UNESCO Team Inspects Heritage Candidates

UNESCO Team Inspects Heritage Candidates
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A team from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has arrived in Bali to conduct field inspections and review four sites proposed by the Indonesian government for acceptance in the organization’s list of World Heritage Sites. “The field inspection will be carried out from Oct. 13 to 17 and throughout the visit the UNESCO team will be accompanied by a team from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the provincial team for World Heritage Sites,” the provincial team’s secretary I Wayan Windia said. He disclosed that the UNESCO team comprised Prof. Augusto Velanon from the Philippines and Prof. Rina Apriani from Indonesia. Citing the UNESCO field inspection rules, Windia said that the entire trip was closed to members of the press. The four nominated sites are the Batukaru mountain reserve in Tabanan, the Pakerisan watershed in Gianyar, the Taman Ayun royal palace in Badung and Lake Batur in Bangli. The Batukaru mountain reserve boasts a well-protected forest and a hilltop mountain revered as one of the six kahyangan jagat (world temples), the major temples revered by all Balinese Hindus. The gem of the area, however, is the vast and well-kept terraced rice fields in Jatiluwih village. The Bali administration views Jatiluwih as the best real-life model of subak, the island’s famed traditional irrigation and farming system. The Batukaru mountain reserve is also the best illustration of the intertwined, mutually influential, relationship between the island’s rice growing culture and its spiritual belief system. The Pakerisan watershed boasts many majestic archaeological sites, including Gunung Kawi — the royal tombs of ancient Balinese kings. The tombs are beautifully carved into a soft stone wall. The Pakerisan watershed and the archaeological sites along the river are a testament to the island’s past glories. Taman Ayun royal temple was constructed in the 17th century during the reign of Tjokorda Bima Sakti Blambangan, a feared warlord and the founder of the mighty kingdom of Mengwi. The garden temple was designed by Kang Choew, an architect of Chinese descent and the king’s close confidant. A wide moat encircles the temple compound and another, narrower, moat encircles the inner sanctum. Lake Batur, which is actually a caldera lake, occupies an important place in Balinese Hinduism as the seat of Dewi Danu, the goddess of fertility and prosperity. Batur and its neighboring town of Kintamani are also among the island’s earliest tourism attractions. “The results of the field inspection and review, including interviews with the local people and institutions, will be presented in the UNESCO meeting on June 2012. In that meeting, UNESCO will decide whether the four sites will be accepted as World Heritage Sites,” Windia added. Currently there are 936 cultural and natural sites listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List, including seven sites in Indonesia, namely Borobudur temple compound, Komodo national park, Lorentz national park, Prambanan temple compound, Ujung Kulon national park, Sangiran early man site and the Sumatra tropical rainforest. News source: The Jakarta Post

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