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 https://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 https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1093/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: 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 mission; March 2008: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission; July 2008: World Heritage Centre expert mission for the Stylite tower.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

On 4 February 2013, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report covering the following aspects: conservation of the Stylite tower, development of the management plan, monitoring at the site and public access to the site.

a)  Stylite tower

In response to the request made by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session regarding the finalization of a “scientifically and technically sound conservation and restoration project for the Stylite tower”, the State Party has undertaken a series of monitoring measures: accurate documentation work of the tower using laser scanning technology, installation of four special crack monitoring devices, forms to be used by the staff of the Department of Antiquities (DoA) at the site and utilization of the 2009 stone-by-stone survey. Concerning the laser scanning documentation, done in late 2012, the State Party foresees to use the data to monitor the cracks on the facades of the tower twice a year. The results of the scanning are annexed to the State Party’s report but no details are provided on the methodology relating to the monitoring. For the special crack monitoring devices, an on-site reading is foreseen four times a year and a special form has been produced by the DoA to this end but no result has come out so far.

In terms of conservation, the State Party envisages to minimize its intervention on the tower because of its fragile structural condition. An investigation of the upper room is currently being conducted (no timeframe provided for its completion) in view of posible actions: stitching of the walls where material has been lost due to cracks and installation of drainage pipes through the existing channel. This would complete the installation of a net to prevent further slippage of the top of the walls. Stainless steel needles are foreseen to protect the room from birds nesting effects. No documentation is provided to detail these proposals.

Concerning the walls of the tower, an external stainless steel belt is currently being used to block the expansion of the cracks and two additional stainless steel belts on the upper part of the tower are envisaged by the State Party which considers that this intervention is the most appropriate at this stage, in light of the resources and technologies presently available in the country. For the conservation of the facades, the State Party will rely on filling the gaps with stones and reparing smaller opens with mortar. Some information is provided about the stainless steel belts but it is not sufficient to show how the proposed system functions.

b)  Management Plan

The State Party considers that a new management plan must be developed for the property due to a number of changes resulting from the opening of the visitor centre and the planned modification of the property’s boundaries in order to include a new component. It is not clear whether the management plan which seems to have been developed during the last years, but has not yet been finalized and submitted, will be adapted or adandoned. The State Party declares that it obtained financial support from the European Commission to develop a new management plan over an 18-month period, starting from the day of signature of the agreement (foreseen in March 2013).

c)  Monitoring (other than the one relating to the Stylite tower)

The State Party has developed a monitoring form and attached it to the report. However, no results of the application of this tool have been provided. Archaeologists and a mosaic conservator are currently being trained, notably on monitoring issues.

d)  Public access and use

The visitor centre, inaugurated in 2012, seems to play an important orientation and interpretation role. The State Party declares its intention to involve the local community in the elaboration of the management plan of the property.

The State Party has started a new physical condition assessment of all the components of the property. The results of this assessment, which have not been provided in the State Party’s report, are expected to be evaluated in June 2013 and will lead to the definition of conservation measures.

The excavation works have been stopped at the property until proper regulations are set and the management plan is complete. The DoA issued new regulations this year for archaeological surveys and excavations. A specific article (no 17) concerning the World Heritage sites in Jordan has been included in the “Regulations for archaeological excavations and surveys in Jordan”.


In the framework of the Retrospective Inventory, the State Party has submitted a map displaying the original boundaries of the property at the same time as a proposal for boundary modification in order to establish a buffer zone. However, these maps still need some adjustments and will be presented at the next session of the World Heritage Committee.

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies take note of the information provided by the State Party but note as well that several issues have not been addressed yet. There is an important focus on the Stylite tower in the report but no information about other key components of the site such as the Kastrum or St. Christopher Church. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies wish to recall that the management plan, either a thoroughly new one or building on the existing draft, should include a conservation plan, an archaeological research policy and provisions for public use. The conservation of the site as a whole has to be the priority. Finally, it is essential that all details concerning the restoration works planned at the Stylite tower be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review prior to committing to their implementation.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7B.51

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7B,

2.  Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.50 , adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.  Takes note of the progress in the implementation of conservation and monitoring measures at the Stylite tower and requests the State Party to provide additional technical details about these measures to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies;

4.  Urges the State Party to complete the management plan which must include 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 2015 , a progress report on the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.