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Historic Cairo

Egypt
Factors affecting the property in 1995*
  • Management activities
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Earthquake in 1992 (issue resolved)
  • Inappropriate reconstruction works
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1995
Requests approved: 4 (from 1979-1995)
Total amount approved : 140,000 USD
Missions to the property until 1995**
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1995

Precise and concordant information from several sources was brought to the attention of UNESCO that the restoration work at the three Fatimid mosques of Al Agmar, Al-Guyushi and Lu-lu-a (11th and 12th centuries, and among the most ancient in Cairo), carried out by the Bohra community had in fact resulted in the destruction of most of their historic elements and an almost total reconstruction, causing the loss of their authenticity and World Heritage values. In fact, the plaster, woodwork and ancient painted walls, inside and outside, have been destroyed and replaced by new material, concrete has been used as a substitute for the old structures, and even the shape and configuration of the monuments have been completely transformed, in breadth and height, through the addition of levels and rooms. Furthermore, the traditional techniques have been totally ignored.

A report was requested in June 1995 from the Supreme Council of Antiquities. By September 1995, it had not yet been received.

 

 

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 1995

The Bureau may wish to recommend to the Committee to adopt the following text:

"The Committee regarded the renovation and reconstruction works which have destroyed the authenticity of the three Fatimid mosques of Al Aqmar, Al-Guyushi and Lu-lu-a, situated within the World Heritage site of Islamic Cairo, with grave concern. It drew the attention of the Egyptian authorities to Articles 4 and 5 of the World Heritage Convention by which States Parties should endeavour to ensure the protection and conservation of their heritage, and that this conservation should be carried out in accordance with international standards, such as the Charter of Venice, in order to ensure respect of authenticity. It also recalled Article 24(b) of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World  Heritage Convention regarding the respect of authenticity of inscribed properties, and requested that, in the future, the authorities should conform to Article 58, inviting "States Parties to inform the Committee, through the UNESCO Secretariat, of their intention to undertake or to authorize in an area protected under the Convention, major restorations or new constructions".

"It finally reminded the Egyptian authorities that UNESCO is always willing to provide, whenever necessary, international expert advice prior to any restoration work."

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1995
19 EXT.BUR IV.B.1.1
Examination of requests for International Assistance - Cultural Heritage - Requests recommended by the Bureau for approval by the Committee - Technical Cooperation

Preparation of Guidelines for Risk Preparedness for World Heritage Sites (request presented by ICOMOS) (US$ 30,000 requested)

The Bureau recommended that the Committee approve the request of US$ 30,000 for the preparation and publication of the "Guidelines for Risk Preparedness for World Cultural Heritage Sites" in 1,000 copies. IUCN should be associated. US$ 15,000 should be provided to ICOMOS from the 1996 budget and the remaining amount would be included in the 1997 budget.


Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos (Bolivia) (US$ 30,000 requested)

The Bureau recommended that the Committee approve an amount of US$ 30,000 for the preparation of a strategic plan and the formulation of projects for the Missions (US$ 22,000) and for urgent technical advice (US$ 8,000). The Centre, in cooperation with the Bolivian authorities, will try to seek additional funding for this project from donors.


Purchase of equipment to improve the security of the site Museum of the Mountain Resort and its outlyinq Temples of Chengde (China) (US$ 34,150 requested)

The Bureau recommended that the Committee approve an amount of US$ 34,150 for the purchase of equipment in the framework of a co-financing programme on the understanding that the training request for US$ 20,000 for the same site be sought from other sources.


Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak, Madara Rider, Boyana Church, Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo, Rila Monastery, Ancient City of Nessebar, Thracian Tomb of sveshtari (Bulgaria) (US$ 39,000 requested)

As proposed by the Secretariat, the Bureau recommended the Committee to approve this request for an amount of US$ 20,000. The Secretariat shall propose to the States Party to reexamine the list of equipment in the light of this budgetary constraint.


Islamic Cairo (Egypt) (US$ 50,000 requested)
Although the restoration of an isolated monument may not be considered as a priority when taking account of other needs expressed this year, the Bureau recognized the high quality of restoration work already carried out during the first stage of the project serving as an example and inspiration for other ongoing restoration activities at this site, and therefore recommended that the Committee approve US$30,000 for this activity which perfectly illustrates UNESCO's mission in mobilising national and international, public and private funds for the safeguarding of heritage.


Timbuktu (Mali) (List of World Heritage in Danger) (US$ 41,850 requested)

Given the commitment of the Mali authorities, the quality of the ICCROM/CRATere partnership and the innovative character of the project which had received the recommendation of the Committee at its eighteenth session, the Bureau recommended that the Committee approve an amount of US$ 40,000 for this project.

19 COM VII.C.2.35/36
SOC: Islamic Cairo (Egypt)

VII.35 Islamic Cairo (Egypt)

The Committee therefore requested the Secretariat to transmit to the Egyptian authorities the following text concerning the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur and the Islamic Cairo:

Having noted the results of the mission of the UNESCO experts invited by the Government of Egypt, from 1 to 6 April 1995, to assist in identifying measures to ensure the conservation of the World Heritage site of the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur, the Committee congratulated and thanked the Egyptian authorities for the decisions taken to date and for the action already undertaken:

1) the choice of a new route passing north of the World Heritage site for the highway link to the ring-road, which will follow, once the necessary detailed studies are available, either the Mariouteyya Canal, the Mansoureyya Canal, or both of them;

2) work already undertaken to improve one of the rubbish dumps and the work foreseen to abolish the second;

3) actions to halt all further housing construction at Kafr-el-Gabal and to eliminate, in the coming years, the unauthorized buildings and roads encroaching on the buffer zone of the World Heritage site.

It requested them to examine carefully, with the authorities concerned, the relocation of the different military camps and army factories which encroach upon the site and its buffer zone.

It requested the Egyptian authorities to keep the Committee informed, through its Secretariat, of the progress made in the implementation of the safeguarding measures already undertaken or foreseen, and more particularly the question concerning the encroachment of military camps on the World Heritage site and its buffer zone.

However, the Committee regarded the renovation and reconstruction works which have destroyed the authenticity of the three Fatimid mosques of Al Aqmar, AI-Guyushi and Lu-lu-a, situated within the World Heritage site of Islamic Cairo, with grave concern. It drew the attention of the Egyptian authorities to Articles 4 and 5 of the World Heritage Convention by which States Parties should endeavour to ensure the protection and conservation of their heritage, and that this conservation should be carried out in accordance with international standards, such as the Charter of Venice, in order to ensure respect of authenticity. It also recalled Article 24(b) of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention regarding the respect of authenticity of inscribed properties, and requested that, in the future, the authorities should conform to Article 58, inviting States Parties to inform the Committee, through the UNESCO Secretariat, of their intention to undertake or to authorize in an area protected under the Convention, major restorations or new constructions.

It finally reminded the Egyptian authorities that UNESCO is always willing to provide, whenever necessary, international expert advice prior to any restoration work and those who are sent on a regular basis to the site, are at their entire disposal to provide advice whenever necessary.

19 COM XIII.B
Requests for International Assistance: Cultural Heritage

B.1.1 Technical cooperation

Preparation of Guidelines for Risk preparedness for World Heritage sites (request presented by ICOMOS) (US$ 30,000 requested)
The Committee approved the request of US$ 30,000 for the preparation and publication of the "Guidelines for Risk Preparedness for World Cultural Heritage sites" in 1,000 copies. IUCN should be associated. US$ 15,000 would be provided to ICOMOS from the 1996 budget and the remaining amount would be included in the 1997 budget.

Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos (Bolivia) (US$ 30,000 requested)
The Committee approved an amount of US$ 30,000 for the preparation of a strategic plan and the formulation of projects for the Missions (US$ 22,000) and for urgent technical advice (US$ 8,000). The Centre, in cooperation with the Bolivian authorities, was requested to seek additional funding for this project from donors.

Purchase of equipment to improve the security of the site Museum of the Mountain Resort and its outlying Temples of Chengde (China) (US$ 34,150 requested)
The Committee approved an amount of US$ 34,150 for the purchase of equipment in the framework of a co-financing programme on the understanding that the training request for US$ 20,000 for the same site be sought from other sources.

Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak, Madara Rider, Boyana Church, Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo, Rila Monastery, Ancient city of Nessebar, Thracian Tomb of 8veshtari (Bulgaria) (US$ 39,000 requested)
The Committee approved this request for an amount of US$ 30,000. The Secretariat was requested to contact the State Party to reexamine the list of equipment in the light of the approved amount.

Islamic Cairo (Egypt) (US$ 50,000 requested)
Although the restoration of an isolated monument may not be considered as a priority when taking account of other needs expressed this year, the Committee recognized the high quality of restoration work already carried out during the first stage of the project serving as an example and inspiration for other ongoing restoration activities at this site, and therefore approved US$30,000 for this activity which perfectly illustrates UNESCO's mission in mobilising national and international, public and private funds for the safeguarding of heritage.

Timbuktu (Mali) (List of World Heritage in Danger) (US$ 41,850 requested)
Given the commitment of the .Mali authorities, the quality of the ICCROM/CRATerre partnership and the innovative character of the project which had received the recommendation of the Committee at its eighteenth session, the Committee approved an amount of US$ 40,000 for this project.

Historical Centre of Mompox (Colombia) requested) (US$ 30,000)
The Committee approved the requested amount of US$ 30,000 for a study on the impact of tourism on this site on the understanding that this would be contracted on the basis of a tender.

B.1.2 Training

Inter-regional Postgraduate Course in the Conservation of Monuments and the Rehabilitation of Historical cities (CECRE) (Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, March-December 1996): Request for international professors submitted by Brazil (US$ 45,000 requested)
The Committee approved an amount of US$ 30,000 for six international professors.

Inter-regional Postgraduate Course in the Conservation of Monuments and the Rehabilitation of Historical cities (CECRE) (Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, March-December 1996): Request for fellowships for ten international students submitted by Brazil (US$ 70,000 requested)
The Committee approved an amount of US$ 35,000 for international fellowships.

James Island and Albreda, Juffure, San Domingo: Prehistoric stone circle [sites inscribed on the Tentative List] (The Gambia) (US$ 98,000 requested)
Pending the formal inscription, the Committee approved US$ 10,000. ICCROM was requested to be associated with the implementation of this project to reevaluate the training needs, both in situ and abroad.

Central America: Training Seminar for site Managers of Archaeological World Heritage sites in Central America (Tegucigalpa/Copan,. Honduras, 1996) (request submitted by Honduras) (US$ 35,000 requested)
The Committee approved an amount of US$ 35,000 for this training workshop/seminar.

The Bureau recommends the Committee to examine the information contained in the working document and the oral report provided by the Secretariat. The Bureau recommends the Committee to adopt the following:

"The World Heritage Committee was informed to its great satisfaction of the successful efforts of the Egyptian authorities in ensuring the long-term safeguarding of the Pyramid fields from Giza to Dahshur as well as the quality of the restoration work undertaken for the al-Sinnari House and warmly congratulates them. However, the Committee regarded the renovation and reconstruction works which have destroyed the authenticity of the three Fatimid mosques of Al Aqmar, Al-Guyushi and Lu-lu-a, situated within the World Heritage site of Islamic Cairo, with grave concern. It drew the attention of the Egyptian authorities to Articles 4 and 5 of the World Heritage Convention by which States Parties should endeavour to ensure the protection and conservation of their heritage, and that this conservation should be carried out in accordance with international standards, such as the Charter of Venice, in order to ensure respect of authenticity. It also recalled Article 24(b) of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention regarding the respect of authenticity of inscribed properties, and requested that, in the future, the authorities should conform to Article 58, inviting "States Parties to inform the Committee, through the UNESCO Secretariat, of their intention to undertake or to authorize in an area protected under the Convention, major restorations or new constructions".

"It finally reminded the Egyptian authorities that UNESCO is always willing to provide, whenever necessary, international expert advice prior to any restoration work and those who are sent on a regular basis to the site, are at their entire disposal to provide advice whenever necessary."

Report year: 1995
Egypt
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(v)(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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