A place well known amongst locals as an archaeological site, Lenggong Valley, has been declared as a world heritage site on 30th June 2012 by UNESCO, a worldwide organization for educational, scientific, and culture. Lenggong Valley is located in Hulu Perak district, about 50km north of Kuala Kangsar, the royal town of Perak. It was from this valley, in one of the four sites of archaeological excavation known as Bukit Kepala Gajah, a human skeleton from the Paleolithic age (around 10,000 to 11,000 years ago) famously known as "Perak Man" has been unearthed in 1991. Since some other important findings from several sites within the area, Lenggong Valley has since become a lush archaeological territory in Malaysia.
In Unesco's news release, Lenggong Valley was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List for its archaeological heritage which includes four excavation sites divided into two clusters. These sites are Bukit Bunkh - Kota Tampan, Bukit Jawa, Bukit Kepala Gajah, and Bukit Gua Harimau. Either of these sites contain records of early human settlement close to two million years, the oldest outside the African continent. From the artifacts found within these area, it was suggested that a large population once inhabited the area with cultural remains from the Paleolithic, Neolithic and Metal ages.
With the declaration of Lenggong Valley as a World Heritage site, Malaysia now has 5 sites of heritage importance. Previously, Penang, Malacca, Mount Kinabalu, and Mulu Caves made their way to the UNESCO's list. For state of Perak, this development is a good one to attract more visitors to Perak this year, in conjunction with the Visit Perak Year 2012. For me I haven't really been to Lenggong Valley since the new millenium. The closest would be the brief visit to Tasik Raban earlier this year.
Together with Lenggong Valley, several other sites around the world were also added to the organization's latest Heritage list and they are:
- Gonbad-e-Qabus (Iran)
- Landscape of Grand Pre (Canada)
- Heritage of Mercury Almaden and Idrija (Slovenia / Spain)
- Margravial Opera House Bayreuth (Germany)
- Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications (Portugal)
- Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin (France)
[Photo copyright: Department of National Heritage]