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

Stone Town of Zanzibar

United Republic of Tanzania
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
  • Commercial development
  • Financial resources
  • Housing
  • Human resources
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Legal framework
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Natural disasters and lack of risk-preparedness

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Management system/management plan
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Development and environmental pressures, particularly in relation with Malindi port project (issue resolved)
  • Natural disasters and lack of risk-preparedness
  • Visitors/tourist pressures
  • Housing pressure
  • Lack of human and financial resources
  • Lack of legal framework
  • Commercial development (large shopping mall) particularly in relation to the Darajani Corridor project
  • Lack of maintenance of built fabric
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2021

Total amount provided to the property: 2009: USD 24,000 for the inventory of the public spaces in Zanzibar; 2011: USD 14,000 for capacity-building in managing digital inventory; 2013: 49,935 USD for participatory mapping of HUL (Netherlands Funds-in-Trust). 2010-2013; USD 400,000 for Zanzibar and two other African sites under the World Heritage Cities Programme (Flemish Funds-in-Trust), USD 40,00 for Zanzibar for emergence works and capacity building (Oman FiT)

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2021
Requests approved: 1 (from 1998-1998)
Total amount approved : 15,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2021**

May 2008: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission; January 2011: ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; September/October 2013: ICOMOS Advisory mission; October/November 2014: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission; February 2016: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission; October 2017: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission; December 2019: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

A joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission visited the property in December 2019 (mission report available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/173/documents). Subsequently, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report on 28 December 2019, which is also available at the above-mentioned address, and responds in detail to Decision 42 COM 7B.51, as follows:

  • The Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) on the Green Corridors project was under preparation, while the draft HIA on the Darajani Mall project was submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  • The Cross-Cutting Task Team (CCTT) recommended by the Committee was established in February 2019, creating a strong inter-institutional governance and management mechanism. An overview of its activities is appended to the report, which include investigating the implementation of the mitigation measures for the Mambo Msiige building and engaging the operator of the hotel in the process;
  • The Development Control Unit (DCU), the Board of Directors for the Stone Town Conservation and Development Authority (STCDA), and the Stakeholders Forum have all been established; the establishment of the Heritage Board is in the process;
  • Emergency restoration works have been undertaken on the Tippu Tip House and its future use is being discussed by the developer and the Zanzibar Ministry of Lands, Housing, Water and Energy;
  • The Sultanate of Oman has funded the stabilization of the Palace Museum, and the conservation plan for the restoration of the building has been completed, but this was not included in the report. Restoration will be implemented soon;
  • A buildings survey of the property has been initiated and was expected to be completed by December 2019. Special attention was to be given to the restoration of buildings belonging to the Zanzibar Housing Corporation (ZHC): 11 of the 27 buildings categorized as being in a poor state of conservation were restored, and the ZHC plans to undertake restoration of 15 more;
  • The Bwawani Hotel project has been halted. No further information is currently available.

Subsequent to the report summarised above, the State Party submitted the HIA of the Michenzani Green Corridor Project (MGCP) as well as a proposal for the reuse of the Tippu Tip House to the World Heritage Centre for review.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2021

The progress made by the State Party in establishing the CCTT, halting the Bwawani Hotel redevelopment, undertaking a survey of the property and the reported restorations are positive. The reported structural stabilization at the Palace Museum and at the Tippu Tip House are welcome. It should be noted, however, that the material regarding the emergency work at the Tippu Tip House was submitted to the World Heritage Centre only subsequent to its implementation, not beforehand as requested by the Committee (42 COM 7B.51). Recent submission of information notified that the building, like the Mambo Msiige building, had been leased to a hotel operator. A project proposal for the reuse of the structure, in part as restaurant and hotel accommodation, also allows for areas for displays relating to the person of Tippu Tip. This proposal has been reviewed by ICOMOS as not being appropriate to the significance of this building. The 2014, 2016 and 2017 Joint UNESCO/Advisory Bodies missions all recommended that the building be given a public education use and the Committee may wish to request that a use appropriate to the building’s history and significance be identified. The structural stability of the Palace Museum remains a source of great concern.

The 2019 mission reported that the establishment of the CCTT has been of great benefit in the coordination of the management of the property but noted that the management system of the property is still not functioning effectively. It reported that the Heritage Board has not yet been legally established, but as the CCTT’s mandate operates until 2024, it could be subsumed by the Heritage Board.

The State Party has also made progress with regard to the new integrated Conservation and Heritage Management Plan. This is an important tool to improve the management of the property and its completion and submission to the World Heritage Centre for review and subsequent implementation is urgent.

The mission further reported new initiatives at the property with potential to improve its state of conservation, including the Stone Town Mobility Management Plan, the Zanzibar City Centre Local Area Plan (Ng’ambo Local Area Plan) and the MGCP. A HIA for the MGCP was submitted to the World Heritage Centre and reviewed by ICOMOS.  

Other envisaged developments remain points of concern, including the Darajani Corridor Business Centre, of which the negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property had previously been noted by the Committee (42 COM 7B.51). This proposal needs to be reconceptualised and aligned with the Zanzibar City Centre Local Area Plan and the MGCP. The relocation of the container terminal from the Malindi Harbour to Maruhubi requires careful guidance. HIAs should be undertaken on the redevelopment of the Malindi Harbour and the development of the Maruhubi Harbour, which is located within the property’s buffer zone.

The mission recommended that the property should not be considered for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger at present due to the positive steps initiated by the State Party. However, should the lack of effective conservation management, combined with the perilous state of conservation of the property and development pressures, not be addressed in the short term, this could warrant the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in accordance with Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines, by the Committee at its session in 2023. It would therefore be appropriate for the State Party to update the Committee on its activities through annual state of conservation reports and to invite a World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to the property during the first half of 2023 to assess its state of conservation.

The mission however, concluded that the state of conservation of the property remains a point of great concern, and observed the need for urgent re-enforcement of conservation guidelines to halt the continuing decay of the built fabric of the property.

These concerns were unfortunately confirmed by the partial collapse of the House of Wonders on 25 December 2020, with some loss of life. Two emergency missions were dispatched to the property under the guidance of the World Heritage Centre: one to provide advice to stabilise the structure, the other to create an accurate digital scan of the structure. The World Heritage Centre has been in close contact with the State Party following the disaster. The State Party has invited a World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Advisory mission to the property, which will visit the property as soon as health conditions allow. The State Party of Oman has also pledged its financial support for the rehabilitation of the House of Wonders.

The House of Wonders is a key attribute of the OUV of this property. The future rehabilitation of the building is a complex challenge that will require a thorough analysis of the current structural state of the building and the methods with which it was constructed. All potentially reusable components of the building need to be salvaged.  The Operational Guidelines state that “Reconstruction is acceptable only on the basis of complete and detailed documentation and to no extent on conjecture” (Paragraph 86). Therefore, much archival and on-site investigation is required into the successive stages of the building over its history. The technologies utilised in its construction will need to be carefully studied before a rehabilitation strategy can be developed. At the same time, thought needs to be given to the future use of the building as a key attribute of this property.

The idea of composing a Scientific Committee team to assist in developing the museum displays and the technical requirements for the museum to function properly is all the more welcome. Such a committee could be expanded to assist and advise the State Party on the investigations required to come to a rehabilitation strategy that supports the contribution of this important attribute to the OUV.

Simultaneously, it is advised that the State Party develop an action plan to address the state of conservation of the built fabric of the property as a whole, not just the listed buildings. Such an action plan should aim to support the OUV of the property and be community driven to ensure that it can count on the support of the residents of the property.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
44 COM 7B.12
Stone Town of Zanzibar (United Republic of Tanzania) (C 173rev)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7B.51, adopted in its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Acknowledges the progress made by the State Party in establishing the Cross-Cutting Task Team and in the emergency stabilisation of the Tippu Tip House, welcomes the development of the Stone Town Mobility Management Plan and the Michenzani Green Corridor Project (MGCP);
  4. Notes the conclusions of the 2019 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission that the state of conservation of the property remains a point of great concern, that re-enforcement of conservation guidelines and building control is urgent, and that the management system of the property is not functioning effectively;
  5. Also notes the recommendations of the 2019 Reactive Monitoring mission and requests the State Party to implement them without delay;
  6. Further notes the progress made in drafting the new integrated Conservation and Heritage Management Plan (CHMP), and also requests the State Party to submit it to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies as soon as possible and to implement it as soon as agreement has been reached on its content following this review;
  7. Notes with concern the recent collapse of a large section of the House of Wonders, and urges the State Party to:
    1. Ensure that the still-remaining portion of the building is safeguarded in the long term,
    2. Salvage, keep safe and make an inventory of all possibly reusable components of the building from the collapsed portion of the building,
    3. Expand the proposed technical team proposed to assist in developing the museum displays to assist and advise it on the investigations required to come to a rehabilitation strategy that supports the contribution of this important attribute of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV),
    4. Design, advised by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies and the proposed technical team, and implement a research project to investigate the chronological history of the building and its constructing technologies through archival and on-site investigations,
    5. Develop alternative proposals for the rehabilitation of the building advised by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies and the proposed Scientific Committee and submit these to the World Heritage Centre for consideration by the Committee;
  8. Also acknowledges the support of the State Party of Oman for the stabilization of the Palace Museum , and reiterates its request to the State Party to submit information on the renovation approach for the rehabilitation project of the Palace Museum to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies as soon as possible and before the project is implemented;
  9. Further requests that:
    1. The important attributes of the Malindi Harbour be inventoried and the future redevelopment of the Malindi Harbour and the development of the Maruhubi Harbour be subject to Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs), conforming to Paragraph 118 bis of the Operational Guidelines,
    2. The Darajani Corridor Business Centre be reconceptualised and aligned with the Zanzibar City Centre Local Area Plan and the Michenzani Green Corridor Project plan, the new design for the Darajani Corridor Business Centre be reviewed through an HIA process, and the plans and HIA be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies,
    3. Alternative proposals for the Tippu Tip House that ensures public educational use appropriate to its significant contribution to the OUV of the property be developed,
    4. In the mid-term, a Strategic Development Plan be developed for the property to coordinate all development projects within the site including its aquatic buffer zone, within the framework of the Zanzibar Town Master Plan, and be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies,
    5. A multi-year community-driven action plan be urgently developed to address the state of conservation of the built fabric of the property;
  10. Acknowledges the invitation by the State Party for a joint UNESCO/ICOMOS/ICCROM Advisory mission to the property and requests furthermore the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to the property in early 2023 to assess its overall state of conservation and, in particular, progress on the implementation of the new integrated CHMP and assess whether the state of conservation of the property and development pressures warrant the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  11. Notes furthermore that, if not addressed, the lack of effective conservation management, combined with the poor state of conservation of the property and development pressures, could warrant a future inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in accordance with Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines;
  12. Thanks the State Party of Oman and the World Monuments Fund for their contributions to the recovery activities related to the House of Wonders in the Stone Town of Zanzibar World Heritage property, the State Party of Oman for its further financial commitments made to its future rehabilitations, further welcomes the actions undertaken by the State Party of the United Republic of Tanzania to safeguard the remainder of the building, and requests moreover that the rehabilitation of the House of Wonders be developed as exemplary research project for recovery, repair and maintenance of traditional Swahili buildings in this and other World Heritage properties on the east African coast;
  13. Callsfor an increased mobilization of the international community to provide more financial and technical support to the State Party, including through International Assistance, to implement the short- and medium-term measures to improve the state of conservation of the property;
  14. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, a report on the state of conservation of the property, and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session.
Draft Decision: 44 COM 7B.12

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7B.51, adopted in its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Acknowledges the progress made by the State Party in establishing the Cross-Cutting Task Team and in the emergency stabilisation of the Tippu Tip House, welcomes the development of the Stone Town Mobility Management Plan and the Michenzani Green Corridor Project (MGCP);
  4. Notes the conclusions of the 2019 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission that the state of conservation of the property remains a point of great concern, that re-enforcement of conservation guidelines and building control is urgent, and that the management system of the property is not functioning effectively;
  5. Also notes the recommendations of the 2019 Reactive Monitoring mission and requests the State Party to implement them without delay;
  6. Further notes the progress made in drafting the new integrated Conservation and Heritage Management Plan (CHMP), and also requests the State Party to submit it to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies as soon as possible and to implement it as soon as agreement has been reached on its content following this review;
  7. Notes with concern the recent collapse of a large section of the House of Wonders, and urges the State Party to:
    1. Ensure that the still-remaining portion of the building is safeguarded in the long term,
    2. Salvage, keep safe and make an inventory of all possibly reusable components of the building from the collapsed portion of the building,
    3. Expand the proposed technical team proposed to assist in developing the museum displays to assist and advise it on the investigations required to come to a rehabilitation strategy that supports the contribution of this important attribute of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV),
    4. Design, advised by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies and the proposed technical team, and implement a research project to investigate the chronological history of the building and its constructing technologies through archival and on-site investigations,
    5. Develop alternative proposals for the rehabilitation of the building advised by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies and the proposed Scientific Committee and submit these to the World Heritage Centre for consideration by the Committee;
  8. Also acknowledges the support of the State Party of Oman for the stabilization of the Palace Museum , and reiterates its request to the State Party to submit information on the renovation approach for the rehabilitation project of the Palace Museum to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies as soon as possible and before the project is implemented;
  9. Further requests that:
    1. The important attributes of the Malindi Harbour be inventoried and the future redevelopment of the Malindi Harbour and the development of the Maruhubi Harbour be subject to Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs), conforming to Paragraph 118 bis of the Operational Guidelines,
    2. The Darajani Corridor Business Centre be reconceptualised and aligned with the Zanzibar City Centre Local Area Plan and the Michenzani Green Corridor Project plan, the new design for the Darajani Corridor Business Centre be reviewed through an HIA process, and the plans and HIA be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies,
    3. Alternative proposals for the Tippu Tip House that ensures public educational use appropriate to its significant contribution to the OUV of the property be developed,
    4. In the mid-term, a Strategic Development Plan be developed for the property to coordinate all development projects within the site including its aquatic buffer zone, within the framework of the Zanzibar Town Master Plan, and be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies,
    5. A multi-year community-driven action plan be urgently developed to address the state of conservation of the built fabric of the property;
  10. Acknowledges the invitation by the State Party for a joint UNESCO/ICOMOS/ICCROM Advisory mission to the property and requests furthermore the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to the property in early 2023 to assess its overall state of conservation and, in particular, progress on the implementation of the new integrated CHMP and assess whether the state of conservation of the property and development pressures warrant the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  11. Notes furthermore that, if not addressed, the lack of effective conservation management, combined with the poor state of conservation of the property and development pressures, could warrant a future inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in accordance with Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines;
  12. Thanks the State Party of Oman and the World Monuments Fund for their contributions to the recovery activities related to the House of Wonders in the Stone Town of Zanzibar World Heritage property, the State Party of Oman for its further financial commitments made to its future rehabilitations, further welcomes the actions undertaken by the State Party of the United Republic of Tanzania to safeguard the remainder of the building, and requests moreover that the rehabilitation of the House of Wonders be developed as exemplary research project for recovery, repair and maintenance of traditional Swahili buildings in this and other World Heritage properties on the east African coast;
  13. Callsfor an increased mobilization of the international community to provide more financial and technical support to the State Party, including through International Assistance, to implement the short- and medium-term measures to improve the state of conservation of the property;
  14. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, a report on the state of conservation of the property, and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session in 2022.
Report year: 2021
United Republic of Tanzania
Date of Inscription: 2000
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2019) .pdf
Initialy proposed for examination in 2020
arrow_circle_right 44COM (2021)
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