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Five sites vie for heritage status

The Lavaux wine-growing region on Lake Geneva is bidding for heritage status.

A picturesque wine-growing area and a spectacular mountain railway line in Switzerland are applying to become World Heritage sites.

They are among five new candidates chosen by the government for a place on the Unesco list.

The cabinet on Friday settled on a shortlist of five candidates for recognition by the United Nations cultural agency.

They would be in addition to the six existing World Heritage sites in Switzerland.

The government chose one of Switzerland’s main wine-growing areas on Lake Geneva, the Lavaux region, as well as the mountain railway line of the Bernina Express in southeastern Switzerland. To date, Unesco has only recognised two railway lines.

The other three candidates include the towns of La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle in northwestern Switzerland.

Their architecture dates back to the beginnings of the Swiss watchmaking industry, according to the interior ministry.

Le Corbusier

The government also decided to submit the buildings of the renowned Swiss architect, Le Corbusier (Charles-Edouard Jeanneret), including villas in Geneva and La Chaux-de-Fonds.

The architect, who used reinforced concrete, is considered one of the leading lights of modern functionalist architecture. Le Corbusier also made a name for himself as city planner.

A number of prehistoric sites inhabited by ancient lake-dwelling peoples make up the fifth candidate for a Unesco listing.

A senior official at the Federal Culture Office said he was confident that the five sites would gain official recognition within the next few years.

swissinfo with agencies

Current Unesco World Heritage sites in Switzerland:

Old town of the capital, Bern
Monastery in St Gallen
Monastery in Mustair
Castles in Bellinzona
Aletsch glacier region
Monte San Giorgio

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR