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World-building Welsh slate gets heritage listing



The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as the region of quarries and mines was recognised for helping to build much of 19th century Europe.

The region was industrialised over the course of more than a century – from the 1780s to the early 20th century – and became the United Kingdom’s 44th Heritage List site.

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) stated the importance of the region at its 44th Committee session.

“The territory, extending from mountain top to sea coast, presented opportunities and constraints that were used and challenged by the large scale industrial processes undertaken by landowners and capital investors, which reshaped the agricultural landscape into an industrial centre for slate production during the Industrial Revolution,” UNESCO stated.

The site includes relic quarries, mines, archaeological sites, historical settlements, gardens, ports, harbours, quays, railways and roads.

It also encouraged the upbringing of many skilled workers over its centennial tenure, providing a blueprint for how similar regions around the world should operate.

“It offers an important and remarkable example of interchange of materials, technology and human values,” UNESCO concluded.

Also among the new inductees were Italy’s Porticoes of Bologna; Slovenia’s works of Jože Plečnik in Ljubljana; Russia’s Petroglyphs of Lake Onega and the White Sea; and Gabon’s Ivindo National Park.

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