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UNESCO puts Cologne Cathedral on danger list

Germany's historic Cologne Cathedral, one of Europe's masterpieces of Gothic architecture, has been placed on UNESCO's List of World Heritage in Danger, because its integrity threatened by skyscrapers.

The UN's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's decisions came at the ongoing annual meeting of the 21-member World Heritage Committee in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou.

The German cathedral becomes the only European site on the list.

"The Cologne Cathedral and its urban landscape are the city's only outstanding cultural heritage elements to have survived World War II," Francesco Bandarin, director of UNESCO's World Heritage Centre, said in a statement.

"I sincerely hope that Cologne will not lose an important component of its historical legacy."

UNESCO's concern centres around 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 and is one of the country's top tourist draws.

Birgitte Ringbeck, from the German observer-delegation at the meeting, denied the integrity of the Cathedral, built between 1248 and 1880, was endangered, but recognised that the new construction might have a harmful visual impact, the statement said.

Cologne will be the focus of world Catholic attention next near when the city hosts World Youth Day. An image of the spires of the Cathedral is embedded in the logo for the event.

UNESCO puts Germany's historic Cologne Cathedral on its in danger list (Yahoo/Agence Presse France 6/7/04)

Cologne Cathedral (UNESCO) | Report of the 20th Session of the Committee
Kölner Dom (German Commission for UNESCO)
Cologne Cathedral (The Christian Traveller)
Dierk's Photo Album
Archdiocese of Cologne
World Youth Day 2005

7 Jul 2004