1.         Um er-Rasas (Kastrom Mefa'a) (Jordan) (C 1093)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2004

Criteria  (i)(iv)(vi)

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/1093/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2007-2009)
Total amount approved: USD 34,750
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1093/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount granted: USD 6,000 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust

Previous monitoring missions

March-April 2005: ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; November 2006: Joint World Heritage Centre/ ICOMOS mission; March 2008: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission; July 2008: World Heritage Centre expert mission for the Stylite tower.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1093/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

On 3 February 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1093/documents. The report addresses Decision 37 COM7B.51 of the World Heritage Committee, as follows: 

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

The information provided by the State Party in its report and appendices, is well noted, as well as the considerable progress made to address the conservation and management of the property.  Results of the physical condition assessment of all the components of the property, expected in June 2013, have not been provided in the State Party’s report, but the Kastrum Plan may be intended to replace that survey. However, several issues have not been fully addressed.

Stylite Tower: The geotechnical, geophysical and geo-structural investigation is detailed and sets out the methodologies and results clearly, although it would have been useful to include the results of on-site monitoring in the analysis.  The 2014 report sets down four options for stabilising and repairing the Tower, all of which involve some level of excavation around the Tower’s base for new reinforced concrete foundations, micropiles and some form of steel brace.  One option also involves the dismantling of the Tower before construction of an internal steel brace.  The report suggests that the excavations for new foundations may be combined with archaeological research; but makes no mention of archaeological survey of the structure before any works. It is recommended that this structural investigation be considered in relation to a wider analysis of archaeological, historical and other dimensions before any interventions are planned. The dismantling of the tower is not considered as an option and it is suggested that further dialogue on conservation options before work is planned.

Management Plan: The Management Plan appears to still be ‘work-in-progress’; the draft index is very short and it is not clear from the documentation when the Plan may be finalized.  The appendix ‘A basis towards a public use plan’ is a welcome addition to the site’s documentation and summarises many key issues, with a set of short, medium and longer-term priorities which should be integrated into the Management Plan.  But there is no mention of a conservation plan and the archaeological research policy as set out focuses on protection of the mosaics by temporary reburial and on the documentation and systematic mapping of the main structures of the St Stephan complex.  Whilst these are important elements, it might be useful to consider a wider context, so that, for example, the archaeological implications of the remedial work at the Stylite Tower can be included. 

The Management Plan must be a priority. It would provide a clear framework and vision for the future, and assist in the conservation of the site as a whole and the safeguarding of its Outstanding Universal Value. 

Decision Adopted: 39 COM 7B.53

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.51 adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Commends the State Party on the progress made to manage and conserve the property;
  4. Takes note of the progress in the technical investigation of conservation measures at the Stylite Tower; and invites the State Party to undertake dialogue with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies before detailed work is planned;
  5. Urges the State Party to complete the management plan which must include a comprehensive conservation plan and archaeological research policy, and integrate a public use plan;
  6. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.