Erbil Citadel Granted World Heritage Status
Obtaining the status gives the Kurdish nation a sense of pride
The Erbil Citadel that dominates the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan was granted World Heritage Site Status on June 15, in a move praised as rare "a glimpse of optimism" amid the country's violentstricken existence.
Delegates at UNESCO's World Heritage Committee voted to grant the coveted status at a gathering in Doha, where they were considering some 40 cultural and natural wonders to include on the UN list.
A member of the Iraqi delegation praised the inclusion as a gift given by the delegation to the people and all the communities of Iraq, who are in such need of a token of optimism right now."
The Erbil Citadel is a formerly fortified mound in the centre of Erbil that is among the oldest con- tinuously inhabited sites in the world, dating back to at least 6,000 years.
Erbil has been largely insulated from the latest unrest in Iraq, where Sunni insurgents have overrun swathes of territory north of Baghdad, displacing hundreds of thousands and threatening the country's very existence.
The Paris-based United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization oversee the system of granting World Heritage Status to important cultural and natural sites.
Obtaining the status for sites is a point of pride for many nations and can boost tourism and national pride, but it comes with strict conservation rules as well.