Sunday, November 04, 2007

Building of Iraqi police barracks threatens world heritage site

On the odd occasion that I have updated Tony's blog I have been seriously saddened by the number of times I find myself reporting on the careless or deliberate destruction of national and world heritage sites. Here's another one - the Samarra Archaeological City is now under threat.

The construction of a large police barracks close to the Great Mosque of Samarra and its famed spiral minaret is imperilling another of Iraq's precious historical sites, Unesco and senior archaeologists have warned.

Work on the building and a training centre for 1,500 Iraqi policemen is continuing in Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, despite the addition this summer of the ninth-century remains of the capital of the Abbasid dynasty to Unesco's list of endangered world heritage sites.

There are fears that the police compound will prove an irresistible target for insurgents, and that the construction and operation of the barracks will damage the Samarra Archaeological City, one of the country's largest and most valuable historical areas, the Art Newspaper reported in its November issue.

See the above page for more.