Fiji gets its first World Heritage site
The World Heritage Committee held in Phom Penh, Cambodia, decided to inscribe Levuka Historical Port Town in Fiji on the World Heritage List on 22 June 2013
The town and its low line of buildings set among coconut and mango trees along the beach front was the first colonial capital of Fiji, ceded to the British in 1874. It developed from the early 19th century as a centre of commercial activity by Americans and Europeans who built warehouses, stores, port facilities, residences, and religious, educational and social institutions around the villages of the South Pacific island’s indigenous population. It is a rare example of a late colonial port town that was influenced in its development by the indigenous community which continued to outnumber the European settlers. Thus the town, an outstanding example of late 19th century Pacific port settlements, reflects the integration of local building traditions by a supreme naval power, leading to the emergence of a unique landscape.
Celebrating this wonderful news, Ambassador P. Bole, Minister of Education, National Heritage, Culture and Arts of Fiji, first acknowledged the excellent work done by all those who involved in the nomination process.
Ambassador Bole said, “This will now make it possible for government to preserve the architecture and we can look forward to extension of the benefits not only to the town but also to Ovalau, the schools, hotels and Lomaiviti as a whole”.