1.         Memphis and its Necropolis – the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur (Egypt) (C 86)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1979

Criteria  (i)(iii)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/86/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1991-1995)
Total amount approved: USD 81,450
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/86/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

November 1988: expert mission; April 1995: UNESCO expert mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/86/

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1995

Following an exchange of correspondence between the Director-General of UNESCO, the World Heritage Committee and the Government of Egypt, a UNESCO expert mission visited Egypt from 1 to 6 April 1995 at the invitation of the national authorities, in order to propose safeguarding measures for the World Heritage site of the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur, after studying with the Egyptian authorities concerned the possibilities of adopting a new route for the motorway under construction which at the present time cuts across the site.

The UNESCO mission report is contained in information document WHC-95/CONF.201/INF.6.

Action Required

After having noted the content of the mission report of the UNESCO experts invited by the Government of Egypt, from 1 to 6 April 1995, to assist in identifying measures to ensure the conservation of the World Heritage site of the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur, the Bureau congratulates and warmly thanks the Egyptian authorities for the decisions taken to date and the actions already undertaken:

1) the choice of a new route passing north of the World Heritage site for the highway link to the ring-road, which will follow, once the necessary detailed studies are achieved, either the Mariouteyya Canal, the Mansoureyya Canal or both of them;

2) work already undertaken to improve one of the rubbish dumps and work foreseen to abolish the second;

3) the undertaking to halt all further housing construction at Kafr-el-Gabal and to eliminate, in the coming years, the unauthorized buildings and roads encroaching on the buffer zone of the World Heritage site.

It requests them to examine carefully, with the authorities concerned, the relocation of the different military camps and army factories which encroach upon the site and its buffer zone.

It thanks the Egyptian authorities represented at the Joint Committee meeting for their excellent cooperation with the mission, their display of comprehension and high level of expertise which contributed towards a successful outcome. It extends thanks to the President, Hosni Moubarak, the Director-General of UNESCO, and the Minister of the Culture of Egypt, Mr. Farouk Hosni, for their instrumental role in seeking and reaching a satisfactory solution to the problems caused by the branch of the motorway, as well as to Dr. Abdel-Halim Nour-Eldin, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, for his personal commitment in favour of the site, the manner in which he organized the work of the mission and chaired the meetings. It requests the Egyptian authorities to keep the World Heritage Committee informed, through its Secretariat, of the progress made in the implementation of the safeguarding measures already undertaken or foreseen, and in particular the question concerning the encroachment of military camps on the World Heritage site and its buffer zone.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1995

Following an exchange of correspondence between the Director-General of UNESCO, the Government of Egypt and the World Heritage Committee, which was informed during its eighteenth session in Phuket of the very serious problems which threatened the site, a UNESCO expert mission visited Egypt from 1 to 6 April 1995, at the invitation of the national authorities. Its terms of reference were to propose safeguarding measures for the World Heritage site of the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur, after studying with the Egyptian authorities concerned the possibilities of adopting a new route for the motorway under construction which at the present time cuts across the site.

Following in-depth discussions and field visits, an agreement was reached with all parties concerned with regard to the choice of a new route for the motorway completely avoiding the World Heritage site, suppression of the two refuse dumps, the halting of all new housing constructions at Kafr-el-Gabal and the suppression of numerous encroachments on the site and its buffer zone.

The UNESCO mission report was transmitted to the Bureau during its nineteenth session in July 1995.

 

 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

The Bureau may wish to recommend to the Committee to adopt the following text:

"After having noted the results of the mission of the UNESCO experts invited by the Government of Egypt, from 1 to 6 April 1995, to assist in identifying measures to ensure the conservation of the World Heritage site of the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur, the Committee congratulated and warmly thanked the Egyptian authorities for the decisions taken to date and action already undertaken:

1) the choice of a new route passing north of the World Heritage site for the highway link to the ring-road, which will follow, once the necessary detailed studies are achieved, either the Mariouteyya Canal, the Mansoureyya Canal, or both of them;

2) work already undertaken to improve one of the rubbish dumps and work foreseen to abolish the second;

3) actions to halt all further housing construction at Kafr-el-Gabal and to eliminate, in the coming years, the unauthorized buildings and roads encroaching on the buffer zone of the World Heritage site.

"It requested them to examine carefully, with the authorities concerned, the relocation of the different military camps and army factories which encroach upon the site and its buffer zone.

"It thanked the Egyptian authorities represented at the Joint Committee meeting for their excellent cooperation with the mission, their comprehension and high level of expertise made available, which contributed towards a successful outcome.

"It extended thanks to President Hosni Moubarak, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Federico Mayor, and the Minister of Culture of Egypt, Mr. Farouk Hosni, for their instrumental role in seeking and reaching a satisfactory solution to the problems caused by the branch of the motorway, as well as to Dr. Abdel Halim Nur el Din, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, for his personal commitment to the site, the manner in which he organized the work of the mission and chaired the meetings. It requested the Egyptian authorities to keep the World Heritage Committee informed, through its Secretariat, of the progress made in the implementation of the safeguarding measures already undertaken or foreseen, and in particular the question concerning the encroachment of military camps on the World Heritage site and its buffer zone".

Decision Adopted: 19 BUR VI.22

After having noted the content of the mission report of the UNESCO experts invited by the Government of Egypt, from 1 to 6 April 1995, to assist in identifying measures to ensure the conservation of the World Heritage site of the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur, the Bureau congratulated and warmly thanked the Egyptian authorities for the decisions taken to date and the actions already undertaken:

1)        the choice of a new route passing north of the World Heritage site for the highway link to the ring-road, which will follow, once the necessary detailed studies are achieved, either the Mariouteyya Canal, the Mansoureyya Canal or both of them;

2)        work already undertaken to improve one of the rubbish dumps and work foreseen to abolish the second;

3)        the undertaking to halt all further housing construction at Kafr-el-Gabal and to eliminate, in the coming years, the unauthorized buildings and roads encroaching on the buffer zone of the World Heritage site.

It requested them to examine carefully, with the authorities concerned, the relocation of the different military camps and army factories which encroach upon the site and its buffer zone.

It thanked the Egyptian authorities represented at the Joint Committee meeting for their excellent cooperation with the mission, their display of comprehension and high level of expertise which contributed towards a successful outcome.

It extended thanks to the President, Hosni Moubarak, the Director-General of UNESCO, and the Minister of the Culture of Egypt, Mr. Farouk Hosni, for their instrumental role in seeking and reaching a satisfactory solution to the problems caused by the branch of the motorway, as well as to Dr. Abdel-Halim Nour­Eldin, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, for his personal commitment in favour of the site, the manner in which he organized the work of the mission and chaired the meetings.  It requested the Egyptian authorities to keep the World Heritage Committee informed, through its Secretariat, of the progress made in the implementation of the safeguarding measures already undertaken or foreseen, and in particular the question concerning the encroachment of military camps on the World Heritage site and its buffer zone.

The Observer of Senegal who was delighted with this great success, congratulated the Egyptian authorities and UNESCO for their determination and efficiency in the safeguarding of this site.

ICOMOS wished to join Senegal in congratulating the parties concerned for the rapidity and efficiency of this intervention. However, he was concerned that other problems of this type might occur in Egypt and thought that particular attention should be paid to the state of conservation of properties in this country.

Decision Adopted: 19 COM VII.C.2.34/35

VII.34 Memphis and its Necropolis -- the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur (Egypt)

It was recalled that the Committee had been informed during its eighteenth session in Phuket of the very serious problems which threatened the site. Following an exchange of correspondence between the Director-General of UNESCO, the Government of Egypt and the World Heritage Committee, a UNESCO expert mission visited Egypt from 1 to 6 April 1995, at the invitation of the national authorities. Its terms of reference were to propose safeguarding measures for the World Heritage site of the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur, after studying with the Egyptian authorities the possibilities of adopting a new route for the motorway under construction, which at that time cut across the site, as well as for other threats.

The Committee was informed that after in-depth discussions and field visits, an agreement was reached with all parties concerned with regard to the choice of a new route for the motorway completely avoiding the World Heritage site, the suppression of the two refuse dumps, the halting of all new housing constructions at Kafr-el-Gabal and the suppression of numerous encroachments on the site and its buffer zone.

The UNESCO mission report was transmitted to the Bureau during its nineteenth session in July 1995.

Following the proposal of the Delegate of Germany, the Committee decided to write to the Egyptian authorities regarding this World Heritage site and that of Islamic Cairo. This text appears further in this report.

Decision Adopted: 19 COM VII.C.2.35/36

VII.35 Islamic Cairo (Egypt)

The Committee was informed that precise and concordant information from several sources was brought to the attention of UNESCO that the restoration work 'at the three Fatimid mosques of Al Aqmar, AI-Guyushi and Lu-lu-a (among the most ancient in Cairo dating from the 11th and 12th centuries), carried out by the Bohra community had in fact resulted in the destruction of most of their historic elements and an almost total reconstruction, causing the loss of their authenticity and World Heritage values. In fact, the plaster, woodwork and ancient painted walls, inside and outside, have been destroyed and replaced by new material, concrete has been used as a substitute for the old structures, and even the shape and configuration of the monuments have been completely transformed, in breadth and height, through the addition of levels and rooms. Furthermore, the traditional techniques have been totally ignored.

A report was requested in June 1995 from the Supreme Council of Antiquities, but had not been received by the beginning of the nineteenth session of the Committee.

The Committee therefore requested the Secretariat to transmit to the Egyptian authorities the following text concerning the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur and the Islamic Cairo:

Having noted the results of the mission of the UNESCO experts invited by the Government of Egypt, from 1 to 6 April 1995, to assist in identifying measures to ensure the conservation of the World Heritage site of the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur, the Committee congratulated and thanked the Egyptian authorities for the decisions taken to date and for the action already undertaken:

1) the choice of a new route passing north of the World Heritage site for the highway link to the ring-road, which will follow, once the necessary detailed studies are available, either the Mariouteyya Canal, the Mansoureyya Canal, or both of them;

2) work already undertaken to improve one of the rubbish dumps and the work foreseen to abolish the second;

3) actions to halt all further housing construction at Kafr-el-Gabal and to eliminate, in the coming years, the unauthorized buildings and roads encroaching on the buffer zone of the World Heritage site.

It requested them to examine carefully, with the authorities concerned, the relocation of the different military camps and army factories which encroach upon the site and its buffer zone.

It requested the Egyptian authorities to keep the Committee informed, through its Secretariat, of the progress made in the implementation of the safeguarding measures already undertaken or foreseen, and more particularly the question concerning the encroachment of military camps on the World Heritage site and its buffer zone.

However, the committee regarded the renovation and reconstruction works which have destroyed the authenticity of the three Fatimid mosques of Al Aqmar, AI-Guyushi and Lu-lu-a, situated within the World Heritage site of Islamic Cairo, with grave concern. It drew the attention of the Egyptian authorities to Articles 4 and 5 of the World Heritage Convention by which States Parties should endeavour to ensure the protection and conservation of their heritage, and that this conservation should be carried out in accordance with international standards, such as the Charter of Venice, in order to ensure respect of authenticity. It also recalled Article 24(b) of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention regarding the respect of authenticity of inscribed properties, and requested that, in the future, the authorities should conform to Article 58, inviting States Parties to inform the Committee, through the UNESCO Secretariat, of their intention to undertake or to authorize in an area protected under the Convention, major restorations or new constructions.

It finally reminded the Egyptian authorities that UNESCO is always willing to provide, whenever necessary, international expert advice prior to any restoration work and those who are sent on a regular basis to the site, are at their entire disposal to provide advice whenever necessary.