UNESCO lists Rachid Karameh International Fair as world heritage in danger


The United Nations on Wednesday inscribed a futurist park in cash-strapped Lebanon on its world heritage list.

The UN cultural agency listed the pask as a world heritage site in danger because of "its alarming state of conservation" and the lack of resources in Lebanon to maintain it.

UNESCO's world heritage committee also voted to add the Rachid Karameh International Fair in Lebanon's northern coastal city of Tripoli to the list.

The concrete park, a short walk away from the seafront, was designed by legendary Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, but activists have warned it risked crumbling into ruin in recent years.

"The fair was the flagship project of Lebanon's modernization policy in the 1960s," UNESCO said, describing it as "one of the major representative works of 20th century modern architecture" in the region.

Its inscription as a world heritage site in danger "opens access to enhanced international assistance" to preserve it.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who hails from the city, welcomed the decision as "a great achievement for Lebanon and Lebanese, especially for the city of Tripoli".

Activists had been hoping for a UNESCO listing to open the way to donor funding to save the park, in a country mired since 2019 in one of the worst financial crises in recent history.