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Three new sites inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and Western Galilee (Israel) are inscribed for the testimony they provide to the Bahá’i’s strong tradition of pilgrimage and for their profound meaning for the faith. The property numbers 26 buildings, monuments and sites at 11 locations in Acre and Haifa, associated with the founders of the faith, among them the Shrine of the Bahá’u’lláh in Acre and the Mausoleum of the Báb in Haifa. It also includes houses, gardens, a cemetery and a large group of modern buildings in the neoclassical style that serve for administration, archives and a research centre.

Chief Roi Mata’s Domain is the first site to be inscribed in Vanuatu. It consists of three early 17th century AD sites on the islands of Efate, Lelepa and Artok associated with the life and death of the last paramount chief, or Roi Mata, of what is now Central Vanuatu. The property includes Roi Mata’s residence, the site of his death and Roi Mata’s mass burial site. It is closely associated with the oral traditions surrounding the chief and the moral values he espoused. The site reflects the convergence between oral tradition and archaeology and bears witness to the persistence of Roi Mata’s social reforms and conflict resolution, still relevant to the people of the region.

One extension was decided by the Committee, which inscribed the Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastra (Albania). This represents the addition of the city centre of Berat to that of Gjirokastra, which was inscribed in 2005. Berat was inscribed as a rare example of a well-preserved Ottoman town. Located in central Albania, Berat bears witness to the coexistence of various religious and cultural communities down the centuries. A town of 64,000 inhabitants, it features a castle, locally known as the Kala, most of which was built in the 13th century, although its origins date back ot the 4th century BC. The citadel area numbers many Byzantine churches, mainly from the 13th century, several of which contain valuable wall paintings and icons. The town also numbers several mosques built under Turkish occupation which started in 1417. Berat also has several houses for religious communities, notably some used by Sufi brotherhoods in the 18th century and well-preserved housing in a distinct style.

Contacts in Quebec: Roni Amelan, r.amelan@unesco.org +33(0)674398441
Joanna Sullivan, j.sullivan@unesco.org +1 418 262 6529
For photographs: www.unesco.org/en/whc/photos
For video footage: mms://stream.unesco.org/bpi/whc_cult3_080708.wmv