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Nalanda Mahavira makes it to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites

UNESCO announces 9 new world heritage sites to add to everyone's Bucket list

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Nalanda Mahavihara. Image Source: VOA News
  • Exciting news for India, Nalanda Mahavihara, a large Buddhist monastery in Magadha was announced one of the 9 New World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
  • Interestingly, this would be the second world heritage site in the country after Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya.
  • The committee is also reviewing 27 sites of cultural significance which have been nominated for the World Heritage List.

UNESCO has declared the much awaited Nalanda ruins in Bihar as a world heritage site. The decision came during the UN cultural agency’s ongoing session in Istanbul, Turkey on July 15.

The cultural agency UNESCO also tweeted on this matter:

Nalanda University is located in Rajgir, near Nalanda, Bihar, India and  was established during the Gupta Dynasty. It was earlier an acclaimed large Buddhist monastery in the ancient kingdom of Magadha. Interestingly, this would be the second world heritage site in the country after Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya.

Nalanda University. Image Source : Wikimedia commons
Nalanda University. Image Source : Wikimedia commons

The Nalanda site that comprises of the archaeological remains of a monastic and scholastic institution from the 3rd century B.C. to the 13th century A.D. is in fact one of the ancient seats of learning in the world.

Another interesting addition to the list has been the old city of Ani, in the Turkish province of Kars. Ani, near Turkey’s now closed border with Armenia, once served as the capital of the Armenian kingdom in the 10th century. Mostly abandoned after a devastating earthquake in the 14th century, the ruins include a relatively well-preserved cathedral and hold major significance for Armenians.

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Other sites announced on Friday include China’s Zuojiang Huashan rock art cultural landscape, Iran’s ancient aqueducts known as Qanat. A trans-boundary site located in Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia, and heritage sites in Greece, Spain and Gibraltar have also made it to the list.

The World Heritage Committee also zeroed upon Micronesia’s artificial islets of Nan Madol and simultaneously placed it on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Made of basalt and coral boulders, the 99 artificial islets of Nan Madol are home to ruins ranging from temple to tombs between A.D. 1200 and 1500.

Dating back to the 5th century B.C., Zuojiang Huashon rock art cultural landscape straddles steep cliffs in southwest China and represent the only trace left of the Luoyue people.

Iran’s Qanat system tapped into alluvial aquifer and transported water underground across vast valleys helping sustain agricultural life and settlements in arid areas.

The medieval tombstones and graveyards, known as stecci, combine 30 sites in Bosnia, central and southern Croatia, western Montenegro and western Serbia. Carved from limestone, they feature decorative motives and inscriptions.

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The Greek archaeological site of Philippi, founded in 356 B.C. by the Macedonian King Philip II, lies in the present-day region of eastern Macedonia and Thrace. It later became an important Christian site, following the visit of Apostle Paul, UNESCO said.

The Antequera Dolmens site, in Andalusia, southern Spain, is comprised of three megalithic monuments as well as two natural mountainous formations.

The natural sea caves – or Gorham’s Cave Complex – in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, also made the list, and provide evidence of Neanderthal occupation over a span of more than 125,000 years.

Gathered from July 10-20 in Istanbul, the committee is reviewing 27 sites of special cultural or natural significance which have been nominated for the World Heritage List. (With input from VOA)

Next Story

Trilateral Summit On Afghan Peace To Be Hosted By Turkey

The highest Pakistani court also handed over schools being run by the outlawed organization in the country to a Turkish government foundation.

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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, welcomes Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan to Ankara, Turkey, Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. The two expected to discus bilateral and regional issues. VOA

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan says “a much stronger effort” is needed to further ongoing peace talks his country is facilitating between the United States and Afghanistan’s Taliban.

Addressing a televised joint news conference in Ankara after official talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Khan said Afghans have suffered for decades and it is time for the International community to help bring an end to the war in the country.

“Pakistan has already been helping a dialogue between the Taliban and the Americans but it needs a much stronger effort from all the stakeholders, neighbors,” the prime minister emphasized.

Khan was referring to two-day talks in Abu Dhabi last month between U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, and senior Taliban representatives that Pakistan said it had arranged.

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Members of Taliban delegation take their seats during the multilateral peace talks on Afghanistan in Moscow, Nov. 9, 2018. VOA

Khalilzad and the Taliban described the dialogue “productive” and promised to meet again soon. Insurgents demand complete withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan, saying their presence are blocking progress toward peace.

Speaking Friday, President Erdoğan announced he will host a trilateral summit meeting with Pakistan and Afghanistan after Turkey’s March 31 local elections to discuss the peace process.

“I look forward to the summit meeting inshallah [God willing] in Istanbul where we hope that Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey will be able to help in this [Afghan] peace process … a much badly needed peace,” Prime Minister Khan said.

Pakistan’s role in arranging the U.S.-Taliban talks, analysts say, is leading to a thaw in Islamabad’s traditionally tumultuous relationship with Washington.

Speaking on Wednesday, President Donald Trump apparently acknowledged the improvement in mutual ties. “We do want to have a great relationship with Pakistan … so, I look forward to meeting with the new leadership in Pakistan. We will be doing that in the not too distant future.”

Afghan President, elections
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a U.N. conference on Afghanistan, Nov. 28, 2018, at U.N. offices in Geneva, Switzerland. VOA

Khan’s two-day official meetings in Turkey ended Friday and it was his first visit to the country since taking power after the July elections in Pakistan. The two Muslim nations enjoy close relations.

Prime Minister Khan assured Turkey of his country’s support to defeat Islamic State, saying the terrorist group “already has emerged in various parts of Afghanistan” and threatens the security of Pakistan.

Erdoğan also praised a recent ruling by Pakistan’s supreme court, which declared exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen’s organization, FETÖ, a terrorist group.

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U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen at his home in Saylorsburg, Pa., U.S. July 10, 2017. VOA

The highest Pakistani court also handed over schools being run by the outlawed organization in the country to a Turkish government foundation.

Also Read: Peace Offer By Afghan Government Gets Rejected By Taliban

Turkey accuses Gulen of orchestrating a failed coup in 2016. (VOA)