Explosions in Beirut, Lebanon, 2020
Explosions in Beirut, Lebanon, 2020 Image: Mehr News Agency Wikimedia CC BY-SA 4.0

UNESCO rallies international community to safeguard Beirut’s cultural heritage

Following the devastating twin explosions in Beirut, Lebanon, on 4 August, UNESCO mobilized leading cultural organizations and experts from Lebanon and abroad in an online meeting on 10 August to coordinate emergency and longer-term measures to safeguard the city’s severely damaged cultural heritage.

Dr Sarkis Khoury, Director-General of Antiquities at the Ministry of Culture of Lebanon, shared an initial assessment of damage to cultural institutions and heritage sites in the city. He noted that at least 8,000 buildings, many concentrated in the old districts of Gemmayzeh and Mar-Mikhaël, were affected. Among them are some 640 historic buildings, approximately 60 of which are at risk of collapse. He also spoke of the impact of the explosion on major museums, such as the National Museum of Beirut, the Sursock Museum and the Archaeological Museum of the American University of Beirut, as well as cultural spaces, galleries and religious sites.

Key partners attending the meeting included the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas – ALIPH, the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH), Blue Shield, the International Centre for the Study and Preservation of Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), the International Council of Museums (ICOM), and the International Council on Museums and Sites (ICOMOS).

Read the full article on the UNESCO website.

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