1.         Medina of Essaouira (formerly Mogador) (Morocco) (C 753rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2001

Criteria  (ii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/753/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1997-1998)
Total amount approved: USD 52,500
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/753/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

7-17 September 2003:  reactive monitoring misison linked to an expert mission for the elaboration of an integrated project for the safeguard of the Medina ; 17-20 February 2005: mission of the UNESCO Office in Rabat

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/753/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2005

Referring to the decision of the 28th session of the Committee (Suzhou, 2004), the State Party addressed a report to the World Heritage Centre in January 2005 on progress made in the implementation of safeguarding measures for the property. 

Concerning the steps for the creation of an administrative and technical structure responsible for the property, to facilitate the maintenance of its architectural and urban quality, the State Party recalled that, since the inscription of the property on the World Heritage List, the Ministry of Culture has strengthened the Inspection of the Historic Monuments and Properties created in Essaouira in 1997.  This authority is responsible for the monitoring and control of measures taken by the different stakeholders concerning the conservation, protection and rehabilitation of the built heritage.  The Inspection team is headed by an architect and seconded by specialists in the field of heritage (monuments and sites conservators).

Monitoring is also ensured by the technical services of the municipality – headed by an architect – by the town planning services of the Province and by the provincial delegation for housing and town planning.   Besides these governmental structures, NGOs contribute actively to the conservation and rehabilitation efforts for the built heritage of the Medina, as is the case with the Agenda 21 Programme set up in 1996, and the Essaouira-Mogador Association.   The latter organised, from 18 to 21 February 2005, the Fifth Session of the Convivial University of Essaouira on the theme of the sustainability and the consolidation of the social, cultural and economic renaissance of the City des Alizés.   This session was held in the presence of the Prime Minister of Morocco, accompanied by several members of his Government as well as the King’s Councellor, Mr André Azoulay, founder of the Essaouira-Mogador Association.   The World Heritage Centre regrets that it was not able to participate in this important event and requests the State Party to transmit the report of this event.

In response to the appeal from the World Heritage Committee, the State Party clarified in its report that the programme for the “revitalisation of the historic centres of Morocco” initiated by the World Bank, has had no follow up since 2002. The State Party made no comment on the Project for the Conservation and Presentation of the Medina of Essaouira elaborated following the World Heritage Centre mission in September 2002 and presented at the 28th session of the World Heritage Committee (Suzhou, 2004).   Nor does it state whether this project was transmitted to the World Bank for consideration.  Following the Committee’s recommendations, the Centre presented this project to the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) during a meeting that was held at UNESCO on 25 October 2004.   ICOMOS invited the State Party to continue, in coordination with the World Heritage Centre, the negotiations with the representatives of the World Bank for the implementation of the Project for the Conservation and Presentation of the Medina of Essaouira.  

The World Heritage Committee, at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004), was informed that neither the Conservation Plan for the Medina, nor the Master Plan for Territorial Development and Town Planning for the entire agglomeration, elaborated without consultation with the World Heritage Centre, mention the perimeter of the property inscribed on the World Heritage List nor the buffer zone.  Since then, the Centre has received neither the documents, nor any information concerning their revision, prior to their approval by the national authorities, initially foreseen for 2004. 

Following the Committee’s request for the submisison of a report describing all the work being undertaken in the protected zone and in the buffer zone, threatening the integrity of the property, the State Party explained only that a contact and an on-going dialogue had been established with the authorities involved in the current development projects in the utility area near Bab Sbaa and Bab Doukkala.   However, as stated in the report on the state of conservation of the property prepared in February 2005 during the mission of the UNESCO Rabat Office, imposing buildings are being completed on the large square oppoproperty the Doukkala Gate situated within the buffer zone, and in the commercial centre, situated between the Hotel des Iles and the entrance to the Medina, which have attained ground floor level.   Other work concerns the Marrakech Gate, where there are plans for a square and a theatre.   None of these projects have been transmitted to the World Heritage Centre for consideration.  

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


Decision Adopted: 29 COM 7B.47

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/7B.Rev,

2. Recalling its Decision 28 COM 15B.45, adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3. Regrets that, in spite of the efforts of the State Party of Morocco, the state of conservation of the Mellah Quarter and the North Wall has worsened, and that new projects having an irreversible impact on the authenticity of the property have been undertaken;

4. Invites the State Party to inform it, in accordance with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, about projects for the current transformation and new construction in the « protected zone and buffer zone» so that the World Heritage Committee can recommend appropriate measures to ensure the preservation of the outstanding universal value of this property;

5. Invites the State Party to define, in collaboration with the World Heritage Centre, an implementation strategy, including the budget for the work, of the project for the conservation and presentation of the Medina of Essaouira presented at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004);

6. Encourages the State Party to reinforce the inspection of the Historic Monuments and Sites created at Essaouira and to provide it with adequate human and financial resources to ensure the protection of the property;

7. Invites a joint mission World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS to assess the state of conservation of the property;

8. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2006, a report on the implementation of the decisions of the Committee, for its examination at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006).