3 Cities Inscribed on UNESCO Danger List

3 Cities Inscribed on UNESCO Danger List3 Cities Inscribed on UNESCO Danger List

The World Heritage Committee on Thursday inscribed two sites in Yemen on the List of World Heritage in Danger: The Old City of Sana’a and the Old Walled City of Shibam, the organization announced via a statement on its website.

The Old City of Sana’a sustained serious damage due to armed conflict in the country. The neighborhood of Al Qasimi near the famous urban garden of Miqshamat Al Qasimi sustained particularly serious damage. The 12th century Al-Mahdi Mosque and surrounding houses have also been affected and a majority of the colorful, decorated doors and windowpanes characteristic of the city’s domestic architecture have been shattered or damaged.

The World Heritage Committee expressed concern with the damage inflicted to an Islamic city of great historical and heritage importance.

Sana’a has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years. In the 7th and 8th centuries, the city became a major center for the propagation of Islam. Its religious and political heritage can be seen in structures built before the 11th century. Sana’a’s many-storied tower-houses built of rammed earth add to the beauty of the site, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1986.

The committee also decided to place the Old Walled City of Shibam on the list, saying it was under potential threat from the armed conflict, which compounds safeguarding and management problems already observed at the site.

Surrounded by a fortified wall, the 16th-century city of Shibam is one of the oldest and best examples of urban planning based on the principle of vertical construction. Its impressive tower-like structures rise up from a cliff and have given the city the nickname of ‘the Manhattan of the desert’. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1982.

 Hatra Gets a Spot

Hatra in Iraq has also been inscribed on the list due to damage inflicted to the property by armed groups, the organization announced via a statement on its website.

Many World Heritage Committee members voiced concern on Wednesday about the state of Iraqi heritage following acts of intentional destruction. They also declared their willingness to help Iraq as soon as the situation on the ground will allow them to do so.

The committee stressed that the danger listing of Hatra was a way to rally the support of the international community for the country’s heritage.

A large fortified city which grew under the influence of the Parthian Empire and capital of the first Arab Kingdom, Hatra withstood Roman invasions in 116 and 198 AD thanks to its high, thick walls that are reinforced by towers.

Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1985, the remains of the city, especially the temples where Hellenistic and Roman architecture blend with Eastern decorative features, attest to the greatness of its civilization.

The 39th session of the World Heritage Committee started on 28 June and will continue until 8 July under the chair of Maria Bohmer, minister of state at the German Federal Foreign Office and member of the Bundestag.