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Citadel in Erbil officially distinguished as World Heritage by UNESCO

Citadel in Erbil officially distinguished as World Heritage by UNESCO

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani received today Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, her delegation, the Iraqi Ambassador to UNESCO, and Iraqi archeologists.

In accordance with UNESCO’s selection criteria , the Erbil Citadel has been distinguished as a World Heritage site of outstanding universal value. One of only four sites in Iraq, the Citadel has been inscribed on the World Heritage List. With a history of approximately 6000 years, the Citadel is viewed as one of the oldest permanently inhabited sites in the world. Located on a plateau and fortified by high walls, it dominates the capital of the Kurdistan Region.

A formal inauguration ceremony took place at the Citadel. In the course of the festivities, Ms. Bokova handed over the certificate for the inscription of the Citadel to Nechirvan Barzani, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

At the meeting with the Prime Minister the hard work of the people, institutions, and countries involved in the selection process, along with the roles of the UNESCO Director-General and Iraq’s Ambassador to UNESCO, were highlighted.

The Kurdistan Region has many other significant cultural heritage sites and attention was drawn to the need to monitor their condition, and to protect and preserve them in accordance with international standards. Necessary measures to be taken were discussed at the meeting. The General Director emphasized that the soul of Iraq, its history and culture, which are threatened by the cultural and ethnic cleansings committed by the terrorist group IS, is in danger. The defense and support of Iraq’s culture and diversity are paramount to guaranteeing tolerance and trust. “Saving the past of Iraq is essential to saving the future of this country and to our collective history – that is what this inscription means,” explained Ms. Bokova.

Other topics discussed included the latest developments in confronting ISIS terrorist organization’s brutal aggression and protecting civilians, and the limits of humanitarian assistance available for over 1.4 million displaced people and refugees who have sought safety and security in the Kurdistan Region.