Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Distinctive Spheres of Costa Rica

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA (PR) – Four archaeological sites in the Diquís Delta in the Southern region of Costa Rica have been recently declared as official Cultural World Heritage Sites by the World Heritage Committee of The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The sites of these settlements are revered for their distinctive nearly perfectly cylindrical stone spheres whose use and origin remains unknown.

“Receiving UNESCO’s designation as a Cultural World Heritage Site is truly an honor for our country,” said Luis Guillermo Solis, President of Costa Rica. “The Diquís society is a significant representation of Costa Rica’s pre-Columbian legacy and the country’s rich history, and we take great pride in preserving and celebrating their archaeological treasures.”

Now an acclaimed historical site for visitors to experience, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) affirms that the Diquís’ stone spheres display distinct examples of the complex social, economic and political systems of the 500-1500 A.D. pre-Columbian hierarchical societies. These sites in Costa Rica feature artificial mounds, paved areas, burial sites and most significantly a collection of perfectly round spheres that range between 2 feet to more than 8 feet in diameter. The spheres’ meaning, use and method of creation, considering their perfection in size and density as well the reasoning for their placement, remain a mystery.

A historic milestone for the country, the Diquís’ archeological sites’ designation marks the first location in Costa Rica to be named a World Heritage Site as a cultural property. Already on UNESCO’s World Heritage List as a natural property are Costa Rica’s Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves/ La Amistad National Park, Cocos Island National Park and the Area de Conservacion Guanacaste.

UNESCO identifies world sites that are considered to present outstanding value to humanity and empowers regions with the 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage treaty. The treaty provides international protection and preservation of cultural and natural sites across the globe.

“With more than 40 years of cultural diplomacy, UNESCO provides the fundamental international standards and resources required for national governments to preserve historical sites. In order to strike a balance between conservation and socio-economic development, local communities must be involved,” said UNESCO Director and Representative Pilar Alvarez-Laso.

The Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) is tasked with promoting the destination and highlighting the cultural and natural components of the country’s tourism product while ensuring the preservation of the country’s most treasured assets.

“This international recognition provides a tremendous opportunity to showcase our rich culture and unique historical attractions,” said Wilhelm von Breymann, Costa Rica’s Minister of Tourism. “Our hope is to continue providing international travelers with new dynamic sites to visit and experience.

“Costa Rica provides an authentic tourist product impossible to imitate” von Breymann continued, “with many opportunities for travelers to have an intimate view into the country’s pastoral heritage and communities. The benefits of tourism dollars reach far beyond strengthening the economy, they help develop local communities, create unforgettable memories and enhance the Costa Rican identity.”

Costa Rica is also home to 26 national parks, eight biological reserves and a series of protected areas that captivate ecotourism lovers around the world.

For more information on traveling to Costa Rica, visit www.VisitCostaRica.com.

About Costa Rica

Costa Rica is located in Central America between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south; it is bordered on the east by the Caribbean Sea and the west by the Pacific Ocean. With an abundance of unique wildlife, landscapes and climates this small country proudly shelters approximately five percent of the known biodiversity in the world.  In order to protect and preserve its wealth of natural resources, Costa Rica has become a global leader in sustainable practices with protected areas comprising 26 percent of its land mass. With a peaceful spirit, emphasis on education and an economy based on tourism, technology and exportation, Costa Rica offers one of the highest standards of living in Latin America.

Visitors to Costa Rica enjoy a highly organized tourism infrastructure among a tropical paradise of lush rainforests, mystical volcanoes and cloud forests and beaches that meet mountains filled with monkeys and macaws. Offering a broad terrain of activities and accommodations, visitors to Costa Rica will find a range of hotel options ranging from small beachside bed & breakfasts to authentic intimate boutique mountain lodges to major international business hotel brands and everything in between. Costa Rica’s accommodations offer something appealing for everyone’s desires. The phrase “Pura Vida” can be heard echoing throughout Costa Rica from coast to coast.  Used as a greeting or expression of happiness, the phrase literally translates to “pure life,” however its true meaning is “full of life,” which accurately describes the adventure and wonder that await visitors.

About Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT)

Established in 1955, the Costa Rica Tourism Board spearheads the vital task of regulating and promoting Costa Rica’s extensive of tourism offerings. The ICT and its partners in the private sector work tirelessly to garner recognition, standardize practices, provide insightful research data and foster cultural development for the country’s coast to coast one-of a kind tourism products and resources.

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