1.         Tyre (Lebanon) (C 299)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1984

Criteria  (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/299/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1986-1986)
Total amount approved: USD 4,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/299/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

March 1995: UNESCO mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/299/

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1997

Last January, the Centre sent a consultant to Tyre to evaluate the possible negative consequences of two projects: the construction of a large fish market in the northern part of the old port and the construction of a coastal motorway linking Beirut to Nakoura in the immediate vicinity of Tyre.

1)         The port

The negative consequences of the construction of a fish market would be considerable:

            a)         the character of the old part of the port would be spoilt, if not totally destroyed;

            b)         the old town and the port would be completely separated by a huge modern building, thus destroying the historical cohesion;

            c)         the oldest archaeological vestiges of Tyre, notably underwater, would be destroyed and the World Heritage site cut in two between the peninsula and the continental part to the east.

2)         The motorway project

This project directly threatens three archaeological sites of major importance:

            a)         a large interchange is planned on the Ramayel Necropolis which contains many funeral caves, certain of which are decorated with frescoes;

            b)         the present layout of the motorway would destroy a part of the Roman aqueduct in an area where it is perfectly conserved;

            c)         the motorway would also destroy, in two places, extensive portions of a vast wall, most probably dating back to Hellenistic times, and named "Alexander's Rampart".

Action Required

After having taken note of the report of the Secretariat concerning the site of Tyre, the Bureau expressed to the Lebanese authorities its strong concern regarding the different threats to the site and requested them to undertake all measures to protect it.

With regard to the project concerning the construction of the large fish market in the north part of the old port, which would disfigure the old town, cut the site in two and destroy numerous archaeological vestiges, the need to find a more appropriate location was indicated, for example to the north of the World Heritage site, at a reasonable distance.

With regard to the coastal motorway linking Beirut to Nakoura and passing in the immediate vicinity of Tyre, its layout should be revised so that it circumvents the Ramayel Necropolis, the Roman Aqueduct and Alexander's Rampart.

Finally, on a general note, and at a time when UNESCO is concentrating its efforts on the preparation of an international safeguarding campaign for this site, it would be appropriate to proceed with all excavations and conservation work and the necessary archaeological presentation, redevelopment and conservation of the historical areas in order to give them their cultural and historical vocation, regulate urbanism and construction and also to redefine precisely the eastern limits of the World Heritage site, which should include all the areas of archaeological remains.


21st extraordinary session of the Bureau in 1997:
Noting that the Directorate General of Antiquities had already carried out a series of conservation activities, but concerned with regard to existing threats, the Bureau recommends the Committee to adopt the following decision:

"The Committee commends the Lebanese authorities for the quality of the protection work carried out successfully and recommends that particular attention be paid to the rapid preparation of a master plan covering all the archaeological zones of Tyr and its surroundings, including the City of Tyr. The Committee reminds the Lebanese authorities that the Secretariat had already stated its willingness to contribute technically and substantially to the preparation of similar master plans for all other World Heritage sites in Lebanon".

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1997

In the framework of the preparation of the International Campaign for the Safeguarding of Tyre; the Physical Heritage Division of UNESCO sent a series of missions responsible for the preparation of different elements of the Campaign. In this framework, a number of priority actions were proposed (preventive excavation for threatened sites, creation of a conservation and documentation centre, conservation of in-situ vestiges, systematic prospection of the archaeological zone, improvement of storage conditions, conservation and enhancement of the basilica).

According to this mission, the Directorate General of Antiquities has already successfully carried out a series of positive activities which have halted the destruction of archaeological vestiges (establishing a team of technicians working on the spot, public awareness in favour of heritage protection, increased systematic protection of excavations).

However, threats still remain: abandon of the sites for long periods of time, encouraging erosion and vandalism, appearance of non-conformist structures around the sites, lack of personnel and means from the Directorate General of Antiquities and finally, absence of an updated and adapted master plan.

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 21 BUR IV.B.46

After having taken note of the report of the Secretariat on the site of Tyr and the remarks of the Observer of Lebanon, the Bureau decided to defer the examination of the state of conservation of the site until its twenty-first extraordinary session in November, so as to take into consideration the mission reports of the experts sent to the site by UNESCO in the framework of the International Safeguarding Campaign and the observations of the Lebanese authorities.

Decision Adopted: 21 COM VII.C.51/52

VII.51 Tyre (Lebanon)

Noting that the Directorate General of Antiquities had already carried out a series of conservation activities, but concerned with regard to existing threats, the Committee commended the Lebanese authorities for the quality of the protection work carried out successfully and recommended that particular attention be paid to the rapid preparation of a master plan covering all the archaeological zones of Tyre and its surroundings, including the City of Tyre. The Committee reminded the Lebanese authorities that the Secretariat had already stated its willingness to contribute technically to the preparation of similar master plans for all other World Heritage sites in Lebanon.