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Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis

Egypt
Factors affecting the property in 2006*
  • Crop production
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Flooding
  • Housing
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Land conversion
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Water (rain/water table)
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Raise of the underground water level (Luxor, Karnak);

b) Risks of flooding (Valleys of Kings and Queens);

c) Absence of a defined protection perimeter for the property and of a buffer zone;

d) Absence of a comprehensive Management Plan;

e) Major infrastructure projects taking place or scheduled;

f) Uncontrolled urban development;

g) Housing and agricultural encroachment on the West Bank.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2006
Requests approved: 1 (from 2001-2001)
Total amount approved : 7,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2006**

ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission in 2001 and Hydrology expert mission in 2002.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

The World Heritage Centre received information, from various sources, concerning the World Heritage site of Thebes and its Necropolis, about major infrastructure and development projects, in Karnak and Luxor as well as demolitions in the village of Gurnah on the West Bank of the Nile.

As none of this information was official nor verified, the World Heritage Centre requested additional information from the State Party, in February and in April 2006, in conformity with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines: “The World Heritage Committee invites the States Parties to the Convention to inform the Committee, through the Secretariat, of their intention to undertake or to authorize in an area protected under the Convention major restorations or new constructions which may affect the outstanding universal value of the property. Notice should be given as soon as possible (for instance, before drafting basic documents for specific projects) and before making any decisions that would be difficult to reverse, so that the Committee may assist in seeking appropriate solutions to ensure that the outstanding universal value of the property is fully preserved”.

The Permanent Delegate of Egypt replied on 23 May 2006, providing information received from the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) as regards the on-going and future projects, stating notably that “the SCA has appointed a high commission” to study the best approach to the temple of Karnak, and listing a series of foreseen demolitions in front of the temple. As regards the village of Gurnah, on the West Bank of the Nile, the letter informs that “in order to put an end to the damages to the tombs (caused by the inhabitants), it has been decided to remove these houses […], build new houses for the villagers of Gurnah at El-Taref; the ugly houses will be removed, while leaving the other old houses without inhabitants in this area”. In addition, on 13 June 2006, the Secretary-General of the SCA, sent brief descriptions of the projects in Karnak and Gurnah, confirming the demolishing of all “haphazard buildings in front of the Karnak temple and towards the bank of the Nile”, that the “intention is to have a view from the first pylon of the temple towards the Nile so that there is an unobstructed panorama”, and informing that excavation is foreseen on the site. This document also confirms the demolishing of houses in Gurnah and the displacement of villagers, under the supervision of a high committee specialised in architecture, archaeology and engineering.

Consequently, further to the invitation for a mission from the World Heritage Centre, formulated in the letter of the Permanent Delegate, the Centre has suggested that this mission takes place early July, in order to be able to report to the Committee in Vilnius. Therefore, additional information will be provided orally during the 30th session of the Committee and a draft decision will be proposed in light of the conclusions of the mission.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2006
30 COM 7B.46
State of Conservation (Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-06/30.COM/7B.Add and WHC-06/30.COM/ 7B.Add.2,

2. Regrets that the State Party did not inform the World Heritage Committee, according to paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, of proposed developments within the World Heritage property;

3. Requests the State Party to up-date the basic documentation on the property and to provide the details of proposed re-settlement of villagers and new developments as well as their visual and environmental impacts, including:

a) Identification of the precise boundaries of the property and of its buffer zone(s);

b) Archaeological investigations, especially in the area between the temple of Karnak and the river bank;

c) Conservation, landscaping and presentation plan;

d) Urban development and building regulations;

e) Management plans for the entire property, including tourism management;

4. Urges the State Party to ensure that all architectural designs for new facilities to respect the outstanding universal value of the World Heritage property;

5. Requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2007, with a topographical map, at the appropriate scale, indicating the proposed boundaries of the property and of its buffer zone(s), as well as with the draft plans mentioned above for assessment by ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre and examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007.

In Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B.Add.2

Draft Decision: 30 COM 7B.46

 

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-06/30.COM/7B.AddandWHC-06/30.COM/ 7B.Add. 2,

2. Regrets that the State Party did not inform the World Heritage Committee, according to paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, of proposed developments within the World Heritage property;

3. Requests the State Party to up-date the basic documentation on the property and to provide the details of proposed re-settlement of villagers and new developments as well as their visual and environmental impacts, including:

a) identification of the precise boundaries of the property and of its buffer zone(s);

b) archaeological investigations, especially in the area between the temple of Karnak and the river bank;

c) conservation, landscaping and presentation plan;

d) urban development and building regulations;

e) management plans for the entire property, including tourism management;

 

4. Urges the State Party to ensure that all designs for new facilities are led by the archaeology and the need to respect the outstanding universal value of the World Heritage property;

 

5. Requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2007, with a topographical map, at the appropriate scale, indicating the proposed boundaries of the property and of its buffer zones (s), as well as with the draft plans mentioned above for assessment by ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre and examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007.

 

Report year: 2006
Egypt
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(iii)(vi)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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