BETHLEHEM (UN NEWS CENTRE) - The Church of the Nativity, which sits on a site in Bethlehem that is identified by Christian tradition as the birthplace of Jesus, has been inscribed on the World Heritage List of the United Nations Scientific, Cultural, and Educational Organisation (UNESCO), as well as on the list of sites in danger.
The church, and the pilgrimage route on the site, was placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger since it is suffering from damages due to water leaks, according to a news release issued by UNESCO.
A church was first completed on the site in 339 AD and the edifice that replaced it after a fire in the 6th century retains elaborate floor mosaics from the original edifice. The site, situated 10 kilometres south of Jerusalem, includes the church as well as Latin, Greek Orthodox, Franciscan and Armenian convents and churches as well as bell towers and terraced gardens.
The List of World Heritage in Danger is designed to inform the international community of threats to the outstanding universal values for which a property has been inscribed, and to encourage corrective action.
UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, which is meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, until July 6, also inscribed sites from Israel, Palau, Indonesia, Morocco, China, Senegal and CÃ´te d'Ivoire on the World Heritage List today.