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Ancient City of Damascus

Syrian Arab Republic
Factors affecting the property in 2010*
  • Housing
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    poor state of conservation

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Poor state of conservation;

b) Inappropriate restoration techniques;

c) Lack of a buffer zone;

d) Lack of a management plan.

e) Development projects threatening the significant historic fabric. 

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2010

Total amount allocated to the property: USD 10,000 from the Italian Funds-in-Trust.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2010
Requests approved: 6 (from 1981-2001)
Total amount approved : 156,050 USD
Missions to the property until 2010**

March and December 2007: Word Heritage Centre missions for the King Faisal Street project; April 2008: Joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2010

The State Party submitted on 5 February 2010 a report prepared by the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) in which the following information was transmitted, responding to the issues raised by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session:

a) King Faisal street

The report recalls that King Faisal Street is situated at the northern limit of the protected area of the Ancient city and, therefore, any project concerning the Street will be reviewed by the concerned Antiquities authorities in accordance with the national legislation (Law of Archaeology).

b) Medhat Pacha cultural centre

The report indicates that the municipality of Damascus ordered the destruction of the addition made to the modern building and that its façade should correspond to the style of the surrounding buildings. However, the requested documentation on the project has not been sent to the World Heritage Centre.

c) Ongoing conservation and rehabilitation projects

The report stipulates the following projects proposed for 2010 without, however, providing detailed information on their implementation:

i) rehabilitation project of the north-south passage of the Citadel and its separation from Souq Hammidyya;

ii) rehabilitation project of the lighting of the “Temple of Sirens” situated in the in the old jewellery souq;

iii) infrastructure rehabilitation project in the Naqacchat neighbourhood;

iv) infrastructure rehabilitation project in the Saida Roukayya neighbourhood.

Regarding the rehabilitation of housing, the report notes that it will respond to the needs presented by the inhabitants in conformity with construction priorities, using traditional materials both when restoring and reconstructing. In parallel, commissions will be established in order to study and organise the system of new constructions in the old city, in conformity with international standards and the Syrian law.

d) Management Plan

No information on the preparation of a Management Plan was included in the report, nor on the coordination of the various activities carried out either by the national authorities or international organisations.

e) Buffer zone

The report includes Decree number 27/A of 26 January 2010 for the establishment of a buffer zone around the Ancient City. The State Party announces that the maps for the buffer zone will be sent to the World Heritage Centre for approval by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011.   

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies take note that a decree has been issued for the establishment of a buffer zone and await submission of a minor modification with the official maps indicating the boundaries of this buffer zone and details of its protective regulations,

They regret the absence of documentation requested by the World Heritage Committee for the Medhat Pacha cultural centre, and of confirmation that the King Faisal project will be abandoned as requested by the World Heritage Committee during its 32nd session,

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are concerned that no progress has been made in the preparation of a management plan, as requested by theWorld Heritage Committee at several sessions, in order to improve overall co-ordination of the conservation and development of the property and to set out overall strategies, such as for when reconstruction is allowed.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2010
34 COM 7B.64
Ancient City of Damascus (Syrian Arab Republic) (C 20)

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7B. 63, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3. Takes note with satisfaction of the progress made by the State Party in establishing a buffer zone for the property through the approval of Decree number 27/A of 26 January 2010;

4. Requests the State Party to send detailed information on the four rehabilitation projects mentioned in the report as early as possible for examination by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;

5. Also requests the authorities to continue to inform the World Heritage Centre in detail of any proposals to re-design or re-shape the King Faisal street area;

6. Takes note of interventions undertaken to reduce the impact of the cultural centre on Medhat Pasha street, but reiterates its request that the State Party send further documentation on the building project as early as possible to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;

7. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to develop a management plan for the property, to ensure coordination of all actions undertaken in the property;

8. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, a progress report on the above recommendations and on the state of conservation of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011.

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.64

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7B. 63, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3. Takes note with satisfaction of the progress made by the State Party in establishing a buffer zone for the property through the approval of Decree number 27/A of 26 January 2010;

4. Requests the State Party to send detailed information on the four rehabilitation projects mentioned in the report as early as possible for examination by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;

5. Also requests the authorities to continue to inform the World Heritage Centre in detail of any proposals to re-design or re-shape the King Faisal street area;

6. Takes note of interventions undertaken to reduce the impact of the cultural centre on Medhat Pasha street, but reiterates its request that the State Party send further documentation on the building project as early as possible Centre for review by the to the World Heritage and the Advisory Bodies;

7. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to develop a Management Plan for the property, to ensure coordination of all actions undertaken in the property;

8. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, a progress report on the above recommendations and on the state of conservation of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011.

Report year: 2010
Syrian Arab Republic
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 2013-present
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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