The World Heritage Committee decided to include this unique area of over 5,500 islands at its meeting in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, on Wednesday.
The Quark (known in Swedish Kvarken and in Finnish Merenkurkku) is the narrowest segment of the Gulf of Bothnia between Finland and Sweden. The West Finland Regional Environment Centre says the decision was unanimous. The Quark archipelago is Finland's first natural site to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Six other Finnish cultural sites are already included. These include the Church at Petäjävesi in central Finland, the Verla board mill museum in south-eastern Finland, the Sammallahdenmäki Bronze Age burial site in the south-west, the wooden Old Town of Rauma and the Suomenlinna island fortress in Helsinki. The sixth is a section of the nineteenth-century Struve Geodetic Arc, which crosses Finland and nine other countries.