After Three Years Of Delay, UNESCO Adds Ancient Jericho Ruins On World Heritage Site

Jericho UNESCO
by Deeplata Garde

Any site awarded a UNESCO World Heritage Site title goes through a rigorous and well-defined process. From nomination to Potential delisting, this process involves around 9 steps. In a momentous development, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has officially recognized the ancient ruins of Jericho as a World Heritage Site. This historic decision was reached during UNESCO’s annual meeting, which took place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

A City Steeped In History


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Jericho, situated in the West Bank, stands as one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities. Its archaeological marvel, Tell es-Sultan, celebrates ruins that trace back to the ninth millennium BCE. The city’s profound historical and cultural significance has long fascinated the attention of archaeologists and historians worldwide.

The inclusion of the Tell es-Sultan archaeological site in Jericho as a “World Heritage Site in Palestine” has not come without controversy. Israel, which exercises authority over Jericho’s territory, voiced its disagreement regarding the decision. The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs described this move as yet another instance of the “negative use of UNESCO” and politicization of the organization.

The site earned its inscription after a three-year nomination process, during which no state party voiced any opposition, according to an anonymous diplomat who spoke to Arab News without authorization to the media. The diplomat clarified, “There are no archaeological traces of Jewish or Christian heritage discovered at the Tell Al-Sultan site. It predominantly features prehistoric remains,” in a statement made to AFP.

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UNESCO Finally Inscribes Jericho As A Heritage Site


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In contrast, the Palestinian Authority welcomed UNESCO’s decision with open arms. They hailed it as a profound recognition of Jericho’s “cultural, economic, and political significance.” This designation, in their eyes, serves as a testament to the city’s remarkable 10,000-year journey of human development. PA Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Rula Ma’ayah, emphasized the site’s integral role in the diverse tapestry of Palestinian heritage.

UNESCO’s acknowledgement of Jericho’s ancient ruins as a World Heritage Site emphasises the city’s historical and cultural eminence. Despite the political turbulence surrounding this decision, it shines a global spotlight on Jericho’s rich heritage and its profound place in the records of human history. Additionally, it highlights UNESCO’s pivotal role in safeguarding and promoting cultural heritage sites across the globe.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva Stock Images