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Historic Cairo

Factors affecting the property in 2000*
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
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 2000
Requests approved: 10 (from 1979-1999)
Total amount approved : 398,900 USD
Missions to the property until 2000**

October 1998: expert mission sent by the World Heritage Centre; July 2000: ICOMOS expert mission

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 2000

Previous deliberations
Twenty-third session of the Bureau: paragraph IV.55
Twenty-third session of the Committee: paragraph X.35

New information:

Since the meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Marrakesh, the work on the site has progressed at a reduced pace. Presentation of the Roman Citadel ruins in Coptic Cairo together with the Churches, Mosques and Jewish Temple has come to a standstill. At the same time, the work that was supposed to begin on the Al Muizz Street, has been delayed for internal reasons.

Meanwhile, the Technical Advisor and the Policy Advisor, working respectively with the Governor of Cairo and with the Inter-ministerial Committee have continued their coordination work. This is bringing positive results on such activities as the tunnel under the Al-Azhar square and the renovation of works around monuments being restored.

The French architect-restorer, detached to the project by the French authorities, is completing the rehabilitation of Al Sinnari House. Here again delays are reducing the pace of work: materials and equipment are not being provided by the Supreme Council of Antiquities in a timely fashion.

ICOMOS was to field a mission to study the state of restoration of the Al-Azhar Mosque and had contacted the State Party to organize it. ICOMOS will comment on this matter during the meeting.

Action Required
The Bureau calls on the Egyptian authorities requesting them to facilitate the advancement of the works and the co-ordination role of the personnel present in Cairo. Delays in doing so will increase the costs of the operations and reduce the possibilities to revitalize Islamic Cairo. Furthermore, the Bureau requests ICOMOS to organize a mission to study the state of conservation of the other monuments of Islamic Cairo.
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2000

·         Restoration activities undertaken by the Ministry of Housing are ongoing for Bab El-Nasr, Bab El-Foutouh and the North Wall. At the same time some reconstruction and development is taking place in the Gamaliya district, involving non-pollutant handicraft workshops and a training centre.

·         Restoration and development of the Darb Al-Asfar area started in April of this year. In the same month the restored Gate of the Madrasa An-Nasir Mohamed in the Gamaliya district was inaugurated, while the Minister of Culture signed a contract to start the restoration project of the Cairo Aquaduct (Aquaduct of Sultan Al-Ghouri).

·         There is a continuation of the Beit Sinnari restoration which is expected to be completed before 2001, to be followed by rehabilitation works in the quarter.

·         The Policy Advisor, the Director General of the National Documentation Centre on Cultural and Natural Heritage, and the Technical Co-ordinator, the Director of the Department of Archaeology and Engineering, School of Engineering of Cairo University, established by UNESCO will continue to do their work until the end of the year.

It is important to note that after an initial period of investment in and build-up of plans and projects for Islamic Cairo -a mega-city in which the urban heritage is difficult to manage and steer- now the various works are being implemented and gradually the momentum is changing, slowly paying off the efforts invested. The improvement of the co-ordination through the Policy Advisor and Technical Co-ordinator has its impact on the conservation projects also.

ICOMOS will report to the Bureau on the results of its mission to Cairo in July 2000.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2000
24 BUR IV.B.59
Islamic Cairo (Egypt)

In addition to the information available in the document WHC-2000/CONF.202/5, the Secretariat informed the Bureau that the rehabilitation work of the public areas (roads, pavements, etc.), financed by the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development (FADES) was making good progress in Cairo Fatimide around the Beit Suhaimi as well as in Historic Cairo (or Copt) around the Roman Citadel, with the involvement of the Ministry of Tourism.  With regard to the restoration of Beit Sinnari, halted for a short time due to lack of materials, work has now recommenced at a good rhythm.  Finally, the Secretariat informed the Bureau that the authorities had approved the ICOMOS mission for the evaluation of the restoration work at the Al-Azhar Mosque; this mission will take place in mid-July 2000.  The Bureau called upon the Egyptian authorities to facilitate the progress of the work and the task of the co-ordination staff in Cairo.  Delays in this respect will increase the cost of the works and reduce the possibilities for revitalising Islamic Cairo.  Furthermore, the Bureau requested ICOMOS to organize a mission to study the state of conservation of other monuments of Islamic Cairo.

24 COM VIII.36
Islamic Cairo (Egypt)

VIII.36 Islamic Cairo (Egypt)

The Delegate of Belgium recalled an intervention during the Committee's twenty-third session in Marrakesh in 1999, on the need to make the local population aware of the need to ensure the conservation of this site, and stated that this important issue should be taken into account.  

24 COM VIII.iii.35-43
State of conservation reports of cultural properties which the Committee noted

VIII.35 Brasilia (Brazil)

Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian (China)

The Potala Palace, Lhasa (China)

VIII.36 Islamic Cairo (Egypt)

VIII.37 Roman Monuments, Cathedral St Peter and Liebfrauen-Church in Trier (Germany)

Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin (Germany)

Classical Weimar (Germany)

Hortabagy National Park (Hungary)

VIII.38 Khajuraho Group of Monuments (India)

Sun Temple of Konarak (India)

Petra (Jordan)

Luang Prabang (Lao People's Democratic Republic)

Byblos (Lebanon)

Ksar Ait Ben Haddou (Morocco)

VIII.39 Island of Mozambique (Mozambique)

Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Lord Buddha (Nepal)

Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo - San Lorenzo (Panama)

Archaeological Site of Chavin (Peru)

VIII.40 Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Philippines)

VIII.41 Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Philippines)

VIII.42 Cultural Landscape of Sintra (Portugal)

VIII.43 Istanbul (Turkey)

Complex of Hué Monuments (Vietnam)

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

Report year: 2000
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(v)(vi)

* : 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.