July 16, 2005

Biblical remains, Macau added to U.N. heritage list

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Biblical-era archaeological
remains, the Chinese island of Macau and a war-ravaged Bosnian
bridge were among 17 cultural sites added to the U.N.'s World
Heritage list this week.

UNESCO, the U.N. environmental and cultural body, also
added a Belgian renaissance printing house, archaeological
findings in Bahrain dating from 2300 BC, the Albanian Ottoman
town of Gjirokastra, and Greek and Roman era tombs in Italy.

The new sites, added at a meeting of UNESCO's World
Heritage committee in South Africa's port city of Durban,
brings the global list of cultural sites to 628.
Bosnia-Herzegovina grabbed a spot on the list for the first
time with its historic town of Mostar, built as an Ottoman
frontier town and revamped during the 19th and 20th century.

The town's Old Bridge -- which includes pre-Ottoman,
eastern Ottoman, Mediterranean and western European features --
was destroyed in the Balkans war in the 1990s but recently

"The reconstructed site is a symbol of reconciliation,
international cooperation and of the coexistence of diverse
cultural, ethnic and religious communities," UNESCO said.

Also added to the list were prehistoric settlement mounds
in Israel containing substantial remains of cities with
biblical connections, as well as Iron Age water collecting
systems, the committee said in a statement.

Bahrain also made the list for the first time with remains
showing continuous human presence from 2300 BC to the 16th

Chinese island Macau, under Portuguese administration until
1999, was added to the list for its mix of Eastern and Western

Cuba's colonial town of Cienfuegos, founded in 1819, gained
a place as an example of new ideas of modernity, hygiene and
order in urban planning in 19th century Latin America.

UNESCO extended five existing sites including India's
colonial-era mountain railways and four buildings by Spanish
architect Antoni Gaudi.

The committee added seven new natural sites earlier this
week, including the world's oldest and biggest meteorite
crater, part of Japan's northernmost island and two Norwegian