The Walled City of Ahmedabad, founded by Sultan Ahmed Shah in the 15th century, has been declared India’s first World Heritage City.
The World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO made the announcement late on Saturday night following a meeting in Poland’s Krakwo.
“Thrilled to announce! Ahmedabad has just been declared India’s first #WorldHeritage city by @UNESCO,” India’s permanent representative to UNESCO Ruchira Kamboj tweeted.
The 5.5 km walled city area with an approximate population of four lakh, living in century old wooden residences in around 600 pols or neighbourhoods, is regarded as a living heritage. The UNESCO had preferred Ahmedabad over Delhi and Mumbai. It has now joined the privileged club of heritage cities like Paris, Cairo, Edinburg and two cities in the subcontinent, Bhaktpur in Nepal and Galle in Sri Lanka.
“The walled city of Ahmedabad on the eastern banks of Sabarmati river presents a rich architectural heritage from the sultanate period, notably the Bhadra citadel, the walls and gates of the Fort city and numerous mosques and tombs, as well as important Hindu and Jain temples of later periods,” the WHC of UNESCO noted.
According to Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Mukesh Kumar, there are 2600 heritage sites and over two dozen ASI protected monuments and sites in the walled city. The city had figured in UNESCO’s tentative list in 2011.
The civic body and the State authorities expect a huge boost to tourism after the UNESCO’s declaration.