narrow alleyways and forbidding facades. From 1520 to 1568 it was the capital of the Harari Kingdom. From the late 16th century to the 19th century, Harar was noted as a centre of trade and Islamic learning. In the 17th century it became an independent emirate. It was then occupied by Egypt for ten years and became part of Ethiopia in 1887. The impact of African and Islamic traditions on the development of the town’s specific building types and urban layout make for the particular character and even uniqueness of Harar.
Old Town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof (Germany). Located on the Danube river in Bavaria, this medieval town contains many buildings of exceptional quality that testify to its history as a trading centre and to its influence on the region as of the 9th century. It has preserved a notable number of historic structures spanning some two millennia, including ancient Roman, Romanesque and Gothic buildings. Regensburg’s 11th – 13th -century architecture – including the market, City Hall and Cathedral, still defines the character of the town marked by tall buildings, dark, narrow lanes, and strong fortifications. The buildings include medieval Patrician houses and towers, a large number of churches and monastic ensembles as well as the Old Bridge, which dates from the 12th century. The town is also remarkable for the vestiges that testify to its rich institutional and religious history as one of the centres of the Holy Roman Empire that turned to Protestantism.