Unesco lists centre of Ukraine port city Odesa as World Heritage site

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  • Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky officially requested the listing to protect it from Russian air strikes in October
  • Russia, which invaded the country in February last year, repeatedly tried to delay the vote
Agence France-Presse |
Published: 
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This file photo taken on October 12, 2022, shows people taking pictures at the fountain of the City Garden in the Ukrainian city of Odessa. Photo: AFP

Unesco on Wednesday added the historic centre of Ukraine’s port city of Odesa, often described as “the pearl of the Black Sea”, to its World Heritage List despite opposition from Russia.

The 21 member states of the UN cultural body’s world heritage committee approved inscribing designated areas of the city with six votes in favour, one against and 14 abstentions.

Russia, which invaded Ukraine in February last year, repeatedly tried to delay the vote.

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“While the war continues, this inscription embodies our collective determination to ensure that this city, which has always surmounted global upheavals, is preserved from further destruction,” said Unesco director general Audrey Azoulay after the decision.

The site was also added to the List of World Heritage in Danger, which Unesco says “gives it access to reinforced technical and financial international assistance” to protect or, if necessary, rehabilitate it.

Sculptures outside the Odesa Passage, a shopping arcade and hotel in the centre of the Ukrainian city of Odesa. Photo: AFP

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky officially requested the listing to protect it from Russian air strikes in October.

Since the Russian invasion, Ukraine has rushed to try to protect its monuments and buildings with sandbags and barricades.

Odesa blossomed after Russian Empress Catherine the Great decreed in the late 18th century that it would be the country’s modern maritime gateway.

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