Silk Roads: Zarafshan-Karakum Corridor inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List
29 September 2023
The extended 45th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has inscribed the Silk Roads: Zarafshan-Karakum corridor on the World Heritage List.
This serial transnational nomination, with 31 component parts located in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, reflects the outstanding developments on architecture and technology, monumental arts, urban-planning and landscape design along this section of the Silk Roads, between the 2nd century BCE and the 16th century CE.
Including the remains of medieval cities, caravanserai and other monuments, this corridor also reflects the interchange of local versions of Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam in Central Asia. The area provides an important example of human interaction with landscapes, illustrated by water-management in mountain, dry-steppe, oases, fertile valleys, and arid-desert zones, all of which facilitated trade and movement.
The State Parties undertook a ground-breaking partnership to undertake this nomination and the subsequent plans to manage these landscapes and sites, resulting in this prestigious achievement.
The project was supported by the International Institute of Central Asian Studies (IICAS), who acted as the secretariat for the nomination (special mentions for Dr Dmitriy Voyakin, Farukh Khabibullayev and Nargiz Aituganova), and by the UCL team of the Arcadia-funded Central Asian Archaeological Landscape project (CAAL), led by Tim Williams, with Ona Vileikis Tamayo, Gai Jorayev and Marco Nebbia, which provided documentation, research, and editorial support for the dossier.
Silk Roads research has a long history at the UCL Institute of Archaeology and the CAAL project is dedicated to the digitisation of archaeological heritage across this vast region, stretching from the Caspian Sea to western China.
Congratulations to everyone involved!
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