Well all that is a bit of a disaster for me! I had been to 17 of the sites and had "high hopes" of a good catch of new inscriptions this year! And then to only get 4 "Inscribeds" with 7 "Deferreds", 1 "Referred" , 1 both Deferred and Referred - and 4 still to declare! (my 17 are listed below for anyone interested! I would only put Le Corbusier, African rift lakes and Meroe with perhaps Persian Gardens in the top category as far as OUV is concerned. Their management aspects are of course a different matter ). Normally a few of the "deferreds" get a sympathy vote at the WHC so there is some hope there I suppose!!
credentials. Well a lot of the so called "Old city" didn't look that old to me. There is certainly an area of houses with the famed wooden shutter windows behind which Saudi ladies could look out - some well preserved, some rather grotty - and I wondered how authentic the houses to which they were attached really were. We went into the Naseef house which is representative of the merchant houses of the late 19th century (though I couldn't see many others) and is a museum now - interesting but nothing that special. The mosques we didn't get into of course but I don't believe there is anything of note historically or architecturally there either. And the souks weren't really as interesting and atmospheric/authentic as Aleppo, Jerusalem, Marrakesh (or indeed scores of other Arab souks!). As I have commented before Wahhabi beliefs do not favour keeping "old" things as to do so is regarded as an example of "worshipping" objects - so with that background and the headlong economic growth of the oil era a lot has been pulled down - though the street pattern has survived, the small shops are undistinguished concrete blocks. I always remember one named "Everything's a Riyal" (We have a cheapo shop in UK titled "Everything's a £"!). Among the guide books one can buy of Jeddah there is one dedicated to the city's many roundabouts ("Rotaries" in American) - many of which have modern sculptures/art works on them!! Some were indeed very fine. Wiki says of them "Jeddah contains a large number of modern open-air sculptures and works of art, typically situated in roundabouts, making the city one of the largest open-air art galleries in the world. Sculptures include works by a variety of artists, ranging from the obscure to international stars such as Jean/Hans Arp, César Baldaccini, Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Joan Miró and Victor Vasarely. They often depict elements of traditional Saudi culture: coffee pots, incense burners, palm trees, etc. The fact that Islamic tradition prohibits the depiction of living creatures, notably the human form, has made for some very creative modern art, ranging from the tasteful to the bizarre and downright hideous. These include a mounted defunct propeller plane, a giant geometry set, a giant bicycle, and a huge block of concrete with several cars protruding from it at odd angles".
- this tells you something about where the real interest in Jeddah is situated!!
I would also suspect that the Saudis might have problems convincing ICOMOS of their intention to preserve the remaining features from development -the planned "Mile High" tower would put the St Petersburg Gazprom tower, which ICOMOS/UNESCO opposed, almost literally into the shade and no doubt would be fully visible from e.g the Naseef House etc.
But I would think that Saudi would be very disappointed with this result. See this Wiki article on the so called "Old city" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Balad,_Jeddah.
Pearling, Testimony of an Island Economy (Bahrain); D
Bridgetown and its Garrison (Barbados); D
West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou (China); I
Konso Cultural Landscape (Ethiopia);
The Causses and the Cévennes (France);
The architectural work of Le Corbusier, an outstanding contribution to the Modern Movement
The Persian Garden (Iran); I
Fort Jesus, Mombasa (Kenya);
León Cathedral (Nicaragua); R
Historical City of Jeddah (Saudi Arabia); N
Archaeological Sites of the Island of Meroe (Sudan); D
Selimiye Mosque and its social Complex (Turkey); I
Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park (Jamaica); N/D
Wadi Rum (Jordan); R/D
Pendjari National Park (Benin, an extension of W National Park of Niger); D
Western Ghats (India); D
Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley; (Kenya); I