Two Chinese Sites Added to Cultural Heritage List

Category: Travel News, China

On July 8th, during the 32 sessions of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, it was announced that 19 cultural sites and 8 natural sites were added to UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage List. One cultural site and one natural site are located in China.

Fujian Tulou

46 different Tulou sites have been added to UNESCO's 2008 World Cultural Heritage List. The Hakka minority groups of Fujian Province are best known for their unique rammed earth architecture called Tulou. A Tulou is basically an entire village built within a large enclosed building round or rectangular in shape. The building has no roof, and in the center is an ancestral temple used for ancestry worship, meetings, weddings, funerals and festivals. Built up along the protective exterior wall are levels of wooden houses, each connected to each other and covered with tiled roofs. The Tulou makes for a very strong sense of community because every family is so closely connected. Usually, each Tulou was occupied by one family clan. The outer walls are built of rammed earth with a wooden infrastructure. The walls can be as thick as 6 feet and are normally three to five stories high.

During China's dynastic periods, southern Fujian was plagued by bandits. Then the Tulou buildings came into being. These buildings are built with defense in mind and only have one main gate which has thick wooden doors encased in iron that can be locked from the inside. The top level of the Tulou has gun holes for defense. The walls of the Tulou were immune to arrows and gunfire due to their thickness, and windows were only built on the upper levels, so the only point of entry was the single main gate. Although now many Tulou residents have moved out in search of better jobs, these ancient structures are still being used by generations of families. The Tulous are impressive structures, and located in the mountainous region of Fujian, their surrounding landscape is simply gorgeous.

Sanqingshan National Park

Just added to UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage List, the Sanqingshan National Park located in Jiangxi Province, is famous for its remarkable landscape and bizarrely shaped peaks and pillars, many of which resemble humans, or animals. The park was officially listed as a national park in March of 2007 and covers an area of over 200 square kilometers.

The park is named for Sanqing Mountain located in the park. Although not too well known today, the mountain was a pilgrimage site for Taoist during the Tang Dynasty, which was the golden era of Taoism. The name Sanqing means “Three Distinct” because the mountain features three main peaks; Yujing Peak, Yuhua Peak, and Yuxu Peak. The main peak, Yujing Peak is 1,817 meters above sea level, is famous for a huge stone known as the Shengtian Stone. It is said that Taoists who climb this stone will ascent into heaven. Another famous lesser peak is known as Nvshen Feng, or Goddess Peak. It is said that originally the peak was the daughter of an old man who gathered medicinal herbs on the mountains. The girl overheard some Taoist immortals talking about the supreme deity of Taoism. She told others what she had heard, and was punished by being turned into the peak. The park is located in a subtropical zone making it abundant with plant and animal life. Over 1,000 species of plants and 800 species of animals have been found in the park. The park also features numerous lakes, ponds, and waterfalls, some as high as 60 meters.

New cultural sites inscribed during the 32nd session

Preah Vihear Temple (Cambodia)
Fujian Tulou (China)
Stari Grad Plain (Croatia)
Historic Centre of Camagüey (Cuba)
Fortifications of Vauban (France)
Berlin Modernism Housing Estates (Germany)
Armenian Monastic Ensembles in Iran (Iran)
Baha'i Holy Places in Haifa and Western Galilee (Israel)
Mantua and Sabbioneta (Italy)
The Mijikenda Kaya Forests (Kenya)
Melaka and George Town, historic cities of the Straits of Malacca (Malaysia)
Protective town of San Miguel and the Sanctuary of Jesús de Nazareno de Atotonilco (Mexico)
Le Morne Cultural Landscape (Mauritius)
Kuk Early Agricultural Site (Papua New Guinea)
San Marino Historic Centre and Mount Titano (San Marino)
Archaeological Site of Al-Hijr (Madâin Sâlih) (Saudi Arabia)
The Wooden Churches of the Slovak part of Carpathian Mountain Area (Slovakia)
Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Cultural Landscape (Switzerland and Italy)
Chief Roi Mata's Domain (Vanuatu)

Natural properties inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List during the 32nd session:

Joggins Fossil Cliffs (Canada)
Mount Sanqingshan National Park (China)
Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems (France)
Surtsey (Iceland)
Saryarka - Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan (Kazakhstan)
Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (Mexico)
Swiss Tectonic Arena Sardona (Switzerland)
Socotra Archipelago (Yemen)
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