1.         Bahla Fort (Oman) (C 433)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1987

Criteria  (iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   1988-2004

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/433/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1988-1988)
Total amount approved: USD 57,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/433/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: 25,000 USD (private funding)

Previous monitoring missions

2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003: World Heritage Centre expert missions; December 2009: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/433/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

On 31 January 2014, the State Party submitted a report which provides information concerning the souq rehabilitation as well as the progress made in the implementation of the management plan and conservation measures, including a “Heritage Management Plan for the al-Aqar settlement” within the World Heritage property. An executive summary of the report is available at: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/433/documents/. The finalized management plan was not submitted to the World Heritage Centre, nor was a minor boundary modification aimed at enlarging the buffer zone.

The State Party’s report provides details on the strategy and methodology adopted for the rehabilitation of the souq, and notably on the launching of the project entitled “Rehabilitating and Refurbishing the Old Souq at Bahla: From Study to Reinstatement”. The report also presents the results of the excavations at the souq, as requested by ICOMOS. It additionally provides information on the mechanism put in place to monitor the aging characteristics of various brick types, and on training activities to develop local masonry and brick production.

The State Party indicates that it has undertaken a morphological analysis of the state of conservation of the areas surrounding Bahla Fort and a study of structures and public spaces, taking into account the wider framework of the property. This analysis led to the adoption of a series of actions to improve the management of the property and its environment, as well as the creation of infrastructure for the development of the property and its surrounding territory; these actions promote the inclusion of local communities at all levels of development. The report states that the Ministry of Culture has collaborated with the Ministry of Housing to clarify the boundaries of the property. Concerning the management plan, the report also states that the State Party has adopted a phased approach to its preparation by defining some priorities to ensure the sustainable management of the property involving the local community and based on a system of public-private partnership. Furthermore, it is suggested that a priority action in the management plan should be foreseen to define a comprehensive legislation for the protection of heritage.

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

The State Party has made progress in the management and conservation of the property, notably the excavation and conservation works at the old souq, the launching of the project entitled “Rehabilitating and Refurbishing the Old Souq at Bahla: From Study to Reinstatement”, the “Heritage Management Plan for the al-Aqar settlement” within the World Heritage property, and the monitoring of the aging characteristics of the different brick types.

However, two key requests of the World Heritage Committee have not yet been addressed: the submission of a minor boundary modification request to enlarge the buffer zone; and the submission of the finalized version of the management plan for the entire property. The legal framework that will support the implementation of this management plan is being developed; this should be a priority.

It is recommended that the World Heritage Committee request the State Party to respond to these two important requests regarding a boundary modification, the management plan and its legal framework, as well as updated information on the system put in place to monitor the aging characteristics of the different brick types.

Decision Adopted: 38 COM 7B.4

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.57, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),
  3. Commends the State Party for the efforts aiming at ensuring the long-term management and conservation of the property, and the launching of the project entitled ‚ÄúRehabilitating and Refurbishing the Old Souq at Bahla: From Study to Reinstatement‚ÄĚ, and of the monitoring of the aging characteristics of the different brick types;
  4. Regrets that neither the finalized version of the management plan nor a request for a minor boundary modification to enlarge the buffer zone have been submitted;
  5. Requests the State Party to submit the finalized version of the management plan, including the legal framework that will support its implementation, to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible;
  6. Also requests the State Party to submit, by 1 February 2015, a request for a minor boundary modification in view of enlarging the buffer zone, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015;
  7. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2015, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the results of the monitoring of the aging characteristics of the different brick types, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.