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UNESCO Extends Area of Bulgaria's Pirin World Heritage Site

Sofia News Agency

The World Heritage Committee meeting in Brazil extended Sunday the World Heritage statute of Bulgaria’s Pirin Natural Park.

The Committee also inscribed three new cultural sites, including two in Mexico and one in Brazil and three natural sites in China, Kiribati, and Reunion Island (France).

The Pirin National Park in Bulgaria spreads over an area of over 27 000 hectares, at an altitude between 1008 and 2914 m in the Pirin Mountains in southwest Bulgaria. The site comprises diverse limestone mountain landscapes with glacial lakes, waterfalls, caves and predominantly coniferous forests. It was added to the World Heritage List in 1983. The extension now covers an area of around 40 000 hectares in the Pirin Mountains, and overlaps with the Pirin National Park, except for two areas developed for tourism (skiing). The dominant part of the extension is high mountain territory over 2000m in altitude, and covered mostly by alpine meadows, rocky screes and summits.

The inscribed cultural sites are:

Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (Mexico), which was the Royal Inland Road, also known as the Silver Route. The property consists of 55 sites and five existing World Heritage sites lying along a route, that extends north from Mexico City to Texas and New Mexico, United States of America. The route was actively used as a trade route for 300 years, from the mid-16th to the 19th centuries, mainly for transporting silver extracted from the mines of Zacatecas, Guanajuato and San Luis Potosí, and mercury imported from Europe;

Prehistoric caves of Yagul and Mitla in the Central Valley of Oaxaca (Mexico) which consists of two pre-Hispanic archaeological complexes and a series of pre-historic caves and rock shelters. Some of these shelters provide archaeological and rock-art evidence for the progress of nomadic hunter-gathers to incipient farmers;

São Francisco Square in the town of São Cristovão (Brazil) - a quadrilateral open space and a monumental Franciscan ensemble, which together with the surrounding 18th- and 19th- century houses, creates an urban landscape reflecting the history of the town since its origin.

The natural sites inscribed are:

China Danxia which are Chinese landscapes characterized by spectacular red cliffs and a range of erosional landforms, including dramatic natural pillars, towers, ravines, valleys and waterfalls;

Phoenix Island Protected Area (PIPA) - marine and terrestrial habitats in the Southern Pacific Ocean, conserving one of the world's largest intact oceanic coral archipelago ecosystems;

The Pitons, cirques and remparts of Reunion Island, comprising two adjoining volcanic massifs located in the south-west of the Indian Ocean and dominated by two towering volcanic peaks.

The 34th session of the World Heritage Committee is being held under the chairmanship of the Minister of Culture from Brazil, João Luiz da Silva Ferreira. The meeting opened on 25 July and will continue through to 3 August. A total of 39 sites are being considered for inscription on the World Heritage List.

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Bansko 2 28/04/2012 15:00

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