Bethlehem's Nativity Church removed from UNESCO endangered list

The church was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2012 and placed on its endangered list the same year due to its poor condition.

The church was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2012 and placed on its endangered list the same year due to its poor condition.

AFP/Thomas Coex

BETHLEHEM - Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was born, was removed from UNESCO's list of endangered world heritage sites following restorations there.

The church was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2012 and placed on its endangered list the same year due to its poor condition.

Church and Palestinian officials have since overseen high-quality work restoring "roof, exterior facades, mosaics and doors," UNESCO said in a statement.

A previous plan of concern to UNESCO to dig a tunnel underneath Manger Square, in front of the church, was also abandoned, it said.

The committee reached the decision to remove it from the endangered list during a meeting in Baku, which began on 30 June and continues until 10 July, it said in a statement.

The Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian churches share custody of the site located in the city which is today in the Israeli-occupied West Bank under Palestinian Authority control.

An initial church was built there in the fourth century AD. 

It was replaced with a new structure in the sixth century but floor mosaics from the original church remain. Later alterations were made to the church.

During the Christmas season, pilgrims from around the world visit the church and the grotto within it believed to be Jesus's birthplace.

Source
AFP