Ancient city of Babylon designated Unesco World Heritage Site

A replica of the Ishtar Gate, which was one of the original Seven Wonders of the World

The ancient Mesopotamian city of Babylon has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Iraq had been lobbying since 1983 for the 4,000-year-old site to be added to the United Nations’ prestigious list.

The city 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 US troops.

The UN World Heritage Committee met in Azerbaijan to decide on the latest sites to be given the honour – awarded to areas or landmarks considered important for the whole of humanity and protected by international treaties.

The Iraqi delegation welcomed the designation, seeing it as a recognition of the significance of Babylon and Mesopotamian civilisation.

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.”

What are the new World Heritage Sites?

  • Babylon, Iraq
  • Ancient Ferrous Metallurgy Sites of Burkina Faso
  • Paraty and Ilha Grande, Brazil
  • Vatnaj√∂kull National Park, Iceland
  • French Austral Lands and Seas, France
  • Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid Region, Albania – an extension from the North Macedonian side of the lake, which has been on the World Heritage List since 1979

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