AZERBAIJAN: The ancient Mesopotamian city of Babylon has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Iraq had been lobbying since 1983 for the 4,000-year-old site to be added to the United Nations’ prestigious list.
The city was famous for its Hanging Gardens, which were among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The site has suffered in recent years – first from the construction of a palace for Saddam Hussein, and later from being used as a base for US troops.
The UN World Heritage Committee met in Azerbaijan to decide on the latest sites to be given the honour – awarded to areas or landmarks considered important for the whole of humanity and protected by international treaties.
The Iraqi delegation welcomed the designation, seeing it as a recognition of the significance of Babylon and Mesopotamian civilisation.