France submits citadels and forts to be World Heritage sites

31st January 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 31, 2007 (AFP) - France on Wednesday formally submitted 14 citadels and fortifications built by the 17th century military engineer Marshal Vauban for a place on UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites.

PARIS, Jan 31, 2007 (AFP) - France on Wednesday formally submitted 14 citadels and fortifications built by the 17th century military engineer Marshal Vauban for a place on UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites.

Vauban's legacy, chosen over some 30 French projects, was put forward alongside the lagoons of New Caledonia for a coveted spot on the heritage list, according to the French delegation to the UN agency.

The French culture ministry has said it chose Vauban's work to mark the tricentenary of his death, which is being celebrated this year with a range of exhibitions across France.

The 14 sites include a royal fort on the Brittany island of Belle Ile, renovated by Vauban in 1689, the citadel in the eastern town Besancon and a mountain fort in southeastern Briancon.

They were selected as some of the best preserved of around 150 fortified sites built by Vauban across France, a formidable legacy of walled towns, bridges and coastal observation towers.

The New Caledonian dossier involves a vast area spanning 15,500 square kilometres (3.8 million acres) of lagoons and coral reefs, chosen as representative of the regional ecosystem.

Both are among 40 sites from around the world vying for inclusion by the UN's educational, scientific and cultural organisation list, whose World Heritage Committee meets in Christchurch, New Zealand from June 23 to July 2.

Vauban, who was born Sebastien Le Prestre, lived from 1633 to 1707, and was the foremost military engineer of his age.

He was known for devising new strategies of military attack and won high honour from the Sun King, Louis XIV, but was also a great thinker and humanist who sought to minimise losses and the sufferings of soldiers in battle.

The World Heritage list currently includes 830 sites of outstanding cultural or natural value, including such sites as the Giza pyramids in Egypt, the Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia and the Great Wall of China.

France currently has 30 sites on the list.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, UNESCO

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