Rio de Janeiro became this Sunday a World Heritage Site. It is the first city on the planet to receive the title under the category "cultural landscape".
The decision was taken by the organization's heritage committee. The announcement was made during the 36th meeting of the committee, held in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
The application dossier was sent to the United Nations in September, 2009. In January 2011, UNESCO decided to formalize Rio's application.
The harmonious relation between nature and human intervention was, according to the National Institute of the Historic and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN), the centerpiece of the application. The dossier listed the most relevant natural settings that make Rio's landscape original and exceptional, like the Sugarloaf Mountain, the Corcovado, Tijuca Forest, Copacabana Beach, and Guanabara Bay.
The concept of "cultural landscape" was created by UNESCO in 1992, as a new category of heritage site. Since then, 911 places have received the title. Previously to Rio's recognition, the list only included rural areas, traditional agricultural systems, historical gardens, and places of religious, symbolic or emotional meanings.
Besides Rio, Brazil has 18 natural and cultural sites in the list of UNESCO, such as the architectonic and urban settings of Ouro Preto and Brasília, the historic city centers of Olinda, Salvador, Diamantina, São Luís, and Goiás, the ruins of São Miguel das Missões and the sanctuary of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos, in Congonhas. The natural heritage list includes the national parks of Iguaçu, Costa do Descobrimento, Serra da Capivara, Jaú, Pantanal, Veadeiros and Fernando de Noronha.
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