China‏ scores new World Heritage site successes

25th Jun 2013

China has been among the big winners as the World Heritage Committee announced two new sites on the coveted UNESCO World Heritage list.

Its cultural landscapes of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces and Xinjiang Tianshan have both been added to the prestigious small pantheon of destinations which boast the quality kitemark much sought after by holidaymakers on group tours.

The Honghe Hani Rice Terraces' cultural sites cover 16,603-hectares in Southern Yunnan.

Their spectacular terraces cascade down the slopes of the towering Ailao Mountains to the banks of the Hong River.

For 13 centuries, the Hani people have created a complex system of channels to bring water from the forested mountaintops to the terraces.

They have also created an intriguing integrated farming system that supports the production of red rice.

The fascinating inhabitants, who worship the sun, moon, mountains, rivers, forests and other natural phenomena, reside in traditional thatched "mushroom" houses across 82 villages situated between the mountaintop forests and the terraces.

Xinjiang Tianshan's four components - Tomur, Kalajun-Kuerdening, Bayinbukuke and Bogda - total 606,833 hectares.

They form part of the Tianshan mountain system of Central Asia, one of the world's biggest mountain ranges.

Xinjiang Tianshan's wonders include spectacular snowy mountains, glacier-capped peaks, undisturbed forests and meadows, rare and endangered flora species, clear rivers and lakes and red bed canyons.

These contrast with the massive nearby desert landscapes, including the Taklimakan, one of the world's biggest and highest deserts, known for its huge dune forms and great dust storms.

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