An area of Gwynedd in north Wales that once ‘roofed the world’ has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. The slate landscape of the region has long been celebrated for its industrial heritage, and now it sits on a prestigious list alongside Egypt’s famous pyramids and the Taj Mahal, the BBC news website reports.
During the 19th century, slate from the quarries of Snowdonia was transported around the world, as it was considered to be of the finest quality. The slate is remarkably durable as a roofing material, as well as having beautiful and unique shades of blue and grey. In 1830, half the buildings in New York were roofed with Welsh Slate, the Daily Post reports.
Commenting on the new status, Lord Dafydd Wigley, who chaired the Wales Slate Partnership Steering Group, said: “It raises the profile of the area, not only in terms of industry and the slates that were exported, but in terms of the technology we also exported to the world as well as the skills of the people.”
“Also the culture that goes along with it, the slate quarrying industry helped mould the culture of this area, linguistically in terms of music and drama and art, there’s such a range of culture that has its roots in the slate quarrying communities and getting that better known around the world is something we hope will be of benefit to the whole of Wales.”
The site is the third in Wales to achieve UNESCO World Heritage Status, alongside the castles and town walls at Caernarfon, Conway, Beaumaris and Harlech, the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape in Torfaen in south east Wales, and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which is the highest canal aqueduct in the world, which spans the River Dee in Wrexham county.
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