ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA (BNO NEWS) -- The United Nations (UN) Scientific, Cultural, and Educational Organization (UNESCO) has listed the Church of the Nativity, which sits on the site identified by Christian tradition as the birthplace of Jesus, on its list of sites in danger, officials said on Friday.
The church and its pilgrimage route, which are located in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, were added to both UNESCO's World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger. Officials said damages as a result of water leaks are threatening the site and including the site on the list is to encourage corrective action.
The Church of the Nativity, located approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) south of Jerusalem, was first completed in 339 A.D. and the edifice that replaced it after a fire in the 6th century retains elaborate floor mosaics from the original edifice. The site also includes Latin, Greek Orthodox, Franciscan and Armenian convents and churches as well as bell towers and terraced gardens.
UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, which is meeting in the Russian city of St. Petersburg until July 6, also inscribed sites from Israel, Palau, Indonesia, Morocco, China, Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) on the World Heritage List. More sites could be added to the list in the coming days.
Among the other sites added so far is the Nahal Me'arot/Wadi el-Mughara Caves at Mount Carmel in Israel which contains cultural deposits representing 500,000 years of human evolution with evidence of burials, early stone architecture and the transition from a hunter-gathering lifestyle to agriculture and animal husbandry.
Another site added is the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon in Palau which contains 445 uninhabited limestone islands of volcanic origin, and also counts with a complex reef system featuring over 385 coral species and different types of habitat. The site harbors the highest concentration of marine lakes anywhere and isolated bodies of seawater separated from the ocean by land barriers.
(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: email@example.com.) http://wire.bnonews.com/#g58627