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article imageUNESCO grants Japan's Mount Fuji World Heritage status

By Anne Sewell     Jun 22, 2013 in World
Phnom Penh - Japan's Mount Fuji has been granted World Heritage status by UNESCO, along with a series of ancient terraced rice paddies in China and the desert city of Agardaz in Niger, among other wonders.
Japan's Mount Fuji, known for its cone-shaped volcano, is the highest mountain in Japan at 3,776 meters, and is one of the most recognizable sights in the country and is now the seventeenth site in Japan to be inscribed by UNESCO.
The snow-capped peak "has inspired artists and poets and been the object of pilgrimage for centuries", UNESCO said.
Mount Fuji is located 100 kilometers southwest of the capital Tokyo, and last erupted about 300 years ago.
"Oh, I feel relieved. I am thankful," Shigeru Horiuchi, the mayor of Fuji Yoshida told the media after receiving a phone call from Phnom Penh informing him of the UN body's decision.
UNESCO, or to give it's full title, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization committee, is holding its 37th annual session right now in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Mount Fuji in Japan  recently awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO.
Mount Fuji in Japan, recently awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO.
The mountain was classified as a "cultural" heritage site, rather than a "natural" heritage site and the document prepared ahead of the meeting stated:
"The awe that Fujisan's majestic form and intermittent volcanic activity has inspired was transformed into religious practices that linked Shintoism and Buddhism, people and nature."
Mount Fuji "inspired artists in the early 19th century to produce images that transcended cultures, allowed the mountain to be known around the world, and had a profound influence on the development of Western art".
UNESCO also granted the historic town of Agadez in Niger, seen as "a gateway to the desert", World Heritage status on Saturday stating that from the 15th century, Agadez "became an exceptional crossroads for the caravan trade. It bears witness to an early historic town, forming a major center for trans-Saharan cultural interchanges."
View of Agadez  Niger from mosque minaret.
View of Agadez, Niger from mosque minaret.
Dan Lundberg
Canada's Red Bay Basque Whaling Station also received World Heritage status on Saturday.
An Arctic maritime base for Basque mariners in the 16th century, the site, which includes the remains of rendering ovens, living quarters and underwater ship wrecks and whale bone deposits are "the earliest, most comprehensive and best preserved archaeological testimony of a pre-industrial whaling station," according to UNESCO.
Saturday also saw World Heritage status for the landscapes of terraced rice fields of Honghe Hani, south of the Chinese province of Yunnan, which reflect "in an exceptional way a specific interaction with the environment mediated by integrated farming and water management systems."
UNESCO said in the documents, "Carved out of dense forest over the past 1,300 years by Hani people... the irrigated terraces support paddy fields overlooking narrow valleys."
Adding that, "In some places, you can see up to 3,000 suspended terraces on the slopes" of Ailao mountains.
Honghe Hani rice terraces
Honghe Hani rice terraces
Other sites of note to receive their World Heritage inscriptions on Saturday were the Al Zubarah Archaeological Site in Qatar and Fiji's Levuka Historical Port Town. Friday saw Italy's Mount Etna, the Hill Forts of Rajasthan in India and the Namib Sand Sea placed amongst the natural wonders and cultural jewels to be granted World Heritage status.
More about Unesco, Japan, mount fuji, Volcano, World heritage
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