UNESCO visits Karbala to assess historical sites

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A UNESCO delegation will visit archaeological sites in Karbala province with a view to recognizing them as of global importance. It is hoped that the UN agency will provide funds for the protection of the sites. 

The Deputy Chairman of the Karbala provincial council, Nassif Jassem al-Khutabi, told AKnews that the delegation will visit Qasier Church, one of the oldest churches of the Middle East, Ukhaydir fort, which dates back to the Abbasid era over 1000 years ago and the Neolithic al-Tar caves, among others. 

“There are more than 80 ancient sites that are hoped to be included within the protected sites of UNESCO,” he said. 

“The delegation expressed its desire to cooperate with the local government to provide a safe environment for foreign tourists to visit these sites.” 

Chairperson of the Tourism and Antiquities Committee, Dr. Iftikhar Abbas, said the sites are in great need to protection.

“Most of these areas were looted due to the lack of fences. They’ve also been damaged by changes in weather conditions.” He called for the government to “give archaeological sites greater importance as they constitute an important financial resource for the country.” 

Karbala is a desert province located to the southwest of Baghdad. 

Author: Hassoun al-Haffar | Source: Ak News [June 20, 2011]

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