Wednesday, July 3, 2013

World Heritage Sites in Afghanistan

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Email....okarresearch@gmail.com

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The World Heritage Sites:

City of Balkh (antique Bactria) ....." The foundation of the city of Paktra, later known as Bactria is ascribed to Kaiomars, and at an early date it was said to have rivaled urban centres such as Babylon. For a long period Bactria was the spiritual centre for the Zoroastrian religion, as well as having a rich temple to the goddess Anahita. Accounts of visitors in the 7th century AD indicate the existence of a significant number of Buddhist monasteries, stupas and other monuments in the city."....http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1928/

Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam....surrounded by mountains that reach up to 7874 feet....The archaeological landscape around Jam also includes the ruins of a 'palace', fortifications, and has been suggested to be the remains of the lost city of Turquoise Mountain.....The Turquoise Mountain (Persian: Fîrûzkûh فیروزکوه) is the lost capital of the Ghurid dynasty. It was reputedly one of the greatest cities of its age, but was destroyed by Ögedei Khan, son of Genghis Khan, in the early 1220s and lost to history."....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turquoise_Mountain

Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley......IN DANGER......The cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley represent the artistic and religious developments which from the 1st to the 13th centuries characterized ancient Bakhtria, integrating various cultural influences into the Gandhara school of Buddhist art. The area contains numerous Buddhist monastic ensembles and sanctuaries, as well as fortified edifices from the Islamic period. The site is also testimony to the tragic destruction by the Taliban of the two standing Buddha statues, which shook the world in March 2001....Qallai Kaphari monuments are situated 12km east of the Bamiyan Cliff, in two clusters (A and B), consisting of fortification walls, towers and citadels, built in earthen structures.

Petroglyphs within the Archaeological Landscape of Tamgaly.....Set around the lush Tamgaly Gorge, amidst the vast, arid Chu-Ili mountains, is a remarkable concentration of some 5,000 petroglyphs (rock carvings) dating from the second half of the second millennium BC to the beginning of the 20th century. Distributed among 48 complexes with associated settlements and burial grounds, they are testimonies to the husbandry, social organization and rituals of pastoral peoples. Human settlements in the site are often multilayered and show occupation through the ages. A huge number of ancient tombs are also to be found including stone enclosures with boxes and cists (middle and late Bronze Age), and mounds (kurgans) of stone and earth (early Iron Age to the present). The central canyon contains the densest concentration of engravings and what are believed to be altars."...http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1145

City of Herat.....

Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain....."Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain Kyrgyzstan dominates the Fergana Valley and forms the backdrop to the city of Osh, at the crossroads of important routes on the Central Asian Silk Roads. For more than one and a half millennia, Sulaiman was a beacon for travellers revered as a sacred mountain. Its five peaks and slopes contain numerous ancient places of worship and caves with petroglyphs as well as two largely reconstructed 16th century mosques. One hundred and one sites with petroglyphs representing humans and animals as well as geometrical forms have been indexed in the property so far. The site numbers 17 places of worship, which are still in use, and many that are not. Dispersed around the mountain peaks they are connected by footpaths. The cult sites are believed to provide cures for barrenness, headaches, and back pain and give the blessing of longevity. Veneration for the mountain blends pre-Islamic and Islamic beliefs. The site is believed to represent the most complete example of a sacred mountain anywhere in Central Asia, worshipped over several millennia..".....http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1230

Band-E-Amir.... situated in the Hindu Kush mountains of central Afghanistan at approximately 3000 m of elevation, west of the famous Buddhas of Bamiyan....The complex, the most impressive and complete Buddhist monastery in Pakistan, consists of four main groups: the Court of Stupas with a cluster of stupas beside the main stupa in the middle courtyard, embellished with a series of tall niches to enshrine Buddhist statues; the early monastic complex with residential cells around an open court, assembly hall and refectory; the temple complex with a main stupa in the middle of a courtyard adorned with statues niches similar to the earlier stupa court; the tantric monastic complex with an open courtyard in front of a series of dark cells with low openings for mystical meditation, in keeping with tantric practice.."...http://whc.unesco.org/

Bagh-e Babur.....

Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Neighbouring City Remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol....The Buddhist monastic complex of Takht-i-Bahi (Throne of Origins) was founded in the early 1st century. Owing to its location on the crest of a high hill, it escaped successive invasions and is still exceptionally well preserved. Nearby are the ruins of Sahr-i-Bahlol, a small fortified city dating from the same period."....

Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro.....The ruins of the huge city of Moenjodaro – built entirely of unbaked brick in the 3rd millennium B.C. – lie in the Indus valley. The acropolis, set on high embankments, the ramparts, and the lower town, which is laid out according to strict rules, provide evidence of an early system of town planning."....http://whc.unesco.org

Xinjiang Tianshan....."Xinjiang Tianshan comprises four components—Tomur, Kalajun-Kuerdening, Bayinbukuke and Bogda— that total 606,833 hectares. They are part of the Tianshan mountain system of Central Asia, one of the largest mountain ranges in the world. Xinjiang Tianshan presents unique physical geographic features and scenically beautiful areas including spectacular snow and snowy mountains glacier-capped peaks, undisturbed forests and meadows, clear rivers and lakes and red bed canyons.."....http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1414

Tajikistan National Park covers more than 2.5 million hectares in the east of the country, at the centre of the so-called “Pamir Knot”, a meeting point of the highest mountain ranges on the Eurasian continent. It consists of high plateaux in the east and, to the west, rugged peaks, some of them over 7,000 meters high, and features extreme seasonal variations of temperature. The longest valley glacier outside the Polar region is located among the 1,085 glaciers inventoried in the site, which also numbers 170 rivers and more than 400 lakes. Rich flora species of both the south-western and central Asian floristic regions grow in the Park which shelters nationally rare and threatened birds and mammals (Marco Polo Argali sheep, Snow Leopards and Siberian Ibex and more). Subject to frequent strong earthquakes, the Park is sparsely inhabited, and virtually unaffected by agriculture and permanent human settlements. It offers a unique opportunity for the study of plate tectonics and subduction phenomena.....The site is Tajikistan’s first natural World Heritage site.......http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1252

Ancient Merv is the oldest and best-preserved of the oasis-cities along the Silk Route in Central Asia. The oasis of Merv in the Karakum Desert, at the crossing point of the Amu Darya on the main east-west route to Bukhara and Samarkand, has supported a series of urban centres since the 3rd millennium BC. The earliest Bronze Age centres (c . 2500-1200 BC) were located in the north of the oasis. With the development of more advanced irrigation techniques, the centres moved further south and east of the oasis. It consisted of a series of adjacent walled cities.....The remains in this vast oasis span 4,000 years of human history. A number of monuments are still visible, particularly from the last two millennia. It is located in the territory of Mary velayat of Turkmenistan. It has supported a series of urban centres since the 3rd millennium BC and played an important role in the history of the East connected with the unparalleled existence of cultural landscape and exceptional variety of cultures which existed within the Murgab river oasis being in continually interactions and successive development...Today “Ancient Merv” is a large archaeological park which includes remains of Bronze Age centres (2500-1200 BC) such as Kelleli, Adji Kui, Taip, Gonur, and Togoluk; Iron Age centres (1200-300 BC) such as Yaz/Gobekli Depes and Takhirbaj Depe; the historic urban centre and the post-medieval city, Abdullah Khan Kala. ...The historic urban centre consists of a series of adjacent walled cities: Erk Kala, Gyaur Kala and the medieval Sultan Kala or Marv al-Shahijan. Erk Kala.....http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/886

The Parthian Fortresses of Nisa consist of two tells of Old and New Nisa, indicating the site of one of the earliest and most important cities of the Parthian Empire, a major power from the mid 3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD. .....Nisa was the capital of the Parthian Empire, which dominated this region of central Asia from the mid 3rd century BCE to the early 3rd century CE...... It is believed that there was a large settlement there as early as the 1st millennium BCE...... in the mid 3rd century BCE, when impressive buildings were erected by the Parthians, who decided to build a royal residence, probably the first of the Parthian dynasty. The name of the site, Mithradatkert, and an indication of the date of its foundation are known from an inscription written on one of the 2,700 administrative ceramics (ostraka) found at Nisa. Mithradatkert means ‘the fortress of Mithidrat,' referring to King Mithradat I (174-138 BCE).....http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1242

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Email....okarresearch@gmail.com

John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….July 2013

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