1.         Historic Cairo (Egypt) (C 89)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1979

Criteria  (i)(v)(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/89/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1979-1999)
Total amount approved: USD 398,900
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/89/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

October 1998: expert mission sent by the World Heritage Centre

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/89/

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1999

Summary of previous deliberations: Based on the strategy guidelines prepared by the brainstorming session at UNESCO Headquarters in June 1998, a mission visited Cairo in October 1998 to make concrete proposals to address rehabilitation and development issues. The Egyptian authorities examined the proposals and formulated a three-year rehabilitation programme together with an international assistance request. The Bureau, at its twenty-second session took note of the report of the Secretariat and thanked the Egyptian authorities for their co-operation with the Centre and requested the Secretariat to do its utmost in the implementation of the co-operation programme in favour of Islamic Cairo.

New information: In May 1999, preparations were completed for the launching of pilot projects for the rehabilitation programme and for the organisation of the meeting to be held in October– November with potential partners in Cairo. The result of the mission will be presented to the Bureau at its twenty-third session. Furthermore, a junior co-ordinator was posted to the UNESCO Office in Cairo.

Summary of previous deliberations: The Secretariat received a technical report containing the architectural standards applied for the work on the monument from the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt. The Centre transmitted the report to ICOMOS and ICCROM on 23 November 1998. At its twenty-second session, after having taken note of the report of the Secretariat, the Bureau requested ICOMOS to undertake an in-depth evaluation of the report for examination by the Bureau at its twenty-third session.

New information: The Secretariat has received the evaluation from ICOMOS. It pointed out that:

- Documentation and diagnostic analysis of the problems are very briefly described as are some conservation practices related to them: These are difficult to comment on unless the original reports and the monuments can be seen.

- However, some conservation practice procedures are given in considerable detail, which call into question the selection criteria, side effects and long-term behaviour (e.g., marble columns and non-coloured plaster are commented).

- Otherwise, the report carries a positive concept.

- Since a databank of the project has been established, a better evaluation of the project can be carried out by comparing the data with the monument. This will also be very helpful in designing the periodical maintenance programme and monitoring studies of the monument for its long-term conservation.

Action Required

The Bureau may wish to examine information that will be provided at the time of its session and take the appropriate decision thereupon

The Bureau, having examined the evaluation, thanks ICOMOS for its in-depth report. The Bureau appreciates the establishment of the databank of the project and recommends that the Egyptian authorities continue applying such databank methods shared by all concerned institutions to any large-scale preservation works in Cairo for its long-term conservation. The Bureau finally requests the authorities to co-operate with ICOMOS in the analysis of information in the databank.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1999

Previous deliberations:

1.         Rehabilitation of Islamic Cairo

At its twenty-third session, the Bureau took note of the support of the international community for this project and encouraged its continuation.  It requested the Secretariat to provide the Committee with a detailed report on the actions undertaken in 1999.

2.         Al-Azhar Mosque

At its twenty-third session, the Bureau requested the State Party to invite an ICOMOS mission to evaluate the state of conservation of the monument.


New information

1.                  Rehabilitation of Islamic Cairo (documentation available at the twenty-third session).

In 1999, the co-operation programme for the revitalization of Islamic Cairo was initiated.  It was carried out throughout the year along three principal themes:

1.1       Co-ordination of interventions:

This co-ordination must operate through the intermediary of structures  already set up by the State:

- a Ministerial Committee chaired by the Prime Minister, responsible for planning and decision-making,

- an Executive Committee chaired by the Governor of Cairo, responsible for the supervision of all the interventions at the site.

Provision has been made for an advisor to be attached to the Ministerial Committee and a technical co-ordinator to the Executive Committee.  The latter, Mr T. Abdallah, Director of the Engineering Centre for Archaeology and Environment (University of Cairo), was chosen in agreement with the national authorities. Since May 1999, he participates on a regular basis in the meetings of the Executive Committee, where he ensures a coherence of ongoing actions and their complementarity.

An Adviser – a post for which several Egyptian candidates have been identified - will soon be nominated to the Interministerial Committee.  His role will be to pilot the planification unit of the Committee and to ensure smooth co-ordination, at the highest level, between the international and national partners.  He will also contribute his expertise to the evaluation of the revitalization policy and the harmonious planning of the projects.

1.2       Identification of pilot projects

Beforehand, an identification of the different kinds and origins of interventions was successfully carried out.  This provided a better knowledge of the site and an understanding of the needs and possibilities.

Taking into account the ongoing infrastructural projects and the different ongoing and future activities for rehabilitation, three priority areas have been identified, the north, the centre and the south of the site, all three being urban zones (excluding the City of the Dead and the Citadelle).  Infrastructural work and the rehabilitation of monuments has already occurred or is ongoing in each of these areas to the optimal benefit of the chosen areas.

Therefore, the first pilot project to begin is the south part of the site, where France, co-financing with the World Heritage Fund, has undertaken the restoration of the Beit Sinnari.  Preliminary studies to extend of the rehabiliation process to the public spaces of the area (roads, cables, tertiary waters) facades and its other monuments, began in August.  Beit Sinnari will be rehabilitated during 2000 and the work will begin in the area with the participation of the inhabitants.

A second pilot project could be rapidly initiated in the northern part of the site, very close to the wall, between the first one and the rehabilitation project of Beit Suhaymi, undertaken with funding from the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.  This second pilot project will be more difficult to implement due to the complexity of the area: high density of monuments in an area inhabited by migrants whose artisanal activities have greatly degraded the buildings.

1.3       Legal aspects and regulations for protection - Information

In spite of the existence of a law on antiquities and the presence of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, no firm legal and regulatory framework exists for the protection of historic areas.  This lacune renders the protection of the site of Islamic Cairo particularly difficult. The situation is all the more complex because of an obsolescent rent law with its consequent effects upon the maintenance of the houses.  The ownership of a certain  number of buildings used for housing or commercial purposes by the religious authorities limits the possibility of intervention.  All these aspects were the subject of working sessions in which the UNESCO mission and the Technical Co-ordinator have participated.  Improved protection measures around the monuments and stricter regulations concerning the foundations, infrastructure, electricity and facades have been approved by the Governor of Cairo.

Furthermore, this work will continue and be strengthened by the development of restoration and renovation modalities for religious property and the re-use of monuments.  An information campaign on the site will also be initiated.

2.         Al-Azhar Mosque

ICOMOS has foreseen a monitoring mission on the state of conservation of the monument which should be carried out in November and December 1999.  The State Party has been informed but, at the date of the preparation of this report, no response has been received.  Additional information will be provided orally.

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


Decision Adopted: 23 BUR IV.B.55

1) Rehabilitation of Islamic Cairo

The Secretariat informed the Bureau of progress made in favour of the revitalization  of this site, notably the posting of a technical co-ordinator to the Governor of Cairo as well as direct support from France, Italy, The Netherlands, UNDP and others, for the site.  After having taken note of this information, the Bureau thanked the Egyptian authorities for their efforts for the restoration of Islamic Cairo and encouraged them to energetically pursue their work.  The Bureau also thanked the States Parties and the institutions that had already established co-operation with UNESCO and Egypt for this site.  It finally reminded the Secretariat to provide a detailed report on the activities undertaken to the twenty-third session of the World Heritage Committee.

2) Al Azhar Mosque

After having taken note of the report of the Secretariat, the Bureau thanked ICOMOS for the quality of its report.  It congratulated the State Party for the efforts made in response to the Committee’s comments concerning the establishment of a databank.  The Bureau finally requested Egypt to receive an ICOMOS mission to evaluate the project and collaborate in the setting up of a conservation and monitoring programme of the works at the Mosque to ensure its long-term conservation.

Decision Adopted: 23 COM X.B.35

X.35 Islamic Cairo (Egypt)

The Committee recalled the reports from the twenty-third ordinary and the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau on the state of conservation of this property and adopted the following decision:

"The Committee thanked the national authorities and the international community for its commitment in supporting this important and complex site. The Committee wished to remind the State Party of the need to ensure the continuity of the long-term action for the success in the safeguarding and revitalization of Islamic Cairo. It encouraged the State Party to continue its direct and indirect financial contributions to the project and to foresee the involvement of the local population in the safeguarding and revitalization programme."

States Parties thanked the Secretariat for the quality of the cooperation programme, stressing that it represents a model for urban World Heritage sites conservation and revitalization strategies.

Decision Adopted: 23 COM XV.6.3

The Committee examined and approved the following 14 requests for international assistance for cultural heritage for a total of US$ 694,348, which had been recommended by the Bureau:

3.AFRICA(c).I REGIONAL Training assistance


US$ 80,000 requested US$ 80,000 approved

The Committee approved US$ 80,000 for this training activity in the sub-Saharan African region bearing in mind that the activity would be implemented by the World Heritage Centre, ICCROM and CRATerreEAG.

3.AFRICA(d).III ZIMBABWE Technical Co-operation

Implementation of a management plan for Khami Ruins

US$ 50,300 requested US$ 50,300 approved

The Committee approved US$ 50,300 for this activity, requesting the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe to support the cost of connectivity of Internet after the year 2000 and to submit to the twenty-fifth session of the Committee, a report on the conservation, monitoring and management activities carried out at Khami in 1999 and 2000.

3.ARAB(c).I SYRIA Training assistance

Seminar on cultural tourism, sustainable development and management of World Heritage sites

US$ 58,000 requested US$ 35,000 approved

The Committee approved US$ 35,000, subject to the State Party reformulating the programme and budget in consultation with ICCROM.

3.ARAB(c).II TUNISIA Training assistance

Training and information international workshop for protecting Carthage

US$ 50,000 requested US$ 40,000 approved

The Committee referred the request, asking the State Party to undertake consultations with ICOMOS and ICCROM for reformulating the proposed activity. The Committee approved US$ 40,000 subject to the State Party reformulating the proposal in close co-operation with the advisory bodies.

3.ARAB(d).I EGPYT Technical Co-operation

Rehabilitation of Islamic Cairo

US$ 100,000 requested US$ 80,000 approved

The Committee decided to approve US$ 80,000, subject to the State Party providing further information on the details of the activities to the Advisory Bodies and approval of a revised budget by the Chairperson of the Committee.

3.ARAB(d).II LEBANON Technical Co-operation

Restoration works for the Monasteries of Ouadi Quadisha and Forest of the Cedars of God

US$ 50,000 requested US$ 35,000 approved

Following the evaluation by IUCN, ICOMOS and ICCROM, the Committee approved US$ 35,000 for the first phase of the activity proposed to take place in year 2000, requesting the State Party to consult IUCN in undertaking the ecological research, and to consult ICOMOS and ICCROM on the international experts to be engaged for this activity.

The Committee recommended that the State Party submit a request for US$ 15,000 for the second phase of the activity in year 2001.

3.ASIA(b).I VIETNAM Emergency assistance

Emergency assistance for Hue & Hoi An, following the floods of November 1999.

US$ 100,000 requested US$ 50,000 approved

The Committee recalled that it had already taken a decision to allocate US$ 50,000 during the agenda item concerning the state of conservation reports. The Committee approved US$ 50,000 to assist the State Party in the rehabilitation works of Hue and Hoi An and for the preparation of a comprehensive emergency rehabilitation programme including risk assessment and mitigation schemes.

3.ASIA(c).II. LAOS Training assistance

Plain of Jars archaeological survey and documentation

US$ 83,055 requested US$ 30,000 approved

The Committee approved US$ 30,000, requesting the State Party to revise the budget in co-operation with the UNESCO Bangkok Office, or to find co-financing from other extrabudgetary sources.

3.ASIA(c).VI UZBEKISTAN Training assistance

Training Workshop in the Preparation of the World Heritage Nomination Files on Urban Heritage Sites

US$ 41,000 requested US$ 30,000 approved

The Committee approved US$ 30,000 for the activity.

XV.7 The Committee noted that the last-minute submissions of international assistance requests resulted in great constraints on the part of the Secretariat and the advisory bodies, and reiterated the need to respect deadlines in submitting requests.

1.EUROPE(c).I HUNGARY Training assistance

ITUC training workshop for Central European Historic Cities managers

US$ 33,840 requested US$ 33,840 approved

1.EUROPE(d).I GEORGIA Technical Co-operation

Study and development of the Mtskheta Heritage and Tourism Master Plan

US$ 35,000 requested US$ 35,000 approved

The Committee approved US$ 35,000, subject to the State Party paying its outstanding dues to the World Heritage Fund for 1998 and 1999.

3.EUROPE(d).IV TURKEY Technical Co-operation

Completion of documentation of the buildings and monuments within the city walls of the Historic Centre of Istanbul site

US$ 58,376 requested US$ 35,208 approved

The Committee noted that the State Party had agreed to the revised budget proposed by the World Heritage Centre, endorsed by ICOMOS and ICCROM.

The Committee therefore approved US$ 35,208.

3.LATIN(b).III MEXICO Emergency assistance

Repair and consolidate Monastery of Tochimilco, Puebla

US$ 100,000 requested US$ 100,000 approved

The Committee approved US$ 100,000 for this activity, subject to the State Party submitting a detailed budget breakdown and clarification and identification on the tasks planned, to be approved by the Chairperson.

3.LATIN(d).I COLOMBIA Technical Co-operation

Integral conservation of Cloister of San Pedro Claver of Cartagena de Indias

US$ 60,000 requested US$ 60,000 approved

The Committee noted that a detailed budget breakdown of the activities to be carried out had been submitted to the Secretariat, which found the information to be sufficient and reasonable.