1.         Bahla Fort (Oman) (C 433)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1987

Criteria  (iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    1988-present

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/433/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1988-1988)
Total amount approved: USD 57,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/433/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

October 1988: ICOMOS mission; March 1994: UNESCO World Heritage Centre mission; December 1994: ICOMOS expert mission; May-June 1995; September 1996; October 1997; September-October 1998: expert missions

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/433/

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1998

An expert mission was undertaken to Bahla Fort in October 1997. The mission report provides detailed information about the collapsed north-west tower of the Fort as well as three proposals for the tower’s restoration. Furthermore, the mission strongly urges that in-depth investigations be undertaken as soon as possible on the strength of the original rock and on the whole structure of the Fort. This would allow for taking measures that would prevent new risks of large-scale collapse of the structures. It further recommends that an immediate hydrometric survey be conducted in the oasis and particularly in the vicinity of the Fort to study the causes of the soil humidity and capillarity ascent in large sections of the walls. Finally, it recommends that an overall management plan be prepared encompassing the Fort and the oasis.

Action Required

Having taken note of the report of the Secretariat concerning the situation at the Bahla Fort, the Bureau thanks the Omani authorities for their effort in safeguarding the site. However, considering the serious deterioration of the monument, the Bureau requests the Omani authorities to continue the collaboration with the international expert and inform the Committee of the progress through the Secretariat. In this connection, it approves the continuation of co-operation on a cost-sharing basis as previously agreed to continue rehabilitation and prepare a management plan for the site. It also recommends the early initiation of the hydrometric survey as a matter of emergency.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1998

Following previous expert missions, a third mission took place from 19 September to 3 October 1998 in order to assess the quality of the restoration works in terms of authenticity and use of materials, advise on future works and on the preparation of a management plan for an extended area, including the Fort and the oasis, as well as on the hydro-metric survey that should be undertaken urgently.

The Secretariat will present the results of the mission at the Committee session.

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

The Committee may wish to examine information that may be available at the time of its session and take appropriate action thereupon. It is recommended to retain the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 22 BUR V.A.16

Having taken note of the report of the Secretariat concerning the situation at the Bahla Fort, the Bureau thanked the Omani authorities for their effort in safeguarding the site. However, considering the serious deterioration of the monument, the Bureau requested the Omani authorities to continue the collaboration with the international expert and inform the Committee of the progress through the Secretariat. In this connection, it approved the continuation of co-operation on a cost-sharing basis as previously agreed, to continue rehabilitation and prepare a management plan for the site. It also recommended the early initiation of the hydro-metric survey as a matter of emergency.

Decision Adopted: 22 COM VII.18

VII.18 Bahla Fort (Oman)

Following previous expert missions, a third mission took place in September 1998 to assess the quality of the restoration works in terms of authenticity and use of materials, advise on future works and particularly on the preparation of a management plan for an extended area, including the Fort and the oasis, as well as on the hydro-graphic survey that should be urgently undertaken.

The mission reported that photogrammetric works were due to begin, facilitating therefore the restoration of the Fort. It recommended, among other things, that the conservation plan be completed including planning of archaeological works.

Finally, considering that the situation in the site has improved in a sensible manner, the mission discussed with the authorities the possibility of reinforcing the cost-sharing approach used so far. It submitted to the authorities a draft proposal and the Centre was awaiting a reply on this proposal.

The Committee commended the Government of Oman for the actions taken for the preservation of the Fort. It requested the Secretariat to collaborate with the national authorities in the preparation of a five-year conservation plan for the entire oasis, for examination by the Committee at its twenty-third session.

The Committee decided to retain the Bahla Fort on the List of World Heritage in Danger.