Crumbling Lebanon fairground gets UNESCO listing

STORY: Designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1962, the collection of structures on the 173-acre plot is considered one of the key works of 20th century modernism in the Middle East.

But the fair park has slowly decayed due to repeated rounds of fighting over the last 60 years, poor maintenance and most recently Lebanon's crippling, three-year-old financial crisis.

Tour guide Mira Minkara said it is time to wake the fair "from its long sleep" and return it to its former glory.

She hopes that UNESCO's recognition could bring new festivals, exhibitions and economic benefits to Tripoli – already one of the poorest cities on the Mediterranean before Lebanon's financial meltdown began.