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

Bahla Fort

Oman
Factors affecting the property in 2016*
  • Housing
  • Legal framework
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Deterioration of the earthen structures of the Fort

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Use of inappropriate conservation techniques
  • Urban pressure
  • Lack of a management plan and appropriate legislation
  • Housing
  • Legal framework
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Deterioration of the earthen structures of the Fort
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2016

Total amount provided to the property: 25,000 USD (private funding)

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2016
Requests approved: 2 (from 1988-1988)
Total amount approved : 57,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2016**

2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003: World Heritage Centre expert missions; December 2009: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 28 January 2016, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/433/documents/. Of the three elements requested by the World Heritage Committee in Decision 38 COM 7B.4, only information on the results of the monitoring of the aging characteristics of the different brick types used at the property has been provided. Neither the finalized version of the Management Plan nor a request for a minor boundary modification aiming at enlarging the buffer zone has been submitted.

Nevertheless, the report contains information on a number of actions undertaken in relation to the conservation and management of the property:

  • An expert has been commissioned to prepare the legal tool that will support implementation of the Management Plan;
  • Four studies have been conducted: one on the development of the Al Auqr, Al Hawiyah and Al Ghuzaily settlements; two (one anthropological and the other archaeological) on the market (souk); and one on the restoration of the Wall of Bahla (Sur);
  • A comprehensive Conservation Master Plan for the property has been developed;
  • Conservation and restoration works have been undertaken for the Bahla Market – Souk, Sabah Salem Gate, Mausoleum of Shaikh Bin Baraka and Alkhair mosque;
  • Cultural and scientific activities have been implemented for promotion and awareness-raising.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2016

Although the State Party has not yet submitted the requested finalized version of the Management Plan nor a request for a minor boundary modification, important efforts seem to have been made to improve the management and conservation of the property. The four studies carried out are important sources of knowledge from the archaeological and historical points of view, while the conservation and restoration works appear to be based on rigorous scientific grounds and respond to urgent conservation needs. However, the rationale of the initiative to develop a Conservation Master Plan is not clear, nor is the latter’s link to the requested finalized Management Plan. The objectives of this initiative should be explained and its potential impact on the overall conservation and management of the property evaluated. Furthermore, the articulation between the conservation, management and research initiatives undertaken by the State Party is not specified, hence there are some difficulties in understanding how these have been planned and prioritized. Finally, the fact that the request for a minor boundary modification to enlarge the buffer zone has still not been submitted raises some concern.

As regards the actions reported by the State Party, the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM are of the view that:

  • The study for the development of the Al Auqr, Al Hawiyah and Al Ghuzaily settlements is an interesting initiative in terms of the local communities’ involvement and tourism development. More information on this initiative, as well as on its impact on the property is nevertheless required, notably to indicate it on a map showing the property’s boundaries and buffer zone. Furthermore, it would be useful to understand whether the “Heritage Management Plan of the al-Aqar settlement” project (mentioned in the State Party’s January 2014 report) was changed in order to integrate the two settlements of Al Hawiyah and Al Ghuzaily;
  • The anthropological study for the Market (Souk), focusing on the intangible values of the property, is also a positive initiative, but its link to other actions is not clear. This link needs to be addressed;
  • The link between the archeological study of the Bahla Market (Souk) and the project entitled “Rehabilitating and Refurbishing the Old Souq at Bahla: From Study to Reinstatement” should be clarified;
  • Concerning the study for the restoration of the Wall of Bahla (Sur), which has a full diagnosis of the actual physical state of the wall and an examination of the current problems, it is essential to define the endangered parts so that the restoration works can commence in a timely manner. However, it is necessary for the State Party to submit the proposed restoration scheme to the World Heritage Centre before addressing the issues raised by the diagnosis;
  • The pilot restoration project for the Bahla Market (Souk), which has been partly implemented with several components already accomplished (including major interventions on roofs, paving, etc.), needs to be evaluated, notably concerning the question of authenticity;
  • The restoration of the Sabah Salem Gate represents good progress in the conservation of the property, but more details on the works and choices made in terms of restoration principles need to be provided in order to allow a better assessment of the result;
  • Additional information should be provided on the restoration of the Mausoleum of Shaikh Bin Baraka and the Alkhair mosque, particularly as regards the announced reconstruction of the walls and dome of the mausoleum.

Concerning the results already obtained about monitoring the aging characteristics of different brick types, additional information about the monitoring mechanism used would help to understand these results and to assess the further application of this mechanism.

In conclusion, while acknowledging the important efforts made by the State Party to ensure the adequate conservation of the property, it is essential to have a global picture of recent and future interventions at the property. Because of the potential impact these development projects may have on the authenticity of the property, it is recommended that the Committee request a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission be organized at the State Party’s earliest convenience.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2016
40 COM 7B.26
Bahla Fort (Oman) (C 433)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.4, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Commends the State Party for the important actions undertaken to ensure the sustainable management and conservation of the property;
  4. Regrets that neither the finalized version of the Management Plan nor a request for a minor boundary modification to enlarge the buffer zone have been submitted;
  5. Urges the State Party to submit the finalized version of the Management Plan, including the legal framework that will support its implementation, to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible;
  6. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, as soon as possible and based on Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, a document summarizing the conservation and management actions already undertaken and planned at the property, and showing the articulation between them and with the finalized version of the Management Plan;
  7. Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to visit the property as soon as possible;
  8. Further requests the State Party to submit, by 1 February 2017, a request for a minor boundary modification in view of enlarging the buffer zone, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
  9. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.
Draft Decision: 40 COM 7B.26

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.4, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Commends the State Party for the important actions undertaken to ensure the sustainable management and conservation of the property;
  4. Regrets that neither the finalized version of the Management Plan nor a request for a minor boundary modification to enlarge the buffer zone have been submitted;
  5. Urges the State Party to submit the finalized version of the Management Plan, including the legal framework that will support its implementation, to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible;
  6. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, as soon as possible and based on Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, a document summarizing the conservation and management actions already undertaken and planned at the property, and showing the articulation between them and with the finalized version of the Management Plan;
  7. Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to visit the property as soon as possible;
  8. Further requests the State Party to submit, by 1 February 2017, a request for a minor boundary modification in view of enlarging the buffer zone, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
  9. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.
Report year: 2016
Oman
Date of Inscription: 1987
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iv)
Danger List (dates): 1988-2004
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2016) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 40COM (2016)
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.


top