Bikini Atoll adopted as a world heritage site

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Bikini Atoll adopted as a world heritage site

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The world culture body UNESCO has added 15 sites to its top heritage list.

Two European cities have made the grade.

Amsterdam for its historic urban ensemble of canals in concentric arches that enabled the creation of an inland port at the turn of the 17th Century. A massive feat of engineering for its time.

On the banks of the Tarn river in south-west France the old episcopal city of Albi is recognised for its abiding age and beauty dating back as it does to the 10th Century.

Germany edged onto the honours list with its Upper Harz Water Management system… designed by Cistercian monks in the Middle Ages and developed over an 800 year period to extract ore for non-ferrous metal production.

In China, the historical monuments of Dengfeng claim their rightful place in the pecking order of world wonders. At the foot of Mount Songshang they include some of the best examples of ancient Chinese architecture.

And then there is Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, a Pacific archipelago: perhaps the most surprising addition… after the removal of the inhabitants, between 1946 and 1958, 67 nuclear tests were carried out there including the detonation of the first hydrogen bomb.

Sunken ships sent to the bottom by the blast are a testament to the awesome power unleashed by a nuclear explosion and, says UNESCO, the atoll symbolises the dawn of the nuclear age.