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UNESCO Inscribes Gedeo Cultural Landscape as World Heritage

The Gedeo Cultural Landscape located in the Gedeo zone of South Ethiopia region, has been registered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as world heritages.

The registration of Gedeo Cultural Landscape was announced today at the 45th extended session of the World Heritage Committee being underway in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in the presence of Ethiopia’s Minister of Tourism, Ambassador Nasise Chale.

According to Ministry of Tourism, the Gedeo Cultural Landscapes increases the number of UNESCO-inscribed cultural and natural heritages of Ethiopia to 10 and becomes the 100th in Africa.

During the occasion, the Minister said that Gedeo people are engaged in producing their multilayer cultivation with large trees, cereals and Yirgacheffe coffee, which is well known with its remarkable taste.

The minister also stated that the Gedeo people are also exemplary for their indigenous knowledge in protecting the ecosystem and land protection.

Noting that the Gedeo cultural landscape is one of the wonderful tourism attraction resources of South Ethiopia region, she said one of the things that makes the Gedeo cultural landscape is the ancient megalithic stelae monuments which are believed to be the oldest in East Africa.

The landscape has over 6,000 megalithic stelae with their attractive images for researchers, foreign and local visitors, she indicated.

The heritage comprises of forest, which has been protected through generations, the minister said stating that the site is also unique for the community carries out multilayer cultivation in the area.

In addition to showing the community’s interaction and lifestyle, Gedeo’s Cultural Landscape heritage is also home to many birds, animals and crops, and it shows how people can live with nature, the minister affirmed.

The Director General of Heritages Protection Authority, Abebaw Ayalew for his part said the government of Ethiopia has been undertaking various activities aimed at protecting the heritage in collaboration with the community.

Highlighting that the inscription of Gedeo Cultural landscape by UNESCO will enable the heritage to get sustainable protection, members of UNESCO heritages committee affirmed that the registration will also help it to be a great tourism attraction.

The Gedeo Cultural Landscape has been registered by UNESCO 12 years after Konso was inscribed by the organization as world cultural and natural heritages.

The Gedeo Cultural Landscape lies along the eastern edge of the Main Ethiopian Rift, on the steep escarpments of the Ethiopian highlands.

An area of agroforestry, it utilizes multilayer cultivation with large trees sheltering indigenous enset, the main food crop, under which grow coffee and other shrubs.

The area is densely populated by the Gedeo people whose traditional knowledge supports local forest management, according to UNESCO.

Within the cultivated mountain slopes are sacred forests traditionally used by local communities for rituals associated with the Gedeo religion, and along the mountain ridges are dense clusters of megalithic monuments, which came to be revered by the Gedeo and cared for by their elders.

UNESCO World Heritage Committee is comprised of 21 members including Egypt, Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria, Burundi, South Africa and Zambia from Africa.

The extended 45th session of the World Heritage Committee is taking place in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 10-25 September 2023.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency