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Bahla Fort

Oman
Factors affecting the property in 2001*
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Degradation of the structures

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Degradation of the structures;
  • Use of recent construction materials (cement, etc.)
  • Need for a management plan
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2001
Requests approved: 2 (from 1988-1988)
Total amount approved : 57,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2001**

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

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 2001

Previous deliberations:
Twenty-fourth session of the Committee – paragraph VIII.19
Twenty-fourth ordinary session of the Bureau – paragraph IV.19

New information: As requested at the twenty-fourth session of Committee, two consultants carried out a mission to Oman in December 2000, to review the state of conservation of the Bahla Fort, identify the terms of reference for a Management Plan and discuss the objectives of  a seminar on the conservation of mud-brick architecture.

The two consultants found that the arrival of a new Architect Conservator in charge of the restoration of the Fort (2000) had considerably improved the situation, with respect to the previous year. A number of interventions are being carried out to preserve the complex, and to correct previous mistakes in the restoration of the Fort. These works are now being conducted using traditional materials.

Concerning the preparation of the Management Plan, the experts identified the scope of work required and proposed two alternative plans for its preparation and implementation: 1) Intervention of a multidisciplinary team of experts during 6 months; and 2) Intervention of an external consulting firm under the supervision of UNESCO experts.  

As requested at the twenty-forth session of Bureau, the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture submitted to the secretariat a General Concept of a Regional Seminar on the Conservation of Earth Structures, to be organized in cooperation with ICCROM, ICOMOS and CRAterre. The two experts added useful suggestions to the programme, which will be reviewed by the Omani authorities and the WHC on the occasion of the mission by a Secretariat staff member foreseen for the second half of May 2001. The mission will also offer an opportunity to define the best strategy for the preparation of the Management Plan, identify roles and responsibilities and set a definite time frame.

Action Required

The Bureau commends the Omani authorities on the efforts made which have resulted in a considerable improvement to the state of conservation of the Fort Bahla. The Bureau wishes as well to encourage the Omani authorities to continue supporting the conservation of the Fort, the preparation of a Management Plan and the establishment of a permanent management structure on site.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2001

Principal issues:

Management Plan

New information:

In compliance with the recommendations made at the twenty-fifth session of the Bureau, preparations have started for the Management Plan of Bahla Fort and Oasis. A workshop is foreseen in late November 2001, together with WHC experts and the British company conducting the study, to review the work accomplished so far. On the issue of the Regional Seminar on the Conservation of Earthen Structures, the Omani authorities have submitted a request for international assistance, for the consideration of the Committee. The Seminar, which should be held in late 2002, will encourage a wide participation from the entire Arab Region.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2001
25 BUR V.75-78
Bahla Fort (Oman)

V.75       The Secretariat informed the Bureau of the results of the mission to Oman, recently carried out by the Centre, with particular regard to the good prospect for the restoration of the Fort and the scope and objectives of the Management Plan to be prepared for the conservation and presentation of the site. The Bureau was informed of the decision made by the Omani authorities to entrust the preparation of the Management Plan to a British consulting firm, based in Oman. The Secretariat reported that the consulting firm is to ensure that the Management Plan be used to develop long-term management and conservation policies at the site, and not be limited to a series of projects.  The Delegate of Morocco pointed out that Oman insisted on local experts but in this case there were no locals able to handle the conservation problems at hand.  The Secretariat addressed the concerns of the Delegate of Morocco, confirming that the Centre will closely supervise the team preparing the Plan, directly and through its experts. A British consultant firm had actually been engaged and the Centre had discussed with this firm the issue and was satisfied they were capable.  The matter would continue to be monitored.  Further information was provided on the intention of the Omani authorities to organize a Regional Seminar on the Conservation of Earthen Structures, and the assistance provided by the Centre experts for the elaboration of its concept and modalities.

V.76       The Secretariat suggested that the removal of Bahla Fort from the List of World Heritage in Danger might be considered if and when the Management Plan is completed and adopted. The Delegate of Zimbabwe pointed out that the completion of the Management Plan should not be considered as an end in itself, and that its implementation should be monitored for some years before de listing could be considered. ICOMOS strongly supported the idea of holding a Regional Seminar on the Conservation of Earthen Structures, given the large number of sites built with this technology in the area.

V.77       The Bureau thanked and congratulated the Omani authorities on the efforts made which have resulted in a considerable improvement to the state of conservation of the Bahla Fort. The Bureau encouraged the Omani authorities to continue supporting the conservation of the Fort and the preparation of a Management Plan, with a view to the establishment of a permanent management structure on the site.

V.78       The Bureau further recommended that a request of assistance for training activities be submitted by the State Party under the World Heritage Fund, to ensure the highest scientific level for the Regional Seminar on Conservation of Earthen Structures, and enable the participation of experts from less advantaged countries within the Region.

25 COM VIII.67-68
Bahla Fort (Oman)

VIII.67 The Committee examined the report on the state of conservation of Bahla Fort and noted the significant progress made since the last Bureau session, especially concerning the conservation works being carried out within the Fort and on the two nearby Mosques. The Committee also noted that the preparation of a Management Plan has been finally undertaken, and the strong commitment, stressed by the Delegate of Oman, of the State Party towards the protection and presentation of this site.

VIII.68 The Committee commended the State Party for having started the preparation of the Management Plan, in close collaboration with the Centre, and for having submitted a request of international assistance for the organization of a Regional Seminar on the Conservation of Earthen Structures. The Committee invited the State Party to pursue its efforts towards the completion and full implementation of the Management Plan, and requested the Centre to submit a report on its progress at the next session of the Bureau, in April 2002.

The Committee may wish to consider information that may be available at the time of its session and take appropriate decisions and make recommendations for the consideration of the State Party, Centre, ICOMOS and other stakeholders.

 

Report year: 2001
Oman
Date of Inscription: 1987
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iv)
Danger List (dates): 1988-2004
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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