1.         Historic Cairo (Egypt) (C 89)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1979

Criteria  (i)(v)(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/89/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1979-1999)
Total amount approved: USD 398,900
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/89/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

August 2002, March 2005: ICOMOS reactive monitoring missions; April and December 2007: World Heritage Centre missions for the Cairo Financial Centre 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/89/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2008

The State Party addressed to the World Heritage Centre, on 25 January 2008, a letter summarizing the activities carried out at four Egyptian World Heritage properties. As regards Historic Cairo, the letter indicated the change of name that was endorsed by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007), but did not make any reference to the request to implement the 2002 symposium recommendations, namely:

a) To designate Historic Cairo as a Special Planning District, and

b) To prepare a comprehensive Urban Plan for the Conservation and Development of the Old City, whereby the conservation of historic buildings would be accompanied by appropriate development regulations.

As regards the construction of the Cairo Financial Centre complex close to the Citadel, the report by the State Party indicates “that plans, models, and a report were sent to UNESCO and that a decision from UNESCO on the Citadel project was pending”. The report of the mission that took place from 9 to 12 December 2007, at the request of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, was officially transmitted to the Egyptian authorities on 11 January 2008. The aim of this mission was to assess the evolution of the project and make further recommendations to mitigate its impact on the urban landscape, in light of the new scheme prepared by the developer following the Decision of the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007).

Despite the reduction of maximum building heights, the mission considered that the new scheme would still have a significant adverse impact on the visual integrity of the Citadel and its setting. The mission considered that, at this stage, the only possible action was to introduce further modifications to the project in order to reduce the most serious threats to the visual integrity of the Citadel and the urban landscape.

Hence, the mission recommended that the following measures should be taken into consideration, as they constitute the minimum requirements in order to not jeopardize the values of the Citadel:

c) The height of the complex should be further reduced and shaped to allow the building to rise progressively from the level of the Salah Salem highway to approximately 31, metres in the eastern part of the site (at a distance of 500 metres from the Citadel wall). This would reduce the visual impact of the new buildings on the Citadel;

d) The volume of the complex, now appearing as a huge mass of high rise buildings, should be broken up into several parts which would better balance the urban form and volumes of the Citadel;

e) The building elevations, now projected as continuous homogeneous horizontal glass strips, should be revised in order to harmonise with the surroundings and minimise visual disturbance.

 

On 24 April 2008; the World Heritage Centre received a letter from the Supreme Council of Antiquities informing that the ministers of Culture and of Construction had agreed to request definitive guidelines and decisions from UNESCO, that would be followed by the owner.

In addition, in response to the request expressed in the framework of the Retrospective Inventory, the State Party transmitted to the World Heritage Centre, a topographical map and a cadastral map representing the five components of the property. It is to be highlighted that the State Party has carried out considerable cartographic work in order to respond to the requirements of the Retrospective Inventory for all its World Heritage properties.

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 32 COM 7B.58

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7B.56, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Notes the State Party's commitment to revising the Cairo Financial Centre project so as to mitigate its impact on the urban landscape of the Citadel and requests that an alternative design be adopted and submitted, as soon as possible, to the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS for review ;

4. Considers that the following measures should be taken into account in the alternative design, as they constitute the minimum requirements in order to not jeopardize the Outstanding Universal Value of the property:

a) the height of the complex should be further reduced and shaped to allow the building to rise progressively from the level of the Salah Salem highway to approximately 31 metres in the Eastern part of the site (at a distance of 500 metres from the Citadel wall). This would reduce the visual impact of the new buildings on the Citadel;

b) the volume of the complex, now appearing as a huge mass of high rise buildings, should be broken up into several parts which would better balance the urban form and volumes of the Citadel;

c) the building elevations, now projected as continuous homogeneous horizontal glass strips, should be revised in order to harmonise with the surroundings and minimise visual disturbance.

5. Urges the State Party to implement the main recommendations of the 2002 Symposium report, subsequently endorsed by the World Heritage Committee, in particular to prepare a comprehensive Urban Plan for the Conservation and Development of the Old City, whereby the conservation of historic buildings would be accompanied by appropriate development regulations;

6. Requests the State Party to invite a high level mission headed by the Director of the World Heritage Centre to discuss these issues with the State Party's officials;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2009, a report on the implementation of the above recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009.

 

Decision Adopted: 32 COM 8D

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/8D,

2. Recalling Decisions 30 COM 11A.2 and 31 COM 11A.2, adopted at its 30th (Vilnius, 2006) and 31st (Christchurch, 2007) sessions respectively,

3. Recalls that, as decided at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007) by Decision 31 COM 11A.2, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies will not be able to examine proposals for minor or significant modifications to boundaries of World Heritage properties whenever the delimitation of such properties as inscribed is unclear;

4. Congratulates States Parties in the European Region and the States Parties of Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia on the excellent work accomplished in the clarification of the delimitation of their World Heritage properties and thanks them for their efforts to improve the credibility of the World Heritage List,

5. Takes note of the clarifications of property boundaries and sizes provided by the following States Parties in the European and Arab Regions in response to the Retrospective Inventory, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC-08/32.COM/8D:

6. Requests the European and Arab States Parties which have not yet answered the questions raised in 2005, 2006 and 2007 within the framework of the Retrospective Inventory to provide all requested clarifications and documentation as soon as possible and by 1 December 2008 at the latest.