2008-07-07 04:31:29 GMT 2008-07-07 12:31:29 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
QUEBEC CITY, Canada, July 6 (Xinhua) -- UNESCO's World Heritage Committee Sunday added four new sites to its heritage list, including Tulou, the unique residential architecture of Fujian Province in southeastern China.
The remaining three sites inscribed Sunday afternoon local time by the 21-member heritage committee which is currently meeting in Quebec City, are a former slave hideout in Mauritius, an archeological site in Saudi Arabia and monasteries in Iran.
Fujian Tulou comprises 46 earthen houses constructed between the 12th and 20th centuries. Each has several stories, built for entire clans and sheltering up to 800 people.
During the 18th and early 19th centuries, runaway slaves sought shelter on the mountain of Le Morne, which juts out into the Indian Ocean in south-west Mauritius, where they formed small settlements. The mountain became a symbol of the slaves' search for freedom, as well as their suffering and sacrifice.
Al-Hijr, or Madain Salih, is the first Saudi Arabian site to be added to the World Heritage List. As the largest conserved site of the civilization of the Nabataeans south of Petra in Jordan, it features over 100 tombs dating back from the 1st century BC to the1st century AD.
The Armenian Monastic Ensembles in northeastern Iran were a major hub for the dissemination of the Armenian culture into Azerbaijan and Persia. The site comprises three monastic ensembles, with the oldest edifice dating back to the 7th century.
The four new entries bring UNESCO's World Heritage List to 855 sites in more than 140 countries around the world.
The World Heritage Committee's annual meeting is scheduled to wrap up on July 10.