| Landscape in Dengfeng.(Photo Source: Xinhua)
BEIJING, Aug. 2 (Xinhuanet) -- Shaolin Temple, the famed 1500-year-old cradle of Chinese Kung Fu and Zen Buddhism, is just one of the 11 ancient historical sites in Dengfeng of Henan Province added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites during its 34th session in Brazil Sunday morning (Beijing Time).
Also known as "The Center of Heaven and Earth," the collection of monuments is a kaliedescopic testimony to the history of the middle kingdom and its scientific, religious and cultural achievements, according to Lü Wei, the director of the World Heritage Office of Dengfeng.
"Dengfeng was considered the center of ancient China, and therefore it served as the capital and cultural center of many dynasties. Disciples of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism based here to advance their religious cultures. Because of this historical background and architectural significance of Dengfeng, we call it 'the center of Heaven and Earth,'" said Lü.
Among those listed is the Dengfeng Observatory, China's oldest and best preserved. Dating back to 13th century, the structure contains the remains of an astronomical observatory built in 1037 BC by the Duke of Zhou.
Other sites registered include the Songyang Academy (484 AD), the 1,500-year-old Pagoda of Songyue Temple as well as the country's oldest existing ritual structures; three pairs of towers (Taishi, Shaoshi, and Qimu) built during the Han Dynasty (206 BC- 220 AD)
"The historical monuments of Dengfeng have passed through so many dynasties. They have witnessed the architecture changes of middle China, have the longest history, are the most diversified in style and have the richest cultural significance," Lü added.
Since 2004, the Dengfeng government has been preparing their application for World Heritage status, and in the meantime carried out many protective measures, including site improvements and implementing a monitoring system as well as passing historical protection laws and regulations.