The latest addition to UNESCO's World Heritage Sites in China: Shaolin and Danxia

Travel | by Aimee Groom
Posted: August 5th, 2010 | Updated: August 6th, 2010 | Comments
shaolin temple The folks over at UNESCO held their annual World Heritage Committee meet at the end of last month, getting together to evaluate which of the world's many cultural and natural wonders should be added to their official list of  awesomeness. The 21 new sites added to "The List" takes the number of worldwide locations, recognized for their historical, physical or cultural significance and importance to humanity, to 911. There were two new China additions this year: the Historic Monuments of Dengfeng, in the “Centre of Heaven and Earth” and the Danxia Landscapes, bringing the grand total of UNESCO World Heritage sites in China up to a total of 40. Dengfeng (Henan) is better known as the home of the Shaolin Temple and the cradle of martial arts, though in recent years, religious and cultural learning has often taken a backseat to tourist-centric performance and spectacles (footballing monks for instance). Whether this new recognition will inspire a return to the old ways or an even bigger tourist circus of flag-carrying, megaphone-toting tour groups is yet to be seen, though Spero News reports some promising comments from abbot Shi Yongxin:
"For the monks, living in a world-recognized heritage site is a wonderful experience, but at the same time, our responsibility to protect the temple becomes even graver," he said. "I'm also looking forward to the addition of Shaolin kung fu into UNESCO's intangible heritage list," Shi added.
Guangdong,  Guizhou, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangxi and  Zhejiang, and is characterized by spectacular red cliffs, gulleys and ravines--a ruggedly beautiful and diverse landscape that hosts many rare and threatened species of flora and fauna.
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