Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Lebanon's heritage in danger




The Guardian, September 17

Monuments in two of the world's most important heritage sites are in need of 'urgent repair' as a result of the recent conflict in Lebanon, a United Nations mission to the region has discovered.
A Roman tomb in Tyre and a medieval tower in Byblos have been significantly damaged by the war, the official leading a survey of Lebanese archaeological sites told The Observer late last week.

At Tyre some of 'the finest examples of imperial Roman architecture in the world' had suffered direct damage, including the collapse of a fresco on a tomb only a few metres from the site's core. The official said that he intended to propose the commencement of urgent repair work in the area.

At Byblos the effects of an oil spill - which occurred after the Israeli government bombed a depot in Jiyeh, 15 miles south of Beirut - are more obvious. Bouchenaki said some of the archaeological remains from the Venetian period near the city's harbour were dramatically stained and would be difficult to clean. He said that a 'medieval tower' from the time of the Crusades had also been affected.

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