The world body declared the coal mining site as a world heritage during the 43rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee held at the Baku Congress Center in Azerbaijan on Saturday afternoon.
"Alhamdulillah (Thank God) that at 12:15 p.m. (Baku time), the Ombilin coal mining site, built during the colonial ruler in Sawahlunto, was declared as a world cultural heritage," Director of Cultural Heritage and Diplomacy of the Education and Culture Ministry Nadjamuddin Ramly stated on Saturday.
The UNESCO has, until now, declared four world natural heritage sites in Indonesia: Komodo National Park declared as world heritage in 1991, Lorentz National Park in 1999, Sumatra Tropical Forest in 2004, and Ujung Kulon National Park in 1991.
Furthermore, UNESCO had also declared the Borobudur Buddhist Temple and Prambanan Hindu Temple as world cultural heritage sites in 1991 and the Sangiran archaeological excavation site and Bali traditional subak farming and irrigation system respectively in 1996 and 2012.
Sawahlunto City was nominated for the provisional list of world cultural heritage sites in 2015. Since then, lengthy discussions have been intensively conducted with domestic and foreign experts and academics under the efforts to collect data and draft supporting documents.
The process has led to a proposal to expand the nomination theme to strengthen outstanding universal value.
The expansion of the nomination theme has had an impact on the expansion of nomination areas by combining several cities and districts including the Padang, Padang Panjang, and Solok municipalities and Solok, Padang Pariaman, and Tanah Datar districts in West Sumatra into one nomination territory called "Ombilin Coal Mining Heritage of Sawahlunto."