1.         Um er-Rasas (Kastrom Mefa'a) (Jordan) (C 1093)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2004

Criteria  (i)(iv)(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/1093/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2007-2009)
Total amount approved: USD 34,750
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1093/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 6,000 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust

Previous monitoring missions

March-April 2005: ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; November 2006: Joint World Heritage Centre/ ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; March 2008: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; July 2008: World Heritage Centre expert mission for the Stylite tower.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Unstable structures and lack of security;

b) Lack of comprehensive conservation plan;

c) Lack of management structure and plan;

d) Important tourism development project with new constructions.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1093/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

On 1 February 2011, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report as well as a detailed report on the restoration of the Stylite Tower, in response to the requests made by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009). The report provides information on the following issues:

a) Road system

Despite the objections pointed out by the reactive monitoring mission of March 2008, the State Party reiterates the need for the road that has been built between the Stylite tower and St Stephan Complex for maintenance and monitoring activities. In order to mitigate its impact, the Department of Antiquities decided to hide the existing asphalt by covering it with local soil.

b) Technical documents on works

The State Party provides detailed documentation of the initiatives described in its state of conservation reports of 2008 and 2009, and gives information on the conservation initiatives carried out in 2010. The report contains photographs and lists of works undertaken to address hazards and threats inside the property, including consolidation and restoration work. Deep holes were refilled, cisterns along the visitor trail were rehabilitated and several walls restored. Consolidation and restoration works were carried out at the Villa, maintenance, monitoring and rehabilitation works are ongoing at the Churches Complex. Mosaic floors are being documented and restored by experts from the Institute for Mosaic Art and Restoration of Madaba, and shall be covered with soil for protection until appropriate shelters are built.

c) Stylite tower

International Assistance was granted to the State Party in 2009 for investigations and emergency measures for the restoration of the Stylite tower, which was to be used by the Department of Antiquities to undertake some emergency measures, such as installing a stable scaffolding, shoring of the tower and dismantling instable stone structures; conduct a thorough investigation, in particular the structural instability and other forms of deterioration; and prepare a conservation and restoration plan. The State Party utilised only part of the funds. Its report includes a photographic record, structural drawings with explanatory photographs, an analysis of the deformation along the facades and information on the monitoring system and on the geological setting. It also includes a study of material with laboratory testing, implementation of some emergency measures (new scaffolding, shoring, removal of the fallen vault stones), and recommendations for the conservation of the tower.

d) Management plan and structure

The report indicates that a team is working on the development of the management plan and that it should be finalized by the end of 2011. Nevertheless, activities are already carried out within its framework, such as conservation and presentation activities.

- Administrative structure: The Um er-Rasas Office employs three specialists and six guards and is responsible for conservation, preparation of the management plan, monitoring, cleaning and preparing lectures and workshops for local communities. The Tourism Office’s three employees provide information to visitors.

- Boundaries: The State Party reports working on the appropriation issues between the main archaeological areas and should submit to the World Heritage Centre a final delineation of the property by April 2011. The fence around the property itself has been completed.

- Awareness-raising activities: The Um er-Rasas Women’s society runs cultural activities, produces handicrafts and sells them at the Visitor Centre to benefit the local community. On the other hand, the Um er-Rasas Society for Conservation raises awareness on the values of the site. In addition a Post Office, a Health Centre and a Tourism Police Office have been established within the property. The close-by Municipality regulates building construction in the buffer zone. 

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the information provided by the State Party but note that no progress has been made on the elaboration of a comprehensive management plan, which should include a conservation plan, an archaeological research policy and provisions for public use. The current focus on visitors’ facilities, although understandable, should be secondary to the overall conservation of the property, to which most resources should be devoted. Although progress has been made for the conservation of the Stylite tower, they nevertheless wish to underline the lack of a holistic conservation and restoration project which would ensure the long term protection of this important attribute of the property.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.50

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7B.56, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3. Requests the State Party to finalize a scientifically and technically sound conservation and restoration project for the Stylite tower and to submit it a soon as possible to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, prior to implementation;

4. Urges the State Party to complete the management plan for the property, including a comprehensive conservation plan, as well as an archaeological research policy and a public use plan;

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