More new (but ancient) additions to UNESCO World Heritage

This is the last of three posts delving into 2021 new additions to the UNESCO World Heritage list. The focus this time is on ancient sites and relevant publications in the University Library which support further investigation.

Settlement and Artificial Mummification of the Chinchorro Culture in the Arica and Parinacota Region: Most people would associate the death ritual of mummification with ancient Egypt. However, 7000 years ago (2000 years earlier than the Egyptians) the Chinchorro people of northern Chile were mummifying their dead, and this culture has now been recognised by inscription on the World Heritage List. The Chinchorro mummies were first brought to world attention by the German archaeologist Max Uhle in the early 20th century.  More recently, the Chilean anthropologist Bernardo Arriaza has devoted more than 30 years to researching them. His work has furthered our knowledge and helped to ensure that the culture has been validated as internationally significant. His 1995 book Beyond death: the Chinchorro mummies of ancient Chile (673:35.b.95.13) details almost 300 examples. Continue reading

The great spa towns of Europe

This blog post revisits, as promised earlier, the theme of new additions to the UNESCO World Heritage list, concentrating this time on spa towns. Eleven towns in seven different countries formed a collective transnational nomination that was successful in July 2021. The towns are:

  • Baden bei Wien (Austria)
  • Spa (Belgium)
  • Františkovy Lázně, Karlovy Vary and Mariánské Lázně (Czechia)
  • Vichy (France)
  • Bad Ems, Baden-Baden and Bad Kissingen (Germany)
  • Montecatini Terme (Italy)
  • Bath (United Kingdom)

Terme Tettuccio at Montecatini Terme (by Elisa Salvicchi via Wikimedia Commons)

United by the healing properties of their waters, these resorts were chosen to represent spa culture which had its heyday from the 18th century to early in the 20th century. Now, in the cold of winter after a period of possible festive overindulgence, is the perfect time to envelop ourselves with thoughts of such places with their thermal springs and health cures. Using, as ever, resources held in the University Library, I will look back to a time when these were fashionable leisure destinations, frequented by famous visitors and stimulating the publication of many guides and handbooks. Continue reading

New additions to the UNESCO World Heritage list

Back in July I wrote about UNESCO World Heritage sites and decisions to be taken at the impending 44th session of the World Heritage committee. Sadly, as feared, Liverpool did lose its World Heritage status. However, the two new nominated sites that I highlighted, Nice in France and the ShUM sites of Speyer, Worms and Mainz in Germany, were both successful in being added to the list. This blog post is the first of three which will take a look at a few of the other new additions and consider relevant books in which you can find out more.

First, and also in Germany, is Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt, site of the Darmstadt Artists’ Colony, established in 1897 by Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse, a grandson of Queen Victoria. This was an important early 20th century artistic centre and the buildings show the influence of the Art Nouveau and Vienna Secession movements. Continue reading

UNESCO World Heritage sites: some virtual visits

As thoughts turn to summer holidays, and foreign travel is still not a straightforward prospect for many, it is time to reprise the idea of the armchair traveller’s virtual tour, this time exploring some UNESCO World Heritage sites through our resources, mostly online ones. The World Heritage Program has been operating since the 1970s and the list of sites now numbers more than one thousand. This list will shortly be added to as the 44th session of the UNESCO World Heritage committee will take place during the next two weeks, an extended meeting (as they were not able to meet in 2020) at which delegates will consider the new nominations. They will also vote on whether the city of Liverpool should lose its World Heritage status, granted in 2004 and under threat because of recent waterfront developments regarded as detrimental. Previously, only one other European site was delisted, the Dresden Elbe valley in 2009 because of concerns about the construction of the Waldschlösschen Bridge. Continue reading