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Iraq's Marshlands Named UNESCO World Heritage Site


A major restoration program has seen people and wildlife return to Iraq's marshlands area, regarded by some as the site of the Biblical Garden of Eden. (file photo)

A major restoration program has seen people and wildlife return to Iraq's marshlands area, regarded by some as the site of the Biblical Garden of Eden. (file photo)

The United Nations cultural agency (UNESCO) has named Iraq's marshlands, once ravaged by former dictator Saddam Hussein, as a World Heritage Site.

UNESCO said the area named "is made up of seven sites: three archaeological sites and four wetland marsh areas in southern Iraq."

UNESCO said the area was "unique, as one of the world's largest inland delta systems, in an extremely hot and arid environment."

The area was ordered drained in the 1990s by Saddam to stop it being used for cover by Marsh Arab tribes who had risen up against him after the first Gulf War.

The marshlands have partially revived since his overthrow in 2003.

A major restoration program has seen people and wildlife return to the area, regarded by some as the site of the Biblical Garden of Eden.

It also contains the ancient sites of Uruk, Tell Eridu, and Ur -- the birthplace of Biblical patriarch Abraham.

Based on reporting by AFP and BBC
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