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Historic Cairo

Egypt
Factors affecting the property in 2004*
  • Air pollution
  • Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Housing
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Earthquake in 1992 (issue resolved)  
  • Inappropriate reconstruction works (issue resolved) 
  • Urban Pressure
  • Lack of capacity in conservation techniques
  • Lack of management mechanism (including legislation)
  • Lack of institution coordination. 
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2004
Requests approved: 10 (from 1979-1999)
Total amount approved : 398,900 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2004

The World Heritage Centre, in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, organized an International Symposium on the Conservation and Restoration of Islamic Cairo (Cairo, February 2002), whose recommendations were reiterated by the World Heritage Committee at its 26th as well as 27th session. These included:

 

a)       Designating Historic Cairo as a Special Planning District, with buffer zones, in accordance with the prescriptions of the Operational Guidelines for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention;

 

b)       Preparing 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 to encourage the rehabilitation of the urban fabric so as to ensure its compatibility with the historic character of Islamic Cairo;

 

c)       Organize regular meetings among Egyptian and International experts to review and discuss current conservation issues and projects.

 

During 2003, within the framework of a request of assistance submitted by the State Party and in line with the recommendations of the Cairo Symposium, the Centre proposed to the responsible Egyptian authorities, by letter dated 30 May 2003, the dispatching of a technical mission to review specific projects and conservation issues. The Centre did not receive any reply from the State Party on this matter.

 

By letter dated 27 February 2004, however, the Secretariat received from the State Party an undated report on the state of conservation of the property. According to this report, some major axes around the historic city, such as the road along the northern walls, have been recently enlarged in order to facilitate the circulation and lower the pollution in the area, while intrusive constructions against the walls have been removed. Moreover, a new tunnel linking the Salah Salem road with the Opera Square has been executed to contribute reducing traffic jams and pollution in the historic city. Currently, the Department of the Islamic and Coptic Antiquities of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and the Historic Cairo Centre (also part of the Ministry of Culture) are coordinating their actions in order to accelerate the closing of the Al-Khiyamiya area in its southern part. As far as the Old Cairo area (Fustat) is concerned, the works aiming at lowering the groundwater level have been implemented for 80% and their completion is foreseen for June 2004. At the same time, the overall development of the area and its environment, including the replacing of activities incompatible with the historic environment with others more appropriate for Islamic Cairo, is being implemented, in coordination among the Historic Cairo Centre, the Agency for Promotion of Tourism as well as the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

In addition, within a global rehabilitation project, 15 monuments have been restored and protected from the rising of the groundwater level. Several Islamic historic buildings (Al-Harawi House, Zainab Hatun House, Sabil Kaitbai, Bait Sehimi) have been also rehabilitated in view of their adaptive re-use. The first and the second phases of the rehabilitation project for Historic Cairo, including the restoration of 73 monuments, are close to completion, while the third and fourth phases (74 monuments) started in July 2003. The report submitted by the State Party did not provide information on the implementation of the recommendations made by the Committee at its 27th session.

 

The Secretariat, while recognizing the efforts made by the State Party towards reducing the impact of traffic and pollution, lowering the level of the ground water as well as towards the rehabilitation of numerous monuments within the historic city, notes that no significant progress appears to have been made in the implementation of the above-recommendations, especially in respect to the preparation of a comprehensive Urban Conservation Plan. The Secretariat, furthermore, observes that uncertainties remain as to the exact boundaries of the World heritage property and its buffer zone.  

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2004
28 COM 15B.47
HIstoric Cairo

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Commends the State Party for the actions taken to rehabilitate the property by implementing conservations works on the historic buildings, reducing traffic and pollution and lowering the groundwater level;

2. Strongly encourages, the State Party however to implement the recommendations made by the International Symposium held in Cairo in February 2002, and particularly to:
a) designate Historic Cairo as a Special Planning District, with buffer zones, in accordance with the prescriptions of the Operational Guidelines (2002),
b) 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 to encourage the rehabilitation of the urban fabric so as to ensure its compatibility with the historic character of Islamic Cairo,
c) organize regular meetings among Egyptian and International experts to review and discuss current conservation issues and projects.;

3. Requests ICOMOS in co-operation with the State Party, to undertake a mission to the property in order to review the progress made in the on-going rehabilitation programme on the monuments of the historic city and determine, the necessary steps towards the implementation of the aboverecommendations;

4. Further requests the State Party to identify the exact boundaries of the World Heritage property and its buffer zone on a detailed topographic map at the appropriate scale and to submit it, together with a report on the progress made in the implementation of the above-recommendations, by 1 February 2005, for the consideration of the ommittee at its 29th session in 2005.

Draft Decision: 28 COM 15B.47

The World Heritage Committee,

 1.       Commends the State Party for the actions taken to rehabilitate the property by implementing conservations works on the historic buildings, reducing traffic and pollution and lowering the groundwater level;

 2.       Strongly encourages, however, the State Party to implement the recommendations made by the International Symposium held in Cairo in February 2002, and particularly to:

 (a)    Designate Historic Cairo as a Special Planning District, with buffer zones, in accordance with the prescriptions of the Operational Guidelines for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention;

(b)    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 to encourage the rehabilitation of the urban fabric so as to ensure its compatibility with the historic character of Islamic Cairo

(c)    Organize regular meetings among Egyptian and International experts to review and discuss current conservation issues and projects. 

3.       Requests the State Party to invite a ICOMOS mission to the property in order to review the progress made in the on-going rehabilitation programme on the monuments of the historic city and determine, in close consultation with the State Party, the necessary steps towards the implementation of the above-recommendations;

 4.       Further requests the State Party to identify the exact boundaries of the World Heritage property and its buffer zone on a detailed topographic map at the appropriate scale and to submit it, together with a report on the progress made in the implementation of the above-recommendations, by 1 February 2005, for the consideration of the Committee at its 29th session in 2005.

Report year: 2004
Egypt
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(v)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 28COM (2004)
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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