Thursday February 22, 2018

UNESCO declares new World Heritage Sites in Norway, Germany, Israel, Britain, and US

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The Alamo, San Antonio Missions, Texas
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By NewsGram Staff Writer

During its 39th meeting of the World Heritage Committee, held in the German city of Bonn on Sunday, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named several new World Heritage Sites.

These World Heritage Sites are located in Norway, Germany, Israel, Scotland, and US respectively.

NewsGram brings you a glimpse of the new World Heritage Sites.

Norway’s Rjukan-Notodden industrial site includes a group of hydraulic centers and was built early in the last century by the Norsk Hydro company to manufacture fertilizers to meet the agricultural demand.

Tyssedal_Power_Plant
Rjukan-Notodden industrial site, Norway

The new World Heritage Sites include the areas of Speicherstadt and the Kontorhaus neighborhood, which are the two central urban zones in the German port city of Hamburg.

Speicherstadt covers 300,000 square meters and was one of the largest port areas in the world, built between 1885 and 1927 and was partially reconstructed after World War II.

Hamburg_Speicherstadt
Speicherstadt, Hamburg

Kontorhaus was the site of the so-called Chilehaus, known for its modernistic architecture and six huge office complexes built between 1920 and 1940.

Kontorhaus, Hamburg, Germany
Kontorhaus, Hamburg, Germany

The Beit She’arim Necropolis in Israel is an ancient Jewish site located southeast of Haifa. It contains a series of catacombs that contain “works of art and inscriptions in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew.”

Beit She'arim Necropolis, Israel
Beit She’arim Necropolis, Israel

The “innovative” Forth Bridge in Scotland, is the largest bridge of its type in the world. It was completed in 1890 and was designed to carry trains over the Forth River and is still very much in use today.

Forth Bridge, Scotland
Forth Bridge, Scotland

Finally, the San Antonio Missions, founded in what is now the US by Franciscan missionaries in the 18th century, include structures and ruins of architectural interest such as churches, houses, silos and irrigation systems.

San Antonio Mission, Texas, USA
San Antonio Missions, Texas, USA

The best known structure of the group, The Alamo, was the site of the famous 1836 battle when a heavily outnumbered force of Texas settlers seeking independence from Mexico were overrun and killed down to the last man by Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and his Mexican troops.

The Alamo, San Antonio Missions, Texas
The Alamo, San Antonio Missions, Texas

The missions were built in and around the city of San Antonio, Texas, to convert the local Indians to Catholicism and make them Spanish subjects.

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Rani Ki Vav: A Mesmerising Stepwell Built In The Memory Of A King By His Queen

Rani Ki Vav is also considered the queen of stepwells in India

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Rani Ki Vav is one of the greatest stepwells ever made in India. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma 

  • Rav Ki Rani in Gujarat is one of the biggest stepwells in India
  • It is famous for its size and beautiful architecture
  • The stepwell is one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO

Stepwells are an important part of India’s architecture and its

Rani Ki Vav in Gujarat is one of the biggest stepwells in India. Wikimedia Commons
Rani Ki Vav in Gujarat is one of the biggest stepwells in India. Wikimedia Commons

history. Throughout India, there are many stepwells present which may though look similar, but differ in their architectural and historical significance. One such stepwell is Rani Ki Vav in Gujarat.

Rani Ki Vav – A monument breaking the norms 

India has many monuments which have been built by the kings in the memory of their queens, Taj Mahal is one of the greatest examples of that. However, Rani Ki Vav is different. Breaking through the norms, this monument was built by a queen in the memory of her king.

Rani ki Vav, which means, Queen’s stepwell is near Patan in Gujarat. It was constructed sometime during the 11th century in the memory of Bhimdev, the son of Mularaja who was the founder of the Solanki dynasty. The richly sculpted stepwell which is considered a masterpiece was dedicated to the king by his widowed wife, Udayamati. It was flooded by the river Saraswati in the 1980s.

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

Rani Ki Vav – Architecture 

Rani Ki Vav stepwell was recognised as World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2014.

This stepwell was built by a queen in the memory of her king. Wikimedia Commons
This stepwell was built by a queen in the memory of her king. Wikimedia Commons

Rani Ki Vav is built inside an opening in the ground, which makes it special. The east facing stepwell is constructed in seven storeys and is approximately 64m long, 20m wide & 27m deep.

The central architectural theme of the stepwell is “Dasavatars,” meaning ’10 incarnations’ of Lord Vishnu. There are over 800 sculptures in the seven galleries, out of which, majority are devoted to Lord Vishnu only.There is also a carving of Vishnu reclining on one thousand snakeheads. The lowest level of the well is blocked by stones and silt now, after the flooding by river Saraswati, however earlier it used to be an escape route to the neighbouring villages.

Rani Ki Vav is considered queen of stepwells in India. Wikimedia Commons
Rani Ki Vav is considered queen of stepwells in India. Wikimedia Commons

Rani Ki Vav is one of the finest step wells in India and the most famous in Gujarat. It has many pillars and walls which are sculpted in the beautiful Maru-Gurjara architectural style. It is nothing less than a mesmerizing sight.

Also Read: 5 Traditional Water Conservation Methods In India 

It is one of kind type of mesmerising structure which is definitely worth visiting. Rani Ki Vav is also considered the queen of stepwells in India. Rani ki Vav was also among the five international heritage sites selected by the Scottish Ten team for digital preservation and scanned in 2011. It is one truly remarkable monument.