1.         Archaeological Site of Cyrene (Libya) (C 190)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1982

Criteria  (ii)(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/190/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/190/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

January 2007: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; August 2008: World Heritage Centre mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/190/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

On 16 April 2014, the State Party submitted a brief report on the state of conservation of the property with maps and pictures showing roughly the areas which have suffered from the violations, available at: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/190/documents/

The State Party confirms that the main factors affecting the property are the urban encroachment and violations consisting in the construction of buildings and a road within the archaeological areas thus leading to the destruction of the remains and notes the recent acceleration of those factors. The State Party indicates that the archaeological areas which are most affected are the first and second archaeological campuses, Path way, Wadi Bel Gadir, and Temple of Demeter. The archaeological remains located within the modern urban settlement of Shahat are in a critical condition, undocumented and unprotected.

In general, the property is suffering from a serious lack of maintenance, and the use of inappropriate conservation techniques and materials.

To address the on-going threats and in order to respond to the World Heritage Committee’s decisions, the Department of Antiquities sent a mission to the site on 7-9 April 2014 which assessed the damaged areas and antiquities warehouses. The mission also held a series of meetings with the local authorities, community and civil society representatives. These meetings focused notably on the need to raise awareness about the importance to protect the site, as part of humanity’s heritage, and to undertake a series of emergency measures to stop the violations at the site and ensure the latter’s protection.

UNESCO is currently supporting the Libyan authorities in providing urgent measures (mainly training of guards, repairing of the fence, rehabilitation of guard posts on the property and at the museum/warehouses), as well as supporting the production of a map of the endangered areas. The World Monument Fund conducted a study on the “Sewage discharge in Wadi Bel Gadir and its effects on the archaeological site and surrounding populace” (December 2013), and is currently collaborating with the Libyan authorities to consolidate the walls of the Demeter Temple. The World Bank is currently collaborating with the Libyan authorities to elaborate a management plan for the property.

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


There is serious concern that the urban encroachment at the property and its relating destruction have increased since the end of the conflict in Libya due to the deterioration of safety and to difficulties in local governance. The responsible national and local authorities have difficulties to stop these violations and undertake emergency measures to protect the site. There is also concern about the lack of detailed information about the situation on the ground which makes it difficult to have a precise idea of the damage and threats at the site, although the State Party submitted a map thereon.

It is recommended that the State Party undertake emergency measures to stop the violations and initiate a dialogue between all institutions and parties concerned to address the issue which threatens the integrity of the site, including the need for housing, which seems to be at the origin of the urban encroachment, outside the property and its buffer zone.

It is also recommended that the World Heritage Committee request the State Party to invite a joint UNESCO/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to visit the site as soon as possible in view of establishing an accurate assessment of the damage at the site and envisage the necessary steps to reverse the on-going situation.

Decision Adopted: 38 COM 7B.2

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.53, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Takes note with great concern of the information provided by the State Party in its report on the state of conservation of the property;
  4. Urges the State Party to undertake all possible measures to stop encroachment and destruction of the archaeological areas as soon as possible;
  5. Requests the State Party to submit a detailed map of the current encroachment and destruction at the property, and to accelerate the elaboration of its management plan;
  6. Also requests the State Party to invite a joint UNESCO/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to the site as soon as possible and to submit to the World Heritage Centre, before the visit of the mission, a precise mapping of the different violations at the site;
  7. Further requests the State Party to pursue its efforts towards the establishment of a dialogue between the responsible national and local authorities and the local community in order to guarantee the long term protection of the site;
  8. Strongly advises the State Party to initiate an action, at national level, with all concerned governmental institutions in view of ensuring the effective conservation of the property, with a focus on legal protection and alternative housing solutions;
  9. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.