UNESCO lists Iraq’s Babylon as World Heritage site

July 6, 2019 - 18:55

TEHRAN - The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has added the sprawling Mesopotamian city of Babylon to its World Heritage list, boosting Iraq’s hopes of reviving its battered tourism industry.

The massive 10-square-kilometre complex was given the go ahead for inclusion at the 43rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, which is running through July 10 in the Azerbaijani capital Baku.

Since 1983, Iraq had been anticipating for the 4,000-year-old site to be added to the United Nations’ prestigious list. Babylon was famous for its Hanging Gardens, which were among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The site has suffered in recent years - first from the construction of a palace for Saddam Hussein, and later from being used as a base for U.S. troops, BBC reported.

Announcing its decision, UNESCO said: “Seat of successive empires, under rulers such as Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon represents the expression of the creativity of the Neo-Babylonian Empire at its height.”

“The city’s association with one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - the Hanging Gardens - has also inspired artistic, popular and religious culture on a global scale.”

In the early 1980s, former Iraqi leader Saddam razed a large part of the ancient city in order to build a replica on top of some of the original ruins. After the Persian Gulf War, he also built an extravagant modern palace for himself on another part of the ruins, overlooking the main site.


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