Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis

Factors affecting the property in 2001*
  • Changes in traditional ways of life and knowledge system
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Illegal activities
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2001
Requests approved: 1 (from 2001-2001)
Total amount approved : 7,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2001**
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 2001

Main issues: Possible conflict between conservation requirements and safeguarding of socio-cultural character of the local community

New information:

According to the decision made at the twenty-third Session of the W.H. Committee, a mission by an ICOMOS expert is due to take place in the second half of May 2001, in close coordination with the Egyptian authorities, to evaluate the issue of the relocation of the indigenous community of Qurna and its consequences for the conservation of the site’s archaeological and anthropological values.

Action Required

The Bureau may wish to examine information that will be provided/ may be available at the time of its session and take the appropriate decision thereupon.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2001
25 BUR V.206-211
Ancient Thebes with is Necropolis (Egypt)

V.206     The Secretariat reported to the Bureau on the findings of the recent mission to Thebes/Qurnah by an ICOMOS expert to investigate on the on-going relocation of the inhabitants of the village, and subsequent demolition of their houses. It was pointed out that the issues in Qurnah were of a twofold nature. On the one hand, ICOMOS was requested to clarify the extent of the threats posed by the village to the exceptional archaeological heritage of the site, which justified its inscription in the first place; and on the other hand, to assess the cultural and ethnological value of the village.

V.207     ICOMOS recalled the fact that extensive looting had been carried out on the site in previous years by the local inhabitants. It stressed that the current demolitions were carried out in a piecemeal way, without any consideration for the quality of the buildings. ICOMOS equally stressed the sociological nature of the problem and recommended a solution whereby residents in the area were entrusted as custodians of the buildings.

V.208     The Bureau took note of the report prepared by the ICOMOS expert, and stressed the need to reduce the overall population of the village of Qurnah; to ensure a decent standard of life to inhabitants who wish to stay as the official wardens of the site; to enhance and protect the traditional character of the built environment from the present chaotic development; and to record and preserve the potential archaeological remains lying under the soil from damage resulting from urban waste and infrastructure.

V.209     The Bureau recommended that the Egyptian authorities freeze the on-going unplanned demolitions of houses at the village of Qurnah and to request technical assistance from the World Heritage Fund to prepare a Management Plan for the site, according to the terms of reference outlined in the ICOMOS report.

V.210     The Plan should determine: 1) the archaeological areas which must be explored and protected; 2) the houses which should be conserved and the conditions required  (building materials, management of water, etc.) to allow some residents to continue living in the village; 3) visiting trails and the use of those constructions which would be left vacant further to the assessment of the potential for important archaeological strata; and 4) the appropriate location of functions and activities which are not compatible with the safeguarding of the site (commerce etc.).

V.211     Furthermore, the Bureau recommended that the preparation of this Plan be an opportunity to improve local capacity in site management and urban conservation.

Report year: 2001
Date of Inscription: 1979
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(iii)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 25COM (2001)

* : 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.