Monday, July 30, 2012

The Director-General of UNESCO appeals for the Protection of the World Heritage City of Aleppo

In light of escalated violence in the vicinity of several historic urban areas in Syria, the Director-General reiterates her appeal of 30 March 2012, to all parties involved in the conflict to protect all Syrian cultural heritage.

UNESCO is particularly alarmed over reports of heavy fighting in Aleppo, which ancient city is a World Heritage site. Strategically positioned on historic trade routes linking East and West, this ancient city has conserved an astounding monumental heritage reflecting the diverse cultures of the peoples that have settled here over millennia including the Hittites, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Umayyads, Ayyubids, Mongols, Mamelukes and Ottomans. The ancient city of Aleppo has been inscribed on the World Heritage List since 1986.

Owing to the volatile security situation, it has not been possible to assess the extent of the damage to the ancient city of Aleppo and several other World Heritage sites including the Crac des Chevaliers, Palmyra, the Ancient Villages in Northern Syria and Damascus.

In the current context of civil strife, UNESCO is also particularly concerned about the risks of looting and pillaging of cultural property. As part of its efforts to mobilize the international community for the protection of Syria’s cultural heritage, UNESCO has alerted the World Customs Organization, INTERPOL, as well as Syria’s neighbouring countries to the potential threats of illicit trafficking in Syrian cultural objects. The Director-General also contacted the United Nations Secretary General and the Chairperson of the Security Council to bring the attention of Kofi Annan, the Special Envoy for the United Nations and the League of Arab States, to the importance of ensuring that the provisions of the international conventions regarding protection of cultural property are respected, especially the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. UNESCO is in close contact with the UN Resident Coordinator in Damascus concerning the situation.

The Director-General urges all parties to respect and protect Syria’s great cultural legacy, which constitutes a source of identity and fulfilment for its people, and to abide by their international obligations in the area of culture.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A New Booklet Highlighting United States’ World Heritage Areas Published by Eastern National

FORT WASHINGTON, PA, July 23, 2012: The year 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Convention. Some 189 countries have signed on to the Convention making it perhaps the most nearly universal treaty for cultural preservation and nature conservation in human history.

In celebration of the Convention’s 40th anniversary, Eastern National and the National Park Service’s Office of International Affairs have produced the new booklet World Heritage Sites in the United States. The booklet highlights the 21 sites in the United States that have been selected and inscribed on the World Heritage List for their natural or cultural significance that makes them of outstanding universal value. From Independence Hall to the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park, the booklet includes some of the United States’ most iconic sites and some lesser-known ones that have earned inclusion on the prestigious World Heritage List.

As part of Eastern National’s Passport To Your National Parks® program and the Passport Commemorative Series, this booklet includes a block on each page for visitors to get their booklet canceled with a Passport stamp that records the name of the site and the date of the visit. Cancellations are free and are usually available at a park’s visitor center.

“We are privileged to have a wealth of World Heritage sites designated in the United States,” said George Minnucci, Chief Executive Officer of Eastern National. “We are thrilled to offer this publication as one of the only guides available to these hallowed sites, and hope that it encourages visitation and interest in the World heritage areas of the United States.”

The World Heritage Sites in the United States is available now for $4.95 on . For more information on this publication or the Passport To Your National Parks® program, please visit or call 1-877-NAT-PARK (1-877-628-7275). Wholesale opportunities are available.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Twenty-six new sites inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List this year

The World Heritage Committee on Monday morning inscribed Lena Pillars Nature Park of the Russian Federation, the last site to be added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List during this year’s session. Chad, Congo, Palau and Palestine had World Heritage sites inscribed on the List for the first time.

For the complete list of new sites, click here.