Rio in Brazil has become the first city to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Urban Cultural Landscape category. So far sites listed in the category have included rural areas, traditional agricultural systems, historic gardens and places of religious significance.
The Chairman of Embratur (The Brazilian Tourist Board), Flávio Dino, welcomed the news:
“It is undeniable that this is a great time for Rio de Janeiro and Brazilian tourism as a whole. The city is one of the venues of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, it will be hosting the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games and has just organised the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
This decision by UNESCO recognises Rio de Janeiro as a destination of unique beauty and we now expect even more visitors to be charmed by the city.”
Brazil has a further 18 UNESCO recognised heritage sites. The cultural sites include: the Architectural and Urban Ensemble of Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais (1980); Historic Centre of Olinda, Pernambuco (1982); Ruins of São Miguel das Missões, Rio Grande do Sul (1983); Shrine of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos in Congonhas, Minas (1985); Historic Centre of Salvador, Bahia (1985); Urban Ensemble of Brasília, Federal District (1987); Historic Centre of São Luís, Maranhão (1997); Historic Centre of Diamantina, Minas (1999); Historic Centre of Goiás, Goiás (2001) and São Francisco Square in São Cristóvão, Sergipe (2010).
The natural sites include: the Iguaçu National Park, Paraná (1986); the Discovery Coast, Bahia and Espírito Santo (1997); Serra da Capivara National Park, Piauí (1998); Atlantic Forest Reserve, São Paulo and Paraná (1999); Jaú National Park, Amazonas (2000); Mato Grosso Pantanal Conservation Area, Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul (2000); Cerrado Protected Areas: Veadeiros and Emas National Parks, Goiás (2001) and the Fernando de Noronha National Park, Pernambuco (2001).