Six Algerian sites on Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage

ALGIERS- The provisional tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites included 6 files relating to Algeria’s tangible cultural property, which have been nominated for inclusion in the World Heritage of Humanity.

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ALGIERS- The provisional tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites included 6 files relating to Algeria’s tangible cultural property, which have been nominated for inclusion in the World Heritage of Humanity, including oasis and urban sites, thematic routes or even ancient funerary monuments.

The Algerian radio said: “According to the 1972 agreement, this list includes files about the Foggara Oases, the Palaces of the Great Western Erg, Augustinian sites, places and paths in the Central Maghreb, Nedroma and the Trara region, Oued Souf, the Numidian and Mauritanian Royal Mausoleums and funeral monuments of the pre-Islamic period, the Aures Park and the Centres of Oases for the Canyons of Rhoufi and El-Kantara”.

In the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices, UNESCO referred to the “Programs for the conservation and enhancement of the historic city of Bejaia since 1968 (eastern Algiers), conservation and preservation of the city of Constantine (east Algeria) in 2002, and programs for the protection, promoting traditional construction techniques in the M’Zab Valley founded in 1970 (southern Algeria), in addition to improving the connection between heritage and young people in archaeological sites in Djémila since 2003 (eastern Algeria) and workshops for heritage in Tlemcen since 2001 (western Algeria).

For more than twenty years, Algeria has been provided with a legal tool represented in Law 98-04 relating to the identification of the cultural heritage of the nation and the general rules for its protection, preservation and development, allowing the final classification of hundreds of sites and cultural properties in the national and local registry.

The Algerian State, represented by the Ministry of Culture and the Arts in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Community Abroad, has also carried out a project to preserve biodiversity of global importance and the sustainable use of ecological system services in Algerian cultural parks.

This project was carried out over ten years in partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the five cultural parks created since independence.

It should be noted that the Algerian Sites have been on the Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage since 2002.

Back to history, and a few years after adopting the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage in 1972, Algeria ratified this convention and started the procedure to preserve its heritage and integrate the prestigious list of Heritage of humanity with the listing of seven sites between 1980 and 1992.

After ratifying the Convention in 1974, Algeria, which celebrates this year the sixtieth anniversary of the recovery of its national sovereignty, shows great interest in the preservation and above all the enhancement of its tangible cultural heritage by fully adhering to the UN text, by training specialists and creating the necessary administrative and legislative structures and frameworks.

Algeria has worked to register its first cultural property in universality, “La Kalâa des Beni Hammad” in Msila, vestiges of the first capital of the Hammadites founded in the 11th century, which was the first site included on this list in 1980 to be “one of the most interesting and precisely dated monumental complexes of Islamic civilization”, according to Unesco.

Two years later, Algeria presented one of its most substantial files, a strange lunar landscape of great geological interest, housing one of the most important sets of prehistoric rock art in the world with more than 15,000 drawings and engravings, listed as a World Heritage Site.

In addition to providing information on climate change, wildlife migrations and the evolution of human life, the Tassili N’Ajjer is also classified as a biosphere reserve for its natural diversity, its ecosystem, its fauna, its flora and its wet area.

This area, which also houses a Ramsar site (a wetland of international importance, particularly as a habitat for waterfowl), the Iherir Valley, is managed and preserved by the Tassili National Cultural Park Office.

The same year, three of the most beautiful and largest witness sites of the ancient Roman period were also classified, in this case “Djemila”; the ancient Cuicul in Sétif and “Timgad” in Batna, edifying examples of Roman urban planning, and “Tipasa”, the only coastal site comprising a set of Phoenician, Roman and Byzantine remains, and local sites, such as; the tomb of Cleopatra Selene.

Another thousand-year-old site classified in 1982, the M’zab Valley, the first Algerian inhabited historical center to integrate the heritage of humanity for its five ksour perfectly adapted to the environment and designed for community life, which remain a source of inspiration for today’s planners.
The management and preservation of this site have been entrusted to the Office for the Protection and Promotion of the M’zab Valley.

In the same vein, the Mediterranean city par excellence, the “Casbah of Algiers, also joined the list in 1992 for its mosques, palaces, vestiges and its traditional urban structure.

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