10- UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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    10- UNESCO World Heritage

    Sites

    01 Banaue Rice Terraces (Philippines)

    The Banaue Rice Terraces are 2000-year old terraces thatwere carved into the mountains of Ifugao in thePhilippines by ancestors of the indigenous people. TheRice Terraces are commonly referred to by Filipinos asthe "Eighth Wonder of the World". It is commonly thoughtthat the terraces were built with minimal equipment,largely by hand. The terraces are located approximately1500 meters (5000 ft) above sea level and cover 10,360square kilometers (about 4000 square miles) of

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    mountainside. They are fed by an ancient irrigationsystem from the rainforests above the terraces. It is saidthat if the steps are put end to end it would encircle halfthe globe. Read more after the break...

    The Banaue terraces are part of the Rice Terraces of thePhilippine Cordilleras, ancient sprawling man-madestructures from 2,000 to 6,000 years old. They are foundin the provinces of Kalinga, Apayao, Benguet, MountainProvince and Ifugao, and are a UNESCO World HeritageSite.

    Locals to this day still plant rice and vegetables on theterraces, although more and more younger Ifugaos do notfind farming appealing, often opting for the morelucrative hospitality industry generated by the Rice

    Terraces. The result is the gradual erosion of thecharacteristic "steps", which need constantreconstruction and care.

    02 Ajanta Caves (India)

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    AJANTA is world's greatest historical monumentrecognised by UNESCO located just 40kms from Jalgaoncity of Maharashtra, India. There are 30 caves in Ajanta ofwhich 9, 10, 19, 26 and 29 are chaitya-grihas and the restare monasteries. These caves were discovered in AD1819 and were built up in the earlier 2nd century BC-AD.Most of the paintings in Ajanta are right from 2nd century

    BC-AD and some of them about the fifth century AD andcontinued for the next two centuries. All paintings showsheavy religious influence and centre around Buddha,Bodhisattvas, incidents from the life of Buddha and the

    Jatakas. The paintings are executed on a ground of mud-plaster in the tempera technique.

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    Conjures before one's vision, a dream of beauty- of caves,hidden in the midst of a lonely glen with a streamletflowing down below, caves that were scooped out into the

    heart of the rock so that the pious Buddhist monk, out onmission to spread the tenets of Buddhism could dwell andpray, caves that the followers of Lord Buddha,embellished with architectural details with a skilfulcommand of the hammer over the chisel, with sculptureof highest craftsmanship and above all, with the paintingsof infinite charm.

    At Ajanta, the paintings on the walls, illustrate the eventsin the life of prince Gautama Buddha, the founder ofBuddhism and in the more popular Jatakas storiespertaining to Buddha's previous incarnation. According tothe older conceptions, the Buddha wrought many deedsof kindness and mercy in a long series of transmigrationas a Bodhisattva, before achieving his final birth as thesage of sakyas.

    Incidentally they contain the scenes of semi-mythologicalhistory, the royal court and popular life of the ancienttimes, as told in romances and plays. Some picturesrecall the Greek and Roman compositions andproportions, few late resemble to Chinese manners tosome extent. But majority belongs to a phase, which ispurely Indian, as they are found nowhere else. These

    monuments were constructed during two differentperiods of time separated by a long interval of fourcenturies. The older ones were the product of last tocenturies before Christ and belong to Hinayana period ofBuddhism in later part of 2nd century AD when Buddhismwas divided into two sections, after the conduct of the

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    Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistorictimes. It was used as a rock-shelter mountain monasteryfrom about the 5th century BC, with caves prepared and

    donated by devotees to the Buddhist Sangha. The gardenand palace were built by King Kasyapa. Following KingKasyapa's death, it was again a monastery complex up toabout the 14th century, after which it was abandoned. .

    The Sigiri inscriptions were deciphered by thearchaeologist Senarath Paranavithana in his renownedtwo-volume work, published by Oxford, Sigiri Graffiti. Healso wrote the popular book "Story of Sigiriya".

    The Mahavamsa, the ancient historical record of SriLanka, describes King Kasyapa as the son of KingDhatusena. Kasyapa murdered his father by walling himalive and then usurping the throne which rightfullybelonged to his brother Mogallana, Dhatusena's son bythe true queen. Mogallana fled to India to escape beingassassinated by Kasyapa but vowed revenge. In India he

    raised an army with the intention of returning andretaking the throne of Sri Lanka which he considered wasrightfully his. Knowing the inevitable return of Mogallana,Kasyapa is said to have built his palace on the summit ofSigiriya as a fortress and pleasure palace. Mogallanafinally arrived and declared war. During the battleKasyapa's armies abandoned him and he committedsuicide by falling on his sword. Chronicles and lore say

    that the battle-elephant on which Kasyapa was mountedchanged course to take a strategic advantage, but thearmy misinterpreted the movement as the King havingopted to retreat, prompting the army to abandon the kingaltogether. Moggallana returned the capital to

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    Anuradapura, converting Sigiriya into a monasterycomplex.

    Alternative stories have the primary builder of Sigiriya as

    King Dhatusena, with Kasyapa finishing the work inhonour of his father. Still other stories have Kasyapa as aplayboy king, with Sigiriya a pleasure palace. EvenKasyapa's eventual fate is mutable. In some versions heis assassinated by poison administered by a concubine. Inothers he cuts his own throat when isolated in his finalbattle.[5] Still further interpretations have the site as thework of a Buddhist community, with no military function

    at all. This site may have been important in thecompetition between the Mahayana and TheravadaBuddhist traditions in ancient Sri Lanka.

    04 Leptis Magna (Libya)

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    Leptis Magna, also known as Lectis Magna (or LepcisMagna as it is sometimes spelled), also called Lpqy orNeapolis, was a prominent city of the Roman Empire. Itsruins are located in Al Khums, Libya, 130 km east of

    Tripoli, on the coast where the Wadi Lebda meets thesea. The site is one of the most spectacular and unspoiledRoman ruins in the Mediterranean.

    05 Meteora (Greece)

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    The Metora (Greek "suspended rocks", "suspended in

    the air" or "in the heavens above") is one of the largestand most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox

    monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos. The

    six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock

    pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly

    near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central

    Greece. The nearest town is Kalambaka. The Metora is

    included on the UNESCO World Heritage List undercriteria.

    06 Bagan (Myanmar)

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    Bagan, formerly Pagan, is an ancient city in the MandalayDivision of Burma. Formally titled Arimaddanapura orArimaddana (the City of the Enemy Crusher) and alsoknown as Tambadipa (the Land of Copper) or Tassadessa(the Parched Land), it was the ancient capital of severalancient kingdoms in Burma. It is located in the dry centralplains of the country, on the eastern bank of theAyeyarwady River, 90 miles (145 km) southwest ofMandalay.

    Bagan was submitted to become a UNESCO heritage sitebut many speculate of politics as partly the reason for theexclusion. UNESCO does not designate Bagan as a WorldHeritage Site. The main reason given is that the military

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    junta (SPDC) has haphazardly restored ancient stupas,temples and buildings, ignoring original architecturalstyles and using modern materials which bear little or noresemblance to the original designs. The junta has also

    established a golf course, a paved highway, and built a200-foot (61-m) watchtower in the southeastern suburbof Minnanthu.

    07 Valley of Flowers National Park

    Valley of Flowers National Park is an Indian national park,Nestled high in West Himalaya, is renowned for itsmeadows of endemic alpine flowers and outstandingnatural beauty. This richly diverse area is also home to

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    rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic blackbear, snow leopard, brown bear and blue sheep. Thegentle landscape of the Valley of Flowers National Parkcomplements the rugged mountain wilderness of Nanda

    Devi National Park. Together they encompass a uniquetransition zone between the mountain ranges of theZanskar and Great Himalaya. The park stretches over anexpanse of 87.50 km.

    The Valley of Flowers is an outstandingly beautiful high-altitude Himalayan valley that has been acknowledged assuch by renowned mountaineers and botanists in

    literature for over a century and in Hindu mythology formuch longer. Its gentle landscape, breathtakinglybeautiful meadows of alpine flowers and ease of accessc