World Bulletin / News Desk
UNESCO on Friday declared Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity and the nearby pilgrimage route World Heritage sites.
Maan news agency reported that thirteen members of the 21-nation World Heritage Committee voted in favor of the Palestinian application, securing exactly the needed number of votes. Two countries abstained and six voted against the bid.
"I am delighted," Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki told the conference in St. Petersburg, to rapturous applause. "You have our most gracious thanks."
He applauded the committee for granting Palestinians their cultural rights and pledged Palestine's commitment to protecting world heritage.
Palestine is the "cradle of human civilization" he said, adding that it will submit further nominations to secure world heritage status for villages south of Jerusalem whose identities are threatened by Israel's wall.
Talking to Ma'an after the vote, al-Malki said Bethlehem's new status ensured its protection from Israel and that the success of the bid was "a huge Palestinian achievement."
In Bethlehem, deputy mayor George Saade thanked all the countries that voted in support of the bid.
"We feel that this is justice and we are very happy about this. Everybody is happy in Bethlehem and Palestine," he told Ma'an.
Palestine's nomination of the sites, under a single application titled "Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route," included the church and three surrounding monasteries in addition to the route.
The application stressed that the nomination was only the first in a series of nominations to inscribe all sites in Bethlehem related to the story of the birth of Jesus into the UNESCO world heritage list.
The UNESCO list is intended to recognize and protect world cultural and natural heritage sites that meet a "universal value to humanity." Some 900 sites have been registered since the list was introduced in 1972.
Istanbul, one of the most beautiful cities in the world attracts millions of visitors each year - its silhouette with the magnificent Hagia Sophia and Topkapi as well as the grand Sultanahmet mosque has marked its place as a must visit city on countless bucket lists.
Four million Africans were brought to Brazil as slaves but only Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua wrote down his story – in English as a free man in Canada
Recent excavations show that a prehistoric stone monument that went unnoticed for centuries in a bare of field on the Golan Heights is old as Stonehenge in England.
Thailands annual bird singing contest where competitors pitch their singing birds against other has drawn thousands of people to the unique competition
Matrakci Nasuh was 16th century intellectual, soldier during the Sultan Suleymans rule.
A Palestinian artist Shadi Alzaqouq was ordered to leave after after placing a bed sheet over his work advocating the boycott of Israel protesting the illegal occupation.
Cave of Arts works to connect new generation with old by collecting past and presenting it in an elegant way, says owner
A new exhibition Sultans of Deccan India, 1500–1700: Opulence and Fantasy, which opened April 20 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, brings together some 200 of the finest works from major international, private, and royal collections.
Channel 4 presenter Jon Snow smuggled artwork by a Palestinian artist when she was unable to get a permit to leave Gaza.
The singer was "banned by his own" after giving a performance in Nazareth, Occupied Palestine. Iran does not recognise Israel and artists who perform there become "persona non grata" in Iran.
Launched in 2004, MuslimFest showcases the talents of local and international Muslim artists with comedy shows, concerts and a childrens carnival
Accidental find reveals two-foil manuscript dating back 1,370 years, to founding years of Islam
Yusuf Islam, the world famous musician formerly known as Cat Stevens has penned a beautiful instrumental piece in honor of the victims of Srebrenica.
Greg Constantine, a self taught award-winning photographer has an exhibition in Istanbul on the Rohingya Muslims, hoping to provide a better understanding of plight of Southeast Asia’s stateless Muslim group
The Courtauld Institute of Art Summer School in London will present a wide-ranging course on 14th–19th- century Ottoman art and architecture as part of its annual Summer School in art history.