World Heritage Newsletter #4

Thu, 9 Dec 1993 23:43:26 -0800

A daily newsletter covering the activities of the World Heritage
Committee, meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, December 6-11, 1993
Vol. II, No. 4 Thursday, Dec. 9

CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA. Concluding the work begun yesterday to inscribe
new sites on the World Heritage List, the Committee, after seven hours of
discussion and debate, added a further 23 sites to the world list of sites
of "universal" significance, bringing the total inscriptions at the
Cartagena meeting to 31. Included among the new nominations today were the
first sites to be inscribed in Ireland, Paraguay, the Slovak Republic, and
Venezuela. Japan and the Philippines, whose first sites were inscribed
yesterday, also received sites today. Other countries where sites were
inscribed were: Germany (2 sites), India (2), Italy, Mexico, Romania (3),
Russia, Spain, Sweden (2), and Yemen.

Two additional properties, in Vietnam and Uzbekistan, met the
criteria for inscription, but because the national authorities had not
submitted "tentative" lists of properties eligible for World Heritage
status as required by the Committee's Operational Guidelines, inscription
of these sites was postponed pending receipt of the necessary lists by the
Convention Secretariat. Both sites will be their country's first entry on
the World Heritage List when their nominations are accepted.

The most difficult of all the sites which the committee considered
was one that was already on the World Heritage List. Tongariro National
Park in New Zealand had been listed as a "natural" site since 1990. As a
natural landscape of deep religious significance to the native Maori, New
Zealand had been encouraged by the Committee to submit a nomination which
would add cultural criteria to the natural criteria for which it was
already inscribed. However, as the first "cultural landscape" to be added
to the world list, it evoked extensive debate within the Committee over how
to apply the cultural criteria to a natural area that had no physical
cultural evidence on it. The redefinition of the New Zealand park as a
"mixed" site of natural and cultural values was ultimately accepted.

* * * * * *

The morning session resumed at approximately 9:30, continuing the
presentation by the ICOMOS Coordinator, Dr. Henry Cleere, begun the
afternoon before. With a two-hour break for lunch, the nomination session
finished at approximately six o'clock. Although Dr. Cleere's presentation
distinguished straight-forward nominations from those which had had to be
sent back for additional information, or had been deferred for technical
reasons from previous meetings of the Committee, they are here reported in
a single "country" order. The criteria noted are those of the Committee's
Operational Guidelines.

* Germany: Maulbronn Monastery criteria ii, iv
Universally held to be the most complete and best preserved medieval
monastery north of the Alps. The church was completed in 1178 and the
complex expanded through the next two centuries. The Cistercian order
was notable for its innovations in hydraulic engineering, and the
complex includes a complete water management system.

* Germany: Town of Bamberg criteria ii, iv
A good example of a central European town with a basically early
medieval plan and many surviving buildings. Of particular interest is
the way in which the present town illustrates the link between
agriculture (vineyards, hop gardens, market gardens) and the urban
distribution center.

* India: Humayun's Tomb, Delhi criteria ii, iv
Humayun was the second Mughal Emperor of India, and the tomb was
built by his widow in 1569-70. His tomb stands as a landmark in the
development of Mughal architecture and also represents the earliest
extant specimen of the Mughal scheme of the garden tomb, culminating
a century later in the Taj Mahal.

* India: Qutb Minar and associated monuments, Delhi criterion iv
The Qutb Minar is a red and buff sandstone column rising to a height
of 72.5 meters, making it the highest stone tower in India. Built
about 1202, not long after the adjacent Quwwatu'l-Islam mosque, the
minar is the most unique monument of this ensemble of religious
structures. A 7-meter high rust-free iron pillar, thought to have
been brought from elsewhere in India, is standing testimony to the
metallurgical skill of the ancient Indians. It bears a 4th century
A.D. date.

* Italy: I Sassi di Matera criteria iii, iv, v
Matera's development as early as the paleolithic period, is due to
its geology and topography. Soft calcareous tufa rock was easily
excavated, and the natural and excavated caves were early adopted for
dwellings. The use of tufa walls to extend living spaces outward led
eventually to groups of dwellings and other town structures with
shared facilities. The I Sassi quarter of Matera is the best
surviving and most complete example of continuity of this type of
settlement in the Mediterranean region.

Both FRANCE and TUNISIA commended ITALY for this nomination and
ICOMOS for its thorough evaluation.

* Ireland: Archaeological Ensemble of the criteria i, iii, iv
Bend of the Boyne
The area known as the Bend of the Boyne, where the Boyne River
meanders around three sides of the site, is a great prehistoric
funerary landscape from as early as the 4th millennium BC. It
includes three very large burial mounds, as well as many other
smaller mounds. The area is planned as the first National
Archaeological Park in Ireland. This is the first World Heritage site
to be inscribed in Ireland.

* Japan: Himeji-jo (Himeji Castle) criteria i,iv
Himeji-jo is the finest surviving example of 16th-century Japanese
castle architecture, with highly developed defensive planning
principles and ingenious devices for protection. It is also an
unusual example of wooden architecture from this period. Painted
white, soaring above the surrounding plain, it is often known as the
Castle of the White Heron.

Both the UNITED STATES and THAI delegates expressed reservations
about the use of criterion iii for this site, as the Japanese authorities
and ICOMOS had recommended, which implied representation of a civilization
that had disappeared. Neither delegation felt that the Japanese
civilization had "disappeared" in the sense in which this criterion was
usually employed. Both Dr. Cleere and the delegate from JAPAN responded
that the era of Himieji-jo's prominence was dead and completely distinct
from the modern period. In that case, replied the THAI delegate, then any
country moving from a feudal period into the modern era could use criterion
iii. Dr. Cleere conceded that the point merited a future philosophical
discussion, and the property was listed only under criteria i and iv.

* Japan: Buddhist monuments in the Horyu-ju area criteria i,ii,iv,vi
Eleven of the buildings that compose this nomination were constructed
before or during the 8th century AD and are the oldest surviving
wooden buildings in the world. Horyu-ji has long been associated with
the origins of Buddhism in Japan, and these structures express the
long, rich history of wooden Buddhist temples of east Asia.

* Mexico: Historic center of Zacatecas criteria ii, iv
Zacatecas, founded in 1546, was among the most important mining towns
of New Spain. It was a major centre of silver production, as well as
of colonialization, evangelization, and cultural expansion. Unlike
many Mexican towns, employing a grid pattern, the townscape is
moulded to the topography of the steep valley. The prosperity of the
town is amply demonstrated by the high architectural quality of the
buildings, especially the Baroque cathedral.

The delegate from FRANCE praised the ICOMOS evaluation, but he
compared the town to Guanajuato, also a mining town, which Mexico had
nominated in 1988. In that case the Committee had insisted on including the
mines. Should the mines, or other evidence of industry not be included
here? The ICOMOS representative replied that this aspect had also been
evaluated. The consensus of experts was that the mines, some of which were
still in use, had not sufficient intrinsic significance to merit inclusion.

* Paraguay: Jesuit Missions criterion iv
ICOMOS viewed this nomination as a complement to the Jesuit Missions
in Argentina and Brazil, inscribed on the World Heritage List jointly
in 1984. The Paraguayan mission inscription should eventually be
combined with the earlier listing. Nevertheless the two 18th-century
missions in this nomination, La Santisima Trinidad and Santos Cosme y
Damian were significant in their own right, and among the foremost
mission settlements in Paraguay. Both are in essence archaeological
sites, consisting of ruined buildings and occupation layers. This is
Paraguay's first inscription on the World Heritage List. (A third
mission originally nominated was not recommended for inclusion in the

* Philippines: Baroque Churches criteria ii, iv
The inscription includes four Philippine churches built between the
late 16th and early 18th centuries, nominated as outstanding examples
of the Philippine interpretation of the Baroque style.

* Romania: Biertan and its fortified church criterion iv
The fortified church of Biertan was built around 1522, to serve the
German-speaking community in this region of Transylvania. The church
is the best surviving and most representative example of a fortified
church, once common in medieval Europe. The town retains its medieval
layout and structure almost complete and includes an important group
of early buildings.

* Romania: Monastery of Horezu criterion ii
Founded in 1690, the Monastery of Horezu is the finest expression of
the Brancovan style of religious architecture and art. This
remarkable flowering of post-Byzantine culture in the early 18th
century played a highly significant role in the artistic evolution of
the Balkan region in the 18th and 19th centuries.

* Romania: Painted Churches of Northern Moldavia criteria i, iv
Coinciding with the independence of Moldavia in the 15th and 16th
centuries was a cultural flowering, productive of a wide variety of
artistic expression. The exterior painted walls of this group of
churches constitutes a unique phenomenon in Byzantine art.

* Russian Federation: The architectural ensemble criteria ii, iv
of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad
The complex is an outstanding example of 14th-18th century Russian
architecture. The oldest portion, Trinity Cathedral, was built in
1422. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and
other parts of eastern Europe.

* Slovak Republic: The historic town of Banska Stiavnica
and the technical monuments in its vicinity criteria iv, v
Banska Stiavnica is the oldest mining town in Slovakia, founded in
1275. Its mining wealth supported the rapid development of crafts and
fine arts, the results of which are visible in the town and its
architecture. It is an outstanding example of a medieval mining
centre of great economic importance with numerous structures relating
to its early commercial and industrial life as a center of

* Slovak Republic: Vikolinec Reservation of Folk Architecture
criteria iv, v
This is the best preserved and most comprehensive set of traditional
vernacular buildings in the Slovak Republic. It has preserved its
ancient appearance with remarkable fidelity. Although most of the
houses date from the 19th century, they illustrate the traditional
central Slovak construction of log walls on stone footings, the log
walls being coated with clay and whitewashed or painted blue.

* Slovak Republic: Spissky Hrad and the cultural monuments
in its environs criterion iv
The present castle, built in the early 13th century, is one of the
largest in eastern Europe and significant because of its Romanesque
and Gothic elements. Spisska Kapitula is a fortified ecclesiastical
ensemble built at approximately the same time, while the village of
Spisskr Podhradie is a good example of medieval town planning with
well preserved early buildings.

* Spain: The Route of Santiago de Compostela criteria ii, iv, vi
The 700-kilometer route from the French frontier to Santiago de
Compostela was one of three great pilgrimage routes of the Medieval
world (the others being to Rome and to Jerusalem). The route had its
greatest influence in the 12th century, by which time many ancillary
facilities had been built along the route to serve the thousands of
pilgrims from Western Europe.

The delegate from FRANCE praised the nomination and noted that the
French section of the pilgrimage route would also be nominated to the World
Heritage List in the not-too-distant future. He emphasized that the route
was also a South-North route, and France and other countries could show
evidence of Islamic culture that had moved northward along this corridor.
The UNITED STATES delegate voiced their strong support for the nomination
and complimented Spain for being the first to nominate a transportation
corridor of this type. The identification of linear routes was a new
dynamic as it relates to our cultural heritage and opened up many
possibilities for similar transportation corridors.

* Sweden: Birka and Hovgarden criteria iii, iv
The Birka-Hovgarden complex is an important archaeological ensemble
illustrative of the elaborate trading networks of Viking Age Europe
and their influence on the subsequent history of Scandinavia. The
wealth and diversity of material excavated here indicates that the
site was one of the most important trading posts known from this

* Sweden: Engelsberg Ironworks criterion iv
Engelsberg is the best preserved and most complete example of a
Swedish iron-working estate, of the type which produced the superior
grades of iron that made Sweden the economic leader in this field for
two centuries. Most of the buildings date from the mid 18th-mid 19th

* Venezuela: Coro criteria iv, v
Coro is the largest town with buildings of earthen construction in
Venezuela. The Caribbean port city was founded by the Spanish in
1527, with the considerable influence of a German banking family from
Augsburg. Because much of the Caribbean coast suffered from pirate
raids, much of the town dates from the 17th and 18th centuries.

* Yemen: Historic Town of Zabid criteria ii, iv, vi
Zabid is of outstanding archaeological and historical interest for
its domestic and military architecture, and for its urban plan. It
was of great importance in the Arab and Moslem world for many
centuries because of its Islamic university, which received students
from as far away as East Africa and Indonesia. Its architecture
profoundly influenced the Yemeni coastal plain.

The presentation of nominations concluded at approximately six

W o r l d H e r i t a g e C o m m i t t e e
-------- Annual Meeting, Cartagena, Colombia, December 6-11, 1993 --------
This distribution is made possible through the cooperation of the Canadian
National Committee of ICOMOS, the Institute for Global Communications, and
a grant from Martha S. Diener. The reports are those of an observer of the
meetings and do not represent official publications of either the World
Heritage Centre or any delegation.
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