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Petra

Jordan
Factors affecting the property in 1997*
  • Commercial development
  • Flooding
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Housing
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Solid waste
  • Other Threats:

    Conservation of antiquities

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • impact of new hotels under construction in the vicinity of the World Heritage site of Petra
  • insufficiency or non-existence of sewage disposal facilities
  • uncontrolled development of villages in the vicinity of the site
  • proliferation of shops
  • insufficient conservation of antiquities
  • construction or road widening projects leading to the site
  • other encroachments upon the integrity of the site

International Assistance: requests for the property until 1997
Requests approved: 2 (from 1987-1995)
Total amount approved : 79,500 USD
1995 Flash flood control at Petra (Approved)   29,500 USD
1987 Contribution towards research work on weathering and ... (Approved)   50,000 USD
Missions to the property until 1997**
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1997

In December 1996, the Centre received a report from the Director of Antiquities of Jordan providing information concerning the preservation of the site.  However, it appears that, at site, a lack of coordination of everyone's actions dissipates efforts and creates problems which jeopardise the good conservation of the site.

It is for this reason that the Petra Regional Council and the Coordination Group of the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism are not yet able to function satisfactorily, whilst the Municipality of Wadi Musa has lost the control of building permits.  This has allowed the anarchic construction of hotels, buildings and houses at the entrance of the site and on the Taybeh road, and the uncontrolled addition of extra storeys or extensions to already existing houses, often to accommodate tourists.  Another cause for concern is the widening of the Taybeh road and the present widening of the road from Beida, crossing through the oak forest of Hishe, to facilitate the circulation of tourist coaches.  A project for the construction of a souk outside the site where a pine forest exists is regrettable, as well as a project to give the houses surrounding the site a coat of pink paint which clashes with the natural colours of the environment.

On the other hand, in spite of the difficulties experienced due to heavy flooding in November 1996, the construction of gabions financed by the World Heritage Fund (US$ 29,500, approved by the Committee in December 1995), to control the flash floods within the site continues satisfactorily.  Furthermore, links have been established with the World Bank to try to coordinate with the Jordanian authorities the different initiatives undertaken on site and to establish priorities for intervention and rules for the preservation of the site.

Action Required

After having noted the report of the Secretariat on Petra and the report of the Director of the Department of Antiquities dated December 1996, the Bureau thanked the Jordanian authorities for their efforts to protect the site, but again insisted that preservation measures be urgently undertaken and that the coordination of on-site activities be reinforced with the support of UNESCO.  Amongst these measures, it would be appropriate to provide the Petra Regional Council and the Coordination Group of the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism with the means to function; to urgently regulate and limit the construction of hotels, buildings and the extensions to houses in the vicinity of the site and on the Taybeh road; to closely study the negative impacts of measures encouraging uncontrolled influx of tourists, such as the widening of roads; and to preserve the natural environment through the conservation of all wooded areas (oak forest of Hishe and the pine forest close to the entrance of the site), and to avoid the inappropriate painting of houses.  They also requested the authorities to refrain from undertaking restoration work within the site until the condition of the monuments has been carefully recorded.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1997
21 BUR IV.B.44
Petra (Jordan)

After having noted the report of the Secretariat on Petra and the report of the Director of the Department of Antiquities dated December 1996, the Bureau thanked the Jordanian authorities for their efforts to protect the site, but again insisted that preservation measures be urgently undertaken and that the coordination of on-site activities be reinforced with the support of UNESCO. Amongst these measures, it would be appropriate to provide the Petra Regional Council and the Coordination Group of the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism with the means to function; to urgently regulate and limit the construction of hotels too near to the site, buildings and the extensions to houses in the vicinity of the site and on the Taybeh road; to closely study the negative impacts of measures encouraging uncontrolled influx of tourists, such as the widening of roads; and to preserve the natural environment through the conservation of all green and wooded areas (Hishe oak forest, the pine forest and agricultural terraces close to the entrance of the site). They also requested the authorities to refrain from undertaking restoration work within the site until the condition of the monuments has been carefully recorded.

21 BUR IV.B.63
State of conservation

Following discussions of the looting of the site museum at Butrinti, Albania, the Secretariat recalled that illicit traffic was a severe problem at a number of World Heritage sites (Angkor, Baalbek, Petra, Kathmandu Valley, Saqqara, etc.) and that support could be provided by UNESCO in training, contact with other international networks such as INTERPOL and ICOM, and recovery (UNESCO press releases and Notices of Stolen Cultural Property). It also could support states to implement the UNESCO Convention on Illicit Traffic (1970) and the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Property (1995). There are 150 States Parties to the World Heritage Convention but only 86 to the 1970 Convention. Further information about participation of States in these conventions was requested and a table with information was circulated.

Report year: 1997
Jordan
Date of Inscription: 1985
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(iii)(iv)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 21COM (1997)
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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