There is a roll of drums in June each year as UNESCO announces the latest additions to its official list of World Heritage Sites. Inclusion on The List (as UNESCO dub their database to distinguish it from lesser lists) can propel a successful site into the tourist limelight and bring to a community, or even an entire region, considerable economic benefits.
Similarly deletion from The List invites opprobrium from near and far, as we have seen this year when the German city of Dresden fell from favour. The Elbe Valley immediately upstream from Dresden is a superb cultural landscape that captures to perfection the early industrial history of Saxony. It was included on The List in 2004 to much fanfare in the German and wider European media. But at its June 2009 meeting in Seville UNESCO decided to strike Dresden from The List — fitting punishment, many would say, for the wilful destruction of heritage sanctioned by the local authorities as they push ahead with a massive new road bridge across the most beautiful part of the Elbe valley.