18 years after an initiative taken by Stefan Kröpelin in 1999, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee has unanimously inscribed the Ennedi plateau in the northeast of Chad as one of the rare mixed natural and cultural sites at its 40th session in Istanbul.

The sandstone plateau in the size of Switzerland has been called the “Garden Eden of the Sahara”. It has been sculpted by water and wind erosion into a spectacular landscape featuring canyons, cliffs, labyrinths, natural arches or mushroom rocks. Permanent water pools play an essential role in the ecosystem and sustain relict flora and fauna as well as human life. Hundreds of superposed painted and engraved ensembles of rock art rank among the finest in the Sahara.

This achievement would not have been possible without the University of Cologne’s geological, archaeological, botanical, and ethnographical research completed within the CRCs 389 (ACACIA) and 806 (Our Way to Europe) since 2003, and by the unceasing support of the government, the local population, and Dr. Baba Mallaye, president of the World Heritage Technical Committee of Chad. It is an example of German-African cooperation in the host countries beyond scientific work.

 

A2 Kroepelin Fig 1 lhk 2016 07 250px
Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Adoum Djerou, the Minister of Culture and Tourism Dr. Mahamat Anadif Youssouf and Dr. Stefan Kröpelin at the 40th World Heritage committee session in Istanbul before the inscription (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tf6V5Nik8-4 starting at 2:28:15).
Photo: Stefan Kröpelin
  A2 Kroepelin Fig 2 lhk 2016 07 250pxThe 120 m high arch of Aloba in the Ennedi, second highest natural arch on Earth.
Photo: Stefan Kröpelin

 

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