Babylon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

By | Category: Travel destinations

Many readers might have already thought that the ancient site of Babylon would have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for decades but that hasn’t been the case.

A view of Babylon. Image – © Qahtan Al-Abeed/UNESCO

It has only been at the UNESCO meeting in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku that Babylon was added to the UNESCO list.

Why did it take so long?

One of the reasons might be that Babylon is situated in the modern state of Iraq – a place that has seen any number of wars, political tension and internal problems over the last half century or so. But for over 35 years, the Iraqi government has been trying to achieve world heritage site status. Was it handicapped by the country’s former leader, Saddam Hussein, demolishing some of Babylon so that he could build a replica on it? If it had been granted status prior to his demolition, would that have deterred any moves on his part? We’ll never know.

Even now, when the addition of any site is added to the UNESCO register usually increases the number of visitors to the destination, it remains to be seen whether the same effect will happen here.

Just over fifty miles south of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, there are a number of ruins that relate to the time when Babylon was probably the most significant centre of the then world.  With origins perhaps dating back over 4,000 years it came to prominence when Hammurabi enlarged it as his capital about 3,800 years ago. When the Bible came to be written, Babylon was an ancient site even then. Today we have no real idea of what is there because it is estimated that only 3-5% of the area has been excavated. The minisitry of tourism has long claimed that the site is much larger than what we see today.

Today after wars and local divisions which have damaged some of the remains, there still is much for the visitor to view.

Some specialist British tour operators will take visitors to the site which is in modern day Hillah. More will now follow

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: , , ,