Chinese heritage experts and officials have selected an initial list of 48 sites along the country's sections of the ancient Silk Road for its joint application with five central Asian countries for world cultural heritage status.
The sites include graveyards, temples, remains of ancient cities and grottoes in six provinces or regions along the route. They were selected at a two-day meeting which ended on Monday in Xinjiang.
The preliminary list still needs further discussion by experts and final approval from the State Cultural Heritage Administration, before being submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Center, according to Lu Qiong, an official with the administration.
The 2,000-year-old Silk Road, mainly a trade route linking Asia and Europe, began from Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, and ended in Europe via southern and central Asia countries. More than half of the 7,000-km-long route was in China.
Along this road, gunpowder, papermaking and printing technologies, three of the four great ancient Chinese inventions, were transported to the West, while western mathematics and medicine came to China.
Last August, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan made a blueprint to apply to include historical sites along the Silk Road on the world cultural heritage list.
The five central Asian nations have set a preliminary list of 54 sites for the joint application, which is expected to be submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Center in early 2009.
(Xinhua News Agency June 19, 2007)