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El Salvador's 'Pompeii' in need of help, UNESCO chief visits

El Salvador's lone UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Joya de Ceren pre-Columbian farming community buried under a volcanic eruption, had a personal visit Tuesday from UNESCO's visiting chief.

El Salvador's 'Pompeii' in need of help, UNESCO chief visits
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova (front, C, black jacket) participates in a visit to the Joya de Ceren archaeological site in the town of San Juan Opico, 40 km west of San Salvador, on May 7, 2013. Joya de Ceren was a pre-Hispanic farming community that, like Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy, was buried under an eruption of the Laguna Caldera volcano c. AD 600. Because of the exceptional condition of the remains, they provide an insight into the daily lives of the Central American populations who worked the land at that time and is a world heritage site since 1993. Bokova visits El Salvador in the frame of a Central American tour visiting Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua [Credit: AFP/Jose Cabezas]
Irina Bukova toured the site, just northwest of the crowded Central American nation's capital, which was buried by a volcanic eruption 1,400 years ago.

"The visit is important," Salvadoran Cultural Patrimony Director Gustavo Milan said.

"We need help, because the site needs constant preventative maintenance," Milan stressed.

Bukova took in the marvels of the archaeological park, where ethnic Maya lived, learning about a "temazcal" or sauna bath site, as well as an area where shamans practiced their skills.

"She is leaving with a solid understanding of the site's importance," said Roberto Gallardo, and archaeologist who joined her for the visit which became a UNESCO heritage site back in 1993.

Source: AFP [May 10, 2013]

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