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Silk Road turns into UNESCO World Heritage Site

China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan will share and work on preserving the heritage of the fabled Silk Road which has linked Europe to Asia for immemorial times following UNESCO World Heritage Site nomination.

DOHA – It is a major achievement for China but also, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan which have seen years of efforts being crowned by the UNESCO.
Over the week end, UNESCO 38th session of the World Heritage Committee, which was hosted in Doha, endorsed a portion of the Silk Road to become a World Heritage Site. The nomination of this road already used by one of the world’s most famous travellers, Marco Polo. The route started to be used by merchants and caravans back to the second century BC and prospered until the 16th century. 
It is the most famed trade and cultural link between Europe and Asia and one of the oldest trading road in the history of mankind. 
The successful international application of “The Silk Roads: The Initial Section of the Silk Roads, the Routes Network of Tian-shan Corridor” — which involves China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan — is one of the biggest items on the UNESCO World Heritage list, stretching some times in its history for more than 7,000 km. “It turns a new page in terms of World Heritage Sites because our previous items on the list are individual spots rather than a continuous line,” said Tong Mingkang, deputy director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the head of China’s delegation in Doha. 
There are 33 historical sites in the project with 22 in China’s four province-level administrative regions: Shaanxi, Henan and Gansu provinces and in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, while Kazakhstan will have eight sites and Kyrgyzstan three.”A detailed plan for protection and improvement of surrounding areas was made for each spot, making this application much more complicated than previous ones,” Tong explained to media. With the Silk Road, China gained its 46th World Heritage Site designation. UNESCO has been encouraging countries along the Silk Road to apply for the World Heritage status for 20 years. However, serious application started only in 2006 following the resolve of a dispute about the precise path taken by the Silk Road. 

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Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.