Edinburgh’s World Heritage Status questionable

An awe-inspiring sight
An awe-inspiring sight

By Suzanne Bargon

The fate of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Status lies at the hands of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) as they begin a four-day tour of Scotland’s Capital City today.

Edinburgh shares the title along with other inspiring wonders of he world including the Egyptian pyramids and the Taj Mahal. Although now it is an accredition that we Scots are pondering the value of.

Edinburgh was awarded the accolade in December 1995 and who would have thought that just almost a decade later there could be a chance that the title could be stripped from us.

But rather than shake at the thought of this, many are questioning the value to Edinburgh of having World Heritage status, as well as the right of Unesco to put the city under the microscope.

Unesco officials will be whisked around the capital and will be looking specifically at the redevelopments of the St James Centre, the Haymarket hotel development, Caltongate development in the Old Town and the regeneration of Leith Docks. These developments have sparked fears over the impact on Edinburgh’s World Heritage Status.

They will also visit other parts which will be under scrutiny such as Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Parliament, St Andrew Square and Charlotte Square.

The investigation is being fronted by Dr Mechtild Rössler, Chief of Europe and North America at Unesco’s World Heritage Centre and Professor Manfred Wehdorn of the International Council on Monuments and Sites. They are visiting Edinburgh straight from an investigation in Bath.