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23 Jun, 2014

China’s Grand Canal, Silk Road Inscribed As World Heritage Sites

DOHA, June 23 (NNN-XINHUA) — The famous ancient Silk Road and China’s Grand Canal, the world’s longest artificial waterway, have been inscribed on the list of World Heritage Sites at a session of the Unesco World Heritage Committee here.

Jointly submitted by China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, the application for adding part of the Silk Road — which served as a corridor for trade and cultural exchanges between Asia and Europe dating back to 2,000 years ago — to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) list was approved by the committee when it met in the Qatari capital Sunday.

The application consists of 33 historical sites along the millennia-old trade route, including 22 in China, eight in Kazakhstan and three in Kyrgyzstan. They range from palaces and pagoda sites in cities to ruins in remote, inaccessible deserts and marks the first time China has co-operated with foreign countries for a World Heritage nomination.

Du Yue, the secretary general of the Chinese delegation at the 38th session of the World Heritage Committee, said the approval of the application would strengthen cultural exchanges between China and the two Central Asian nations.

He called for the three countries’ close co-ordination to jointly protect and pass on the Silk Road heritage from generation to generation. At Sunday’s session, UNESCO also included the Grand Canal, with a history of more than 2,400 years, in the World Heritage list.

Participants at the meeting said the 1,794-km canal, which runs from Beijing to Hangzhou in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, is a valuable fruit of the Chinese people’s diligence and wisdom, adding that its inclusion had enriched the content of the World Heritage.

The Paris-based Unesco oversees the system of granting World Heritage status to important cultural and natural sites around the globe. The 38th session of the World Heritage Committee opened on June 15 and will continue through Wednesday. — NNN-XINHUA