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UNESCO adds Niger city of Agadez on heritage list


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The 37th annual meeting of the World Heritage Committee of United Nations Culture Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), on Saturday in Cambodia, announced that the northern Niger desert city of Agadez is among the new sites on the World Heritage List.Founded before the 14th century, Agadez became the most important Tuareg city, supplanting Assodé, becoming a crossroads for the trans-Saharan caravan trade.

The city is referred to as “a gateway to the desert” and is the largest city in northern Niger.

According to the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), Agadez is “a vast and well-preserved historic urban ensemble, which uses mudbrick architecture both for its monuments, which in some cases are extremely impressive, such as the great minaret.”

The city includes a mosque with an imposing minaret of 27metre high, the tallest in the world with a load-bearing structure exclusively made of mudbrick (walls, plastering, foundations), and the “Sultan’s Palace” dating back to the 15th-16th century.

“Agadez is characterized by an adobe architecture, unfired clay brick obtained by sun drying, and “bears witness to an exceptional architectural tradition, based on sophisticated use of mudbrick,” UNESCO said in its documents.

It could be recalled that Niger has two sites on the list. The first was added in 1991 ie the Air and Tenere Natural Reserves with a variety of landscapes, plant species and wild animals covering some 7.7 million ha.

It includes the volcanic rock mass of the Aïr, situated in the Saharan desert of Ténéré.

The second one is the “W” National Park of Niger (1996), between savannah and forest lands, represents important ecosystem characteristics of the West African Woodlands/Savannah Biogeographical Province.

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