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Treasures of the World: Central and Southern Asia
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1.

Yasawi Mausoleum, Kazakhstan

The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, in the town of Yasi (now Turkestan), was built at the time of Timur (Tamerlane), from 1389 to 1405. In this partly unfinished building, Persian master builders experimented with architectural and structural solutions later used in the construction of Samarkand, the capital of the Timurid Empire. Today, it is one of the largest and best-preserved constructions of the Timurid period.
Online
2017; 2004
2.

Sânchi, India: For the Veneration of Buddha

On a hill which overlooks the plain, the site of Sânchi groups Buddhist monuments (monolithic pillars, palaces, temples and monasteries), all in different states of conservation and dating for the most part back to the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. This oldest existing Buddhist sanctuary was a principle center of Buddhism in India until the 12th century A.D.
Online
2017; 2000
3.

Lahore, Pakistan: The Clouded Mirror of the Past

The fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore are two masterpieces from the time of the brilliant Mughal civilization, which reached its height during the reign of the Emperor Shah Jahan. The fort contains marble palaces and mosques decorated with mosaics and gilt. Near the city of Lahore, the elegance of the splendid gardens, built on three terraces with lodges, waterfalls and large ornamental ponds, is unequalled.
Online
2017; 2002
4.

The Shore Temple of Mahabalipuram, India

This group of sanctuaries, founded by the Pallava kings, was carved out of rock along the Coromandel coast in the 7th and 8th centuries. It is known especially for its rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air reliefs such as the famous "Descent of the Ganges" and the temple of Rivage, with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Siva.
Online
2017; 2000
5.

Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka: City of Faith

This sacred city was established around a cutting from the "tree of enlightenment," the Buddha's fig tree, brought there in the 3rd century B.C. by Sanghamitta, the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns. Anuradhapura, a Ceylonese political and religious capital that flourished for 1,300 years, was abandoned after an invasion in 993. Hidden away in dense jungle for many years, the splendid site, with its palaces, monasteries and monuments, is now accessible once again.
Online
2017; 2011
6.

Sigirya, Sri Lanka: The Legendary Cliff Fortress

The ruins of the capital built by the parricidal King Kassapa I (477-95) lie on the steep slopes and at the summit of a granite peak standing some 1,200 feet high (the "Lion's Rock," which dominates the jungle from all sides). A series of galleries and staircases emerging from the mouth of a gigantic lion constructed of bricks and plaster provide access to the site.
Online
2017; 2002
7.

Bukhara, Uzbekistan: Pearl of the Silk Road

Situated on the Silk Road, Bukhara is more than 2,000 years old. It is the most complete example of a medieval city in Central Asia, with an urban fabric that has remained largely intact. The monuments of interest include the Ismail Samani's famous tomb, a masterpiece of 10th-century Muslim architecture, and a number of 17th-century madrasas.
Online
2017; 2000
8.

Kunya-Urgench, Turkmenistan

Kunya-Urgench is situated in northwestern Turkmenistan, on the south side of the Amu Daria River. Urgench was the capital of the Khorezm region, part of the Achaemenid Empire. The old town contains a series of monuments mainly from the 11th to 16th centuries, including a mosque, the gates of a caravanserai, fortresses, mausoleums and a minaret. The monuments testify to outstanding achievements in architecture and craftsmanship whose influence reached Iran and Afghanistan and, later, the architecture of the Mogul Empire of 16th-century India.
Online
2017; 2006
9.

Kandy, Sri Lanka: Living Buddhism

This sacred Buddhist site, popularly known as the city of Senkadagalapura, was the last capital of the Sinhala kings whose patronage enabled the Dinahala culture to flourish for more than 2,500 years until the occupation of Sri Lanka by the British in 1815. It is also the site of the Temple of the Tooth Relic (the sacred tooth of the Buddha), which is a famous pilgrimage site.
Online
2017; 2001
10.

Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve: The Seychelles

In the heart of the small island of Praslin, the reserve shelters the vestiges of a natural palm forest preserved in close to its original state. The famous "coco de mer" (palm tree), once believed to come from a tree growing in the depths of the sea, bears the largest seed in the plant kingdom.
Online
2017; 1997
11.

Samarkand, Uzbekistan: The Blue Domes of Tamerlane

The historic town of Samarkand is a crossroad and melting pot of the world’s cultures. Founded in the 7th century B.C. as ancient Afrasiab, Samarkand had its most significant development in the Timurid period from the 14th to the 15th centuries. The major monuments include the Registan Mosque and madrasas, Bibi-Khanum Mosque, the Shakhi-Zinda compound and the Gur-Emir ensemble, as well as Ulugh-Beg’s Observatory.
Online
2017; 2003
12.

Taj Mahal, India: A Monument to Undying Love

The Taj Mahal—an immense funerary mosque of white marble, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mogul emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife—is the most perfect jewel of Muslim art in India and is one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage.
Online
2017; 1996
13.

The Red Fort of Agra, India: Mogul Splendor

Near the gardens of the Taj Mahal stands the important 16th-century Mughal monument known as the Red Fort of Agra. This powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses, within its 1.6-mile-long enclosure walls, the imperial city of the Mughal rulers. It comprises many fairytale palaces, such as the Jahangir Palace and the Khas Mahal, built by Shah Jahan; audience halls, such as the Diwan-i-Khas; and two very beautiful mosques.
Online
2017; 1996
14.

Kathmandu Valley, Nepal: Royal Towns at the Foot of the Himalayas

At the crossroads of the great civilizations of Asia, seven groups of Hindu and Buddhist monuments—as well as the three residential and palace areas of the royal cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhadgaon—illustrate Nepalese art at its height. Among the 130 monuments are pilgrimage centers, temples, shrines, bathing sites and gardens—all sites of veneration by both religious groups.
Online
2017; 2001
15.

Mozambique City, Mozambique: Portugal’s Springboard to India

The fortified city of Mozambique is located on this island, a former Portuguese trading post on the route to India. Its remarkable architectural unity is due to the consistent use, since the 16th century, of the same building techniques, building materials (stone or macuti) and decorative principles.
Online
2017; 2010
16.

Taxila, Pakistan: Buddha’s Serious Face

From the ancient Neolithic tumulus of Saraikala to the ramparts of Sirkap (2nd century B.C.) and the city of Sirsukh (1st century A.D.), Taxila illustrates the different stages in the development of a city on the Indus that was alternately influenced by Persia, Greece and Central Asia and which, from the 5th century B.C. to the 2nd century A.D., was an important Buddhist center of learning.
Online
2017; 2001
17.

Fatehpur Sikri, India: The Ghost Town of the Moghul Emperor

Built during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri (the City of Victory) was the capital of the Mughal Empire for only some 10 years. The complex of monuments and temples, all in a uniform architectural style, includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid.
Online
2017; 2002