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Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore

Factors affecting the property in 1999*
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Water infrastructure
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1999
Requests approved: 4 (from 1981-1999)
Total amount approved : 71,000 USD
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1999

New information:  In 1997, a request for Technical Co-oporation was submitted by the Pakistan authorities for the “development of Shalamar Gardens”, which aimed at restoring the gardens to the original Mughal pattern by removing the plantations and additions of the latest period. However, as the request did not address urgent conservation problems of the gardens and its monuments, a mission by an ICOMOS expert was organized by the World Heritage Centre in October-November 1998 to assess repair needs, to report on the state of conservation of the gardens and landscape, and to make recommendations for future action following international conservation norms. An evaluation of the Master Plan for the Preservation and Restoration of Shalamar Gardens Lahore (April 1998) was also undertaken.

Despite the commendable efforts made by the responsible authorities within their limited financial resources, the ICOMOS expert reported on the general state of disrepair of the structural components and buildings of the Shalamar Gardens. The expert noted with concern that due to the recent development around the gardens, inner and outer ground levels differ, resulting in damage to the peripheral walls caused by moisture and efflorescence. The deterioration of the water channels of the fountains is leading to water leakage, and the Gardens on the three terraces no longer have the historical layout nor the greenery of the Mughal period. The mission made 17 recommendations, which were presented to the authorities of Pakistan in February 1999.

A follow-up mission was undertaken by a World Heritage Centre staff member in March 1999, to assist the authorities of Pakistan in submitting a request for international assistance to address recommendations made by the ICOMOS expert. During the mission, the authorities of Pakistan adopted all 17 recommendations and a request for preparatory assistance was formulated addressing five of the 17 recommendations. However, this request has not been officially submitted by the authorities of Pakistan to date.

During the World Heritage Centre staff mission, the state of conservation of the Fort of Lahore was also examined. The mission expressed concern about the lack of an overall Management Plan and the use of non-traditional building material for the restoration of the various monuments composing Lahore Fort. In view of the large number of visitors to the site, an urgent need for a Master Plan for enhanced management was identified.

The Pakistan authorities brought the attention of the mission to the alarming deterioration of the Shish Mahal Pavilion’s Mirror Hall ceiling, where the convex mirror glass is cracking away from the carved stucco ceiling, and urgently requested international expert advice. An ICCROM reactive monitoring mission is expected to take place in May 1999 to assist the authorities in addressing the problems of structural stability of Shish Mahal and for appropriate conservation methodology for the ceiling. A report will be presented by ICCROM during the twenty-third session of the Bureau.

Action Required

The Bureau, upon examining the report of the ICOMOS expert and the World Heritage Centre, recommends the authorities of Pakistan to submit a request for international assistance for adequate protection of the Shalamar Gardens without further delay. The Bureau requests the relevant authorities of Pakistan to examine the possibility of formulating a plan for lowering the ground level immediately surrounding the peripheral walls of the Shalamar Gardens to its original level before recent additions.

The Bureau requests the World Heritage Centre to assist the authorities of Pakistan in requesting international assistance for formulating a Master Plan for enhanced management of Lahore Fort.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1999

Previous deliberations:

World Heritage Bureau, twenty-second extraordinary session - Chapter

World Heritage Bureau, twenty-third session – Chapter IV.72


New information:(For Fort and Shalamar Gardens of Lahore and Taxila Archaeological Remains) 

Following the decisions of the Bureau at its twenty-third session, a mission was undertaken by a World Heritage Centre staff to Lahore and Karachi between 12 – 15 October 1999. At the time of the preparation of this document, consultations were being held with representatives of the Department of Archaeology and Museums and members of the National Technical Committee for the Preservation of the Shish Mahal, Lahore Fort. Political disturbance and change in Government during the midst of the mission may render necessary, another reactive monitoring mission when the new authorities responsible for decisions concerning the newly constructed football stadium at Bhir Mound in Taxila and those for the demobilised hydraulic works of the Shalamar Gardens are in place.

A full report on the findings of the mission will be presented at the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1999
23 COM X.B.43
SOC: Taxila (Pakistan) & Fort and Shalamar Gardens of Lahore (Pakistan)

X.43 Taxila (Pakistan)

Fort and Shalamar Gardens of Lahore (Pakistan)

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 examined the report of the Secretariat. The Committee expressed concern over the demolition of the 375-year old essential hydraulic works of the Shalamar Gardens, which had been carried out to enlarge the 4-lane Grand Trunk Road into a 6-lane motorway, as well as the completed football stadium built on the archaeological remains of Bhir Mound, the most ancient citadel site dating between 6th BC - 2nd AD within Taxila. In view of the ascertained threats undermining the authenticity and integrity of these two sites, the Committee requested the State Party to take urgent corrective measures to restore the hydraulic works at Shalamar Gardens, and to consider removing the football stadium negatively impacting upon the archaeological remains of Bhir Mound. The Committee requested the State Party to report on the actions taken for examination by the twenty-fourth session of the Bureau. Should the Bureau find that the World Heritage values have been compromised, it would recommend the Committee to consider inscription of these sites on the List of World Heritage in Danger at its twenty-fourth session, in view of the threats facing these sites.

Taking note of the need to elaborate a comprehensive management plan for both the Fort and Shalamar Gardens of Lahore, the Committee requested the World Heritage Centre to urgently organize a reactive monitoring mission by the advisory bodies to Lahore. The Committee requested that consultation on the proposals for protecting the Shish Mahal Mirrored Ceiling be undertaken by ICCROM with the national authorities, during this mission. The Committee requested the advisory bodies and the World Heritage Centre to report on findings and recommendations of the mission for examination by the twentyfourth session of the Bureau."

23 COM XV.6.3
International Assistance for Cultural Heritage submitted to the Chairperson

3. International Assistance for Cultural Heritage

The Committee noted that the following thirteen requests for a total amount of US$ 203,729 had been submitted for examination and approval by the Chairperson for cultural heritage:

3.AFRICA(a).I BOTSWANA Preparatory assistance

Tsolido nomination preparation

US$ 19,094 requested US$ 19,094 recommended for approval


3.AFRICA(a).IV KENYA Preparatory assistance

Preparation of the Lamu nomination dossier

US$ 15,924 requested US$ 15,924 recommended for approval


3.AFRICA(a).VI TOGO Preparatory assistance

Tentative List

US$ 18,085 requested US$ 18,085 recommended for approval

3.AFRICA(d).II TANZANIA Technical Co-operation

Radio calls & solar panels for the Ruins of Kilwa and Songo Mnara, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area

US$ 19,426 requested approval recommended after further clarification is received


3.ASIA(a).I CHINA Preparatory assistance

Expert Meeting & preparation of group nomination of ancient canal towns of Jiangnan, China

US$ 20,000 requested US$ 20,000 recommended for approval


3.ASIA(a).III INDIA Preparatory assistance

Nomination of Padmanabhapuram Palace, Tamil Nadu

US$ 15,000 requested US$ 16,362 recommended for approval


3.ASIA(c).III NEPAL & NORWAY Training assistance

Tourism training workshop in Kathmandu Valley

US$ 17,000 requested US$ 17,000 recommended for approval


3.ASIA(d).I PAKISTAN Technical Co-operation

Research & documentation for enhancement of Master Plan of Shalamar Gardens

US$ 10,000 requested US$ 10,000 recommended for approval


3.ASIA.(e).I REPUBLIC of KOREA Promotional assistance

Publication of World Heritage Fortress Cities seminar background documentation

US$ 10,000 requested US$ 10,000 recommended for approval


3.LATIN(b).I GUATEMALA Emergency assistance

Rehabilitation of Quirigua

US$ 32,248 requested US$ 27,248 recommended for approval


3.LATIN(b).II GUATEMALA Emergency assistance

Clean up and preventive measures for Antigua Guatemala

US$ 20,216 requested US$ 20,216 recommended for approval


3.LATIN(c).I BRAZIL Training assistance

Evaluation of CECRE regional training programme

US$ 14,800 requested US$ 14,800 recommended for approval


3.LATIN(c).II DOMINICA Training assistance

Preparation of training course on cultural heritage

US$ 15,000 requested US$ 15,000 recommended for approval

The Bureau may wish to examine the report of the Secretariat at the time of its twenty-third extraordinary session and take decisions thereupon.

Report year: 1999
Date of Inscription: 1981
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)
Danger List (dates): 2000-2012

* : 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.