The United Nations body, UNESCO, accorded the 'World Heritage Site' tag to the walled city area of Ahmedabad, making it the first Indian city to get listed on the coveted list of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.

At the 41st session of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee meeting held in Krakow, Poland, on July 8, Ahmedabad was among the three cultural sites each in Cambodia, China and India to be inscribed as the World Heritage Site. The nomination of Ahmedabad was supported by close to 20 countries.

The committee chaired by Jacek Purchla, founder and director of the International Cultural Centre in Krakow, recognised the six-century-old heritage of the walled city, which was founded by Mughal Sultan Ahmed Shah in the 15th Century and was subsequently named after him.

The Walled city,spread over about 5.4 square kms area, has a population of about 4 lakh. Built on the banks of Sabarmati river, the city, “presents a rich architectural heritage from the sultanate period, notably the Bhadra citadel, the walls and gates of the Fort city and numerous mosques and tombs as well as important Hindu and Jain temples of later periods,” UNESCO's World Heritage Committee noted.

Known for its ages-old traditional houses in gated streets, Ahmedabad has showcased a unique blend of people with different social, religious and cultural background. Communities following Islam, Hinduism and Jainism co-existed for centuries in the city having artistic carvings on the wooden exteriors and interiors of the houses - called pols.

“The urban fabric is made up of densely-packed traditional houses (pols) in gated traditional streets (puras) with characteristic features such as bird feeders, public wells and religious institutions. The city continued to flourish as the capital of the State of Gujarat for six centuries, up to the present,” a statement from UNESCO read.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed joy on the development as he responded to the UNESCO's announcement with a tweet saying, A matter of immense joy for India!

Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani shared his excitement on the micro-blogging site, “Thrilled to learn that Ahmedabad has been recognised as a UNESCO #WorldHeritage city, first of its kind in India.”

Besides Ahmedabad, the World Heritage Committee will assess the nomination of 33 sites for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List during its 41st session between July 2 to 12, 2017. This year’s nominations for inscription on the World Heritage List has six natural sites, one mixed - both natural and cultural and 26 cultural sites, Ahmedabad being one of the cultural sites.