WEARSIDE’S bid to put itself on the tourism A-list came under the eye of an international inspector this week.
Professor Adriano Boschetti, a technical evaluator from the International Council on Monuments and Sites, visited St Peter’s at Monkwearmouth to examine the site, which is bidding for World Heritage Status.
Professor Boschetti spent three days exploring St Peter’s, its twin site at St Paul’s in Jarrow and partner sites such as the National Glass Centre.
Bishop of Jarrow The Right Reverend Mark Bryant, who is chairman of the Wearmouth Jarrow Partnership, accompanied Professor Boschetti during his visit.
He said: “This stage of the assessment process is crucial. It was our chance to show first hand the reasons why the site is so special.”
During the visit, Professor Boschetti saw for himself some of the unique seventh-century archaeological remains, one of the reasons the site has been nominated.
He also met key figures involved in the bid, including Professor Rosemary Cramp who was involved in the excavations of the site in the 1970s.
Bishop Mark added: “In its day the monastery was really a centre of European learning and the influence it had on the world was immense.
“It was home to the Venerable Bede who carried out some of his most influential work within its walls, some of which are still standing today.
“The Wearmouth-Jarrow Partnership has worked hard to ensure this unique site gets the recognition which it deserves.”
The decision as to whether the site will be inscribed will be announced in 2012.
The twin Anglo-Saxon monastic site of Wearmouth-Jarrow, which lives on as St Peter’s and St Paul’s churches, was home to the Venerable Bede, known as the Father of English History, another reason for its nomination for Unesco World Heritage Status.
City leaders say gaining the coveted title would make Sunderland a tourist Mecca, putting its oldest building on the same list as the Pyramids and Stonehenge.
It is hoped the status would also make Sunderland more appealing to investors and help put the city on the international stage.