It’s supposed to be the gold standard for conservation. But is Unesco’s World Heritage project harming the very places it seeks to protect? Simon Usborne investigates
In 1991, Dubrovnik, a fairytale fortress of Titians, Renaissance palaces and lemon-scented cloisters, was shelled by Serb and Montenegrin forces. Appalled by the siege of a city described by Lord Byron as the “pearl of the Adriatic”, the international community sprung into action.