the basilica of The Nativity, erected in the Fourth century on the place where according to christian tradition Jesus was born, has been removed from the list of world heritage in danger Tuesday, after restoration work. Located in the heart of Bethlehem, in the occupied west bank, the site of the basilica as well as the pilgrimage route, was declared a world heritage site by Unesco in 2012.
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It was the first site of the palestinian inscribed on the world Heritage list of the organization, in spite of the opposition of Israel and the United States. The monument, however, had been placed in the same year on the list of world heritage in danger, due to its decrepit state.
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The following year, under a historic agreement between the palestinian Authority, on the one side, and the three Churches (orthodox, catholic and Armenian) that administer, in cooperation, sometimes difficult, the basilica, the restoration works have been initiated. The roof was first repaired, and then the mosaic, unveiled last year, just before Christmas. The whole was overseen by the palestinian Authority and financed by the Palestinians, as well as donations from governments and individuals.
“the reasons For its decision, the Committee commended the quality of the work carried out on the church of the Nativity, including the restoration of the roof, exterior facades, mosaics wall, and the doors of the basilica,” said Tuesday in a press release. Since 30 June and until July 10, the world heritage Committee of Unesco held in Baku, Azerbaijan.
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Built in the Fourth century by the roman emperor, Constantine, reorganized by Justinian in the sixth century, and then enriched to the age of the crusades, the basilica of the Nativity is one of the oldest churches and the most sacred of christendom. The issue is not only historic, religious and tourism, but also political, since the city of Bethlehem, which welcomes more than two million visitors per year, is located in the autonomous area of palestine and separated from Jerusalem by a wall.