1.         Historic City of Meknes (Morocco) (C 793)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1996

Criteria  (iv)

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/793/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/793/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

April 2010: World Heritage Centre emergency mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/793/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

On 10 February 2011, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property and activities carried out in recent months. The report indicates that the Plan for the Development and Safeguarding of the Historic City, including a development regulation, is nearing completion. In addition, an architectural charter for the historic centre of Meknes has been produced by the Ministry for Housing, Urban Affairs and Territorial Development, represented by the Urban Agency of Meknes. Other studies and projects are underway such as the landscape plan and a landscape charter for the valley of Wadi Boufekrane, a study of urban renewal and redevelopment of the historic centre of Meknes, a study of urban renovation and restoration of Fondouk El-Jdid, and the creation of thematic visitor itineraries.

In particular, a study was launched to prepare the urban rehabilitation of the medina of Meknes, with support from the European Investment Bank in the framework of the project "Medinas 2030”, a pilot project with the objective to develop a "replicable" methodological framework to ensure the preservation of key elements of cultural heritage, promote local economic development and meet the basic needs of the resident population.

a) Conservation

The report of the State Party highlights the problems caused by poor maintenance and the lack of monitoring and maintenance teams. The Safeguarding Plan that is being prepared should remedy this situation. In addition, the State Party refers to the project for the establishment of a local Heritage Preservation Agency, with administrative and financial autonomy.

The report also contains fact sheets on 37 restoration projects completed, ongoing or planned, including photographs. They contain little technical detail on methods used, but the pictures show that they are rather complete renovations or identical reconstructions.

b) Berdieyinne Mosque

The State Party also submitted documents relating to the project for the restoration / reconstruction of the Berdieyinne Mosque whose minaret collapsed in February 2010. This project was transmitted to ICOMOS for assessment. ICOMOS notably regrets that the project includes a list of actions to be taken on individual components without policy guidance and overall philosophy of the project. It is particularly concerned by the indication of the use of contemporary techniques and materials, and wishes that the document present an analysis of options for earthquake mitigation proposing minimal measures to be taken. 

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

The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies recommend that the Committee congratulate the State Party on the extent of the safeguarding and rehabilitation programme undertaken in the Historic City of Meknes and its Walls. Nevertheless they wish to be assured that the work has been conducted using traditional methods and materials.

Regarding the Berdieyinne Mosque, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies notice that the recommendations of the April 2010 mission have not been taken into account in the restoration project in order to ensure the authenticity of the monument. While understanding the need to ensure stability and resistence of the monument to earthquakes, the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies do not consider that this need justifies a concrete reconstruction with brick siding, which would result in retaining only the shape of the monument and not its authentic structure. In addition, they wish to emphasize the importance of minimal interventions in conservation approaches, involving the fewest possible changes, to be considered only when the functional needs so dictate.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that the restricted timetable of this project has resulted, in a certain manner, in an invasive approach. They consider it a priority to review the project and adopt a conservation approach that respects the original materials and authenticity of the monument. The project should involve appropriate conservation experts both in the definition of this approach and in the implementation phase. Finally, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies wish that the revised project be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies before beginning work.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.56

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.61, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Takes note of the information provided by the State Party and appreciates the magnitude of the actions implemented to safeguard the heritage of the Historic City of Meknes;

4. Requests the State Party to take into account the recommendations of the expert who visited the Berdieyinne Mosque in April 2010 and those of ICOMOS in its 2011 evaluation, in view of the implementation of the restoration project of the mosque;

5. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible the overall philosophy and general guidelines of the project missing from the submitted document for consideration by the Advisory Bodies, and a revised project respecting the original materials and preserving the authenticity of the structure, for review by the Advisory Bodies before the commencement of work;

6. Further requests the State Party to continue to regularly inform the World Heritage Centre of the work undertaken and the progress made in the completion of a conservation plan and in the establishment of the local Safeguarding Agency.