UNESCO is Expanding World Heritage List at Istanbul Meeting

Panoramic view of Istanbul, Turkey, with Yeni Cami (the New Mosque) and Galata Bridge. Photo by Mstyslav Chernov, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The World Heritage Committee is currently in Istanbul for its 40th session, considering proposals to inscribe 29 sites on UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage List.

Held at the Istanbul Congress Centre over 10 days, the Committee will be chaired by Ambassador Lale Ülker, General Director for Overseas Promotion and Cultural Affairs at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Making the respected list is hugely important for the sites, as it can prompt tourism to the region as well provide financial means for preservation. Nine natural, 16 cultural, and four mixed sites have been nominated for examination this year.

The committee will also inspect the conservation of 108 existing World Heritage sites as well as the 48 sites on the World Heritage in Danger List.

Security in Istanbul has been ramped up after the June 28 attack on Istanbul’s airport, responsibility for which has been attributed to ISIS, according to AFP.

“What happened in Syria and Iraq as well as in Mali and Afghanistan were so shocking that the process of preparing UNESCO’s lists has become of great political importance,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in reference to various jihadi threats to several ancient sites across the Middle East.

Le Corbusier, Palace of Assembly, Chandigarh. Photo by duncid, Creative Commons <a href=https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en target="_blank" rel="noopener">2.0 Generic</a> license.

Le Corbusier, Palace of Assembly, Chandigarh. Photo by duncid, Creative Commons 2.0 Generic license.

The 29 dossiers being considered this year span 21 countries and among those being considered is the work of the Franco-Swiss architect Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris (aka Le Corbusier). Following failed attempts to make the list in 2009 and 2011, a dossier of his work has been amended and resubmitted for “Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement.”

It lists 17 sites across seven countries—France, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Argentina, Japan and India—to highlight Le Corbusier’s international oeuvre.

Some fascinating 5th century BC cave art from China’s Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape is also being considered, which might add to the growing presence of prehistoric art protected by the list.

Also up for consideration are key works of Modern architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright, including the famous rotunda and Hollyhock House.

The 40th session will add to the 1,031 sites in more than 163 countries already on the World Heritage List. The debates of the session are being webcast.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.