3 world heritage sites in Yemen, Iraq listed as endangered

July 3, 2015 10:36 am 

BONN, Germany, July 3 — The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) completed its annual update of the List of World Heritage in Danger here on Thursday and added three sites in conflicted areas in Yemen and Iraq into the list.

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, which started its 2015 annual meeting here on June 28, said all the three sites, the Old City of Sana'a and the Old Walled City of Shibam in Yemen and Hatra in Iraq, were listed as endangered due to damages or threat from the ongoing armed conflicts in the two countries.

According to the committee, the Old City of Sana'a in Yemen sustained "serious damage" due to the conflicts. "The majority of the colorful, decorated doors and window panes characteristics of the city's domestic architecture have been shattered or damaged," it said.

The Old City of Sana'a has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years and became a major center for the propagation of Islam in the 7th and 8th century. Its religious and political heritage can be seen in 103 mosques, 14 hammams and over 6,000 houses which were built before the 11th century.

The committee also decided to place the Old Walled City of Shibam, a 16th-century city with impressive tower-like structures rise up from a cliff and a nickname of "the Manhattan of the desert," in to the endangered list as the site was "under potential threat from the armed conflict which compounds safeguarding and management problems already observed."

Iraq's Hatra, a large fortified city which grew under the influence of the Parthian Empire and capital of the first Arab Kingdom, was listed as endangered at the committee's meeting on Wednesday.

The committee voiced concerns about the state of the heritage site following acts of intentional destruction by extremist organizations in the country.

On Monday, the committee adopted a declaration on global heritage protection, expressing concerns about damages of world heritage in armed conflicted areas and calling intentional destruction of heritage "war crimes." (PNA/Xinhua)

JBP/EBP

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