Iraq’s Babylon listed as UNESCO’s World Heritage Site
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee has voted to list sprawling Mesopotamian metropolis of Babylon as a World Heritage Site (WHS) after 30 years of lobbying efforts by Iraq.
Since 1983 Iraq had been trying to have Babylon site recognised by UNESCO.
The World Heritage Committee met in Baku (capital of Azerbaijan) to consider Babylon and another 34 sites, including in Brazil and Burkina Faso, for World Heritage List.
After the successful vote Babylon, the cradle of civilization was chosen.
Significance: Putting Babylon on WHS List will encourage research and development of the site.
It is a massive 10sq-km complex of which just 18% has been excavated thus far.
It was the Centre of ancient Babylonian empire more than 4,000 years ago. The excavation of site began in early 1800s and artefacts were sent abroad.
The city straddles Iraq’s Euphrates River and is about 100 kilometres south of Baghdad.
Babylon developed as a walled city of mudbrick temples and towers. It is the largest populated city in ancient history.
It is internationally known for its hanging gardens, the Ishtar Gate and Tower of Babel.
Parts of Ishtar Gate were sent abroad which still remain in museums across Europe.
The Babylonians were civilisation of writing, administration and science.
Other World Heritage Sites in Iraq include: the southern Mesopotamian marshes, Hatra, Samarra, Ashur and the Erbil citadel in northern Iraq. Erbil is the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region.
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