Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain of Kyrgyzstan on UNESCOs World Heritage List

29 June 2009

Sulaiman-Too Sacred Mountain of Kyrgyzstan has become the countrys first site to be inscribed on UNESCOs World Heritage List. The decision was made during the 33rd session of the World Heritage Committee in Sevilla, Spain, 26 June 2009.

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.

The World Heritage Committee has inscribed two new natural sites and 11 cultural sites on UNESCOs World Heritage List. Since it also withdrew one site - from the List, Dresden Elbe Valley (Germany), the List now numbers a total of 890 properties.

The World Heritage Committee holding its 33rd session chaired by Maria Jesus San Segundo, the Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Spain to UNESCO, continues to review the state of conservation of properties already listed as well as examine nominations for new cultural and natural sites. The session is scheduled to end on 30 June 2009.

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