1.         Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara (United Republic of Tanzania) (C 144)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1981

Criteria  (iii)

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/144/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1983-1996)
Total amount approved: USD 17,050
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/144/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/144/

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1996

Description and present state of conservation: The Islands of Kilwa Kisiwani and Songo Mnara were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1980. The ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani comprise the vestiges of the great mosque, constructed in the 12th century, of coral tiles embedded in a core of puddled clay. The remains of the Palace Husuni Kubwa, built between ca. 1310 and 1333; numerous mosques; the Geraza (in Swahili, the term means prison) constructed on the ruins of the Portuguese fortress; and finally, an entire urban complex with houses, public squares, burial grounds, etc. The ruins of Songo Mnara comprise five mosques and a number of domestic dwellings of puddled clay and wood within the enclosing walls. Generally, the monuments are in a poor state of preservation. They are endangered by plant infestations, sea wave and river erosion. They are threatened by land use conflicts such as animal grazing, subsistence farming, constructions, vandalism, lack of a proper and functional management plan, surface and river erosion. The properties, which are protected under the Antiquities Act of 1964, and the Amendment of the above Act 1979, are under the custody of five staff employees at Kilwa Kisiwani and two at Songo Mnara. The management is exercised by the Antiquities Unit at national level; the Local Government at District level; and the village Government at local level.

The state of conservation report identifies several factors that affect the property such as:

Development pressures: Uncontrolled local house constructions and encroachment of subsistence farming.

Environmental pressures: Harvesting of marine resources; sea wave and river erosion; vegetation and micro-organism infestations on monuments; and deforestation in some places.

The state of conservation report identifies remedial measures such as a better management plan with the following objectives: to design a systematic and sustainable maintenance programme; to undertake major repairs and consolidation works on the monuments; to undertake archaeological and architectural study; to present and interpret the site and its monuments; and to study and evaluate the threatening problem of sea wave action and design the necessary preventative and consolidation works.

Monitoring/Inspection: The following key indicators for measuring state of conservation: beach erosion; encroachment of mangrove forests; plant growth infestations on ruins; weathering of architectural structures; humidity in structures; and land development pressures.

Action Required

The Bureau thanked the Antiquities Unit of Tanzania for having provided the state of conservation report. Since it is obvious that the site lacks proper documentation and a management plan, the Bureau recommended that a management plan be prepared by the Antiquities Unit of the Republic of Tanzania.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1996

N/A

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 20 BUR IV.7

The Bureau thanked the Antiquities Unit of Tanzania for having provided the state of conservation report. Since it is obvious that the site lacks proper documentation and a management plan, the Bureau recommended that a management plan be prepared by the Antiquities Unit of the Republic of Tanzania.