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Bahla Fort

Oman
Factors affecting the property in 2010*
  • 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

a) Deterioration of the earthen structures of the Fort;

b) Use of inappropriate conservation techniques;

c) Urban pressure;

d) Lack of a management plan and appropriate legislation.

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2010

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

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2010
Requests approved: 2 (from 1988-1988)
Total amount approved : 57,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2010**

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 2010

On 12 February 2010 a report on the state of conservation of the Bahla Fort and its Oasis was submitted by the State Party. The report outlines progress made on the management plan and institutional framework at the property, as well as updates on ongoing restoration works at various parts of the property. The report also covers progress on the souq rehabilitation project and improving traditional skills in earthen architecture.

 

From 18 to 23 December 2009, a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM monitoring mission visited the property as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009). 

a) Management Plan

The State Party’s report states that a first management plan was developed for the site in 2003 and completed in 2005. It also states, however, that only part of the 2005 management plan has been adopted by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture: that part which deals with policies for safeguarding and enhancement of the property. 

The reactive monitoring mission found that the management plan was still in the phase of being finalized. The mission team met with the consultants carrying out the work and were presented with a draft of the updated plan, still to be officially endorsed by the State Party. Assurances were given to the mission that the State Party would be shortly adopting the management plan, probably through a royal decree. 

b) Institutional development

The State Party reports that a new regional office of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture has been established in the Dakhliyah region which is responsible for the Bahla Fort. A site office has also been established at Bahla and additional staff has been appointed. Local community involvement in the site has also been encouraged through the work of these new offices. Building regulations have also been adopted.

c) Project proposal for the restoration and rehabilitation of the souq

The original project proposal for the rehabilitation of the souq was reviewed by ICOMOS in 2009 and a number of significant changes were requested. The State Party reports that as a result, an ICOMOS specialist architect has been appointed to work with the project consultants on an updated proposal. The State Party reports that it will not take any further action until the proposal is approved by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies.

The mission team had the opportunity to review progress on the new design concept for the souq and found that the project addressed many of the concerns outlined by ICOMOS. In the meantime, the mission also noticed significant issues related to the state of conservation of some of the earthen buildings in the souq, caused primarily by flooding and that the drainage system needs to be significantly improved in order to alleviate risks from flooding. 

d) Improvements in earthen construction know-how

The State Party reports that in order to allow for the traditional techniques of working with earthen architecture, a new sustainable source of the basic material needed to be located. A sustainable source was found and the Ministry of Heritage and Culture has established a centralized production facility for making earthen bricks for the property.

The mission noted that while the establishment of this new production facility was a positive step, there was still some concern about the need for proper research and guidance on the use of the correct materials and mixes for the earthen bricks. Such research will lead to improvements in the quality of the bricks and, therefore, fewer conservation problems. 

e) Other issues

The mission noted that the currently defined boundaries may not provide adequate protection. It therefore recommended that a study be carried out with the aim of enlarging the protected area and establishing a buffer zone.. 

Another issue examined by the mission was the Falaj water system, which is an important component of the Oasis. The mission recommended that conservation work be carried out on some parts of the system. 

The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies feel that the completion of an updated Management Plan would constitute a significant achievement for the establishment of an appropriate management system at the property. They urge, however, for the full adoption of the final plan by the State Party as soon as possible, as has been requested in the past by the World Heritage Committee.

The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies feel that the strengthening of the institutional framework and the involvement of the local community at the Fort should be seen as a very positive step in the long-term sustainability of the property.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are pleased with the steps being taken by the State Party to improve the design approach to the souq, and will examine the new proposal when it is finalized by the State Party and submitted to the World Heritage Centre.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2010
34 COM 7B.62
Bahla Fort (Oman) (C 433)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7B. 61, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3. Commends the State Party for the progress achieved both on the Management Plan, the Souq project, and the restoration of various parts of the property;

4. Requests the State Party to fully adopt the Management Plan as soon as it is finalized to ensure the proper management and conservation of the property;

5. Also requests the State Party to submit the revised proposal for the restoration of the souq to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre;

6. Further requests the State Party to implement the set of recommendations outlined in the World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission report of December 2009, notably to continue with research on the earthen bricks with the aim of producing guidelines for improving their quality as a building material, to consider enlarging the buffer zone to ensure the necessary protection of the property and to take steps to begin the conservation of the Falaj system;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2012 an updated report on the state of conservation and progress made in responding to the recommendations above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.

34 COM 8E
Adoption of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/8E,

2. Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex I of Documents WHC-10/34.COM/8E, WHC-10/34.COM/8E.Add and WHC-10/34.COM/8E.Add.2 for the following World Heritage properties: 

  • Algeria: Al Qal'a of Beni Hammad; M'Zab Valley; Djémila; Tipasa; Tassili n'Ajjer; Timgad; Kasbah of Algiers;
  • Austria: Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg; Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn; Hallstatt-Dachstein / Salzkammergut Cultural Landscape;
  • Bulgaria: Boyana Church; Madara Rider; Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak; Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo; Rila Monastery; Ancient City of Nessebar; Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari;
  • Côte d'Ivoire: Comoé National Park;
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo: Okapi Wildlife Reserve;
  • Denmark: Jelling Mounds, Runic Stones and Church; Roskilde Cathedral;
  • Ethiopia: SimienNational Park;
  • Israel: Masada; Old City of Acre; White City of Tel-Aviv - the Modern Movement; Incense Route - Desert Cities in the Negev; Biblical Tels - Megiddo, Hazor, Beer Sheba;
  • Jordan: Petra; Quseir Amra; Um er-Rasas (Kastrom Mefa'a);
  • Lebanon: Anjar; Byblos; Baalbek; Tyre; Ouadi Qadisha (the Holy Valley) and the Forest of the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz-el-Rab);
  • Malawi: Lake Malawi National Park;
  • Mauritania: Banc d'Arguin National Park; Ancient Ksour of Ouadane, Chinguetti, Tichitt and Oualata;
  • Morocco: Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou; Historic City of Meknes; Archaeological Site of Volubilis; Medina of Essaouira (formerly Mogador); Medina of Fez; Medina of Marrakesh; Medina of Tétouan (formerly known as Titawin); Portuguese City of Mazagan (El Jadida);
  • Niger: Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves; W National Park of Niger;
  • Oman: Bahla Fort;
  • Portugal: Laurisilva of Madeira;
  • Senegal: Island of Gorée; Niokolo-Koba National Park;
  • Seychelles: Aldabra Atoll; Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve;
  • South Africa: Fossil Hominid Sites of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai, and Environs.
  • Spain: Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville ;
  • Sudan: Gebel Barkal and the Sites of the Napatan Region;
  • Syrian Arab Republic: Ancient City of Bosra; Ancient City of Aleppo; Crac des Chevaliers and Qal'at Salah El-Din; City of Damascus; Site of Palmyra;
  • Tunisia: Archaeological Site of Carthage; Amphitheatre of El Jem; Ichkeul National Park; Medina of Sousse; Kairouan; Medina of Tunis; Punic Town of Kerkuane and its Necropolis; Dougga / Thugga;
  • Uganda: Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi;
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: Saltaire; Dorset and East Devon Coast; Derwent Valley Mills; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; Liverpool - Maritime Mercantile City; Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape.
  • United Republic of Tanzania: Selous Game Reserve; Kilimanjaro National Park;
  • Yemen: Historic Town of Zabid;

3. Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in Danger will be reviewed in priority;

4. Further decides that, considering the high number of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value to be examined, the order in which they will be reviewed will follow the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting, namely:

  • World Heritage properties in the Arab States;
  • World Heritage properties in Africa;
  • World Heritage properties in Asia and the Pacific;
  • World Heritage properties in Latin America and the Caribbean;
  • World Heritage properties in Europe and North America.
Draft Decision: 34 COM 7B.62

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7B. 61, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3. Commends the State Party for the progress achieved both on the Management Plan, the Souq project, and the restoration of various parts of the property;

4. Requests the State Party to fully adopt the Management Plan as soon as it is finalized to ensure the proper management and conservation of the property;

5. Also requests the State Party to submit the revised proposal for the restoration of the souq to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre;

6. Further requests the State Party to implement the set of recommendations outlined in the World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission report of December 2009, notably to continue with research on the earthen bricks with the aim of producing guidelines for improving their quality as a building material, to consider enlarging the buffer zone to ensure the necessary protection of the property and to take steps to begin the conservation of the Falaj system;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2012 an updated report on the state of conservation and progress made in responding to the recommendations above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th Session in 2012.

Report year: 2010
Oman
Date of Inscription: 1987
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iv)
Danger List (dates): 1988-2004
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 34COM (2010)
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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