Bridge costs Dresden UNESCO listing

June 25, 2009 at 9:02 PM
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DRESDEN, Germany, June 25 (UPI) -- Dresden, Germany, which survived one of the most devastating bombings of World War II, has lost its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The cause was a new bridge over the Elbe River, Deutsche Welle reports. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said the bridge would ruin the city's historic core along the river, rebuilt after the war.

Dresden, which won the UNESCO designation in 2004, is only the second place to lose it. UNESCO struck the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman off the list in 2007 when the government reduced its size by 90 percent.

Martin Roth, director of the Dresden State Art Collection, called the bridge "architecturally banal" and blamed it for a drop in tourism. But supporters of the bridge say it has become a symbol of democracy after being approved by residents in two referendum votes.

"In a democracy, we cannot have a dictatorship of a minority that, acting out of cultural or aesthetic grounds, thinks they know more than the overwhelming majority of citizens," Dresden City Councilman Jan Mucke wrote in the S-Z Online newspaper.

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