VIDEO: [Rick Steves] Youtuber tour guide explores one of the most ancient of churches, The Church of the Nativity in Palestinean-held Bethlehem. [Jan 21, 2015]
The sixth-century building, which marks the site where Jesus was born, has recently undergone major renovations that incorporated remnants of the previous 4th-century church at the same location. It includes, according to UNESCO, “elaborate floor mosaics” and the restoration of the “roof, exterior facades, mosaics and doors.”
In submitting its request for the church’s removal from the list, the Palestinian Authority told UNESCO that it had successfully overseen the “implementation of the conservation works at the Church of the Nativity, which included a series of restoration works which mainly targeted the restoration of the roof and the narthex [altar lobby entrance] and all other components of the desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger.”
The 21-member World Heritage Committee plans to examine the matter on Tuesday during its two-week annual meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan, that began on June 30 and will end on July 10.
UNESCO made headlines in 2011 when it became the first UN body to recognize Palestine as a state and award it full membership rights in its organization. Since then it has inscribed under the state of Palestine three World Heritage sites, the first of which was the church in 2012. This was followed by the ancient agricultural terraces of Battir and Hebron’s Old Town with its Tomb of the Patriarchs.
This article continues at [Jerusalem Post] Church of the Nativity no longer endangered