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14 july 2005

Wakashe, South Africa’s Deputy Director-General for Heritage and National Archives, today inscribed seven natural sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The Committee also decided to extend two natural sites already on the List. The one is extended in size while the extension of the other makes it both a natural and cultural site.

The World Heritage List includes 812 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value.
Norway have several areas and buildings on
UNESCO’s list of World Heritage and three of them lies on the West Coast of Norway.

West Norwegian Fjords Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord
Situated in southwestern Norway, northeast of Bergen, Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord, set 120km from one another, are part of the west Norwegian fjord landscape, which stretches from Stavanger in the south to Andalsnes, 500km to the northeast. The two fjords, among the world’s longest and deepest, are considered as archetypical fjord landscapes and among the most scenically outstanding anywhere. Their exceptional natural beauty is derived from their narrow and steep-sided crystalline rock walls that rise up to 1,400m from the Norwegian Sea and extend 500m below sea level. The sheer walls of the fjords have numerous waterfalls while free flowing rivers cross their deciduous and coniferous forests to glacial lakes, glaciers and rugged mountains. The landscape features a range of supporting natural phenomena, both terrestrial and marine such as submarine moraines and marine mammals.

Bryggen in Bergen
Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen, is a reminder of the town's importance as part of the Hanseatic League's trading empire from the 14th to the mid-16th century. Many fires, the last in 1955, have ravaged the beautiful wooden houses of Bryggen but its main structure has been preserved. Many of the remaining 58 buildings are now used as artists' studios.

Wooden Church
The wooden church of Urnes (the stavkirke) stands in the natural setting of Sogn og Fjordane. It was built in the 12th and 13th centuries and is an outstanding example of traditional Scandinavian wooden architecture. It brings together traces of Celtic art, Viking traditions and Romanesque spatial structures

Røros
The history of Røros, which stands in a mountainous setting, is linked to the copper mines: they were developed in the 17th century and exploited for 333 years until 1977. Completely rebuilt after its destruction by Swedish troops in 1679, the city has some 80 wooden houses, most of them standing around courtyards. Many retain their dark pitch-log facades, giving the town a medieval appearance.

Vega Islands
A cluster of dozens of islands centred on Vega, just south of the Arctic Circle, forms a cultural landscape of 103,710-ha, of which 6,930 is land. The islands bear testimony to a distinctive frugal way of life based on fishing and the harvesting of the down of eider ducks, in an inhospitable environment. There are fishing villages, quays, warehouses, eider houses (built for eider ducks to nest in), farming landscapes, lighthouses and beacons. There is evidence of human settlement from the Stone Age on. By the 9th century, the islands had become an important centre for the supply of down which appears to have accounted for around a third of the islanders’ income. The Vega Archipelago reflects the way fishermen/farmers have, over the past 1500 years, maintained a sustainable living and celebrates the contribution of women to eiderdown harvesting.

Lapp Land
The Arctic Circle region of northern Sweden is the home of the Saami, or Lapp people. It is the largest area in the world (and one of the last) with an ancestral way of life based on the seasonal movement of livestock. Every summer, the Saami lead their huge herds of reindeer towards the mountains through a natural landscape hitherto preserved, but now threatened by the advent of motor vehicles. Historical and ongoing geological processes can be seen in the glacial moraines and changing water courses.

Petrogyphs
This group of petroglyphs in the Alta Fjord, near the Arctic Circle, bears the traces of a settlement dating from c. 4200 to 500 B.C. The thousands of paintings and engravings add to our understanding of the environment and human activities on the fringes of the Far North in prehistoric times

Reference: http://whc.unesco.org
 


 

 


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