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Decision 44 COM 8B.15
Quanzhou: Emporium of the World in Song-Yuan China (China)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/21/44.COM/8B and WHC/21/44.COM/INF.8B1,
  2. Inscribes Quanzhou: Emporium of the World in Song-Yuan China, China, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criterion (iv);
  3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

    Brief synthesis

    Located on the southeast coast of China, the serial property Quanzhou: Emporium of the World in Song–Yuan China reflects in an exceptional manner the spatial structure that combined production, transportation and marketing and the key institutional, social and cultural factors that contributed to the spectacular rise and prosperity of Quanzhou as a maritime hub of the East and South-east Asia trade network during the 10th – 14th centuries AD. The Song-Yuan Quanzhou emporium system was centred and powered by the city located at the junction of river and sea, with oceans to the south-east that connected it with the world, with mountains to the far north-west that provided for production, and with a water-land transportation network that joined them all together.

    The component parts and contributing elements of the property include sites of administrative buildings and structures, religious buildings and statues, cultural memorial sites and monuments, production sites of ceramics and iron, as well as a transportation network formed of bridges, docks and pagodas that guided the voyagers. They comprehensively reflect the distinguishing maritime territorial, socio-cultural and trade structures of Song-Yuan Quanzhou.

    Criterion (iv): Quanzhou, Emporium of the World in Song–Yuan China outstandingly illustrates, through its component parts, the territorial integrated structure and the key institutional, transportation, production, marketing and socio-cultural factors that turned it into a global-level emporium and key commercial hub during a highly prosperous stage of Asia's maritime trade in the 10th - 14th centuries AD. The property demonstrates Quanzhou’s great contributions to the economic and cultural development of East and South-east Asia.


    The serial property includes the necessary components and attributes that reflect Quanzhou as a premier maritime emporium of the world of the 10th - 14th centuries AD. The component parts and contributing elements maintain close functional, social, cultural and spatial links with each other, altogether illustrating the integrated territorial system and key facets and factors of Quanzhou's maritime trade system in the Song and Yuan periods. The immediate setting of the property, important views and other supporting areas or attributes, are all included in the buffer zone; areas sensitive to visual impacts and background environments demonstrating overall association with the serial property are all contained in demarcated wider setting areas and placed under effective protection. Urban development pressures, impacts from climate change, natural threats, and tourism pressures appear under effective control, through a set of protective and management measures.


    The series as a whole, comprised of its component parts and contributing elements, credibly conveys the overall territorial layout, functions of the historical trade system, historical social structure, and historical chronological information of Quanzhou as a global maritime emporium in the Song and Yuan periods. Surviving original locations; information of historical functions that can be clearly recognized and understood; historical information of forms, materials, processes and traditional maintenance mechanisms and technical systems reflected in physical remains and their historical records, as well as surviving beliefs and cultural traditions that these monuments and sites carry; all testify to a high degree of authenticity and credibility of the component parts. The physical evidence can be confirmed by a wealth of historical documentation and Chinese and international research results.

    Protection and management requirements

    All the component parts of the serial property of Quanzhou are subject to the protection of relevant laws and regulations at the national and provincial level (Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Cultural Relics and its Implementation Regulations and the Regulations of Fujian Province on the Protection and Management of Cultural Property). They are all owned by the state and granted with often multiple protective designations as per laws and regulations governing Famous Historical and Cultural Cities, religious affairs, marine affairs, and Scenic Areas. Traditional maintenance and conservation mechanisms also play an active role in this regard. For protection and management effectiveness, the buffer zone and the wider setting have been incorporated into the property's protection and management system and are covered by the Management Plan for the Serial Property of Quanzhou, prepared and implemented, and the Rules of Fujian Province for the Protection and Management of Historic Monuments and Sites of Ancient Quanzhou (Zayton), as revised.

    The property's management system is designed following China's administrative mechanism for cultural heritage and incorporated into the four-level administrative framework at national, provincial, city/county, and property levels. It is based on the principles of responsibilities designated at different levels, localized administration, and active community participation. A coordinated management system at the municipal level integrates management measures and implementation plans for each component part. A management working group meets quarterly and guarantees overall coordination. Management entities provide sufficient financial, human and technical guarantees and enable continuous and proper conservation of the authenticity and integrity of the serial property as a whole and each of its component parts. A long-term protection and management strategy, indicating specific requirements, has been prepared for the series and its progressive implementation is crucial for the overall management effectiveness.

  4. Recommends that the State Party give consideration to the following:
    1. Providing the real extent of the component parts areas, as some of the provided surfaces are related to a contributing element only, and not to the whole surface of the component forming the series,
    2. Further developing the analysis of the attributes expressing the Outstanding Universal Value of the property for management purposes,
    3. Strengthening and making more explicit from an operational point of view the links between the overall management plan for the property and the other plans existing for individual component parts or other designations,
    4. Further developing the archaeological research programme and implementing it,
    5. Closely monitoring visitor pressures and implementing redressing measures where necessary,
    6. Implementing steadily the Long-Term Protection and Management Strategy;
  5. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, a report on the implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations and on the Long-Term Protection and Management Strategy for review by ICOMOS.
Decision Code
44 COM 8B.15
Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
States Parties 1
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision