Properties from the Arctic region and vicinity on the World Heritage List and on national Tentative Lists

Properties from the Arctic region on the World Heritage List

Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve (Russian Federation)
(Please also refer to

Date of Inscription: 2004
Criteria: (ix)(x)
Core zone: 916300 ha
Buffer zone: 3745300 ha
Chukot Autonomous Area
N71 11 20 W179 42 55
Ref: 1023rev

Brief Description

Located well above the Arctic Circle, the site includes the mountainous Wrangel Island (7,608 km2), Herald Island (11 km2) and surrounding waters. Wrangel was not glaciated during the Quaternary Ice Age, resulting in exceptionally high levels of biodiversity for this region. The island boasts the world’s largest population of Pacific walrus and the highest density of ancestral polar bear dens. It is a major feeding ground for the grey whale migrating from Mexico and the northernmost nesting ground for 100 migratory bird species, many endangered. Currently, 417 species and subspecies of vascular plants have been identified on the island, double that of any other Arctic tundra territory of comparable size and more than any other Arctic island. Some species are derivative of widespread continental forms, others are the result of recent hybridization, and 23 are endemic.

Justification for Inscription

Criterion (ix): The Wrangel Island Reserve is a self-contained island ecosystem and there is ample evidence that it has undergone a long evolutionary process uninterrupted by the glaciation that swept most other parts of the Arctic during the Quaternary period. The number and type of endemic plant species, the diversity within plant communities, the rapid succession and mosaic of tundra types, the presence of relatively recent mammoth tusks and skulls, the range of terrain types and geological formations in the small geographic space are all visible evidence of Wrangel’s rich natural history and its unique evolutionary status within the Arctic. Furthermore, the process is continuing as can be observed in, for example, the unusually high densities and distinct behaviours of the Wrangel lemming populations in comparison with other Arctic populations or in the physical adaptations of the Wrangel Island reindeers, where they may now have evolved into a separate population from their mainland cousins. Species interaction strategies are highly-honed and on display throughout the island, especially near Snowy owl nests which act as protectorates for other species and beacons for migratory species and around fox dens.

Criterion (x): The Wrangel Island Reserve has the highest level of biodiversity in the high Arctic. The island is the breeding habitat of Asia’s only Snow goose population which is slowly making a recovery from catastrophically low levels. The marine environment is an increasingly important feeding ground for the Gray whale migrating from Mexico (some from another World Heritage site, the Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino). The islands have the largest sea-bird colonies on the Chukchi Sea, are the northernmost nesting grounds for over 100 migratory bird species including several that are endangered such as the Peregrine falcon, have significant populations of resident tundra bird species interspersed with migratory Arctic and non-Arctic species and have the world’s highest density of ancestral polar bear dens. Wrangel Island boasts the largest population of Pacific walrus with up to 100,000 animals congregating at any given time at one of the island’s important coastal rookeries. Since Wrangel Island contains a high diversity of habitats and climates and conditions vary considerably from one location to another, total reproductive failure of a species in any given year is practically unheard of. Given the relatively small size of the area, this is very unusual in the high Arctic.

Ilulissat Icefjord (Denmark)
(Please also refer to

Date of Inscription: 2004
Criteria: (vii)(viii)
Core zone: 402400 ha
West coast of Greenland, Bay of Disko Bugt (bight), Municipality of Ilulissat
N69 7 60 W49 30 0
Ref: 1149

Brief description

Located on the west coast of Greenland, 250 km north of the Arctic Circle, Greenland’s Ilulissat Icefjord (40,240 ha) is the sea mouth of Sermeq Kujalleq, one of the few glaciers through which the Greenland ice cap reaches the sea. Sermeq Kujalleq is one of the fastest (19 m per day) and most active glaciers in the world. It annually calves over 35 km3 of ice, i.e. 10% of the production of all Greenland calf ice and more than any other glacier outside Antarctica. Studied for over 250 years, it has helped to develop our understanding of climate change and icecap glaciology. The combination of a huge ice-sheet and the dramatic sounds of a fast-moving glacial ice-stream calving into a fjord covered by icebergs makes for a dramatic and awe-inspiring natural phenomenon.

Justification for Inscription

Criterion (viii): The Ilulissat Icefjord is an outstanding example of a stage in the Earth’s history: the last ice age of the Quaternary Period. The ice-stream is one of the fastest (19m per day) and most active in the world. Its annual calving of over 35 cu. km of ice accounts for 10% of the production of all Greenland calf ice, more than any other glacier outside Antarctica. The glacier has been the object of scientific attention for 250 years and, along with its relative ease of accessibility, has significantly added to the understanding of ice-cap glaciology, climate change and related geomorphic processes. Criterion (vii): The combination of a huge ice sheet and a fast moving glacial ice-stream calving into a fjord covered by icebergs is a phenomenon only seen in Greenland and Antarctica. Ilulissat offers both scientists and visitors easy access for close view of the calving glacier front as it cascades down from the ice sheet and into the ice-choked fjord. The wild and highly scenic combination of rock, ice and sea, along with the dramatic sounds produced by the moving ice, combine to present a memorable natural spectacle.

Laponian Area (Sweden)
(Please also refer to

Date of Inscription: 1996
Criteria: (iii)(v)(vii)(viii)(ix)
Core zone: 940000 ha
County of Norrbotten. Municipalities – rural districts – Gällivare, Jokkmokk and Arjeplog
N67 19 59.988 E17 34 59.988
Ref: 774

Brief description

The Arctic Circle region of northern Sweden is the home of the Saami, or Lapp people. It is the largest area in the world (and one of the last) with an ancestral way of life based on the seasonal movement of livestock. Every summer, the Saami lead their huge herds of reindeer towards the mountains through a natural landscape hitherto preserved, but now threatened by the advent of motor vehicles. Historical and ongoing geological processes can be seen in the glacial moraines and changing water courses. Justification for Inscription

The Committee decided to inscribe the nominated property on the basis of natural criteria (vii), (viii) and (ix) and cultural criteria (iii) and (v). The Committee considered that the site is of outstanding universal value as it contains examples of ongoing geological, biological and ecological processes, a great variety of natural phenomena of exceptional beauty and significant biological diversity including a population of brown bear and alpine flora. It was noted that the site meets all conditions of integrity. The site has been occupied continuously by the Saami people since prehistoric times, is one of the last and unquestionably largest and best preserved examples of an area of transhumance, involving summer grazing by large reindeer herds, a practice that was widespread at one time and which dates back to an early stage in human economic and social development.

Rock Art of Alta (Norway)
(Please also refer to

Date of Inscription: 1985
Criteria: (iii)
Alta municipality, county of Finnmark
N69 57 E23 11
Ref: 352

Brief description

This group of petroglyphs in the Alta Fjord, near the Arctic Circle, bears the traces of a settlement dating from c. 4200 to 500 B.C. The thousands of paintings and engravings add to our understanding of the environment and human activities on the fringes of the Far North in prehistoric times.

Properties in the vicinity of the Arctic region inscribed on World Heritage List

Vegaøyan -- The Vega Archipelago (Norway)
(Please also refer to

Date of Inscription: 2004
Criteria: (v)
Core zone: 103710 ha
Buffer zone: 28040 ha
Nordland, Vega
N65 37 00.0 E11 45 00.0
Ref: 1143

Brief description

A cluster of dozens of islands centred on Vega, just south of the Arctic Circle, forms a cultural landscape of 103,710 ha, of which 6,930 ha is land. The islands bear testimony to a distinctive frugal way of life based on fishing and the harvesting of the down of eider ducks, in an inhospitable environment. There are fishing villages, quays, warehouses, eider houses (built for eider ducks to nest in), farming landscapes, lighthouses and beacons. There is evidence of human settlement from the Stone Age onwards. By the 9th century, the islands had become an important centre for the supply of down, which appears to have accounted for around a third of the islanders’ income. The Vega Archipelago reflects the way fishermen/farmers have, over the past 1,500 years, maintained a sustainable living and the contribution of women to eiderdown harvesting.

Justification for Inscription

Criterion (v): The Vega archipelago reflects the way generations of fishermen/farmers have, over the past 1500 years, maintained a sustainable living in an inhospitable seascape near the Arctic Circle, based on the now unique practice of eider down harvesting, and it also celebrate the contribution made by women to the eider down process.

Struve Geodetic Arc (Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Sweden, Ukraine)
Date of Inscription: 2005
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(vi)
N59 03 28 E26 20 16
Ref: 1187

Brief description

The Struve Arc is a chain of survey triangulations stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to the Black Sea, through 10 countries and over 2,820 km. These are points of a survey, carried out between 1816 and 1855 by the astronomer Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve, which represented the first accurate measuring of a long segment of a meridian. This helped to establish the exact size and shape of the planet and marked an important step in the development of earth sciences and topographic mapping. It is an extraordinary example of scientific collaboration among scientists from different countries, and of collaboration between monarchs for a scientific cause. The original arc consisted of 258 main triangles with 265 main station points. The listed site includes 34 of the original station points, with different markings, i.e. a drilled hole in rock, iron cross, cairns, or built obelisks.

Justification for Inscription

Criterion (ii): The first accurate measuring of a long segment of a meridian, helping in the establishment of the exact size and shape of the world exhibits an important step in the development of earth sciences. It is also an extraordinary example for interchange of human values in the form of scientific collaboration among scientists from different countries. It is at the same time an example for collaboration between monarchs of different powers, for a scientific cause.

Criterion (iv): The Struve Geodetic Arc is undoubtedly an outstanding example of technological ensemble – presenting the triangulation points of the measuring of the meridian, being the non movable and non tangible part of the measuring technology.
Criterion (vi): The measuring of the arc and its results are directly associated with men wondering about his world, its shape and size. It is linked with Sir Isaac Newton's theory that the world is not an exact sphere.

Church Village of Gammelstad, Luleå (Sweden)
(Please also refer to

Date of Inscription: 1996
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(v)
County of Norrbotten (Norrbottens län)
N65 38 46.0 E22 01 43.0
Ref: 762

Brief description

Gammelstad, at the head of the Gulf of Bothnia, is the best-preserved example of a 'church village', a unique kind of village formerly found throughout northern Scandinavia. The 424 wooden houses, huddled round the early 15th-century stone church, were used only on Sundays and at religious festivals to house worshippers from the surrounding countryside who could not return home the same day because of the distance and difficult travelling conditions.

Justification for Inscription

The Committee decided to inscribe the nominated property on the basis of cultural criteria (ii), (iv) and (v), considering that the site is of outstanding universal value as it is a remarkable example of the traditional church town of northern Scandanavia, and admirably illustrates the adaptation of conventional urban design to the special geographical and climatic conditions of a hostile natural environment.

Cultural and Historic Ensemble of the Solovetsky Islands (Russian Federation)
(Please also refer to

Date of Inscription: 1992
Criteria: (iv)
Core zone: 28834 ha
Arkhangelsky region, Solovetsky district.
N65 05 E35 40
Ref: 632

Brief description

The Solovetsky archipelago comprises six islands in the western part of the White Sea, covering 300 km2. They have been inhabited since the 5th century B.C. and important traces of a human presence from as far back as the 5th millennium B.C. can be found there. The archipelago has been the site of fervent monastic activity since the 15th century, and there are several churches dating from the 16th to the 19th century.

Virgin Komi Forests (Russian Federation)
(Please also refer to

Date of Inscription: 1995
Criteria: (vii)(ix)
Core zone: 3280000 ha
Komi Republic
N65 04 00 E60 09 00
Ref: 719

Brief description

The Virgin Komi Forests cover 3.28 million ha of tundra and mountain tundra in the Urals, as well as one of the most extensive areas of virgin boreal forest remaining in Europe. This vast area of conifers, aspens, birches, peat bogs, rivers and natural lakes has been monitored and studied for over 50 years. It provides valuable evidence of the natural processes affecting biodiversity in the taiga.

Properties from the Arctic region and vicinity on national World Heritage Tentative Lists


Name of property: Ivvavik / Vuntut / Herschel Island (Qikiqtaruk)
Coordinates: N68 W139,5
Date of submission: 01/10/2004
Submitted by: Parks Canada Agency
WH list (name, id):
State, Province or Region: YUKON

Brief Description

Together, Ivvavik National Park of Canada, Vuntut National Park of Canada, and Herschel Island (Qikiqtaruk) Territorial Park comprise 15 500 km2 of wilderness on the Yukon coastal plain, Richardson Mountains, a portion of the Old Crow Flats wetlands and an arctic island in the Beaufort Sea. Together, these parks comprise a land rich in wildlife, in variety of landscape and in vegetation. This area was not glaciated, and forms part of the Beringia corridor as evidenced in its rich assemblage of archeological and palaeontological deposits. Major rivers flow through the coastal plain, cutting spectacular canyons on their way to the Beaufort Sea. Part of the area, the Old Crow Flats, is a Ramsar site internationally recognized for breeding and migratory water howl. Three species of bear are found in parts of the area, along with a host of other wildlife, including Dall sheep and moose. The area supports close to 10 percent of the world’s caribou population, with the Porcupine Herd numbering close to 123 000 animals. A portion of the calving grounds for the herd is located in Ivvavik National Park of Canada. This is the land of the Inuvialuit and Vuntut Gwitchin, who have hunted, fished and traded in the region for thousands of years. The cultural landscape’s rich and complex human history is expressed through archaeological evidence and oral history. A key area to the peopling of North America, it illustrates successive occupations over thousands of years of adaptation to evolving climatic episodes. During preparation of nomination documentation, careful consideration will be given to final proposed boundaries to include all of parts of nearby protected areas, for example Fishing Branch Ni’iinlii’njik Territorial Park (7 000 km2), which is located south of Vuntut National Park of Canada.

Name of property: Quttinirpaaq

N82 W70
Date of submission: 01/10/2004
Submitted by: Parks Canada Agency
WH list (name, id):
State, Province or Region: NUNAVUT

Brief Description

Encompassing the northernmost lands in Canada, only 720 km from the North Pole, Quttinirpaaq National Park of Canada (37 775 km2) covers the northern portion of Ellesmere Island. The park consists of sedimentary mountains, ice caps, glaciers, ice shelves and fiords. The park borders on the Arctic Ocean and rises to Mount Barbeau (a nunatak), at 2 616 m the highest mountain in eastern North America. Much of the park, including the Hazen Plateau, is a polar desert receiving less than 2.5 cm of annual precipitation. Some areas of highly productive sedge grasslands occur, which support a range of Arctic wildlife including muskox, arctic hare, wolves and the endangered Peary caribou. Lake Hazen is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the circumpolar region, and has attracted great scientific interest as a thermal oasis in a polar desert. Unique physical features are the ancient deposits of 80 m-thick freshwater ice shelves that extend several kilometres out over the Arctic Ocean. The major valleys of the park are central to one of the routes by which early Aboriginal peoples moved from the Canadian Arctic to Greenland. The route contains three major axes of contact during the early Palaeo-Eskimo period (4500-3000 years ago). All pre-contact cultural groups known to have occupied High Arctic Canada, including Independence I (4500-3000 years ago) and Independence II (ca. 3000-2500 years ago), Late Dorset (ca. 1300-800 years ago) and Thule (ca. 900-300 years ago), are represented by archaeological sites in the park. The park has one of the highest concentrations of pre-contact sites surveyed in the High Arctic, including sites associated with the earliest documented human inhabitants of this remote region.


Name of property: Church ruin at Hvalsø, episcopal residence at Gardar, and Brattahlid (A Norse/Eskimo cultural landscape)

Coordinates: Narsaq and Qaqortoq, West Greenland Area: 2952 km2
Date of submission: 29/01/2003
Criteria: C (iii)(iv)(v)(vi)
Submitted by: National Cultural Heritage Agency Slotsholsgade 1 DK- 1216 Copenhagen K E-mail: WH list (name, id):
State, Province or Region:

Brief Description

The area, which has Tunulliarfikfjord as its axis, has a length of 100 km and stretches over the municipalities of Narsaq and Qaqortoq. Relatively low mountainous terrain in the inner parts of the fjords is covered by richly flowering sub?arctic vegetation, whereas the coastal fringe consists of an archipelago teeming with numerous small and somewhat larger islands carrying oceanic low heath vegetation. The climate also varies between these two parts of the area and, together with the dissimilarities in the biotopes, this has determined and still determines occupations and existence in the area.

The Eskimo/Greenlandic culture;

Traces of the Eskimo culture are mainly found along the coast and in the archipelago, in the form of ruins of turf houses, tent foundations, stone?built meat caches, hunting beds and graves. On the north side of the islands of Tuttutoq and Illutalik, opposite the town of Narsaq, large clusters of ruined winter houses can be seen that were in use from the Middle Ages until the beginning of the 20th century. Some have been investigated by archaeologists and it is possible to follow the evolution and changes of the Thule Eskimo tradition over this time span up to the time when the culture can be termed Greenlandic. In this ultimate phase, they meet the Norwegians and Danes, and begin the co?existence with these which gradually leads to them abandoning their old settlements and building traditions. Several abandoned settlements can be found inside the area defined. A special example of these is the settlement of Igaliku, where a Norwegian, Anders Olsen, along with his Eskimo wife Tuperna, settled as a farmer at the end of the 18th century. This marked the founding here of a Greenland farming dynasty. The farmers built their houses of stone taken from the farm of the Medieval bishop and reintroduced sheep and cattle breeding traditions that have continued to the present day. This settlement has preserved a special character that is particularly well seen in the older buildings which are what still characterise Igaliku.

Hence, within the area that has been defined, the ruins offer the opportunity of tracing the evolution of the Eskimo?Greenlandic culture from the 15th and 16th centuries into the 20th century when other kinds of employment than hunting made new forms of settlement necessary.

The Medieval Norse culture – Hvalsø;

The ruined church at Hvalsø is the best preserved Norse Medieval ruin. It is built of stone and apart from its roof it remains almost complete with gables standing up to about 5 m high. Not far away is a hall constructed using the same techniques as in the church and similarly well preserved. Architecturally, these ruins are an expression of the contacts which existed with both Norway and the islands of northern Scotland; they are also in keeping with contemporary styles prevailing on the continent. They thus demonstrate surprising internationality despite the remoteness of this locality in relation to the Medieval cultural power centres in Europe. The church is assumed to have been erected around 1300 and must be seen as an expression of the dynamism that conveyed both the cultural and the religious currents inside the spiritual empire of the Roman Catholic church. At the same time, it is an expression of the vitality prevailing in this westernmost part of the Norse world, which testifies to the will of the people for continued fellowship with the Norwegian/Icelandic world from which they originated, as well as with the rest of Christianity. Icelandic sources dating from 1414 and 1424 tell of a wedding that took place in Hvalsø church in 1408. This is the last that is known of the Norse communities in Greenland, which are assumed to have been abandoned around 1500.

The episcopal residence at Gardar;

The episcopal residence and related buildings, now in the settlement of Igaliku, belong to a see that was established in 1126. The see was dedicated to St. Nicholas and functioned with a bishop until the end of the 14th century. A cathedral was erected along with a residence for the bishop and various service facilities. The church underwent several alterations, ending as a cruciform cathedral whose foundations can be seen today. The buildings were placed on the largest plain in the Eastern Settlement (the larger of the two settlements that made up the Norse community in Greenland) and stood as a compact core of 10 buildings surrounded by more than 40 service facilities, dwellings and other buildings scattered over the plain. These 10 ruins mostly consist of the stone foundations of the walls in their original positions so that the extent of the settlement, both individual buildings and collectively, can be determined and understood.

There are probably very few countries in the world where Christianity was introduced twice, but this is actually the case in Greenland. Here, at Igaliku, was "Gardar", the westernmost Roman Catholic see and also the first in the western hemisphere in pre?Columbian time. The Christian message was administered from here, the centre of the Norse Eastern Settlement, until the settlements were abandoned around 1500. We know the names of the bishops, and with the placenames and the names of persons identified the locality becomes an important reference point for both Greenlandic Norse history and our understanding of the dissemination of European civilisation in the Middle Ages.

Significant agricultural production went on in connection with the see, too, and there were stalls for about 100 cows. To be able to feed all these animals it was necessary to ensure stable production from the fields. To maintain this, an extensive irrigation system was constructed, with reservoirs at several levels and canals which spread out across the entire plain. The see ran the largest farm in Greenland, and its ruins help us to understand how the Medieval Greenland farmer laid his agrarian strategy.


Southern Greenland was colonised from Iceland around the mid?980's, and the leader of this movement, the legendary chieftain Erik the Red, occupied land innermost in the fjord of Tunulliarfik, calling the place Brattahlid and the fjord Eriksfjord. This place is identified as the present sheep?farming settlement of Qassiarsuk, where it is now possible to see the ruins of a large Norse community. Archaeological excavations show that the place was inhabited throughout the Norse period, partly as the seat of the secular authorities. According to written Icelandic sources, it was also from here, at the beginning of the 11th century, that the ships which discovered North America sailed. The same sources also relate that Greenland's first church, and therefore also the first church in the western hemisphere, was built at Brattahlid by Erik the Red's wife, Tjodhilde. Archaeological investigations in the 1960's were able to confirm this. No surface traces of this church were to be seen, but on the basis of the archaeological observations a turf bank has now been constructed to mark the extent of this little church. The other ruins date from the final phase of the settlement and demonstrate the rich variation in the types of buildings in use in the Norse community. Close to the fjord, there are also two excavated and reconstructed 17th century Eskimo ruins.

Miscellaneous features;

In addition to the groups of ruins described above, the area that has been defined also contains other large and small clusters of ruins. Together, they constitute a significant portion of the Medieval Norse cultural landscape in southern Greenland. Thanks to their location in a relatively barren, marginal area with a low population density, this unique cultural landscape has largely been preserved intact. Unlike anywhere else within the Nordic cultural sphere, it is possible to observe buildings of various kinds and with various functions that play, along with landscape elements, roles in the "social space" which was the setting and scene of action for the Greenlandic?Norse culture. This area offers an absolutely exceptional example of the onset of a culture, its development and its demise, all within a period of some 500 years.


Name of property: Herðubreiðarlindir and Askja
Coordinates: 65°12' N - 16°12' W / 65°01' N - 16°45' W
Date of submission: 18/12/2001
Criteria: N (i)(iii)(iv)
Submitted by: Menntamalaraduneytid. Ministry of Education, Science and Culture
WH list (name, id):
State, Province or Region:

Brief Description

The mountain, Herðubreið, is of table-mount type that is also an example of volcanic eruption under a glacier, formed during the last Ice Age, when the glacier was about 1,000 m thick. The area's importance is linked to the rich and diverse vegetation in the oasis at the banks of river, Lind6 and in Grafarl6nd. The most common species of plants are: Archangelica, Tealeaved willow, Broad-leaved willow and Least willow, but the most colourful of all is the Arctic river-beauty. Also fascinating is the multitude of species categorised as primitive plants. A multitude of Pink-footed geese nest in the Herðubreiðarlindir and Grafarlönd area. Many other bird species inhabit the spring areas, e.g. Harlequin ducks, Mallards, Red-throated divers, Purple sandpipers, White wagtails, Snow buntings, Long-tailed duck, Red-necked phalaropes, Arctic terns, Arctic skuas, Falcons, Ravens, Merlins and Great skuas.

The caldera, Askja, in the DyngjufjC511 central volcano, is among the most remarkable geological formations. The Dyngjufjöll mountain, formed mostly by sub-glacial eruption, with Askja being formed at the end of the Ice Age in a major eruption that emptied the magma chamber underneath, causing the roof of the magma chamber to subside. Askja is still quite active, with its foundation gradually sinking. In 1875, an immensely powerful eruption occurred at the present site of the lake, Oskjuvatn. During 1922 to 1929 several small eruptions occurred and one more recently in 1961. In the 1875 eruption, the crater Viti (Inferno) was formed in a single explosive eruption. Water has accumulated in the crater and its temperature is about 300C, depending on the amount of melt-water discharging into it.

In 1907 a mysterious and tragic event took place in the Askja area during a German scientific expedition. The geologist Walter von Knebel and painter Max Rudolf drowned in lake Askja while conducting their research. They vanished without a trace. Von Knebels fiancée commented after searching for the men unsuccessfully, "Few mortal men are consigned to such a majestic grave as the two who rest in this stately, bright mountain lake. " The fiancée had a cairn stone monument built in 1908 to commemorate the two men.

The legendary outlaw Eyvindur Jónsson spent the winter of 1774-75 in the Herðubreiðarlindir area. He considered it the worst winter of the entire term of his exile.


The Laponian Area - Tysfjord, the fjord of Hellemobotn and Rago (extension)

Date of Submission: 07/10/2002
Criteria: (iii)(v)(vii)(viii)(ix)
Category: Mixed
Submission prepared by: Ministry of the Environment Directorate for Nature Management
State, Province or Region: Municipalities of Tysfjord, Hamaroy and Sørfold in the county of Nordland
Ref.: 1750


The combination of magnificent scenery, ancient cultural landscape and a living Lule Sami settlement beside Hellemofjorden is unique. This is a core area for the Lule Sami settlement in Norway and has many important cultural monuments from earlier settlement phases, representing appreciable cultural-historical values. The Lule Sami population is a minority among the Norwegian Sami people. Historically there have been close relations across the country boarder as the Norwegian Lule Sami population origin from Sweden.

The area consists of an extensive, unspoilt mountain massif with varied topography, ranging from the high peaks in the northwest to a rounded upland plateau landscape in the east. The mountainous area is broken up by a highly branched system of fjords and many large and small U-shaped valleys. The scenery is characterised by large, smoothly polished, sloping slabs of rock on the mountainsides, and a karstic landscape dotted with numerous caves. Whereas the mountainsides have little drift, the valleys contain huge thickness. The shortest distance on the Scandinavian peninsula between the fjord and the main watershed occurs in these woodlands in Hellemobotn and Mannfjordbotn that certainly deserve protection. The Rago national park, abuts Swedish national parks in the Laponian Area, and is dominated by a wild dramatic mountain landscape with deep ravines and great boulders.

Name of property: Islands of Jan Mayen and Bouvet as parts of a serial transnational nomination of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge system

Coordinates: Jan Mayen Island N71 W8 30 Bouvet Island S54 25 E3 21
Date of submission: 21/06/2007
Submitted by: The Directorate for Nature Management The Directorate for Cultural Heritage
WH list (name, id):
State, Province or Region: Norway

Brief Description

The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is a submarine mountain chain forming the boundary between the North and South American Plates and the European and African Plates. The continents are moving away from each other and volcanic activity has created a submarine ridge stretching from the Norwegian Sea to the southern Atlantic Ocean. In places the ridge rises above sea level, creating islands and groups of islands belonging to five nations. The Norwegian islands of Jan Mayen and Bouvet form the northern and southern supramarine extremities of the ridge. The other supramarine points are islands and cliffs belonging to Brazil, Great Britain, Portugal and Iceland. All of Iceland has been created by this geological process. The active zone stretches across the whole of Iceland, from southwest to northeast, and is clearly visible, for example, at Thingvellir (inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004).

Jan Mayen Island

The island of Jan Mayen is surrounded by the deep Greenland, Iceland and Norwegian Seas. Total area of land is 375 km2. The climate is arctic maritime, with frequent storms and persistent fog in the border zone between the high arctic and subarctic transitional zones.

The stratovolcano Beerenberg (2.277 m.a.s.l.), is the northernmost active supramarine volcano in the world. Its last eruption took place in 1985.

The geographic position, its geology below and above sea-level, and its relationship to the geophysical processes of the atmosphere and the ocean, combines to form a particular set of environmental factors that places Jan Mayen Island in a unique biogeographical position.

Plant societies that include endemic and rare species are found on the island. A total of 75 species of vascular plants, 180 species of mosses and 150 species of lichens (7 endemic) have been recorded to date.

A total of 98 species of birds have been recorded, 27 of which are reported to have bred here. The total breeding population of seabirds is estimated to 270.000 pairs. The four most common are Northern Fulmars, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Brünnich's Guillemots and Little Auks. Jan Mayen Island is regarded as an important "rescue platform" for migrating birds.

300.000 Greenland Seals (Pagophilus groenlandicus) and 200.000 Hooded Seals (Cystophora cristata) are reported to breed in the areas north-west of Jan Mayen. If sea-ice conditions are favourable during winter and spring, these seal-populations also breed in the areas around Jan Mayen. The population of hooded seal is estimated to constitute 25% of the world population.

Jan Mayen Island's cultural heritage is rich relative to its modest size (373 km², with Beerenberg taking a dominant place). There are remains of early 17th century Dutch whaling stations and whalers graves, the foundations of one of the 1st International Polar Year (1882-83) Arctic stations, Norwegian hunting and trapping cabins from the early 20th century, ruins of the first meteorological stations starting in 1921, Allied and German World War II monuments and sites, and heritage from the establishment of the current navigation (Loran) activity starting in 1959.

Bouvet Island

Located 2.400 km southwest of Cape of Good Hope, Bouvet Island is considered one of the most isolated islands in the world. The total area of land is 58,5 km2, and the inactive shield volcano Olavtoppen (789 m.a.s.l.) is the highest point of the island. 93% of the island is covered with permanent ice. Although volcanic activity has declined, fumaroles are still abundant.

The climate is maritime antarctic with mean temperature -1,5oC. Fair weather is extremely rare, and with its steep and almost inaccessible coastline the island is only visited for short periods by transitory research expeditions.

There are no higher plants on the island and the flora consists mainly of lichens and mosses. A lava shelf on the west coast is an important nesting site for birds. Macaroni Penguins and Chinstrap Penguins are dominant species, but Adele Penguins have also been recorded to breed. Two species of seals, Antarctic Fur Seals and Southern Elephant Seals, are breeding on the island.

Bouvet Island's extremely tough climate and natural conditions have destroyed the small huts and flagpole that were the first known structures to be placed on the island, in 1927 and 1929. There is no designated cultural heritage on the island today. A container equipped as a research station was placed on the island in 1997.

Name of property: Svalbard Archipelago
Coordinates: N78 00 E20 00
Date of submission: 21/06/2007
Submitted by: The Directorate for Nature Management The Directorate for Cultural Heritage
WH list (name, id):
State, Province or Region: Norway, Svalbard

Brief Description


An Arctic archipelago (total land area ca 62 700 km²), approximately 60 % of which is covered by snow and ice. The highest point is Newtontoppen 1713 m a.s.l. Cold water and air masses from the polar region, which meet warmer water and air masses from the south (the Atlantic Ocean Current), produce great differences in climate within the archipelago. Nevertheless, Longyearbyen receives only 190 mm of precipitation and northern and eastern parts of Svalbard may be characterisered as an Arctic desert. Svalbard has bedrock from almost every geological period, as well as rich occurrences of fossils. The sparse vegetation means that the history of the evolution of the Earth and geological processes are unusually distinct. Svalbard is a natural archive for geology and natural history that is of great scientific value.

Svalbard has a varied high-Arctic environment where large areas are little affected by modern human activity. It has mountains and valleys with glaciers, permanent snowfields, nunataks, plateaus with virtually no vegetation, canyons, large valleys with rich tundra vegetation, long fjord s and fjord glaciers, as well as low-lying wetland plains, beach ridges, islands, lagoons and bird cliffs on the coasts.

The vegetation cover is sparse, but there are large geographical variations. The diversity of species is great despite the isolated location of the archipelago. A total of 1143 species of plants have been recorded, 173 of which are vascular plants. Large populations of Arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus), Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) and marine mammals like polar bears, various species of seals (including walrus) and whales (11) are found. Svalbard char (Salvelinus alpinus) live in lakes and rivers in many parts of the archipelago. Svalbard has numerous seabird colonies and many important breeding sites for geese and eider ducks. Several species have their northernmost breeding areas and/or habitats in Svalbard. A total of 203 species of birds have been recorded, 49 of which are known to have bred here. The waters around Svalbard house rich marine resources on which many species of animals and birds depend.

The natural biological diversity and the on-going ecological processes are largely intact. Major technical encroachments are mostly concentrated in the few settlements, and Svalbard can be regarded as the largest and least disturbed wilderness area in Norway.

Cultural history

Svalbard is in a special situation in being located close to the North Pole and at the same time being easily accessible thanks to open waters as a result of warm ocean currents. People from many parts of the world have visited and periodically lived and worked in the archipelago, mostly on a seasonal basis, since its discovery by Willem Barentsz in 1596. They came here to hunt and trap, explore and carry out research or prospect for and work the mineral resources. In the past 100 years or so, these activities have provided a basis for year-round settlement. There are now Norwegian and Russian communities with modern infrastructure and a total population of approximately 2600. At the same time, large areas are virtual wilderness and are subject to strict protection regulations.

Several nations hunted whales here from the 17th century. As early as the 18th century, Russian trappers overwintered here to hunt and trap seals (especially walrus), foxes, polar bears and reindeer. Trapping traditions are to a limited extend continued on certain species. The archipelago has been an important area for journeys to the North Pole, exploration and research since the 19th century, with participants from many nations. Substantial deposits of minerals and metals have been found, and have formed the basis for industrial activity. Coal mining began early in the 20th century. Companies from several countries have mined coal, but now only Norwegian and Russian companies are involved. Attempts have been made to work other mineral resources, some of which were aborted due to special natural conditions (for example, marble). The easy accessibility of the archipelago has meant that tourism is now a growing livelihood.

The Lofoten islands

Date of Submission: 07/10/2002
Criteria: (iii)(viii)(ix)(x)
Category: Mixed
Submission prepared by: Ministry of the Environment Directorate for Nature Management
State, Province or Region: Municipalities of Røst, Værøy, Moskenes, Flakstad and Vestvågøy in the county of Nordland
Ref.: 1751


The coast of Nordland is topographically and biologically varied with islands with precipitous birdcliffs fringed by a narrow strandflat, sand dunes and bouldery beaches. North of the Polar Circle the Lofoten islands stretches about 250 km S-SW, from the fjord of Ofoten to the outer Roest islands. The line of islands builds a up to 1100 m high wall of mountains and cliffs on the north side of the Vestfjord.

Geologically the area belongs to the Lofoten Eruptive Province and consists chiefly of Precambrian rocks. Rocky shores are the principal type of shore in this region. The Moskenes stream between the outer Lofoten islands is a powerful and dangerous maelstrom. Since pre-viking time the Lofoten islands have been and still are the centre for the Norwegian cod-fisheries. The export to Europe over Bergen was established early in the Middle Age. The region has unique qualities associated with its marine resources, geology, plant and animal life, cultural monuments and exiting scenary. The birdcliffs on Røst and Værøy are among the largest in the Nordic countries and have earned an international reputation. The area was settled very early, contains many unique cultural monuments.

Russian Federation

Name of property: Nature Park "Lena Pillars"
Coordinates: N60 44 49 E125 00 04
Date of submission: 11/07/2006
Submitted by:
WH list (name, id): Lena Pillars Nature Park
State, Province or Region: Khangalassky ulus (region) of Yakutia

Brief Description

In the NP "Lena Pillars" area the main landscape-environrnental factors: the geological texture and relief, the geocryological condition and climate - are characterized with the considerable heterogeneity.

Geology and relief

The territory of the NP "Lena Pillars" is situated at the northern periclinale of the Aldan anteclises, complicated by the small- amplitude arched uplift and protrusions occupying the large areas. In the park area the sedimentary mantle is represented by unexposed upper Precambrian, exposed Cambrian and Quaternary deposits which lie flat or with hade of layers measured by minutes or rarely by the first degrees. Along the Sinyaya River the lower Cambrian deposits are exposed, and along the Lena and the Buotoma rivers the lower and middle Cambrian deposits are denuded. In the site between the Mukhata brook and the Sinaya River in the outcrops there are discontinuous dislocations without considerable shifts. The thickness of Lower Cambrian strata is 580-920 m, and the thickness of Middle-Cambrian ones - 400-450 m.

The lithogenic base of landscapes consists of the alternate horizons of rocks (limestone, marlstones, dolomites, slates) of Middle Cambrian in the eastern part of the park and of Lower Cambrian in the western part, which differs from each other by the resistance of the process of weathering. Besides in the Buotamsky part of the park there are landscapes where noncalcareous, neogenic and Jurassic rocks form the lithogenic base. The Quaternary deposits weren represented by the complex of alluvial, undivided polygenetic strata as well as by slope, eluvial and eolian deposits.

The major part of the park area is located within the stratum-denudated low plateau with absolute marks of watersheds of 200-400 m. The fluent relief of plateau discontinues in the sites of exposure of bedrock, on the valley edges. The territory of the park is located in the southwest outlying districts of the vast Central-Yakutian lowland that gradually goes from the Erge- Echite brook to divided Prilenskoe plateau. The boundary between these geomorphological structures passes through the watersheds with absolute altitudes of about 300 m.

The permafrost is widespread, and its thickness varies from 100-200 m in the rivers valleys up to 400-500 in the pre-watershed surfaces of plateau. In the pre-watershed plateau the frozen karst was developed, and in the area of deposits of ice complex -thermokarst, and on sandy terraces -interna1 erosion and eolian processes took place. Only in the middle Lena including the territory of the park one can observe the landscape of wind-drift sands-tukulanswith the elements of the cold northern desert.


The climate is sharply continental. When changing from a plateau to a lowland plain some differences in climate characteristic re evident. In the weather stations located in the plain the average annual air temperature (-10" C) is rather lower than in the weather stations located within a plateau (-8,2" and -8,s" C). In the rivers valleys the total positive air temperatures are 1725-1 775" degree-days for a summer, and in the pre watershed surface of the plateau - 1560".

In the north-east the total rainfall is less than 300 mm, and in the south-west-over 300 mm per year. In the south-west part of the park the average perennial height of snow cover is 41- 46 cm, and in the north-east part - 32 cm.).


Soi1 cover of the Nature Park "Lena Pillars" is rather diverse. In the comparatively small area the main types of soils from yellow-pale and sod-calcareous soils up to chernozem have been revealed in Central and South Yakutia. The dependence of spatial soi1 distribution on the conditions of the relief and soil-forming rocks is well defined.


In the Nature Park "Lena Pillars" 241 species and 23 varieties of alga, belonging to 100 genera, 57 families, 23 orders, 11 classes and 7 divisions have been determined. The major part of phytoplankton consists of diatom, green and blue-green algae.

Mycobiota includes 76 species of aphyllophorous fungi from 43 genera and 1 1 families. The two species - Hericium coralloides and Grifola umbellata have been listed in the Red Data Book of RSFSR and in the new edition of the Red Data Book of RS (Ya.) (2000).

Lichenflora of the territory of the park consists of 83 species of lichens belonging to 33 genera and 13 families from 4 orders. The families Parmeliaceae (26 species) and Cladoniaceae (1 7 species), and genera Cladonia (14), Lecanora ( 3 , Melanelia (5), Peltigera ( 9 , Caloplaca (4), are predominant. The revealed lichenflora is defined as boreal. Bryoflora of the Nature Park "Lena Pillars" includes 202 leaf mosses from 91 genera and 37 families, and there are also 34 species of liverworts from 25 genera and 17 families. It makes up about 40% of the revealed moss flora from al1 Yakutia area. There are two rare species in Yakutia, they are: Indusiella thianschanica listed in the Red Data Book of the RSFSR (1988), and Hygroamblystegium tenax - in the Red Data Book of RS (Ya) (2000).

On geobotanical zoning of Yakutia the territory of "Lena Pillars" is a part of Aldan- Lensky district of Central-Yakutian middle-taiga sub province of sub zone of middle-taiga forests. In this territory larch forests with small share of pine forests predominate. On the watersheds there are many grass and sedge meadows. In the above flood-plains and in the slopes of parent banks one can find the relict steppe sites that widely spread in the middle Lena valley. Some small areas are covered with mountainous dwarf-shrub-green-moss larch forests with a share of a spruce, a birch and epithitic plants. Here and there wind-drift sands - tukulany (nonfixed and half-fixed sands) with rare psarnrnophytic plants occur. The largest tukulan-Samys Kumahga is within the park area. On its dunes the plant cover is 30-40%, and on the tukulan adjacent to the Buotoma mouth it is only 5%. In the lower of Buotoma the abandoned arable lands overgrown with apophytes occupy the large areas. In some fallow lands there are mixed herbaceous meadows and in the other ones - only one species grows e.g. Artemisia jacutica, or Elytrigia repens. Generally these apophytes are medicinal plants. There are all necessary and favorable conditions for collection of ecologically- pure raw materials.

At present in the territory of the Nature Park "Lena Pillars" (including the Sinaya river basin) 464 species, 276 genera and 8 1 families of vascular plants have been revealed, 21 among them rare and endangered species, listed in the Red Books of the USSR, RSFSR and Yakutia.


In the park area insects are the most diverse and widespread group of animals inhabiting forests, open meadow and steppe biocenoses, and ditch and flowing water reservoirs. It is supposed that species composition of insects is not less than 2000 species.

Ichthyofauna of the park consists of 21 forms of fish, and it includes all fish species inhabiting Central-Yakutian region.

Amphibia and reptiles are represented by: Siberian salamander (Hynobius keyserlingii Dybowski) and Siberian Wood Frog (Rana amurensis Boulenger), Common Lizard (Lacerta vivipara Jacquin) and Common Adder (Vipera berus L.).

The fauna of nesting birds is represented by 99 species (that amounts approximately 80% of the fauna of nesting birds in Central Yakutia) from 12 orders: Gaviiformes-1, Ciconiiformes- 2, Anseriformes- 12, Falconiformes-9, Galliformes-4, Charadriiformes- 15, Columbiformes- 1, Cuculiformes-2, Strigiformes-5, Apodiformes-1, Piciformes-5, and Passeriformes-42. More than a half (54%) of the protected bird species of Yakutia inhabit or stop while migrating the park area. Bewick's Swan (Cygnus bewickii Yarr.), Peregrine Falcon (Falco rusticolus L.), Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus L.), White-tailed Eagle (Heliaeetus albicilla L.), Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos L.), Osprey (Pandion haliaetus L.), and Siberian Crane (Gms leucogeranus Pall.) are protected species of the World ornithofauna and have been 'listed in Supplements to the Convention of CITES. 42 mammal species inhabit the park area. As a whole the complex of mammal species represents itself as a typical fauna of the middle taiga sub zone of Paleoarctic where Sable (Martes zibellina L.), Brown Bear (ursus arctos L.), Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris L.), Elk (Alces alces L.), Chipmunk (Tamias sibiricus Laxmann) and others are mass species. Siberian Musk Deer (Moschus moschiferus L.), Northern Pika (Ochotona hyperborea Pall.), mountainforest form of Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus L.) usually inhabit the mountain-taiga complex.Some species - Red Deer (Cervus elaphus L.), Short-tailed field Vole (Microtus agrestis L.) and some species of Chiroptera and Insectivora are common to the south-taiga fauna and here there is a northern boarder of their natural habitat. In the steppe sites close to the mouth area of the Buotama one can find a Roe Deer (Capreolus pygargus L.) and in the left bank area of the park - Long-tailed Souslik (Citellus undulatus Pall.). In the lakes and in the flooded sites the watermeadow species - Muskrat (Ondatra zibethica L.), Water Vole (Arvicola terrestris L.), Root Vole (Microtus oeconomus Pall.) occur. Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus Berkenhout) and House Mice (Mus musculus L.) are synanthropic forms.

By the area of distribution and population Large-toothed Shrew (Sorex daphaenodon Thomas), Tundra Shrew (Sorex tundrensis Merr.), Laxmann's Shrew (Sorex caecutiens Laxmann), Narrow-skulled Vole (Microtus gregalis Pall.), Ruddy Vole (Clethrionomus rutilus Pall.), Siberian Chipmunk (Tamias sibiricus Laxmann), are the most numerous species among Insectivora and small Rodentia; Daubenton's Bat (Myotis daubentoni Kuhl.), Mountain Hare (Lepus timidus L.), Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris L.), Muskrat (Ondatra zibethica L.), Largetoothed red-backed Vole (Clethrionomus rufocanus Sundervall), Root Vole (Microtus oeconomus Pall.), Water Vole (Arvicola terrestris L.), are typical species. Among Carnivores Ermine Stoat (Mustela erminea L.), Sable (Martes Zibellina L.) and Brown Bear (Ursus arctos L.) are dominant species. By the population density among Artiodactyla Roe Deer (Capreolus pygargus L.), Siberian Musk Deer (Moschus moschiferus L.) and Red Deer (Cervus elaphus L.) are predominant in the NP "Lena Pillars". Afier adoption of some regulations on protection the populations of Roe Deer (Capreolus pygargus L.), Siberian Musk Deer (Moschus moschiferus L.) and Red Deer (Cervus elaphus L.) has increased in the park area.

Name of property: Magadansky State Nature Reserve

Coordinates: Kava-Chelomdjinsky cluster: E 146°50'; N60°10' Olsky cluster: E151°30';N 59° Yamsky cluster: E155°20'; N59°20' Seimchansky cluster: E153°; N 63°50'
Date of submission: 07/02/2005
Criteria: N (i)(iii)(iv)
Submitted by: Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO Russian Ministry of Natural Resources
WH list (name, id):
State, Province or Region:

Brief Description

All four clusters of Magadansky Reserve are separated from each other, rather hard-to- reach and have no settlements or constant transport roads. Each cluster has its own distinctive features in locality appearance, climate conditions, composition of flora and fauna.

Clusters of the Magadansky Reserve are located within the Northern Far East mainland mountain and upland physical-geographical province. Among them emerges the
Okhotsko-Kolymskoye highland standing on the watershed between Kolyma basin (Arctic basin) and rivers falling into the Okhotsk Sea. From the west the area is adjoined by the south-eastern edge of Cherskogo mountain system and a line of intermountain areas the most noteworthy of which is Seimchano-Buyundinskaya.

The Reserve's area is situated in the zone of moderate and sub-polar climate charactcrzed by cold long winter and cool short summer. The vegetation period is not enough provided by heat, typical are summer frosts and uneven humidification.

All landscape-vegetation groups of the south of the Magadan Region are presented at the Reserve. According to the latest data, at the area of three near-Okhotsk clusters were noted 638 species of higher vascular plants. At floristically poor Seimchansky clusters grow 236 plant species, but the share of continental species absent at other clusters is high here. The most significant features of each cluster from the conservational point of view:

Yamsky coastal cluster - features the disjunctively located part of Siberian spruce areal on the north-eastern edge of its distribution. The cluster is distinguished by the high biodiversity and the abundance of relic dark-coniferous plant species.
Yamsky marine cluster - features the peculiar vegetation of the bird bazaars of Yamsky islands which had apparently been formed as the result of long-time interaction of birds and coastal vegetation.

Kava-Chelomdjinsky cluster - except its vast area and great diversity of vegetation types, is unique by its species composition and wetland complex typology. A line of species on their eastern edge of area1 grows here.
Olsky cluster - has one of the richest specific flora of the northern Far East with great number of endemics of the different floristic regions and relics of different age and genesis.

The peninsula is an intersection spot of arctic and arctic-alpine species' southern migration routes and routes of' Far East species moving to the north.

Simchansky cluster - is the only continental cluster with the composite flood plain structure and rich and diverse wetland and flood plain vegetation. It is peculiar by many species common in the Pacific found in its inland flood plain forests as relics.

In rivers and lakes of the Reserve are met 32 fish species. The most numerous are migrating salmons - humpback salmon, chum salmon, silver salmon (Onchoryncus Gorbuscha, 0. keta, O. kisutch) separate specimen of quinnat and blue-back salmon (O. tschawytscha, 0. nerka) are met. In rivers and lakes of the Seimchansky cluster are common: Arctic grayling, whitefish, Brachymystax lenok, Coregonus cylinotraceous, pike, perch and burbot.

Avifauna of the Reserve is representative for the Okhotsk-Kolyma area. Avifauna list includes 173 species, 150 of which are nesting; the others are noted on passage.

40 species of terrestrial and 8 species of marine mammals have been registered within the Reserve. Most common are Sores caecutiens and Sores daphaenodon, northern redbacked vole, chipmunk, pika, blue hare, brow bear, fox, sable, ermine, mink, locally - elk and bighorn sheep. At all clusters are met, but less typical are: red and Russian flying squirrels, root vole, weasel, gluttton. Lynx is rarely met.

Name of property: The Commander Islands (Comandorsky State Nature Reserve)

Coordinates: Archipelago: N 55°25' - 54°31'; E 165°45' - 168°06' Water area: N 55°55' - 54°01'; E 164°52' - 168°58'
Date of submission: 07/02/2005
Criteria: N (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)
Submitted by: Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO Russian Ministry of Natural Resources
WH list (name, id):
State, Province or Region:

Brief Description

The Commander Islands archipelago consists of 15 islands of different size from 1667 km2 to less than 0.5 km2 which are crowns of a huge submarine volcanic ridge extending from Alaska to Kamchatka. The most ancient Commander structures are dated as the beginning of Paleogene (60-70 million years ago). Now low hills and coniform mountains occupy the most part of the Islands' territory. The highest point of the largest Bering Island is the Steller peak (755 m). The most part of river valleys (except the greatest ones - as a rule formed along fractures) is cut short by a coastal scarp forming picturesque waterfalls 10 - 100 meters high.

Climate is characterized by mild winter (- 4°C in February) and cool summer (+ 10.5°C in August) with short intermediate seasons; low precipitation, constantly high relative humidity of air and strong winds

The Commander elevation shelf and continental slope are characterized with very abrupt depth: in the limits of 30 miles from the shores all the depth diapason can be observed – from littoral to ultraabyssal. It could be mentioned that about 1,000 macrobenthic species inhabit the most studied shallow shelf zone (up to the depth of 40m) only.

As for inland waters the two large islands have well-developed drainage network with one navigable river, and Toporkov and Ariy Kamen' are absolutely devoid of fresh water.

According to the last data, 389 species of vascular plants have been registered in the Commander Islands' flora, relating to 183 genera and 63 families. In the system of floristic zoning the Commander Islands are related to the Commander-Aleut region of Kamchatka province of Boreal floristic area.

There are 203 bird species registered on the Commanders according to the last data, including 58 nesting ones. There is a number of endemic forms and it is the only place in Russia where a number of American birds are regularly reproducing.

Fauna of the marine mammals is extraordinary diverse. 32 species of 13 families and 4 orders has been registered there. About 50% of marine mammal fauna representatives are regarded as rare and needing special protection: 12 species are enlisted into the IUCN Red List and another 2 species - into the Red Book of Russia.

Arctic fox is the only aboriginal species of terrestrial mammals inhabiting the Commander Islands. There are two relict endemic Arctic fox sub-species: Bering Arctic fox - Alopex lagopus beringensis and Medny one -A. I. semenovi, differing not only by their outward appearance, but also by some ecological and morphological features.

According to preliminary data, the fish fauna of the Commander underwater plateau includes 216 species and subspecies, representing 148 genera, 56 families and 20 orders.

Name of property: The National Park of Vodlozerof
Date of submission: 15/05/1996
Submitted by:
WH list (name, id): Vodlozero National Park
State, Province or Region:

Brief Description

Name of property: The Putorana plateau (Putoransky State Nature Reserve)

Coordinates: northern point: 69°53'N, 93°28'Esouthern point: 68°24'N,94°05'Ewestern point: 69°00'N, 91°45'Eeastern point: 68°42'N, 96°38'E Date of submission: 07/02/2005
Criteria: N (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)
Submitted by: Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCORussian Ministry of Natural Resources WH list (name, id): "The Putorana Plateau" Nature Complex
State, Province or Region:

Brief Description

The Putorana basalt plateau stretches from the Northern polar circle to the north almost to 71° N and from 88° E to the east reaching 101°E. It occupies the major part of the rectangle formed by Yenisei river on the west, Kotyi river (in its upper and middle flow) on the east, Kheta river (in its middle and lower flow) on the north and Lower Tunguska on the south. The length of this mountain country is more than 500 km, the width is about 250 km. Average height of mountains is 900-1200 m. Depth of canyons is rather significant - up to 1500 m. The most typical amplitude of relative heights is 800-1000 m. The highest point of the Putorana mountains is Kamen' peak, which is 1701 m.

The Putorana plateau is the highest cupola-like elevation within Central Siberian plateau, which has round outlines in the foreground with slight roughness in its north- western part. Area of the plateau is about 250 000 sq. km, similar with Rumania in its outlines.

Perhaps no other geographic province of the former USSR has such contradictory hydrographic net as the Putorana. Here typical mountain waterflows abundant with rapids and waterfalls are combined with deep hollows with drained lakes with powerful alluvial and limnic sedimentations. In some parts of the plateau, rivers have silt covered beds, typical for plain rivers, as their waterflows haven't yet ragged through rapidly elevated surface.

Flora of the Putorana plateau has 569 species of vascular plants, which are related to 209 genuses and 57 families. They make 3 altitude complexes: forest - 224 species (39 %), mountain - 183 species (32 %), high-mountain - 162 species (29 %). In the Putorana flora is noted the prevalence of circum-polar species (250 species, 44 % of total flora). On the second place are Asian (Siberian) plants (178 species, 31 % of flora). Much less are Eurasian (86 species, 15 %) and Asian-American plant species (55, 10 %). The Asian group includes 3 central Siberian species, 2 endemic of the lower Yenisei and 5 endemic of the Putorana plateau.
On the Putorana lay southern and northern borders of areals of many species. Especially high is the number of plants with northern areal border (184 species, 32 % of flora), which is connected with the location of the plateau on the border between taiga and forest tundra. The major boreal (61 %) and mountain (64 %) species, and many alpine species are on their edge of spreading on the Putorana.

Within the territory of the Putoransky reserve dwell 34 species of mammals, 140 species of birds, 25 species of fish. Across the territory of the preserve lays the migration route of the worlds biggest wild reindeer Rangifir tclrardzu population (over 500 000 specimen). The plateau is the only habitat for one of the worlds largest poorly studied mammals - the bighorn sheep Ovis carmdensis nivicoln, which 15 000 years ago was separated from the main population and formed the subspecies. Most interesting representatives of the plateau's rare and disappearing bird species are white jer-falcon Fulco rtrsticoltrs and white-tailed eagle Haliueettls albicilla.

Name of property: The Valamo archipelago

Coordinates: E 31° N 61°
Date of submission: 15/05/1996
Criteria: C (i)(ii)(iii) N (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)
Submitted by: Ministry of Culture of RSFSR
WH list (name, id):
State, Province or Region:

Brief Description

The Valamo archipelago together with the surrounding waters of Lake Ladoga represents a cultural and ecological complex with more than 200 relicts of the past. The overwhelming majority of the architectural assemble are concentrated on Valamo island. The most considerable of them are as such: the Main Monastery with the main church of the Transfiguration -1887-1896- ; the Outer square of the main Monastery buildings (1807-1910) with the church of the Apostoles Peter and Paul above the Holy gate and some other memorials of the main monastery. The archaeological remains are also to be regarded as memorials which reflect both the history of archipelago and that of those tribes and generations who used to live on the North west of Russia.