Ancient city of Babylon heads list of new Unesco world heritage sites

UN also names national park in Iceland among sites protected for their value to humanity The ancient city of Babylon and an Icelandic national park replete with glaciers, ice caves and volcanoes are among the sites that have been added to Unescos world heritage list. More than 1,000 sites around the world some cultural, some natural, some both are protected by listing. Landmarks or areas are chosen for their value to humanity. On Friday, the World Heritage Committee announced the addition of the first of this years batch. More sites will be named over the weekend. Perhaps the most famous site to be added to the list is the city of Babylon in Iraq. The city was first mentioned in …

Italy’s new ruins: heritage sites being lost to neglect and looting

Overgrown and weathered, many historical monuments are disappearing as public funds for culture fail to match modern Italys inheritance Legend has it that the grotto hidden among the craggy cliffs on San Marco hill in Sutera in the heart of Sicily holds a treasure chest full of gold coins. In order to find it, three men must dream simultaneously about the precise place to dig. Treasure or no treasure, the grotto itself is an archaeological gem, its walls adorned with a multi-coloured Byzantine-esque 16th-century fresco depicting Jesus, the Virgin Mary and Saints Paulinus, Luke, Mark and Matthew. One of the first mountain oratories in the world, it was built by Basilian monks in the 9th century. But time has weathered …