One of Europe’s masterpieces of Gothic architecture, was inscribed today on the List of World Heritage in Danger by the 21-member World Heritage Committee, which is holding its annual meeting in Suzhou until July 7.
The Committee sounded the alarm for the integrity of the urban landscape around the Cathedral after hearing of the construction of several high-rise buildings on the bank of the Rhine River opposite the Cathedral, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1996.
The integrity of the Cathedral, built between 1248 and 1880, is not endangered by the new constructions, said Birgitte Ringbeck, from the German observer-delegation at the meeting. However, she recognized that the new construction might have a harmful visual impact on the World Heritage property.
"The Cologne Cathedral and its urban landscape are the city’s only outstanding cultural heritage elements to have survived World War Two", said Francesco Bandarin, the Director of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre. "I sincerely hope that Cologne will not lose an important component of its historical legacy", he added.
The Committee reached this decision as it continued to review the state of conservation of sites inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List (788 sites to date). The Committee yesterday, removed three sites from the List of World Heritage in Danger (Angkor, the Fort of Bahla and the Rwenzori Mountains National Park). The inclusion of the Cathedral of Cologne today means there are now 33 sites on this list. The inscription of World Heritage properties on the danger list constitutes a call to improve their safeguarding.