Abakan is the capital city of the Republic of Khakassia, located in the central part of Minusinsk Depression, at the confluence of the Yenisei and Abakan Rivers. As of the 2010 Census, it had a population of 165,214—a slight increase over 165,197 recorded during the 2002 Census and a further increase from 154,092 recorded during the 1989 Census. Abakansky ostrog known as Abakansk, was built at the mouth of the Abakan River in 1675. In the 1780s, the selo of Ust-Abakanskoye was established in this area, it was granted town status and given its current name on April 30, 1931. In 1940, Russian construction workers found ancient ruins during the construction of a highway between Abakan and Askiz; when the site was excavated by Soviet archaeologists in 1941–1945, they realized that they had discovered a building unique for the area: a large Chinese-style Han Dynasty era palace. The identity of the high-ranking personage who lived luxuriously in Chinese style, far outside of the borders of the Han Empire, has remained a matter for discussion since.
Russian archaeologist L. A. Yevtyukhova surmised, based on circumstantial evidence, that the palace may have been the residence of Li Ling, a Chinese general, defeated by the Xiongnu in 99 BCE, defected to them as a result. While this opinion has remained popular, other views have been expressed as well. More for example, it was claimed by A. A. Kovalyov as the residence of Lu Fang, a Han throne pretender from the Guangwu era. In the late 18th and during the 19th century, Lithuanian participants in the 1794, 1830–1831, 1863 rebellions against Russian rule were exiled to Abakan. A group of camps was established. After Stalin's death, Lithuanian exiles from the nearby settlements moved in. Abakan is the capital of the republic. Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is incorporated as the City of Abakan—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts As a municipal division, the City of Abakan is incorporated as Abakan Urban Okrug; the city has a river port, industry enterprises, Katanov State University of Khakasia, three theatres.
Furthermore, it has a commercial center that produces footwear and metal products. Abakan was a terminal of the major Abakan-Taishet Railway. Now it is an important railway junction; the city is served by the Abakan International Airport. The 100th Air Assault Brigade of the Russian Airborne Troops was based in the city until circa 1996. Abakan's sites of interest include: Holy Transfiguration Cathedral "Good Angel of Peace" sculpture Park of Topiary Art Khakasskiy Natsional'nyy Krayevedcheskiy Muzey Im. L.r. Kyzlasova Bandy, similar to hockey, is the one of the most popular sports in the city. Sayany-Khakassia was playing in the top-tier Super League in the 2012–13 season but was relegated for the 2013–14 season and has been playing in the Russian Bandy Supreme League since. Russian Government Cup was played here in 1988 and in 2012. Abakan has a borderline humid continental /cold semi-arid climate. Temperature differences between seasons are extreme, typical for Siberia. Precipitation is concentrated in the summer and is less common because of rain shadow from nearby mountains.
Official website of Abakan Unofficial website of Abakan Tourist Information Centre of the Republic of Khakassia Abakan live cam Abakan city streets views Beyaz Arif Akbas, "Khakassia: The Lost Land", Portland State Center for Turkish Studies, 2007
Dzungaria is a geographical region in northwest China corresponding to the northern half of Xinjiang known as Beijiang. Bounded by the Tian Shan mountain range to the south and the Altai Mountains to the north, it covers 777,000 km2, extending into western Mongolia and eastern Kazakhstan; the term could cover a wider area, conterminous with the Dzungar Khanate, a state led by the Oirats in the 18th century, based in the area. Although geographically and ethnically distinct from the Turkic-speaking Tarim Basin area, the Qing dynasty and subsequent Chinese governments integrated both areas into one province, Xinjiang; as the center of Xinjiang's heavy industry, generator of most of Xinjiang's GDP, as well as containing its political capital Ürümqi, northern Xinjiang continues to attract intraprovincial and interprovincial migration to its cities. In comparison to southern Xinjiang, Dzungaria is well integrated with the rest of China by rail and trade links; the name Dzungaria or Zungharia is derived from the Mongolian term "Zűn Gar" or "Jüün Gar" depending on the dialect of Mongolian used.
"Zűn"/"Jüün" means "left" and "Gar" means "hand". The name originates from the notion that the Western Mongols are on the left-hand side when the Mongol Empire began its division into East and West Mongols. After this fragmentation, the western Mongolian nation was called "Zuun Gar". Xinjiang consists of two main geographically and ethnically distinct regions, Dzungaria north of the Tianshan Mountains and the Tarim Basin south of the Tianshan Mountains, before Qing China unified them into one political entity called Xinjiang province in 1884. At the time of the Qing conquest in 1759, Dzungaria was inhabited by steppe dwelling, nomadic Tibetan Buddhist Dzungar people, while the Tarim Basin was inhabited by sedentary, oasis dwelling, Turkic speaking Muslim farmers, now known as the Uyghur people; the Qing dynasty was well aware of the differences between the former Buddhist Mongol area to the north of the Tianshan and Turkic Muslim south of the Tianshan, ruled them in separate administrative units at first.
However, Qing people began to think of both areas. The concept of Xinjiang as one distinct geographic identity was created by the Qing and it was not the native inhabitants who viewed it that way, but rather it was the Chinese who held that point of view. During the Qing rule, no sense of "regional identity" was held by ordinary Xinjiang people. In the late 19th century, it was still being proposed by some people that two separate parts be created out of Xinjiang, the area north of the Tianshan and the area south of the Tianshan, while it was being argued over whether to turn Xinjiang into a province; the core of Dzungaria is the triangular Dzungarian Basin known as Jungar Basin, or in Chinese as simplified Chinese: 准噶尔盆地. It is bounded by the Tian Shan to the south, the Altai Mountains to the northeast and the Tarbagatai Mountains to the northwest; the three corners are open. The northern corner is the valley of the upper Irtysh River; the western corner is the Dzungarian Gate, a important gateway between Dzungaria and the Kazakh Steppe.
The eastern corner of the basin leads to the rest of China. In the south, an easy pass leads from Ürümqi to the Turfan Depression. In the southwest, the tall Borohoro Mountains branch of the Tian Shan separates the basin from the upper Ili River; the basin is similar to the larger Tarim Basin on the southern side of the Tian Shan Range. Only a gap in the mountains to the north allows moist air masses to provide the basin lands with enough moisture to remain semi-desert rather than becoming a true desert like most of the Tarim Basin and allows a thin layer of vegetation to grow; this is enough to sustain populations of wild camels and other wild species. The Dzungarian Basin is a structural basin with thick sequences of Paleozoic-Pleistocene rocks with large estimated oil reserves; the Gurbantunggut Desert, China’s second largest, is in the center of the basin. The Dzungarian basin does not have a single catchment center; the northernmost section of Dzungaria is part of the basin of the Irtysh River, which drains into the Arctic Ocean.
The rest of the region is split into a number of endorheic basins. In particular, south of the Irtysh, the Ulungur River ends up in the endorheic Lake Ulungur; the Southwestern part of the Dzungarian basin drains into the Aibi Lake. In the west-central part of the region, streams flow into a group of endorheic lakes that include Lake Manas and Lake Ailik. During the region's geological past, a much larger lake was located in the area of today's Manas Lake; the cold climate of nearby Siberia influences the climate of the Dzungarian Basin, making the temperature colder—as low as −4 °F —and providing more precipitatio
The Republic of Khakassia, or Khakassia is a federal subject of Russia. Its capital city is Abakan, the largest city in the republic; as of the 2010 Census, the republic's population was 532,403. The republic is located in the southwestern part of Eastern Siberia and borders Krasnoyarsk Krai in the north and east, the Tuva Republic in the southeast and south, the Altai Republic in the south and southwest, Kemerovo Oblast in the west and northwest, it stretches for 460 kilometers from north to south and for 200 kilometers from east to west. Mountains cover two-thirds of the republic's territory and serve as the natural boundaries of the republic; the remaining territory is flat, with the Minusinsk Hollow being the most prominent feature. The Yenisei is the largest river in the republic. Other significant rivers include the Abakan, the Chulym between the Yenisei and the eastern mountains. There are over fresh-water. Climate is continental, with the average annual temperature of 0 °C. Natural resources are abundant and include iron, silver, coal and natural gas.
Molybdenum deposits are the largest in Russia. Forests cover the west of the republic; the territory of modern Khakassia was the core of the old Yenisei Kirghiz state from the 6th century CE. In the 13th century, following a defeat by the Mongols, the majority of the Kyrgyz people migrated southwest to Central Asia to what now is Kyrgyzstan. Modern Khakas people regard themselves as the descendants of those Kyrgyz. Khakassia was incorporated into the Russian state under Peter the Great; this incorporation was confirmed in a treaty between Russia and China in 1729. As it was common to deport convicted criminals from European Russia to Siberia, forts were constructed in Khakassia. Many prisoners remained after release. Many of the indigenous Khakas people converted to the Russian Orthodox faith and abandoned their nomadic way of life. By the time of the 1917 Russian Revolution, Russians made up half of the population. Under Soviet rule, autonomy was granted on October 20, 1930, when Khakas Autonomous Oblast was established.
The borders of the autonomy are the same as the borders of the modern Khakas Republic. During the 1920s and 1930s, the Soviet authorities resettled an estimated quarter of a million Russians in the region; these were followed by 10,000 Volga Germans deported in World War II. By the time of the 1959 Census, ethnic Khakas people represented little more than 10% of the population; until 1991, Khakas Autonomous Oblast was administratively subordinated to Krasnoyarsk Krai. In July 1991, it was elevated in status to that of a Soviet socialist republic, in February 1992 it became the Republic of Khakassia. Population: 532,403 . Source: Russian Federal State Statistics ServiceIn 2007, the republic recorded a positive natural increase of population for the first time in many years, being one of the 20 Russian regions to have a positive natural population growth rate. According to the 2010 Russian Census, ethnic Russians make up 81.7% of the republic's population, while the ethnic Khakas are only 12.1%.
Other groups include ethnic Germans, Tatars, a host of smaller groups, each accounting for less than 0.5% of the total population. According to a 2012 survey, 31.6% of the population of Khakassia adheres to the Russian Orthodox Church, 6% are unaffiliated Christians, 1% are Orthodox Christian believers without belonging to any church or are members of other Orthodox churches. 2% of the population adheres to Slavic native faith or Khakas Tengrism and folk religion, 1% to Islam, 1% to forms of Protestantism, 0.4% to forms of Hinduism and another 0.4% to Tibetan Buddhism. In addition, 38% of the population declares to be "spiritual but not religious", 16% is atheist, 2.6% follows other religions or did not give an answer to the question. The main industries in the republic are coal mining, ore mining, timber. Sayany-Khakassia has been playing in the highest division of Russian bandy, the Russian Bandy Super League, for a long time, but was relegated after the 2012–13 season. Now they play in the 2nd highest division.
List of Chairmen of the Supreme Council of Khakassia Music in Khakassia Altai-Sayan region Верховный Совет Республики Хакасия. №45 25 мая 1995 г. «Конституция Республики Хакасия», в ред. Конституционного закона №19-ЗРХ от 8 апреля 2015 г. «О внесении изменений в Конституцию Республики Хакасия». Вступил в силу 30 июня 1995 г. Опубликован: "Вестник Хакасии", №25, 1995.. Верховный Совет РСФСР. Закон №1539-I от 3 июля 1991 г. «О порядке преобразования Адыгейской, Горно-Алтайской, Карачаево-Черкесской и Хакасской автономных областей в Советские Социалистические Республики в составе РСФСР».. Верховный Совет Республики Хакасия. Закон №06-ЗРХ от 11 февраля 2015 г. «О государственно
Xinjiang the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, is a provincial-level autonomous region of China in the northwest of the country. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and the eighth largest country subdivision in the world, spanning over 1.6 million km2. Xinjiang contains the disputed territory of Aksai Chin, administered by China and claimed by India. Xinjiang borders the countries of Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and India; the rugged Karakoram and Tian Shan mountain ranges occupy much of Xinjiang's borders, as well as its western and southern regions. Xinjiang borders Tibet Autonomous Region and the provinces of Gansu and Qinghai; the most well-known route of the historical Silk Road ran through the territory from the east to its northwestern border. In recent decades, abundant oil and mineral reserves have been found in Xinjiang, it is China's largest natural gas-producing region, it is home to a number of ethnic groups, including the Uyghur, Kazakhs, Hui, Kyrgyz and Russians.
More than a dozen autonomous prefectures and counties for minorities are in Xinjiang. Older English-language reference works refer to the area as Chinese Turkestan. Xinjiang is divided into the Dzungarian Basin in the north and the Tarim Basin in the south by a mountain range. Only about 9.7% of Xinjiang's land area is fit for human habitation. With a documented history of at least 2,500 years, a succession of people and empires have vied for control over all or parts of this territory; the territory came under the rule of the Qing dynasty in the 18th century, replaced by the Republic of China government. Since 1949, it has been part of the People's Republic of China following the Chinese Civil War. In 1954, Xinjiang Bingtuan was set up to strengthen the border defense against the Soviet Union, promote the local economy. In 1955, Xinjiang was turned into an autonomous region from a province. In the last decades, the East Turkistan independent movement, separatist conflict and the influence of radical Islam have both resulted in unrest in the region, with occasional terrorist attacks and clashes between separatist and government forces.
The general region of Xinjiang has been known by many different names in earlier times, in indigenous languages as well as other languages. These names include Altishahr, the historical Uyghur name, as well as Khotan, Chinese Tartary, High Tartary, East Chagatay, Kashgaria, Little Bokhara, and, in Chinese, "Western Regions". In Chinese, under the Han dynasty, Xinjiang was known as Xiyu, meaning "Western Regions". Between the 2nd century BCE and 2nd century CE the Han Empire established the Protectorate of the Western Regions or Xiyu Protectorate in an effort to secure the profitable routes of the Silk Road; the Western Regions during the Tang era were known as Qixi. Qi refers to the Gobi Desert; the Tang Empire had established the Protectorate General to Pacify the West or Anxi Protectorate in 640 to control the region. During the Qing dynasty, the northern part of Xinjiang, Dzungaria was known as Zhunbu and the southern Tarim Basin was known as Huijiang before both regions were merged and became the region of "Xiyu Xinjiang" simplified as "Xinjiang".
The current Chinese name "Xinjiang", which means "New Frontier" or "New Borderland", was given during the Qing dynasty. According to Chinese statesman Zuo Zongtang's report to the Emperor of Qing, Xinjiang means an "old land newly returned", or the new old land.. The term was given to other areas conquered by Chinese empires, for instance, present-day Jinchuan County was known as "Jinchuan Xinjiang'". In the same manner, present-day Xinjiang was known as Gansu Xinjiang; the name "East Turkestan" is used in the diaspora communities today, refers to the independent republic of East Turkestan. The name was created by Russian sinologist Hyacinth to replace the term "Chinese Turkestan" in 1829. "East Turkestan" was used traditionally to only refer to the Tarim Basin in the south, the modern Xinjiang area and Dzungaria being excluded. In 1955, Xinjiang province was renamed Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region; the name, proposed was "Xinjiang Autonomous Region". Saifuddin Azizi, the first chairman of Xinjiang, registered his strong objections to the proposed name with Mao Zedong, arguing that "autonomy is not given to mountains and rivers.
It is given to particular nationalities." As a result, the administrative region would be named "Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region". Xinjiang consists of two main geographically and ethnically distinct regions with different historical names, Dzungaria north of the Tianshan Mountains and the Tarim Basin south of the Tianshan Mountains, before Qing China unified them into one politic
Tomsk is a city and the administrative center of Tomsk Oblast in Russia, located on the Tom River. The city's population was 524,669 . Tomsk is considered one of the oldest towns in Siberia, it celebrated its 410th anniversary in 2014. The city is a notable educational and scientific center with six state universities, over 100,000 students, the oldest university in Siberia. Tomsk originated with a decree from Tsar Boris Godunov in 1604 after Toian, the Tatar duke of Eushta, asked for the Tsar's protection against Kirghiz bandits; the Tsar sent 200 Cossacks under the command of Vasily Fomich Tyrkov and Gavriil Ivanovich Pisemsky to construct a fortress on the bank of the Tom River, overlooking what would become the city of Tomsk. Toian ceded the land for the fortress to the Tsar. In 1804 the Imperial Russian government selected Tomsk as the seat of the new Tomsk Governorate, which would include the modern cities of Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk, as well as the territories now in Eastern Kazakhstan.
The new status brought the city grew quickly. The discovery of gold in 1830 brought further development to Tomsk in the 19th century. In time, Novosibirsk would surpass Tomsk in importance. In the mid-19th century one fifth of the city's residents were exiles. However, within a few years, the city reinvented itself as the educational center of Siberia with the establishment of Tomsk State University, founded in 1880, Tomsk Polytechnic University, founded in 1896. By World War II, every twelfth resident of the city was a student, giving rise to the city's nickname, the Siberian Athens. After the October Revolution of 1917 the city became a notable center of the White movement, led by Anatoly Pepelyayev and Maria Bochkareva, among others. After the victory of the Red Army in the 1920s, Soviet authorities incorporated Tomsk into the West Siberian Krai and into Novosibirsk Oblast. Like many Siberian cities, Tomsk became the new home for many factories relocated out of the war zone from 1941; the resulting growth of the city led the Soviet government to establish the new Tomsk Oblast, with Tomsk serving as the administrative center.
During the Cold War, Tomsk became one of many designated closed cities, which outsiders and, in particular, could not visit. In 1949 matters went a stage further with the establishment of a secret city, known as "Tomsk-7" 15 kilometres north-west of Tomsk. Tomsk-7 received municipal status in 1956 and was renamed Seversk in 1992. Tomsk serves as the administrative center of the oblast and, within the framework of administrative divisions, it serves as the administrative center of Tomsky District though it is not a part of it; as an administrative division, it is, together with seven rural localities, incorporated separately as Tomsk City Under Oblast Jurisdiction—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts. As a municipal division, Tomsk City Under Oblast Jurisdiction is incorporated as Tomsk Urban Okrug. Tomsk is divided into four city districts: Kirovsky, Leninsky and Sovetsky. Tomsk has a humid continental climate escaping a subarctic classification; the annual average temperature is +0.87 °C.
Winters are severe and lengthy, the lowest recorded temperature was −55 °C in January 1931. However, the average temperature in January is between −21 °C and −13 °C; the average temperature in July is +18.7 °C. The total annual rainfall is 568 millimeters. In 2006, Tomsk experienced what might have been its first recorded winds of hurricane force, which toppled trees and damaged houses. Tomsk is governed by a 33-member Duma; the current mayor, appointed in 2013, is a member of The United Russia party. Of the 33 members, 16 are elected from the eight double mandate districts while 17 are chosen from party lists. In the October 2005 local elections, United Russia was expected to cruise to a solid victory; the final count was: 19.42% — 5 seats — Pensioners Party 17.85% — 5 seats — United Russia 9.95% — 3 seats — Communist Party 8.57% — 2 seats — Union of Rightist Forces/Yabloko coalition 7.77% — 2 seats — Liberal Democratic Party of Russia 14.67% — Against all candidatesDouble mandates10 seats — No party affiliation 4 seats — United Russia 1 seat — Pensioners Party 1 seat — Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Tomsk has the oldest electrical grid in Siberia.
There are three power stations in the city: TEC-1 GRES-2 TEC-3 Tomsk consumes more electric energy than it produces. The bulk of the city's electric and thermal energy is produced by the GRES-2 and TEC-3 powerplants, belonging to Tomskenergo Inc. Tomsk supplements its energy needs with electricity generated at Seversk. Road network: northern branch of the M53 federal road. There is a passenger port on the Tom River; the city is served by the Bogashevo Airport. Tomsk is a small railway center, situated on the Tayga—Bely Yar line of the Trans-Siberian Railway; the main
The Altai Mountains spelled Altay Mountains, are a mountain range in Central and East Asia, where Russia, China and Kazakhstan come together, are where the rivers Irtysh and Ob have their headwaters. The massif merges with the Sayan Mountains in the northwest, becomes lower in the southeast, where it and merges into the high plateau of the Gobi Desert, it spans from about 45° to 52° N and from about 84° to 99° E. The region is inhabited by a sparse but ethnically diverse population, including Russians, Kazakhs and Mongolians; the local economy is based on bovine and horse husbandry, agriculture and mining. The now-disputed Altaic language family takes its name from this mountain range; the mountains are called Altain nuruu in Khalkha Mongolian, altai-yin niruɣu in Chakhar Mongolian, Altay tuular in the Altay language. They are called Altai’ tay’lary in Kazakh; the name comes from the word alt that means "gold" in Mongolic languages and the -tai suffix that means "with". That matches their old Chinese name 金山 "Gold Mountain".
The word for "gold" is altın in Turkic languages. In the north of the region is the Sailughem Mountains known as Kolyvan Altai, which stretch northeast from 49° N and 86° E towards the western extremity of the Sayan Mountains in 51° 60' N and 89° E, their mean elevation is 1,500 to 1,750 m. The snow-line runs at 2,000 m on the northern side and at 2,400 m on the southern, above it the rugged peaks tower some 1,000 m higher. Mountain passes across the range are few and difficult, the chief being the Ulan-daban at 2,827 m, the Chapchan-daban, at 3,217 m, in the south and north respectively. On the east and southeast this range is flanked by the great plateau of Mongolia, the transition being effected by means of several minor plateaus, such as Ukok with Pazyryk Valley, Kendykty, and; this region is studded with large lakes, e.g. Uvs 720 m above sea level, Khyargas and Khar 1,170 m, traversed by various mountain ranges, of which the principal are the Tannu-Ola Mountains, running parallel with the Sayan Mountains as far east as the Kosso-gol, the Khan Khökhii mountains stretching west and east.
The north western and northern slopes of the Sailughem Mountains are steep and difficult to access. On this side lies the highest summit of the range, the double-headed Belukha, whose summits reach 4,506 and 4,440 m and give origin to several glaciers. Altaians call it Kadyn Bazhy, but is called Uch-Sumer; the second highest peak of the range is in Mongolian part named Khüiten Peak. This massive peak reaches 4374 m. Numerous spurs, striking in all directions from the Sailughem mountains, fill up the space between that range and the lowlands of Tomsk; such are the Chuya Alps, having an average elevation of 2,700 m, with summits from 3,500 to 3,700 m, at least ten glaciers on their northern slope. Several secondary plateaus of lower elevations are distinguished by geographers, The Katun Valley begins as a wild gorge on the south-west slope of Belukha; the Katun and the Biya together form the Ob. The next valley is that of the Charysh, which has the Korgon and Tigeretsk Alps on one side and the Talitsk and Bashalatsk Alps on the other.
This, too, is fertile. The Altai, seen from this valley, presents the most romantic scenes, including the small but deep Kolyvan Lake, surrounded by fantastic granite domes and towers. Farther west the valleys of the Uba, the Ulba and the Bukhtarma open south-westwards towards the Irtysh; the lower part of the first, like the lower valley of the Charysh, is thickly populated. The valley of the Bukhtarma, which has a length of 320 km has its origin at the foot of the Belukha and the Kuitun peaks, as it falls some 1,500 m in about 300 km, from an alpine plateau at an elevation of 1,900 m to the Bukhtarma fortress, it offers the most striking contrasts of landscape and vegetation, its upper parts abound in glaciers, the best known of, the Berel, which comes down from the Byelukha. On the northern side of the range which separates the upper Bukhtarma from the upper Katun is the Katun glacier, which after two ice-falls widens out to 700 to 900 metres. From a grotto in this glacier bursts tumultuously the Katun river.
The middle and lower parts of the Bukhtarma valley have been colonized since the 18th century by runaway Russian peasants and religious schismatics, who created a free republic there on Chinese territory. The high valleys farther north, on the same western face of the Sailughem range, are but little known, their only visitors being Kyrgyz shepherds; those o
World Heritage Site
A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area, selected by the United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization as having cultural, scientific or other form of significance, is protected by international treaties. The sites are judged important to the collective interests of humanity. To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be an classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance, it may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet. The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity, which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat from local administrative negligence. Sites are demarcated by UNESCO as protected zones; the list is maintained by the international World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 "states parties" that are elected by their General Assembly.
The programme catalogues and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common culture and heritage of humanity. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund; the program began with the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972. Since 193 state parties have ratified the convention, making it one of the most recognized international agreements and the world's most popular cultural program; as of July 2018, a total of 1,092 World Heritage Sites exist across 167 countries. Italy, with 54 sites, has the most of any country, followed by China, France, Germany and Mexico. In 1954, the government of Egypt decided to build the new Aswan High Dam, whose resulting future reservoir would inundate a large stretch of the Nile valley containing cultural treasures of ancient Egypt and ancient Nubia. In 1959, the governments of Egypt and Sudan requested UNESCO to assist their countries to protect and rescue the endangered monuments and sites.
In 1960, the Director-General of UNESCO launched an appeal to the member states for an International Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia. This appeal resulted in the excavation and recording of hundreds of sites, the recovery of thousands of objects, as well as the salvage and relocation to higher ground of a number of important temples, the most famous of which are the temple complexes of Abu Simbel and Philae; the campaign, which ended in 1980, was considered a success. As tokens of its gratitude to countries which contributed to the campaign's success, Egypt donated four temples: the Temple of Dendur was moved to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Temple of Debod was moved to the Parque del Oeste in Madrid, the Temple of Taffeh was moved to the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in the Netherlands, the Temple of Ellesyia to Museo Egizio in Turin; the project cost $80 million, about $40 million of, collected from 50 countries. The project's success led to other safeguarding campaigns: saving Venice and its lagoon in Italy, the ruins of Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan, the Borobodur Temple Compounds in Indonesia.
UNESCO initiated, with the International Council on Monuments and Sites, a draft convention to protect the common cultural heritage of humanity. The United States initiated the idea of cultural conservation with nature conservation; the White House conference in 1965 called for a "World Heritage Trust" to preserve "the world's superb natural and scenic areas and historic sites for the present and the future of the entire world citizenry". The International Union for Conservation of Nature developed similar proposals in 1968, they were presented in 1972 to the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. Under the World Heritage Committee, signatory countries are required to produce and submit periodic data reporting providing the World Heritage Committee with an overview of each participating nation's implementation of the World Heritage Convention and a "snapshot" of current conditions at World Heritage properties. A single text was agreed on by all parties, the "Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage" was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972.
The Convention came into force on 17 December 1975. As of May 2017, it has been ratified by 193 states parties, including 189 UN member states plus the Cook Islands, the Holy See and the State of Palestine. Only four UN member states have not ratified the Convention: Liechtenstein, Nauru and Tuvalu. A country must first list its significant natural sites. A country may not nominate sites. Next, it can place sites selected from that list into a Nomination File; the Nomination File is evaluated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites and the World Conservation Union. These bodies make their recommendations to the World Heritage Committee; the Committee meets once per year to determine whether or not to inscribe each nominated property on the World Heritage List and sometimes defers or refers the decision to request more information from the country which nominated the site. There are ten selection criteria – a site must meet at least one of them to be included on the list