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UNESCO gives Venice cruise ship ultimatum
Posted on 19/07/2016

CultureItaly

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In a unanimous vote, the UN body has threatened Venice with expulsion from the World Heritage list if it doesn't make efforts to limit large ships entering its lagoon.

UNESCO has given Venice a last chance to save its privileged place on the World Heritage list. In a unanimous decision from the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee, the Italian government was told to stop large ships from entering Venice's lagoon or face its expulsion from the list.

World Heritage in Danger

World Heritage in Danger
© Outcast85 / 123RF

The decision came after a series of investigations carried out by the UN body to verify whether or not the lagoon city should remain on the UNESCO list. The Italian government was given until February 2017 to rectify the situation, after which it risks Venice and its lagoon being placed on the World Heritage in Danger list.

It would join 46 others on the list of endangered sites, including Aleppo and Damascus in Syria and Jerusalem's Church of the Nativity.

According to the UNESCO report, large cruise ships which cross through the lagoon in front of St Mark's Square are endangering Venice's environment, as well as its cultural and historical significance. It also raised concerns over continuous motor boat transit between the ships and the shore.

The lagoon has been heavily modified in recent years, with new canals dug and enlargements made to allow for the passage of increasingly large ships.

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