UNESCO has awarded historical monuments of the ancient capital of Georgia, Mtskheta special enhanced protections in light of armed conflict. The new status of three epic monuments there is seen as a plea from the UNESCO World Heritage for combatants to refrain from fighting in the areas where these monuments are found.
The three Mtskheta monuments join an exclusive list of worldwide sites receiving enhanced protection in armed conflict, based on The Hague Convention. Within the ancient city are three of Georgia’s and the world’s most precious edifices; the Samtavro Monastery, Shiomghvime Monastery, Antioch Church and Svetistkhoveli Cathedral. These three monuments join the current list of sites with enhanced protection also include; the 13th Century Castel de Monte citadel in south-east Italy, city Paphos in Cyprus and the 15th Century Palace of the Shirvanshahs in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku. The Minister of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, Mikheil Giorgadze had this to add:
“Status of enhanced protection means that in the event of armed conflict, all stakeholders undertake to protect, have the status of objects of cultural heritage. From today, the eleventh such object was Mtskheta, where this status has Svetitskhoveli, Jvari and Samtavro monastery.”
Founded in the 5th century BC the city of Mtskheta in Georgia is considered to be a holy place. Mtskheta, located 20 km from Tbilisi, is called the “Second Jerusalem”. This is where one of the greatest relics of the Christian world is housed, the so-called Tunic of the Lord. Thousands of Christian pilgrims and tourists from all over the world travel to the ancient city yearly.