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USA extends World Heritage sites around Babylon: NPR



A man walks in front of the Ishtar Gate in 2012 at the archaeological site of Babylon in Iraq. Iraq celebrates the appointment of the historic city of Babylon as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

Khalid Mohammed / AP


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A man walks in front of the Ishtar Gate in 2012 at the archaeological site of Babylon in Iraq. Iraq celebrates the appointment of the historic city of Babylon as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

Khalid Mohammed / AP

The ancient legacy of Iraq has been recognized by archaeologists, and Middle Eastern experts have long searched for Babylon: Babylon has been included in the list of endangered World Heritage sites of the United Nations.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee voted Friday to add Babylon south of Baghdad to the list of some 1,000 World Heritage sites worldwide.

The more than 4,000-year-old site was once the capital of the Babylonian Empire world.

"It includes villages and agricultural areas around the ancient city, its remains, outer and inner city walls, gates, palaces and temples are a unique testament to one of the most influential empires in the ancient world," UN officials wrote in their inauguration Announcement.

Babylon, a Bible-condemned city and source of black magic in the Qur'an, has been plagued by war and neglect. Keepers have been pushing for decades to restore the site.

Saddam Hussein tried to rebuild some of the ruins of Babylon with modern bricks, which was condemned by archaeologists. He even built a huge palace on the ancient site overlooking the Tigris. After the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, military helicopters landed directly on the site.

A 2009 report by UNESCO stated that US troops and contractors in Iraq had inflicted considerable damage on Babylon, driving heavy vehicles on sacred trails and hills on one of the United States's "most important archaeological sites the world ".

Officials wrote that US military entrepreneurs "have done great damage to the city by digging, cutting, scraping and leveling".

The site was also plundered for decades.

Barbed wire surrounds the Lion of Babylon at the archaeological site of Babylon.

Khalid Mohammed / AP


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Barbed wire surrounds the Lion of Babylon at the archaeological site of Babylon.

Khalid Mohammed / AP

Groups, including the World Monuments Fund, have spent over a decade working to protect and restore Babylon and its mudbrick ruins. The Fund notes, however, that there have been many challenges, including: "repairing damage caused by military occupation, assessing the impact" of 20th-century reconstructions that stop illegal attacks. "

The Iraqi authorities have long hoped that the esteemed historic site could become a cultural landmark for both Iraqis and international tourists Visitors to the thousands of heritage sites in Iraq after the 2017 victory over the government

No large-scale exploration has been started in Babylon for a century, and according to the 2009 UNESCO report, archaeologists believe that much of the city's history remains to be discovered.

"Some Parts The city was uncovered, but much remains buried underground, "officials wrote." There is still much to discover about ancient Babylon. "


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