The Kaiping Diaolou, or watchtower houses, unique residential and defensive buildings, located in Kaiping City, southern China's Guangdong Province, have been inscribed on the World Heritage List. The diaolou has become a lively, modern architectural museum. [File Photo: sohu.com]
The Diaolou (watchtower house) of Kaiping, China, was inscribed Thursday World Heritage status by the 31st World Heritage Committee meeting in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The Diaolou of Kaiping thus became the 35th World heritage site, also the first of economically prominent South China's Guangdong province.
The Kaiping Diaolou, the unique residential and defensive buildings mainly seen in Guangdong's Kaiping, "blends Chinese and Western Architectural styles," said the World Heritage Committee.
Kaiping Diaolou were first built in late Ming Dynasty and were booming in early 1920s with the development of overseas Chinese.
There are a total of 1,833 diaolou in Kaiping, mixing the Chinese and Western styles and appearing in various forms. They are a unique historical and cultural scene that reflects the integration and development of multiple cultures in an area in a certain historical period.
The Karsts in southern China was inscribed on the World Heritage list on Wednesday.
China has now 35 heritage sites, with 24 cultural sites, six natural sites and five mixed.
Over 600 international delegates are attending the 31st World Heritage Committee meeting starting June 23.
The 10-day conference has over the last three days reviewed sites in danger, site management and protection. Thirty nine nominations for new world heritage were debated at the meeting.
In 1972, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted the World Heritage Convention as a way to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of the world's most outstanding cultural and natural heritage sites.
With 183 member countries and more than 830 sites, it is one of the most widely supported United Nations' conventions.
(Xinhua News Agency June 28, 2007)