Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.


Ancient City of Damascus

Syrian Arab Republic
Factors affecting the property in 1994*
  • Management activities
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
Reconstruction works
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1994
Requests approved: 3 (from 1981-1994)
Total amount approved : 106,800 USD
Missions to the property until 1994**
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1994

In December 1993, two UNESCO consultants visited Syria, particularly the Damascus site, to examine the state of conservation of the national cultural heritage with the Syrian authorities and to help define possible ways and means for requesting UNESCO assistance.

a)        Omeyyades Mosque. The objective of the UNESCO mission was not to take sides regarding discussions held in Syria and abroad on restoration work already underway. However, it did draw the Syrian authorities attention to four essential points: the need to respect the historical and original characteristics of the monument in the restoration methods to be undertaken; the adoption, after a physico-chemical and mechanical study of the stone, of a less harsh solution than positioning covering slabs held by clamps; and the improvement of the aesthetic aspect of the restoration work through the use of replacement stones manually rather than mechanically cut; finally, the importance of in-depth studies and reflection concerning solutions to reinforce the stability of the minaret situated in the south-east part of the Mosque, without risk of seriously modifying its appearance.

b)        Citadel. Following the decision of the World Heritage Committee at its sixteenth session held in Santa Fe (December 1992), and taking into account their own findings and the report of the consultant sent to the site in June 1993 by the World Heritage Centre, the UNESCO experts proposed a number of urgent actions to be taken by the Syrian authorities (more particularly, the evacuation of water from the walls, terraces and foundations of the building) and a number of studies and prior examinations to be integrated into the Plan of Action for the safeguarding of the Citadel, such as a hydro-geological and waterproof study, studies on the degradation of stones and masonry, recording of buckling, cracks and collapse.

By letter of 9 February 1994, UNESCO drew the attention of the Syrian Minister of Culture to several recommendations made by the experts, notably concerning the Ancient City of Damascus and Palmyre. The Bureau could support this action by recommending that the Syrian authorities take into consideration the experts' recommendations in the framework of the US$60,000 allocated by the Director-General of UNESCO from the Regular Programme for the Ancient City of Damascus and the sum of US$19,500 approved in 1992 by the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee for technical assistance and which still remains unused.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1994
Old City of Damascus (Syrian Arab Republic)

December 1993, a working meeting was held at Headquarters on 31 May 1994, with the Delegate of the Syrian Arab Republic to UNESCO and the national authorities in charge of the conservation of the cultural heritage.

A work plan for this site was thus prepared which will be financed through the US$ 19,500 accorded by the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee in 1992. A technological partnership has been set up by UNESCO with the Electricity of France which will provide one or two experts in hydrogeology, and thus make substantial savings. A contract for the use of the balance of the US$ 19,500 is being prepared with the Syrian Ministry of Culture. The Bureau noted with satisfaction the progress made on this project.

Report year: 1994
Syrian Arab Republic
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 2013-present
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 18COM (1994)

* : 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.