OLD CAVES, SIL­VER MINES CHO­SEN FOR U.N. HER­ITAGE LIST

Old Ger­man caves, Pol­ish sil­ver mines cho­sen for U.N. her­itage list

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By The As­so­ci­ated Press The Wash­ing­ton Post

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.

Ed­ward Den­sion, UNESCO via AP

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.

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