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Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah

Saudi Arabia
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
  • Housing
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    High rate of decay of the historic houses

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Detailed Conservation Strategy not finalized
  • High rate of decay of the historic houses
  • Housing
  • Management systems/ management plan: Management system not in place
  • Need for a risk management and prevention plan
  • Projects and development work with the potential to impact the authenticity of the property
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2021
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2021**
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 27 November 2020, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, a summary of which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1361/documents. It reports the following activities:

  • A new Ministry of Culture has been established with 11 new sub-commissions, of which the Heritage Commission covers all aspects of cultural heritage;
  • The Council of Ministers approved the establishment of the Jeddah Historic District (JHD) with a programme aimed at rehabilitating and developing the property. JHD is composed of five departments, overseeing the management and implementation of activities;
  • Progress has been made in the development of the new GIS database for the property and buffer zone, which includes new layers of information;
  • JHD is integrating a holistic approach in management, knowledge, planning, assessment, regulatory systems and community engagement for the property, and for which the 2011 Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape will be utilized;
  • Actions are foreseen along three stages: knowledge of the place; planning and defining strategies; and monitoring the evolution of the achieved results. Progress has been made in implementing the first and second stages;
  • Several actions have been developed with the aim of creating a balance between conservation and development. Interventions have focused on urban paths, regulations for shopfronts, improved coordination and new bidding regulations;
  • The Masterplan that is being established encompasses three strategic phases. Phase 1 (Plan) focuses on 6 priority zones for core regeneration projects; Phase 2 (Regeneration Plan) involves 11 priority sites to tackle the comprehensive regeneration of Historic Jeddah; and Phase 3 (Regeneration of Al-Balad), tackles the wider regeneration of Al-Balad;
  • A Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) will be launched to evaluate the potential impact of the Masterplan on the property. Individual projects will be screened to identify if HIA is necessary;
  • Prevention and mitigation measures are in place to prevent fire hazards;
  • Extracts of several studies have been submitted, including: Heritage Documentation, Assessment and Strategy, Al Balad Regeneration and Development Plan (Part 1. Masterplan); Public Realm Strategy and Design Manual; Al Balad Design Guidelines for Non Heritage Buildings; Al Balad Jeddah Old Town; Restoration Manual for Historical Buildings in Historical Jeddah; and Strategic Assessment - Security. Information on examples of restoration studies and illustrations of several completed projects have been provided.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2021

The State Party has made headway at the institutional level through the creation of the Ministry of Culture, and more specifically, in relation to the establishment of the Jeddah Historic District (JHD). It is important that the continued coordination between entities is ensured for effective protection of the property.

Important progress has been made with regards to the GIS database of Historic Jeddah, which now encompasses several layers of information, with various classifications, such as condition, typologies, and spatial and functional characteristics. It is important that all attributes relating to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property are included within the database.

The implementation of the 2011 Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscapeis considered relevant for the integration of heritage with urban development, economy, environment and socio-cultural aspects within the framework of the Masterplan of urban regeneration of Historic Jeddah. Several studies and plans have been launched, regulatory systems have been put in place, and efforts are being made to ensure community engagement.

While the State Party did not submit a comprehensive conservation strategy as requested by the Committee, it has provided extracts of several documents demonstrating ongoing work and studies related to the preparation of a Masterplan for the historic city, restoration and design guidelines, and development strategies, among others. The preparation of such a comprehensive Masterplan with supporting documents and guidelines demonstrate the efforts that are currently being undertaken by the State Party, which is very welcomed. In this regard, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to submit the complete versions of these documents, in addition to a conservation strategy, design guidelines and restoration manual addressing heritage conservation, for review by the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies.

The State Party has identified several projects for urgent intervention at vulnerable buildings, and information on selected conservation projects was shared. The State Party intends to conduct pilot projects in order to demonstrate best practices in emergency conservation, and, an adaptive reuse programme is in place for historical buildings. The extracts of the documentation and assessment studies for individual conservation projects reflect the in-depth scientific analysis that is being undertaken, which is commendable. In this context, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to submit full technical information on these projects, as well as plans for new constructions, for review by the Advisory Bodies.

The strategic and transversal HIA, which is being prepared by the State Party for the Masterplan, is necessary to assess the impact of the planned activities within the property. In this regard, it is to be noted that an HIA would be required for all developments. It is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to prepare all essential HIA studies in accordance with ICOMOS Guidance on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage properties and submit them to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies before the implementation of any major irreversible interventions, which could impact the OUV of the property.

The State Party has undertaken mitigation measures to prevent fire hazards since 2018. Yet, a risk management and prevention plan for the property has not been prepared. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to formalise such a plan to reduce the impact of negative risks resulting from accidents or other force majeure in the future.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
44 COM 7B.136
Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah (Saudi Arabia) (C 1361)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7B.58, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Commends the State Party for continuing to develop the database for the property to encompass additional layers, and encourages it to pursue its efforts in this regard to ensure that all attributes relating to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property are included within this database;
  4. Takes note of the establishment of the Jeddah Historic District (JHD) programme, and welcomes the substantial efforts of the State Party in undertaking the preparation of a number of strategic documents and plans, including a Masterplan, in addition to implementing conservation and rehabilitation projects;
  5. Acknowledges the State Party’s efforts in the implementation of the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach to the management and urban regeneration of the property and also encourages it to continue sharing information with the World Heritage Centre in that regard;
  6. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, the complete version of the documents provided in the report, particularly:
    1. The Regeneration and Development Plan (Masterplan),
    2. Complete technical information on conservation/restoration projects,
    3. The Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) framework for the Masterplan,
    4. The complete integrated conservation strategy, design guidelines, and restoration manual,
    5. The risk management and prevention plan for the property;
  7. Reminds the State Party of the need to inform the World Heritage Centre in due course about any major development project that may negatively impact the OUV of the property, before any irreversible decisions are made, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, 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 46th session.
Draft Decision: 44 COM 7B.136

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7B.58, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Commends the State Party for continuing to develop the database for the property to encompass additional layers, and encourages it to pursue its efforts in this regard to ensure that all attributes relating to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property are included within this database;
  4. Takes note of the establishment of the Jeddah Historic District (JHD) programme, and welcomes the substantial efforts of the State Party in undertaking the preparation of a number of strategic documents and plans, including a Masterplan, in addition to implementing conservation and rehabilitation projects;
  5. Acknowledges the State Party’s efforts in the implementation of the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach to the management and urban regeneration of the property and also encourages it to continue sharing information with the World Heritage Centre in that regard;
  6. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, the complete version of the documents provided in the report, particularly:
    1. The Regeneration and Development Plan (Masterplan),
    2. Complete technical information on conservation/restoration projects,
    3. The Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) framework for the Masterplan,
    4. The complete integrated conservation strategy, design guidelines, and restoration manual,
    5. The risk management and prevention plan for the property;
  7. Reminds the State Party of the need to inform the World Heritage Centre in due course about any major development project that may negatively impact the OUV of the property, before any irreversible decisions are made, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, 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 46th session in 2023.
Report year: 2021
Saudi Arabia
Date of Inscription: 2014
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2020) .pdf
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.


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