ISRAEL CELEBRATES INSCRIPTION OF TWO SITESParis - UNESCO and the Permanent Delegation of Israel to the Organization will celebrate the inscription of two Israeli sites, the fortress of Masada and the Old City of Acco, at a reception to be held at Headquarters tomorrow.
Organized by the Permanent Delegation of Israel to UNESCO, in partnership with the Consistoire de Paris, an evening reception will take place at the Organization's Headquarters on October 24 to present the two sites of "outstanding universal value", inscribed in on the World Heritage List in December 2001.
"Through their inscription, these properties have been, in a way, given to the world to share. The recognition of the universal value of these sites, mean that the State of Israel has also accepted the responsibility that it entails: of protecting and preserving them so as to hand them over to future generations," says UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, who will open the reception along with Francesco Bandarin, Director of the World Heritage Centre, Yitzhak Eldan, Ambassador of Israel to UNESCO and Moïse Cohen, President of the Consistoire de Paris.
Masada is a rugged natural fortress of majestic beauty in the Judaean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea. It is a symbol of the ancient kingdom of Israel, its violent destruction and the last stand of Jewish patriots in the face of the Roman army, in 73 A.D. It was built by Herod the Great, King of Judaea, (reigned 37 - 4 B.C.), as a palace complex, in the classic style of the early Roman Empire. The camps, fortifications and attack ramp that encircle the monument constitute the most complete Roman siege works surviving to the present day.
Acco (Acre) is a walled port-city continuously inhabited since the Phoenician period. The present city is characteristic of a fortified town dating from the Ottoman 18th and 19th centuries, with typical urban components such as the citadel, mosques, khans and baths. The remains of the Crusader town, dating from 1104 to 1291, lie almost intact, both above and below today's street level, providing an exceptional picture of the layout and structures of the capital of the medieval Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.
The celebrations, which will be moderated by Michèle Rotman, the chairman of the Commission du patrimoine culturel et artistique du Consistoire de Paris, will also include the screening of two films on Masada and Acco. Gilles Taïeb, who presides over the Commission Israël du Consistoire de Paris, and Roby Harly, the Director of the Israeli National Tourism Office will close the ceremony.
The ceremony celebrating the addition of Masada and the Acco to the World Heritage List
will take place in Room II at 6 p.m. (Avenue Suffren entrance)
Journalists wishing to attend should contact the UNESCO Press Service,
tel: (+33) (0)1 45 68 17 47