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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 December 2007, 10:18 GMT
Medieval Mappa honoured by Unesco
Mappa Mundi
The Mappa Mundi was made in the 13th Century
A famous medieval map of the world has been included in a list of the world's most important historical documents.

The Mappa Mundi, kept at Hereford Cathedral, has been added to the Unesco Memory of the World International Register, the Diocese of Hereford said.

Unesco said the 13th Century map was "pivotal" in understanding the medieval view of the world.

It shows Jerusalem at the centre and includes Biblical and historical events as well as geographical locations.

Unesco said: "The map is pivotal in our understanding of medieval cartography and sense of place and still has relevance to all peoples in helping them to understand their sense of humanity and self."

'Great honour'

The Diocese of Hereford said it was a "great honour" and hoped it would draw more tourists to the city.

Dominic Harbour, a spokesman for the diocese, said: "It means really that it is recognised as an object of international significance and importance to be preserved for the future of our civilisation."

The map measures 64in x 52in (1.62m x 1.32m) and was drawn on a single piece of vellum.

It bears the name of its author Richard of Haldingham or Lafford, which historians have identified as modern Holdingham and Sleaford in Lincolnshire.

The diocese hit the headlines in 1988 when it decided to sell the map in order to solve a financial crisis, but the plans were later dropped after the government and benefactors offered funding.

Other documents on the Unesco list include the Bayeux Tapestry, The Endeavour Journal of James Cook and the correspondence of Hans Christian Andersen.

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