OLD CAVES, SILVER MINES CHOSEN FOR U.N. HERITAGE LIST
Old German caves, Polish silver mines chosen for U.N. heritage list
Ancient caves in west Germany with art dating to the Ice Age and disused silver mines in southern Poland were among the sites that a United Nations cultural agency has added to its list of heritage treasures during its current session.»
WARSAW, POLAND» Ancient caves in west Germany with art dating to the Ice Age and disused silver mines in southern Poland were among the sites that a United Nations cultural agency has added to its list of heritage treasures during its current session.
The UNESCO World Heritage List Committee added the mines and caves, and nine other sites, to the roster of places called out for special recognition Sunday. During its 11-day session in Poland that started July 2, the committee has added 22 sites to the list. The designation, which recognizes the outstanding universal values of the sites, is meant to draw attention to them and the need to preserve them.
Among the other new sites on the list are the modernist architecture in Asmara, the capital city of Eritrea; the historic city of Yazd, in Iran; Japan’s sacred and restricted-access island of Okinoshima; and Los Alerces National Park in Argentina.
The caves are in the western German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, where archeologists have discovered ancient instruments and carvings made from mammoth ivory, including a 40,000-year-old figure known as the Venus of Hohle Fels. Historians say it is the oldest known image of a human.
The old mines in Tarnowskie Gory are an underground tourist site, visited partly by boat, and are the only industrial site that was added to the list this year.
Also added Sunday were Turkey’s third century B.C. Aphrodisias temple; England’s Lake District and the Valongo Wharf Archaeological Site in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Heated controversies surrounded the addition to the World Heritage List of west China’s Qinghai Hoh Xil mountain area, on the Tibetan Plateau, and of Hebron, which was described in the submission as a Palestinian site, drawing vehement protests from Israel.
Related Israeli diplomat says UNESCO resolution is less important than fixing his toilet • JERUSALEM»
Israelis are not known for their fondness of the United Nations and its institutions, but a resolution passed Friday questioning Israel’s continued occupation of the ancient West Bank city of Hebron and the damage it might be causing to holy sites there drew an angrier-than-usual response:
“Sorry ... I have a very urgent ... sorry, Mr. Chairman ... it’s my plumber in my apartment in Paris. There is a huge problem in my toilet, and it’s more important than the decision you just adopted, thank you,” Carmel Shama-Hacohen, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, said sarcastically while addressing the forum’s annual gathering.
The conference had just passed a resolution to place Hebron on the World Heritage list of endangered sites.
In January, Palestinians — as part of a diplomatic drive to create an independent state free of Israeli occupation — submitted a request to UNESCO to inscribe Hebron onto the World Heritage list and later asked that it be recognized as an endangered site on their territory.
“My response to the resolution was spontaneous,” Shama-Hacohen told The Washington Post on Sunday. He said that his phone did not stop ringing during his speech at the forum and that he seized the moment to tell the chairman clearly and undiplomatically that he disapproved of the resolution.
Most Israelis see the ruling as negating the Jewish connection to Hebron.
“As an afterthought, I probably brought dishonor to my toilet by comparing it to this decision,” Shama-Hacohen said.
The Cinema Impero, in the capital city of Asmara, Eritrea. The city was named a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its 19th- and early 20th-century modernist architecture, designed by colonial-era Italian architects.