UNESCO lists Iraq's Babylon as World Heritage Site

1 / 6
A view of the Ishtar Gate at the ancient archaeological site of Babylon, south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad. (File/AFP)
2 / 6
A general view of the ancient archaeological site of Babylon, south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad. (File/ AFP)
3 / 6
A view of the Ishtar Gate at the ancient archaeological site of Babylon, south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad. (File/AFP)
4 / 6
A general view of the ancient archaeological site of Babylon, south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad. (File/AFP)
5 / 6
a man walks in front of Ishtar Gate at the archaeological site of Babylon, Iraq. (File/AP)
6 / 6
A general view of the ancient archaeological site of Babylon, south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad. (File/ AFP)
Updated 05 July 2019

UNESCO lists Iraq's Babylon as World Heritage Site

  • The committee met in Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku to consider Babylon and another 34 sites, including in Brazil and Burkina Faso, for the World Heritage List
  • It opted not to designate Babylon as the World Heritage in Danger after objections from Iraq

BAGHDAD: UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee voted on Friday to list the sprawling Mesopotamian metropolis of Babylon as a World Heritage Site after three decades of lobbying efforts by Iraq.
Iraq had been trying since 1983 to have the site — a massive 10-square-kilometer complex of which just 18 percent has been excavated thus far — recognized by UNESCO.
Straddling Iraq’s Euphrates River about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, the city was the center of the ancient Babylonian empire more than 4,000 years ago.
“What is the world heritage list without Babylon? How to tell the history of humanity without the earliest of old chapters, Babylon?” said Iraq’s representative to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee ahead of the vote.
The committee met in Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku to consider Babylon and another 34 sites, including in Brazil and Burkina Faso, for the World Heritage List.
It opted not to designate Babylon as the World Heritage in Danger after objections from Iraq.
“Babylon is the largest populated city in ancient history,” said Qahtan Al-Abeed, who heads the Basra Antiquities Department and led efforts to get the site listed.
“The Babylonians were the civilization of writing, administration and science,” he told AFP.
Putting Babylon on the World Heritage List “will encourage research and development of the site,” and would “be free publicity for tourists,” he added excitedly.
Babylon occupies a special place in religion, appearing in the Bible, Hebrew scripture, and even mythical prophecies.
It developed as a walled city of temples and towers made of mudbrick and known internationally for its hanging gardens, the Tower of Babel, and the Ishtar Gate.


Oman’s ruler back home after medical checkup in Belgium

Updated 13 December 2019

Oman’s ruler back home after medical checkup in Belgium

  • Sultan Qaboos has ruled Oman since he succeeded his father in 1970
  • The sultan has no known successor for his throne in Oman

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: Oman’s 79-year-old ruler has returned to his sultanate after traveling to Belgium for a medical checkup, the sultanate’s state-run news agency reported Friday.

Sultan Qaboos bin Said left “for some medical checks that will take a limited period, God willing,” the Oman News Agency reported a week earlier, citing a royal court statement. A similar royal statement announced his return, without elaborating.

Bin Said has taken medical trips abroad in the past. The sultan has ruled Oman since he succeeded his father in 1970. He has no known successor for his throne in Oman, a country on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula that’s home to some 4.6 million people.