From June 22 to 30 in Seville, Spain, UNESCO's World Heritage Committee will review a list of hundreds of candidate sites proposed by countries around the world as part of the World Heritage Site selection process. In the end, only 20 or so sites will make the cut and be named World Heritage Sites, putting them firmly on global tourism's radar.
Each country submitting candidate sites must maintain a 'tentative' list of sites from which it can submit two candidates to the selection committee. This year, China's tentative list features 52 different sites, including two in Sichuan. China currently has 37 World Heritage Sites.
Sichuan is currently home to five World Heritage Sites: Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area, Mount Emei and Leshan Buddha Scenic Areas, Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System and the Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area.
Here is a brief look at the sites that could be selected in June:
Archeological Sites of the Ancient Shu Kingdom
Consisting of the Jinsha site and the Joint Tombs of Boat-Shaped Coffins in Chengdu and the Sanxingdui site in Guanghan, the discovery of these sites provided a window into a civilization in the upper reaches of the Yangtze that challenged the Yellow River-centric official view of China's origins.
The 2,000 year-old Jinsha site in northwest Chengdu covers roughly 500 hectares which contain the ruins of the ancient capital of the Shu kingdom. Excavation work has only been done on a small portion of the site so far but a treasure trove of pottery, bronze wares, and jade have been unearthed. A palace building, tomb yard and residential housing have also been discovered at the site, which is expected to yield new finds for years to come.
Located at 58 Shangye Jie in downtown Chengdu, the Joint Tomb of Boat-Shaped coffins was discovered in 2000. Dating back to the Warring States period (476 BCE – 221 BCE), this site features 17 ornate coffins and is believed to be the tomb of the king of the Kaiming kingdom.
The 1,200 hectare Sanxingdui site in Guanghan has produced a massive quantity of artifacts providing insight into a unique bronze culture completely independent of the Yellow River civilization. The site contains city walls, moats, storage pits, sacrificial pits, dwellings and a cemetery and has produced invaluable insight into civilization on the upper reaches of the Yangtze 2,000 years ago.
Sites for Making Liquor in China
This underdog candidate property on China's tentative list is composed of five different sites in Sichuan, Hebei and Jiangxi provinces, all of which produced varieties of China's national firewater - baijiu.
The Sichuan sites include the Shuijing Jie workshop in Chengdu, the cellar cluster of Luzhou Laojiao Daqu Liquor in Luzhou and the Tianyi workshop for Jiannanchu Alcohol in Mianzhu. Sites in Xushui county, Hebei and Jinxian county, Jiangxi are also included.