UNESCO decides to classify Levadas da Madeira as a World Heritage Site in July

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The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will vote, in its July session, on the classification of 28 candidacies, including that of the Levadas da Madeira.

In a statement released today, UNESCO listed the 28 candidacies that will be voted on next month, in the session that will take place between the 21st and 31st of July in New Delhi, India, which also includes the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, in Brazil.

In 2022, the Regional Government of Madeira said it expected that the Levadas would be voted on the following year, after three years of work, which also involved the Madeira Electricity Company (EEM), the Madeira Water and Waste company (ARM ) and the Regional Directorate of Culture, also counting on the collaboration of historian Rui Carita, civil engineer specialized in hydraulics Jorge Pereira and geographer Raimundo Quintal.

“Of the main public channels, we chose eight levadas which, in our opinion, are those that best represent the history of water in Madeira from the 18th century onwards”, said the then regional secretary for the Environment, Susana Prada, in February 2022.

On the island of Madeira, canals to transport water began to be built in the 15th century, at the beginning of settlement, and the work continued until the 20th century, creating a network of around 3,100 kilometers.

The levadas from the 15th and 16th centuries are deactivated, so the UNESCO application selects a set of canals built between the 18th and 20th centuries, which are currently also used as tourist routes, constituting one of the region’s main posters.

The UNESCO World Heritage list currently includes 1,199 properties in 168 countries, 17 of which are in Portugal, such as the monasteries of Jerónimos, Alcobaça and Batalha, the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus, in Braga, or the historic centers of Porto, Guimarães, Évora and Angra do Heroísmo.

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