The World Heritage Committee has announced the addition of three major African cultural sites on UNESCO’s “ World Heritage List ,” with Eritrea and Angola making their first entries to the list.
The committee, which made the announcement Saturday, is mandated to identify, catalog, and preserve sites of outstanding importance — either cultural or natural — to the common heritage of humanity.
Here are the 3 African Sites Added to UNESCO’s ‘World Heritage’ List.
1. Mbanza Kongo, the former Kingdom of Kongo, AngolaMbanza Kongo, the former Kingdom of Kongo. Image: Face2faceafrica.com
It is located near Angola’s border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and sits on top of a flat-topped mountain, sometimes referred to as “ Mongo a Kaila ” (“mountain of division”), from where the king created the clans of the kingdom and sent them out.
The town of Mbanza Kongo was a political and spiritual capital of the Kingdom of Kongo, which was one of the largest constituted states in Southern Africa.
The kingdom existed between the 14th and 19th centuries.
Mbanza Kongo consists of the royal residence, the customary court, the holy tree, and the royal funeral places.
The historical site is a true representation of the profound transformation caused by Christianity and the coming of the Portuguese people in Central Africa.
2. Asmara: A Modernist City of Africa, Eritrea
Asmara city, Eritrea’s capital. Photo credit: World Monuments FundImage source
Established in the 1890s, the city of Asmara, Eritrea’s capital, used to serve as a military outpost for the Italian colonial power.
The city is currently estimated to have a population of more than 800,000 inhabitants and is known for its well-preserved colonial Italian modernist architecture.
After 1935, Asmara underwent a major renovation, applying the Italian rationalist idiom of the time to governmental edifices, residential and commercial buildings, churches, mosques, synagogues, cinemas, and hotels.
The city includes indigenous unplanned neighborhoods of Arbate Asmera and Abbashawel and is a perfect example of early modernist urbanism at the beginning of the 20th century and its application in the African context.
3.Khomani Cultural Landscape, South Africa
Khomani Cultural Landscape is a gigantic expanse of sand located in the northern part of South Africa at the border with the neighboring Botswana and Namibia.
It coincides with the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park (KGNP) and contains evidence of human occupation from the Stone Age to the present.
The site is associated with the culture of the formally nomadic Khomani San people and the tactics they employed to adapt to harsh desert conditions.
The landscape bears testimony to the way of life that prevailed in the region and shaped the site over thousands of years.
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