1.         Kasbah of Algiers (Algeria) (C 565)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1992

Criteria  (ii)(v)

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/565/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1993-2002)
Total amount approved: USD 92,600
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/565/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

September 2001: World Heritage Centre reactive monitoring mission; November 2007 and November 2009: Six World Heritage Centre missions financed by the State Party for the Safeguarding Plan and the issue of the metro.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Natural erosion

b) Lack of maintenance of dwelling places

c) Loss of traditional conservation techniques

d) Uncontrolled land use

e) Non-operational safeguarding plan

f) Lack of coordination of activities 

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/565/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

On 25 February 2011, the State Party submitted a report on the implementation of Decision 33 COM 7B.52 concerning the conservation status of the Kasbah of Algiers, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009). Three World Heritage Centre missions funded by the State Party have taken place since then to monitor the Safeguarding Plan and the metro project. In addition, a detailed archaeological diagnostic motivated by the proposed construction of the metro station “Place des Martyrs” was produced by the French Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) and delivered to the State Party in September 2010. 

It is noteworthy that the World Heritage Centre was informed that major projects in the framework of the development of the Bay of Algiers and the Urban Development Plan for the entire city were being considered, which could have an impact on the Place des Martyrs. It requested the State Party, in March 2010, for information on these projects which, however, do not appear in the present report.

a) Progress on the phases of the Permanent Plan for the Safeguarding and Enhancement of the Safeguarded Sector of the Kasbah of Algiers (PPSMVSS):

(i) Diagnosis and emergency measures (phase 1): Emergency conservation measures intended to stabilise the physical and human dimensions of the urban fabric are nearing completion. To date, 394 buildings are classified as “highly degraded”. Nineteen technical offices and more than 150 companies are mobilised. Studies have been conducted for 92% of the buildings, work on 80% of them is underway, and the work is completed for 66% of them. This work of provisional protection has enabled the urban fabric of the Medina to be preserved and the degradation to be stopped or forestalled until restoration operations are initiated. The severely degraded buildings with a real risk of collapse have been evacuated and their inhabitants relocated.

(ii) Historical and typological analysis, and pre-project (phase 2): The report gives an overview, with supporting cadastral maps, of the analysis of the buildings and development proposals. It also provides an estimate of restoration and development projects, and relocation needs of residents.

(iii) The final draft of the Permanent Safeguarding Plan (phase 3) is completed and awaiting adoption by the Popular Assembly of the Wilaya of Algiers.

The report of the State Party also indicates the preparation of the following documents:

 

b) The metro project

Archaeological excavations conducted in the framework of the Franco-Algerian Cooperation Agreement revealed a rich content, evidence of 2000 years of history. This obliged the company responsible for carrying out the metro project to reconsider the location of the station at Place des Martyrs. The metro, initially planned to be 19m deep, will cross the Place des Martyrs at a depth of 34m in order to save the remains. The station will be built entirely underground, beneath the archaeological substrata, reducing the surface ground impact from 8000m² to 5000m². The State Party foresees a museum component at the entrance of the station for the valorization of the vestiges and their daily presentation to the metro users.

c) Boundary line of the property

A large-scale cadastral map was submitted to the World Heritage Centre on 31 January 2011. However, the property line, as shown on the map, does not match the cadastral parcel and it frequently crosses the buildings. The State Party was thus requested to review the delimitation submitted. 

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that the first phase of the Safeguarding Plan, including emergency interventions to stabilise the buildings financed by the State, is about to be finalised, and that the Permanent Safeguarding Plan should be adopted soon.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies also note that the metro project for the Place des Martyrs has been adapted to respect the recently discovered archaeological layers, but they consider that further modifications are still needed.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies also wish to receive more information on the projects proposed for the Place des Martyrs, which are linked to the project for the Bay of Algiers and to the Urban Development Plan for the entire city.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.47

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7B.52, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3. Takes note of the information given by the State Party concerning actions taken in the perspective of the conservation of the Kasbah of Algiers and encourages it to continue its efforts towards the finalisation of the emergency measures and the implementation of the Permanent Safeguarding Plan for the property;

4. Also takes note of the information on the rich archaeological content discovered during the excavations conducted at the site chosen for the metro station of Place des Martyrs and the modification of the metro project in the light of these discoveries;

5. Considers that the surface impact of the construction of the metro station at Place des Martyrs remains significant and requests the State Party to attempt to further reduce this impact and to submit to the World Heritage Centre, before starting work, the detailed project and the development plans for the metro station, notably for the museum component;

6. Reiterates its request for information of the projects envisaged for the Place des Martyrs, and which are linked to the project for the Bay of Algiers and to the Urban Development Plan for the entire city;

7. Also requests the State Party to review and to submit, by 1 December 2011, the cadastral map showing the boundaries of the property;

8. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, a progress report on the implementation of the above recommendations, for consideration by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session in 2013.