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Historic Cairo

Egypt
Factors affecting the property in 1997*
  • Management activities
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Earthquake in 1992 (issue resolved)
  • Restoration work (destruction and total reconstruction)
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1997
Requests approved: 5 (from 1979-1997)
Total amount approved : 160,000 USD
Missions to the property until 1997**
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1997

a)         Al-Azhar Mosque

The Centre was informed that major works concerning the foundations of the Al-Azhar Mosque had been undertaken.  Accordingly, in November 1996, a letter was written to the Supreme Council of Antiquities to propose the services of experts to ensure that the authenticity of the monument would be preserved.  In March 1997 no response had been received from the Supreme Council of Antiquities. The Centre is in contact with the Cairo Office with regard to all developments regarding this matter.

b)         Al-Sinnari House

In 1996 and 1997, two technical cooperation requests of US$ 30,000 and US$ 20,000 were approved from the World Heritage Fund to contribute towards the restoration of this exceptional Mameluke house.  The major financial contribution for this work was provided by the Supreme Council of Antiquities, the French Ministry for Cooperation and Development which supervises the work, and the patronage of important French societies in Egypt.

The protection of the building from water infiltration was completed, as well as the restoration, reinforcing and water-proofing of the foundations and structure, in spite of some problems related to the quality of the local workmanship available.

The present stage of restoration concerns work on the floors, the wooden structures, carved panelling and the sculptured stone elements of the facades.  The work is being carried out satisfactorily and should be finished in 1998.

Action Required

After having taken note of the report of the Secretariat concerning the ongoing works at the Al-Azhar Mosque at the site of Islamic Cairo, the Bureau requested the Egyptian authorities to ensure that the authenticity of the monument is respected and recalled that the World Heritage Centre is available to provide expert advice to this end.

After having taken note of the Secretariat's report concerning the ongoing work at the Al-Sinnari House in Islamic Cairo, the Bureau thanked the Egyptian authorities for their efforts in the restoration of this exceptional monument and requested them to ensure that highly qualified artisans be made available for this project.


21st extraordinary session of the Bureau in 1997:
Al Azhar Mosque

Anxious to preserve the authenticity of the monument, the Bureau recommended to the Committee to adopt the following decision:

"The Committee recommends
1. that the national authorities concerned immediately halt all work;
2. that UNESCO seek the co-operation of the Organization for the Islamic Conference;
3. that the World Heritage Centre designate an expert in agreement with the national authorities concerned, to identify the conservation activities to be undertaken; and
4. that a meeting be organized for the persons responsible for the religious monuments of the region to provide information on the notion of authenticity."

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1997

Al Azhar Mosque:

Further to the request of the Bureau to the authorities to ensure that the authenticity of the monument is respected in the rehabilitation works currently taking place, the Secretariat wrote again to the concerned authorities offering expert advice. While no response has been received, unofficial information indicates that the work on the monument was still progressing at a rapid pace.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1997
21 BUR IV.B.39
Islamic Cairo (Arab Republic of Egypt)

a)   Al-Azhar Mosque

After having taken note of the report of the Secretariat concerning the ongoing works at the Al-Azhar Mosque at the site of Islamic Cairo, the Bureau requested the Egyptian authorities to ensure that the authenticity of the monument is respected, which unfortunately was not the case for the three Fatimid Mosques, and recalled that the World Heritage Centre is available to provide expert advice to this end. 

b)   Al-Sinnari House

After having taken note of the Secretariat's report concerning the ongoing work at the Al-Sinnari House in Islamic Cairo, the Bureau thanked the Egyptian authorities for their efforts in the restoration of this exceptional monument and requested them to ensure that highly qualified artisans be made available for this project.

21 COM VII.C.45/48
SOC: Islamic Cairo (Egypt)

VII.45 Islamic Cairo (Egypt)

Al-Azhar Mosque

Anxious to preserve the authenticity of the Al Azhar Mosque in Cairo, the Committee recommended

1) that the concerned national authorities immediately halt all work in the Mosque;

2) that UNESCO seeks the co-operation of the Organization for the Islamic Conference;

3) that the World Heritage Centre in agreement with the national authorities concerned designate an expert to identify the conservation activities to be undertaken; and

4) that a meeting be organized to sensitize the persons responsible for the management of the religious monuments of the region:

- on the importance of the properties inscribed on the World Heritage List for humankind, and

- on the importance of maintaining their authenticity.

The Bureau may wish to transmit the report to the Committee for examination and recommend the following for adoption:

"The Committee urges the national responsible authorities to receive a specialist who could review the state of conservation of the monument and provide the necessary advice for the works underway."

Report year: 1997
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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