The three sites that Unesco has removed from the World Heritage list

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) agreed on Wednesday to remove the Port of Liverpool from its list of World Heritage due to the “irreversible loss” caused by the remodeling of its mercantile port. This body, meeting these days by videoconference and in person in the Chinese city of Fuzhou, has justified its decision “due to the irreversible loss of the exceptional universal value of the site.”

The Port of Liverpool was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004 and included on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2012, due to concerns about urban development known as Liverpool Waters. Since then, this project and other new ones have continued both in the center of the port and in what Unesco considers as a zone of influence or buffer. The Committee considers that these constructions are detrimental to the authenticity and integrity of the protected area.

Liverpool’s historic center and docks were inscribed as testimony to the development of one of the main shopping centers in the world in the 18th and 19th centuries. Pioneering technologies in docks, transport systems and port management were forged in its facilities.

Elbe Valley Cultural Landscape

This is the third site expelled from the Unesco World Heritage list. In 2009 it already happened with the cultural landscape of the Elbe Valley, in Dresden (Germany). In 2004 Unesco registered it as a World Heritage Site. In 2006 it was already on the list of World Heritage in Danger, due to the appearance of the construction project of the WaldschloBchen bridge, a modern bridge that the supervisory body considered incompatible with the protection of a cultural landscape created during the 18th and 19th centuries along 18 kilometers along the river, from the Übigau Palace and the Ostragehege meadows to the Pillnitz Palace and the island of the Elbe. In the historic city center there are numerous monuments and parks dating from the 16th to the 20th centuries. And traces of the Industrial Revolution remain, among which are the ‘Blue Wonder’, a 147-meter-long steel bridge, built between 1891 and 1893. The steamships (the oldest dating from 1879) and the shipyard ( built around 1900) are still in operation.

Shrine of the Oryx, in Oman

The third place removed from the World Heritage list was the Shrine of the Oryx, in Oman, registered in 1994 and expelled in 2007. The reason? The government of the then Sultan Qabus bin Said Al Said, who died in 2020, decided to reduce the size of this reserve in the desert where the last oryx (horse-like antelope) live by 90% to increase the search areas for oil. The sanctuary went from 27,500 km2 to about 2,800. In 1996, the Arabian oryx population at the site was 450. In 2007, when Unesco removed it from its list, there were only 65 specimens left, including only four fertile pairs.