1674668546 Historic Ukrainian city added to UNESCO under threat list

Three ‘endangered’ sites added to UNESCO World Heritage List

Editor’s note: Sign up for Unlocking the World, CNN Travel’s weekly newsletter. Get the latest on destination openings, inspiration for future adventures, and the latest on aviation, food and drink, lodging and other travel developments.


The historic center of the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, along with sites in Yemen and Lebanon, were added to the World Heritage List by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Wednesday.

All three sites were simultaneously inscribed on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger.

The founding convention of UNESCO obliges all members – including Russia and Ukraine – “to take no intentional action which directly or indirectly damages their heritage or that of any other state party to the convention”.

Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO director-general, said in a statement he hoped the listing would help protect Odessa from war.

“Odessa, a free city, a cosmopolitan city, a legendary port that has shaped cinema, literature and art, is thus under the increased protection of the international community,” Azoulay said.

“As the war rages on, this inscription embodies our collective determination to ensure that this city, which has always weathered global upheaval, is saved from further destruction.”

The statement said the decision would give Ukraine access to “technical and financial international assistance” to protect and rehabilitate the city center.

The inscription was made during an extraordinary session of the World Heritage Committee in Paris.

The meeting addressed three threatened sites:

Historical center of Odessa (Ukraine)
Rachid Karami-Tripoli International Fair (Lebanon)
Landmarks of the ancient kingdom of Sheba in Marib governorate (Yemen)

All three are now on both the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Bar'an Temple Ruins are one of seven archaeological sites that form the landmarks of the ancient kingdom of Sheba in Yemen.

In Yemen, the site includes seven archaeological sites that record the architectural, aesthetic, and technological achievements of the Kingdom of Sheba from the 1st millennium B.C. Showing up to the arrival of Islam around 630 AD.

The site was added to the “at risk” list due to threats from the ongoing conflict in Yemen.

The Lebanon location, Rachid Karami International Fair in Tripoli, was designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1962. Its main building is a boomerang-shaped covered exhibition hall.

Rachid Karami International Fair in Tripoli, Lebanon was designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.

“It is one of the most important representative works of 20th-century modern architecture in the Arab Middle East,” UNESCO said in a press release.

It was included in the list of threatened areas due to its “alarming state of conservation, lack of financial resources for its maintenance and latent risk of development proposals that could compromise the integrity of the complex”, UNESCO said.

Picture above: The historic center of Odessa, Ukraine, is now on the UNESCO World Heritage List. (Bergamont/iStockphoto/Getty Images)