Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

World Heritage Committee Inscribes 46 New Sites on World Heritage List

Sunday, 7 December 1997
access_time 19 min read

The following sites have been inscribed on the World Heritage List by the World Heritage Committee at its 21st session, meeting in Naples, Italy, 1-6 December, 1997. A total of 46 sites were inscribed: 7 natural sites; 38 cultural sites; and 1 mixed site. The work of the 21st Session thus brings the total number of sites on the World Heritage List to 552 (418 cultural, 114 natural and 20 mixed) in 112 States. 4 States Parties have sites on the World Heritage List for the first time: Dominica, Estonia, Kenya, and Latvia.

Natural (N) or Cultural (C) criteria are indicated following the name of the site and the year of inscription.


Heard and McDonald Islands (N i ii)
Heard Island and McDonald Islands are located in the Southern Ocean, approximately 1700 km from the Antarctic continent and 4100 km south- west of Perth. As the only volcanically active subantarctic islands they "open a window into the earth", thus providing opportunities to observe ongoing geomorphic processes and glacial dynamics. The distinctive conservation value of Heard and McDonald , one of the rare pristine island ecosystems on our globe, lies in the complete absence of alien plants and animals, as well as of human impact.

Macquarie Island (N i iii)
Macquarie Island is a 34 km long by 5 km wide oceanic island in the Southern Ocean, 1500 km southeast of Tasmania and approximately half way between Australia and the Antarctic continent. The island is the exposed crest of the undersea Macquarie Ridge, raised to its present position where the Indo-Australian tectonic plate meets the Pacific plate. It is a site of major geoconservation significance, being the only place on earth where rocks from the earth's mantle (6km below the ocean floor) are being actively exposed above sea level. These unique exposures include excellent examples of pillow basalts and other extrusive rocks.


Hallstatt-Dachstein Salzkammergut Cultural Landscape (C iii iv)
Human activity in the magnificent natural landscape of the Salzkammergut began in prehistoric times, when its deposits of salt began to be exploited as early as the 2nd millennium BC. This resource formed the basis of the prosperity of the area up to the middle of the 20th century, a prosperity that is reflected in the fine architecture of the town of Hallstatt.


The Sundarbans (N ii iv)
The Sundarbans mangrove forest, one of the largest such forests in the world, is formed at the delta of the Ganges, Bramaputra and Meghna rivers on the Bay of Bengal. The site is composed of three sanctuaries (Sundarbans West, South, and East) with a total area of 140,000 ha. It is located adjacent to the border of India's Sundarbans World Heritage site, inscribed in 1987. The three sanctuaries, intersected by a complex network of tidal waterways, mud flats and small islands of salt-tolerant mangrove forests, present an excellent example of on- going ecological processes, displaying the effects of monsoon rains, delta formation, tidal influence and plant colonization. The area is known for its wide range of fauna including 260 bird species, the Royal Bengal tiger and other threatened species, such as the estuarine crocodile and the Indian Python.


The Historic Centre of Sao Luis (C iii iv v)
The late 17th-century core of this historic town, founded by the French and occupied by the Dutch before coming under Portuguese control, preserves its original rectangular street pattern in its entirety. Thanks to a period of economic stagnation in the early 20th century, an exceptional number of high-quality historic buildings have survived, making this an outstanding example of an Iberian colonial town.


The Ancient City of Ping Yao (C ii iii iv)
Ping Yao is an exceptionally well preserved example of a traditional Han Chinese city, founded in the 14th century. Its urban fabric is an epitome of the evolution of architectural styles and town planning in Imperial China over five centuries. Of special interest are the imposing buildings associated with banking, for which Ping Yao was the centre for the whole of China in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Classical Gardens of Suzhou (C i ii iii iv v)
Classical Chinese garden design, which seeks to recreate natural landscapes in miniature, is nowhere better illustrated than in the four gardens in the historic city of Suzhou. They are universally acknowledged to be masterpieces of the genre. Dating from the 16th- 18th centuries, they reflect in their meticulous design the profound metaphysical importance of natural beauty in Chinese culture.

The Old Town of Lijiang (C ii iv)
The Old Town of Lijiang, which adapted itself harmoniously to the uneven topography of this key commercial and strategic site, has retained an historic townscape of high quality and authenticity. Its architecture is noteworthy for the blending of elements from several cultures that have come together over many centuries. Lijiang also possesses an ancient water-supply system of great complexity and ingenuity that is still functioning effectively.

Costa Rica

Cocos Island National Park (N ii iv)
Cocos Island National Park, located 550 km off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, is the only island in the tropical eastern Pacific with a humid tropical forest. Its position as the first point of contact with the northern equatorial counter current and the myriad of interactions between the island and the surrounding marine ecosystem make the area an ideal laboratory for the study of biological processes. The underwater world of the national park has become famous due to the attraction it has for divers who rate it as one of the best places in the world to view large pelagic species such as sharks, rays, tuna and dolphins.


The Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in the Historic Centre of Porec (C ii iii iv)
The group of religious monuments in Porec, where Christianity was established as early as the 4th century, constitutes the most complete surviving complex of this type. The basilica, atrium, baptistery, and episcopal palace are outstanding examples of religious architecture, whilst the basilica itself combines classical and Byzantine elements in an exceptional manner.

The Historic City of Trogir (C ii iv)
Trogir is a remarkable example of urban continuity. The orthogonal street pattern of this island settlement dates back to the Hellenistic period, and it has been embellished by successive rulers with many fine public and domestic buildings and fortifications. Its fine Romanesque churches are complemented by the outstanding Renaissance and Baroque buildings from the Venetian period.


San Pedro de la Roca Castle, Santiago de Cuba (C iv v)
Commercial and political rivalries in the Caribbean region in the 17th century resulted in the construction of this massive series of fortifications on a rocky promontory, in order to protect the important port of Santiago. This intricate complex of forts, magazines, bastions, and batteries is the most complete and best preserved example of Spanish-American military architecture, based on Italian and Renaissance design principles.


Morne Trois Pitons National Park (N i iv)
Luxuriant natural tropical forest blends with volcanic features of high scenic appeal and scientific interest in this national park centered on the 1,342 m high volcano bearing the name Morne Trois Pitons. With its precipitous slopes and deeply-incised valleys, 50 fumaroles and hot springs, freshwater lakes, a "boiling lake" and five volcanoes, located on the park's nearly 7,000 ha, together with the richest biodiversity within the Lesser Antilles, Morne Trois Pitons National Park presents a rare combination of natural features of World Heritage value.


The Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn (C ii iv)
The origins of Tallinn date back to the 13th century, when a castle was founded by the crusading knights of the Teutonic Order. It developed as a major centre of the Hanseatic League, and its wealth is demonstrated by the opulence of the public buildings (its churches in particular) and the domestic architecture of the merchants=92 houses, which have survived to a remarkable degree despite the ravages of fire and war in the intervening centuries.


The Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne (C ii iv)
Since the pre-Roman period a fortified settlement has existed on the hill where Carcassonne now stands. In its present form it is an outstanding example of a medieval fortified town, with massive defences encircling the castle, its associated houses, streets and the fine Gothic cathedral. Carcassonne is also of exceptional importance because of the long campaign of restoration carried out by Viollet-le-Duc, one of the founders of the modern science of conservation.

France - Spain

Pyrenees - Mount Perdu (N i iii C iii iv v)
This outstanding mountain landscape, which spans the contemporary national borders of France and Spain, is centered around the peak of Mount Perdu, a calcareous massif that rises 3,352 metres. The site, with a total area of 30,639 ha., includes two of Europe's largest and deepest canyons on the Spanish side and three major cirque walls on the more abrupt northern slopes with France, classic presentations of these geologic landforms. But the site is also a pastoral landscape reflecting an agricultural way of life that was once widespread in the upland regions of Europe. It has survived unchanged into the 20th century only in this part of the Pyrenees, providing exceptional insights into past European society through its landscape of villages, farms, fields, upland pastures, and mountain roads.


The 18th-Century Royal Palace at Caserta with the Park, the Aqueduct of Vanvitelli and the San Leucio Complex (C i ii iii iv)
The monumental complex at Caserta, created by Carlo Borbone in the mid 18th century to rival Versailles and Madrid, is exceptional for the way in which it brings together a sumptuous palace and its park and gardens, as well as natural woodland, hunting lodges, and an industrial establishment for the production of silk. It is an eloquent expression of the Enlightenment in material form, integrated into, rather than imposed upon, its natural landscape.

The Residences of the Royal House of Savoy (C i ii iv v)
When Emmanuel-Philibert, Duke of Savoy, moved his capital to Turin in 1562, he began a series of building projects, carried on by his successors, to demonstrate the power of the ruling house. This complex of buildings of high quality, designed and decorated by the leading architects and artists of the time, radiates out into the surrounding countryside from the Royal Palace in the "Command Area" of Turin to include many country residences and hunting lodges.

The Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico), Padua (C ii iii)
The first botanical garden in the world was created in Padua in 1545. It still preserves its original layout - a circular central plot, symbolic of the world, surrounded by a ring of water. Subsequently additional elements have been included, both architectural (ornamental entrances and balustrades) and practical (pumping installations and greenhouses). It continues to serve its original purpose as a source of scientific research.

The Cathedral, Torre Civica and Piazza Grande, Modena (C i ii iii iv)
The magnificent 12th-century Cathedral at Modena is a supreme example of early Gothic art, the work of two great artists (Lanfranco and Wiligelmo). With its associated piazza and the soaring tower, it testifies to the strength of the faith of its builders and to the power of the Canossa dynasty who commissioned it.

The Archaeological Areas of Pompei Ercolano, and Torre Annunziata (C iii iv v)
When Vesuvius erupted on 24 August 79 AD it engulfed the two flourishing Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as the many rich villas in the area. Since the mid 18th century these have been progressively uncovered and made accessible to the public. The vast expanse of the commercial town of Pompeii contrasts with the restricted but better preserved remains of the holiday resort of Herculaneum, whilst the superb wall paintings of the Villa Oplontis at Torre Annunziata give a vivid impression of the opulent life-style of the wealthier citizens of the early Roman Empire.

Villa Romana del Casale (C i ii iii)
Roman exploitation of the countryside is symbolized by the villa, the centre of the large estate upon which the rural economy of the Western Empire was based. In its 4th century AD form the Villa Romana del Casale is one of the most luxurious examples of this type of monument. It is especially noteworthy for the wealth and quality of the mosaics which decorate almost every room, and which are the finest still in situ anywhere in the Roman world.

Su Nuraxi di Barumini (C i iii iv)
During the late 2nd millennium BC, in the Bronze Age, a special type of defensive structure, known as nuraghi for which no parallel exists anywhere else, developed on the island of Sardinia. The complex consists of circular defensive towers in the form of truncated cones built of dressed stone, with corbel-vaulted internal chambers. The complex at Barumini which was extended and strengthened in the first half of the 1st millennium under Carthaginian pressure, is the finest and most complete example of this remarkable form of prehistoric architecture.

Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto) (C ii iv v)
The Ligurian coastal region between Cinque Terre and Portovenere is a cultural landscape of high scenic and cultural value. The form and disposition of the small towns and the shaping of the landscape surrounding them, overcoming the disadvantages of a steep and broken terrain, graphically encapsulate the continuous history of human settlement in this region over the past millennium.

The Costiera Amalfitana (C ii iv v)
The Amalfi coastal strip is one of great physical beauty and natural diversity. It has been intensively settled by human communities since the early Middle Ages. It contains a number of towns such as Amalfi and Ravello which contain architectural and artistic works of great significance, and its rural areas demonstrate the versatility of its occupants in adapting their utilization of the terrain to suit its diversity, from terraced vineyards and orchards on the lower slopes to wide upland pastures.

The Archaeological Area of Agrigento (C i ii iii iv)
Founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century BC, Agrigento became one of the leading cities of the Mediterranean world. Its supremacy and pride are demonstrated by the remains of the magnificent Doric temples that dominate the ancient town, much of which remains intact under latter-day fields and orchards. Selected excavated areas throw light on the later Hellenic and Roman town and on the burial practices of its palaeochristian inhabitants.


Sibiloi/Central Island National Parks (N i iv)
Sibiloi National Park is situated on the east shore of Lake Turkana in northern Kenya. Lake Turkana'a ecosystem with its diverse bird life and desert environment offers an exceptional laboratory for studies of plant and animal communities. The lake is also one of Africa's most important breeding areas for the Nile crocodile. Discoveries of mammal fossil remains in the site led to the scientific reconstruction of the paleo-environment of the entire Turkana Lake basin of the Quarternary period.

Mount Kenya National Park / Natural Forest (N ii iii)
Mount Kenya, 5,199 m, is the second highest peak in Africa. It is an ancient extinct volcano, during whose period of activity 3.1 - 2.6 million years ago it is thought to have risen to 6,500 m. There are twelve remnant glaciers on the mountain, all receding rapidly, and four secondary peaks that sit at the head of the U-shaped glacial valleys. The area inscribed includes the upper slopes of the mountain, and two salients which make up the National Park and surrounding Forest Reserve. With its rugged glacier-clad summits and forested middle slopes, Mount Kenya is one of the most impressive landscapes in Eastern Africa. The evolution and ecology of its afro- alpine flora also provide an outstanding example of ecological processes.


The Historic Centre of Riga (C i ii)
Riga was a major centre of the Hanseatic League and prospered from its trade with central and eastern Europe in the 13th-15th centuries. The urban fabric of its medieval centre reflects this prosperity, although most of its earlier buildings have been destroyed by fire and war. In the 19th century it became a very important economic centre, and the suburbs of the medieval town were built, first in imposing wooden buildings in classical style and then in Jugendstil. It is generally recognized that Riga contains the finest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe.


Hospicio Cabanas, Guadalajara (C i ii iii iv)
In the early years of the 19th century the Hospicio was built in Guadalajara to provide care and shelter for the disadvantaged - orphans, old people, the handicapped, and chronic invalids. This remarkable complex, which incorporates many original features designed to ease the life of its inmates, was unique for its time. In the early 20th century its chapel was decorated with a series of superb paintings from the hand of Jose Clemente Orozco, one of the great Mexican muralists of the period.


The Archaeological Site of Volubilis (C ii iii iv vi)
The Mauritanian capital, founded in the 3rd century BC, became an important outpost of the Roman Empire and was graced with many fine buildings. Substantial remains of these survive in the archaeological site, located in a fertile agricultural area. It was later to become briefly the capital of Idris i founder of the Idrissid dynasty, who is buried at nearby Moulay Idriss.

The Medina of Tetouan (formerly known as Titawin) (C ii iv v)
Tetouan was of special importance in the Islamic period, from the 8th century onwards, since it served as the main contact between Morocco and Andalusia. After the Reconquista the town was rebuilt by refugees from that region after being sacked by the Spanish. This is well illustrated by its architecture and art, which have strong Andalusian influences. It is one of the smallest of the Moroccan medinas, but it is unquestionably the most complete and is largely untouched by subsequent external influences.


Lumbini the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha (C iii vi)
Siddharta Gautama was born in 623 BC at the famous gardens of Lumbini and his birthplace became a place of pilgrimage. Among the pilgrims was the Indian Emperor Ashoka, who erected one of his commemorative pillars there. The site is now being developed as a Buddhist pilgrimage centre, of which the remains associated with its early history and the birth of the Lord Buddha form a central feature.


The Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout (C i ii iv)
The contribution made by the people of "the low countries" to the technology of handling water is enormous, and this is admirably demonstrated by the installations in the Kinderdijk-Elshout area. Hydraulic works to drain the land for agriculture and settlement began in the Middle Ages and have continued uninterruptedly to the present day. The site contains all the relevant elements of this technology - dikes, reservoirs, pumping stations, administrative buildings, and a series of impeccably preserved windmills.

The Historic Area of Willemstad, Inner City, and Harbour (C ii iv v)
The Dutch established a trading settlement at a fine natural harbour on the Caribbean island of Curacao in 1634. The town developed continuously over the succeeding centuries. The modern town consists of several distinct historic districts whose architecture reflects both the European planning and styles of the Netherlands and the Spanish and Portuguese colonial towns with which Willemstad engaged in trade.


Rohtas Fort (C ii iv)
Following his defeat of the Mughal Emperor Humayun in 1541, Sher Shah Suri built a strong fortified complex at Rohtas, a strategic site in the north of what is now Pakistan. It was never taken by assault and survives intact to the present day. The main fortifications consist of the massive walls, which extend for more than 4km; they are lined with bastions and pierced by monumental gateways. Qila Rohtas is the most important surviving example of early Muslim military architecture in this region of Asia.


The Historic District of Panama, with the Salon Bolivar (C ii iv vi)
Panama was the first European settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas, founded in 1519 by the conquistador Pedrarias Davila. The Historic District, which developed after 1671, preserves in its street pattern the early layout; the architecture is an unusual mixture of Spanish, French, and Early American styles. The Salon Bolivar was the venue for the unsuccessful effort made by El Libertador in 1826 to establish a multi-national continental congress.


The Medieval Town of Torun (C ii iv)
Torun owes its origins to the Teutonic Order, which built a castle there in the mid 13th century as a base for the conquest and evangelization of Prussia. It quickly developed a commercial role as part of the Hanseatic League, and many of the imposing public and private buildings from the 14th and 15th centuries that survive in its Old and New Towns are striking testimony to its importance.

The Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork (C ii iii iv)
When the seat of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order moved from Venice to what was then known as Marienburg, the earlier castle was greatly enlarged and embellished. It became the supreme example of the medieval brick castle. It fell into decay later, but in the 19th and early 20th century was meticulously restored; it was here that many of the conservation techniques now accepted as standard were evolved. Following severe damage in World War II it was once again restored, using the detailed documentation prepared by the earlier conservators.

Republic of Korea

The Changdeokgung Palace Complex (C ii iii iv)
In the early years of the 15th century the Emperor T'aejong ordered the construction of a new palace at an auspicious site. A Bureau of Palace Construction was set up to create the ensemble, which consists of a number of official and residential buildings set in a garden that closely conforms with the uneven topography of the 58ha site. The result is an exceptional example of Far Eastern palace architecture and design, harmoniously integrated with its surrounding natural landscape.

Hwasong Fortress (C ii iii)
When the Choson Emperor Chongjo moved his seat of government to Suwon at the end of the 18th century he encircled it with strong defensive works, laid out according to the precepts of an influential military architect of the period, who brought together the latest developments in the field from both east and west. The massive walls, extending for nearly 6 km, pierced by four gates and equipped with bastions, artillery towers, and other features, still survive.


Las Medulas (C i ii iii iv) In the 1st century AD the Roman Imperial authorities began to exploit the gold deposits of this region in north-west Spain, using a technique based on the utilization of hydraulic power. After two centuries of working the deposits, the Romans withdrew, leaving a devastated landscape. Since there was no subsequent industrial activity, the dramatic traces of this remarkable ancient technology are everywhere visible, in the form of sheer faces in the mountainsides and vast areas of tailings, now in use for agriculture.

The Palau de la Musica Catalana and the Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona (C i ii iv) These are two of the finest contributions to the architecture of Barcelona by the Catalan Art Nouveau architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner. The Palau de la Musica Catalana is an exuberant steel- framed structure full of light and space, and decorated by many of the leading designers of the day. The Hospital de Sant Pau is equally bold in its design and decoration, while at the same time perfectly adapted for the needs of the sick.

San Millan Yuso and Suso Monasteries (C ii iv vi)
The monastic community founded by St Millan in the mid 6th century became a place of pilgrimage, and a fine Romanesque church was built in honour of the holy man, which still survives at the Suso site. It was here that the first literature was produced in the Castilian tongue, from which one of the most widely spoken languages in the world today is derived. In the early 16th century the community was housed in a fine new monastery, Yuso, below the older complex, and continues in active use up to the present day.


Dougga/Thugga (C ii iii)
Before the Roman annexation of Numidia, the town of Thugga, built on an elevated site overlooking a fertile plain, was the capital of an important Libyco-Punic state. It flourished under Roman and Byzantine rule, but declined in the Islamic period. The ruins visible today bear impressive witness to the resources of a small Roman town on the edges of the Empire.

United Kingdom

Maritime Greenwich (C i ii iv vi) The ensemble of buildings at Greenwich, near London, and the park in which they are set, are distinguished symbols of English artistic and scientific endeavour in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Queen's House of Inigo Jones was the first Palladian building in the British Isles, whilst the complex that was until recently the Royal Naval College was designed by Christopher Wren. The Park, laid out on the basis of an original concept of Andre Le Notre, contains the original Royal Observatory, the work of Wren and the scientist Robert Hooke.

Sunday, 7 December 1997
access_time 19 min read
World Heritage Properties 46