Tripoli (Lebanon) (EFE) a country plunged into a serious economic crisis.
Conceived by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1962, the venue extends over a 70-hectare plot of land in the coastal city of Tripoli and includes structures such as the “Experimental Theatre”, where the voices of a couple reverberate thanks to its intricate acoustic design. of newlyweds and their entourage.
The couple have chosen these monuments as the setting for the photo session of the most important day of their lives, despite the fact that some of the structures accumulate piles of garbage, have damage or even, in the case of the “Arch”, a sign that reads ” Dangerous building”, prohibits entry.
Given its “alarming state of conservation”, the World Heritage Committee decided to open an “emergency” procedure to include the Rachid Karami International Fair on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage in Danger, which it entered last Thursday during an extraordinary meeting of the body.
At that session, the committee awarded the same distinction to the historic center of Odessa, in Ukraine, and to the main monuments of the ancient kingdom of Sheba, in Yemen.
A Lebanon in decline
In addition to its current condition, the UN office also argued the urgency of the decision in the “lack of financial resources for maintenance” of the complex, at a time when Lebanon is going through one of the worst economic crises in recent history. .
Since it erupted at the end of 2019, the depression has stolen almost 95% of its value from the local currency and has shot the percentage of Lebanese living in poverty to close to 80%.
The state coffers have dried up so much that the authorities are unable to guarantee more than two hours a day of electricity supply to the population, they face constant strikes by civil servants whose salaries in Lebanese pounds are barely worth anything, and they have had to lift subsidies to many basic products.
Unesco hopes to attract international aid for the conservation of the monument in Lebanon
For this reason, Unesco hopes that the inscription of the Rachid Karami International Fair on the list of Heritage in Danger will attract more international aid for the conservation of the site, considered one of the main examples of modern architecture of the 20th century in the Middle East.
Paradoxically, the facilities were conceived at a time when Lebanon was gaining popularity as an international destination and sought to become a reference exhibition center with the capacity to welcome two million visitors a year, according to Unesco.
It was, in fact, the flagship project of an era of modernization for the nation of cedars.
However, the International Fair already faced difficulties in obtaining sufficient funds at that time and, despite the fact that its construction began in 1964, the facilities were not yet completely finished when the Lebanese civil war broke out in 1975.
Today, the heart of the complex, an immense boomerang-shaped pavilion 750 meters long and 70 meters wide, remains padlocked and only by getting very close to its tinted windows can one see a large empty room, with mold on the floor. and unplaced sinks abandoned to their fate.