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Odesa Inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

The World Heritage Committee on Wednesday decided to inscribe the Historic Centre of Odesa (Ukraine) on the World Heritage List. This decision recognizes the outstanding universal value of the site and the duty of all humanity to protect it.

An accelerated procedure due to the war

In view of the threats to the city since the beginning of the war, the World Heritage Committee has used an emergency procedure provided for in the Operational Guidelines of the World Heritage Convention. As early as the summer of 2022, UNESCO linked international experts with Ukrainian experts to prepare the nomination, with the support of Italy and Greece.

Ukraine’s President Zelensky made the submission official in October 2022, in an online speech to UNESCO. The evaluation bodies examined the nomination over the following weeks, allowing for a review at this week’s extraordinary World Heritage Committee in Paris.

UNESCO deploys emergency measures on the ground

In recent months, in parallel with the process of inscribing the Historic Centre of Odesa on the World Heritage List, UNESCO implemented emergency measures on the ground to help protect the site.

UNESCO has notably ensured the repairs to damages inflicted on the Odesa Museum of Fine Arts and the Odesa Museum of Modern Art since the beginning of the war. The Organization also provided equipment for the digitization of nearly 1,000 works of art and of the documentary collection of the Odesa State Archives. Equipment was also delivered to protect the buildings as well as the open-air works of art.

These measures are part of UNESCO’s overall action plan in Ukraine, which has already mobilized more than $18 million for education, science, culture and information.

As of 2023, there are eight World Heritage Sites listed in Ukraine, seven of which are cultural sites and one of which, the Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe, is a natural site.

List of World Heritage Sites in Ukraine:

Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kyiv Pechersk Lavra

Lviv – the Ensemble of the Historic Centre

Struve Geodetic Arc

Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe

Residence of Bukovinian and Dalmatian Metropolitans

Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora

Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine

Historic Centre of Odesa