The site of the Birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem (Palestine) removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger

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ieu de naissance de Jésus : l’église de la Nativité et la route de pèlerinage, Bethléem © UNESCO

BAKU, JULY 2 – The World Heritage Committee, meeting in Baku since 30 June, today decided to remove the Birthplace of Jesus: the Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Palestine) from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Committee said its decision was due to the high quality of work carried out on the Nativity Church, the restoration of its roof, exterior facades, mosaics and doors. It also welcomed the shelving of a project to dig a tunnel under Manger Square and the adoption of a management plan for the conservation of the site.

The Birthplace of Jesus: the Church of the Nativity and Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem, Palestine, situated 10 km south of Jerusalem on the site identified by Christian tradition as the birthplace of Jesus since the 2nd century. A church was first completed there in 339 CE and the edifice that replaced it after a fire in the 6th century retains elaborate floor mosaics from the original building. The site also includes Latin, Greek Orthodox, Franciscan and Armenian convents and churches, as well as bell towers, terraced gardens and a pilgrimage route.

Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2012, the site was added simultaneously to the List of World Heritage in Danger due to the poor state of the Nativity Church.

The List of World Heritage in Danger is designed to inform the international community of conditions which threaten the very characteristics for which a property was inscribed on the World Heritage List, —be they due to armed conflicts, natural disasters, unplanned urbanization, poaching, pollution or other—and encourage corrective action. The UNESCO World Heritage site of Venice and its lagoon is at risk of being inscribed among the sites in danger.

Others on the list include Syria’s ancient cities of Aleppo, Bosra and Damascus, all inscribed in 2013, and the “Maritime Mercantile City of Liverpool” in the United Kingdom – which consists of six locations in the city centre – inscribed in 2012.

The 54 properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger aim to alert the international community to threats to essential characteristics for which a property was initially inscribed on the World Heritage List. These can include armed conflicts, natural disasters, unplanned urbanization, poaching or pollution. (@OnuItalia)