UNESCO expands heritage sites in Austria, Romania, Spain

1st August 2010, Comments 0 comments

An Austrian castle, a monastery in Romania and prehistoric rock art in Spain on Sunday were included in UNESCO's World Heritage List, which was being expanded at a meeting in Brasilia.

The additions were not new sites in themselves, but rather extensions of existing heritage sites.

The 17th castle in Austria, the Schloss Eggenberg, is located three kilometers (two miles) from the historic center of the city of Graz, which was granted World Heritage status in 1999.

As an "exceptionally well-preserved example which bears witness... to the influence of the late Italian Renaissance and the Baroque period," it deserved to become part of the Graz listing, UNESCO said in a statement.

In Romania, the site including seven churches in Moldavia built in the 15th and 16th centuries that gained World Heritage prestige in 1993 was Sunday expanded to include The Church of the Sucevita Monastery -- an edifice decorated with late 16th century paintings.

The inclusion of 645 prehistoric engravings on a cliff in Siega Verde, in Spain's Castilla y Leon, extended the World Heritage site of Portugal's ancient rock art in the Coa Valley.

"The prehistoric rock-art sites of the Coa Valley and Siega Verde represent the most remarkable open-air ensemble of Paleolithic art on the Iberian Peninsula," UNESCO said.

The 10-day meeting of the World Heritage Committee of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Brazil is to run to Tuesday as it considers 39 nominated sites to include on its list.

So far, it has announced 17 new sites, including an imperial palace in Vietnam, temples in China, an Australian penal colony, a historic bazaar in Iran, 14th-century villages in South Korea, an 18th-century astronomical observatory in India, Sri Lanka's Central Highlands region, and the United States' Papahanaumokuakea archipelago.

The committee also added Florida's Everglades and Madagascar's tropical forest to a special list of 31 World Heritage sites considered to be in danger.

© 2010 AFP

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