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Macao Applying for World Cultural Heritage


Macao has submitted an official application to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the listing of its 12 cultural relic sites as the World Cultural Heritage.

A UNESCO task force plans to come here to scrutinize the sites next year, an official from the Cultural Institute of the special administrative regional government told Xinhua Tuesday.

The shortlisted sites, including the A-Ma Temple, the Ruins of St. Paul Church and the Mandarin's House, were recommended as a whole featuring a blending of oriental and Western styles.

As the oldest temple in Macao, the A-Ma Temple is dedicated to the Queen of Heaven, who is worshipped as the guardian of fishermen. It stands against a hill and faces the sea, with a couple of stone lions carved 300 years ago.

St. Paul Church was built under the direction of an Italian architect-priest in 1602. A fire razed the church on September 22, 1835, leaving just the facade and stone stairs as the people see today.

Fernando Chui Sai On, secretary for social affairs and culture, said the cultural sites are "a textbook with substantial content, a period of history featuring lively oriental and Western arts and a sound example exhibiting a variety of culture."

The Cultural Institute is mapping a plan to meticulously protect all the cultural heritage of Macao by putting a ceiling on the height of structures built around them and creating a more harmonious atmosphere.

A total of 20 Chinese cultural sites have so far been included into the World Cultural Heritage list, ranking 3rd following Italy and Spain.

In line with a UN regulation, the World Cultural Heritage should be protected and aided by all the UNESCO members.

(Xinhua News Agency June 11, 2002)

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