Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Aztec Ruins celebrate worldly heritage

AZTEC RUINS — It shares membership in the same exclusive club with such notables as the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Wall of China.
And it's right in our backyard.

Twenty-five years ago, Aztec Ruins National Monument received designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and a special celebration in honor of this event will take place Friday at the ruins.

"We are really excited about this anniversary, and we want to celebrate by reminding people of what they have right here at home," said Aztec Ruins Superintendent Larry Turk. "Friday's celebration will be a chance to invite locals back who might have not visited the ruins in a while, and it will also hopefully bring in some new people who have never before seen the ruins."

There are only 21 World Heritage sites in the United States, including the Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone and Mesa Verde national parks. Aztec Ruins shares the designation with Chaco Cultural National Historic Park, along with several smaller Chaco sites.

World Heritage distinguishes natural and cultural sites that are of outstanding universal value to all humankind. They represent unique historical periods and rare natural landscapes.
New Mexico has more World Heritage sites than any other state, with Carlsbad Caverns and Taos Pueblo joining the Chaco Culture sites as designees.

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