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Top 50 - Arab States [2020]

 
 
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Author winterkjm
Partaker
#1 | Posted: 5 Apr 2020 13:03 | Edited by: winterkjm 
We completed 2 weeks of discussion and proposals for Africa. Let us now move to the Arab States. Laas Gaal (Somalia) seems like a carryover from Africa, since it has a lot of support within our community, but in the end it was suggested to categorize Somalia with the Arab States. I have never been to any Arab States, the closest to this region I've travelled is Turkey. However, these sites looked the most impressive, including potentially filling some gaps on the world heritage list.

Unless we decide otherwise, Top Missing sites for the Arab States can be submitted/discussed here between now and April 20th. I look forward to reading your proposals!

Full Name of Site: Kumbi Saleh Archaeological Site  
Country: Mauritania
TWHS? YES (linked in title)
Short description of site: The archaeological evidence suggests that Koumbi Saleh was a Muslim town with a strong Maghreb connection and an important link on the trans-saharan gold trade. The mosque which is currently considered the oldest and the largest mosque in West Africa has been remarkably restored by archeology. The oldest sections of the site goes back to the 4th century, the advent of the Almoravid conquest considerably changed the way of life in Kumbi Saleh. - Information from Wikipedia and the UNESCO description

Criteria: Cultural
Outstanding universal value / comparative analysis: Old Towns of Djenné, Timbuktu

Full Name of Site: Abraj Al-Kuwait
Country: Kuwait
TWHS? YES (linked in title)
Short description of site: Acknowledged for its design, the Kuwait Towers were awarded the Aga Khan Prize for Islamic Architecture. Building took place from 1971 to 1976 and the main tower was opened to the public on 1 March 1979. According to the architect, the Kuwait Tower group refers to ideals of humanity and technology, symbolized by the globe and the rocket. The tip of each tower, covered with stainless steel and acts as a lightning arrestor, also suggest the mosque minarets, as the spheres can be associated with domes. This Islamic symbolism together with the value of fresh water in such an arid country, allowed for a wider acceptance of this monumental structure as a national symbol. Abraj Al-Kuwait is a unique and remarkable way of transforming pure engineering into pure architecture, between western technology and Islamic culture, contemporary requirements and ancient traditions, into a highly creative building. - Information from Wikipedia and UNESCO description

Resources: Kuwait Towers (wikipedia)

Criteria: Cultural
Outstanding universal value / comparative analysis: Sydney Opera House

Full Name of Site: Great Desert Landscapes - The Qattara Depression & the Great Sand Sea
Country: Egypt
TWHS? YES (linked in title)
Short description of site: The Qattara Depression in the northern part of the Western Desert is the largest natural closed depression of the Eastern Sahara. The origin of this Depression is still a geological puzzle. A common origin by wind deflation to a base level controlled by the ground water table, is the generally accepted explanation.The Great Sand Sea is one of the largest unbroken mass of sand dune areas of the world, and home to not one living soul. There is not a single water point in the whole area. Totaling the size of England, the sand accumulation varies in shape, colour, and geologic origin from one place to another. Through this central region patrols of the British Long Range Desert Group made their way to attack German posts in Libya, during the early years of WWII. Their more than 70-year old tire tracks are still visible on certain surfaces

Resources: Qattara Depression (wikipedia)
Resources: Great Sand Sea (wikipedia)

Criteria: Natural
Outstanding universal value / comparative analysis: Lut Desert, Tassili n'Ajjer

Full Name of Site: Jerash Archaeological City (Ancient Meeting Place of East and West) 
Country: Jordan
TWHS? YES (linked in title)
Short description of site: Jerash is considered one of the largest and most well-preserved sites of Roman architecture in the world outside Italy. And is sometimes misleadingly referred to as the "Pompeii of the Middle East" or of Asia, referring to its size, extent of excavation and level of preservation.

Resources: Wikipedia page

Criteria: Cultural
Outstanding universal value / comparative analysis: Site of Palmyra, Leptis Magna

Full Name of Site: Umm al-Jimal
Country: Jordan
TWHS? YES (linked in title)
Short description of site: During the 4th century AD, in response to the rebellion of Queen Zenobia of Palmyra, Roman armies allied with the Arab Tanoukhid Federation restored order in a destructive military campaign. At Umm el-Jimal the civilian settlement was replaced by a military garrison stationed in a purpose built fort, the early castellum, which was part of the general fortification of the Roman frontiers at the time of Diocletian and Constantine. Besides this castellum, structures on the site included the Great Reservoir, the Praetorium, and a small temple. A gradual transformation from a military station to a civilian town began as Roman imperial power waned and was then replaced by the Byzantine era. From the 5th to 8th centuries, Umm el-Jimal became a prosperous rural farming and trading town. During this period of prosperity, many residents converted to Christianity resulting in an explosion of church construction: Fifteen churches were built in the late 5th and 6th centuries. The population of Umm el-Jimal likely grew to between 6,000 and 8,000 people during this time. Evidence of this culture is found throughout the site in the form of Christian symbols on houses and churches. Paradoxically, Umm el-Jimal's age of rural prosperity came after the strictures of Roman occupation were lifted. - From "Umm el-Jimal's Enduring Past" on the official nomination page

Resources: Official Nomination Website

Criteria: Cultural
Outstanding universal value / comparative analysis: Ancient Villages of Northern Syria

We discussed earlier the sometimes confusing geography of the UNESCO designated regions. For clarification, these are the Arab States as defined by UNESCO + Somalia (undefined).

Arab States


Author elsslots
Admin
#2 | Posted: 5 Apr 2020 13:06 | Edited by: elsslots 
Yay!! Thanks winterkjm for starting. I'll open a new spreadsheet worksheet...

Author Colvin
Partaker
#3 | Posted: 5 Apr 2020 13:29 | Edited by: Colvin 
Huzzah! I'll gladly second Kumbi Saleh and Jerash. I'll need to read up on the others. Thanks for getting this started, winterkjm!

Author nfmungard
Partaker
#4 | Posted: 5 Apr 2020 15:18 | Edited by: nfmungard 
Algeria

Historic Annaba
* "early center of Christianity with well preserved baths & forum"
* Ottoman Kasbah
* Hippo Regius (C) big Roman ruin.
* Lela Bouna - Church of St Augustine.

https://www.worldheritagesite.org/tentative/id/1773
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippo_Regius
https://www.google.com/search?q=hippo+regius&rlz=1C1CHBD_deDE741DE742&sxsrf=ALeKk035DqPRPcnVgRgf5Osi-WoqEYNn2Q:1586113148367&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj1qqD2-9HoAhXIsKQKHZVdAHIQ_AUoAnoECBcQBA&biw=1536&bih=754

Ghoufi
OUV Looks like an Algerian Matera
https://www.worldheritagesite.org/tentative/id/1777
https://www.fancyalgeria.com/about-ghoufi
https://www.google.com/search?q=ghoufi+algeria&rlz=1C1CHBD_deDE741DE742&sxsrf=ALeKk01q6VgndOjP3-pQTOFNp9auGZ-mTg:1586113928319&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiL9ZTq_tHoAhXR-6QKHVxjBSEQ_AUoAnoECBUQBA&biw=1536&bih=754

Grand Erg Oriental
OUV: Second largest Sand Dunes in the Sahara
Tentative https://www.worldheritagesite.org/tentative/id/1772

French Oran
OUV: Camus. And "The atmosphere is unique! It's a trip back in time to southern France in the 1940s"

Hoggar Mountains / Ahoggar Culture Park
OUV: National Park same size as France covering several different regions. Impressive mountains.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoggar_Mountains

Looking at all the national parks etc of Algeria, I feel there is more in Algeria to be considered.

Author Assif
Partaker
#5 | Posted: 5 Apr 2020 15:32 | Edited by: Assif 
Our last top missing project included many proposals from Arab States, many of which have not been inscribed. From these I would like to bring over those candidates I would support:

Mecca (Saudi Arabia) - For its significance in Muslim worship and it continuous use. Certainly not for the surrounding historical remnants.
https://www.worldheritagesite.org/forums/index.php?action=vthread&forum=6&topic=29

Pharaonic Temples of Kom Ombo and Edfu (Egypt) - Outstanding masterpieces of the latest period of ancient Egyptian history (Ptolomaic). They are representative of an influential culture that is underrepresented on the list and are well preserved. It is a TWHS.
https://www.worldheritagesite.org/tentative/id/1824

Jericho (Palestine) - Perhaps the oldest example of a neolithic settlement and a type site.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tell_es-Sultan

Ras Muhammed NP - A good example of a Red Sea coral reef with a high degree of endemism. A TWHS.
https://www.worldheritagesite.org/tentative/id/1636

Central Hajar Mountains (Oman) - including Jabel Shams and its canyon. Last time it was proposed by RobWilson as a mixed site. I do not think its preservation justifies the cultural criterion and even with the natural criteria there would be big problems with conservation. Nonetheless, its landscape merits inscription on its own.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Hajar_Mountains

Ebla (Syria) probably to be combined with Mari (Syria) - Both cities were major political centres of Mesopotamian cultures roughly between 2500 and 1500 BC. Multiple structures survived, even including murals. Both are TWHS. Mesopotamian cultures are probably still underrepresented despite the recent inscription of Ahwar (with Ur, Uruk, Eridu) and Babylon.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebla
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mari,_Syria

Taq-I-Kisra (Arch of Ctesiphon)
meltwaterfalls:
Full name of site: Taq-I-Kisra (Arch of Ctesiphon)

Country: Iraq
Short description of site (also include multiple locations if applicable): this is the only remaining structure left in what was for seven centuries the capital of the Seleucid, Parthian and Sassanid empires of Persia. Built in 400 A.D. it is the largest brick built arch in the world
Criteria (Cultural):
i.Despite being built nearly 16 centuries ago this is still the largest brick built arch in the world, it is of unparalleled Architectural genius.
ii.This is an excellent illustration of the development of architecture in the region
iii.The Palace at Ctesiphon was a capital of successive dynasties for seven centuries that controlled Mesopotamia.
iv.Is an outstanding example of a palace structure from the 5th-13th centuries
Outstanding universal value / comparative analysis:
The arch is a remarkable survivor from this period of Mesopotamian history and is a great testament to successive Persian dynasties.
Architecturally there are a few comparable sites. In terms of the size and age of the arch it would be similar to the Pantheon in Rome, Hagia Sofia in Istanbul or Soltaniyeh.
I am racking my brains but can not think of a palace structure of similar age that would be inscribed on the list, they are either earlier ruins (Persepolis and Pasergadae) or later examples throughout Europe and Asia.

The site is on the Global Heritage Funds critically endangered list and is in pretty dire need of protection. One for the list of sites in danger if it is approved.


Author nfmungard
Partaker
#6 | Posted: 5 Apr 2020 15:37 
Morocco
Morocco seems well covered. Only area that seems missing are the Atlas Mountains spanning to Tunisia and West Sahara.

Author Assif
Partaker
#7 | Posted: 5 Apr 2020 15:41 | Edited by: Assif 
nfmungard:
Ghoufi
OUV Looks like an Algerian Matera

This one is on the tentative list under the name Rhoufi:
https://www.worldheritagesite.org/tentative/id/1777

This TWHS is a cultural one.
nfmungard:
Grand Erg Oriental
OUV: Second largest Sand Dunes in the Sahara
Tentative https://www.worldheritagesite.org/tentative/id/1772

I second this one.
nfmungard:
Hoggar Mountains / Ahoggar Culture Park
OUV: National Park same size as France covering several different regions. Impressive mountains.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoggar_Mountains


Author Jurre
Partaker
#8 | Posted: 5 Apr 2020 17:28 | Edited by: Jurre 
My first proposal would be:

Full name of site: The Richat Structure - The Eye of the Desert
Country: Mauritania
TWHS?: no
Short description of site: (Wikipedia) The Richat Structure is a prominent circular feature in the Sahara's Adrar Plateau. It is an eroded dome, 40 kilometres in diameter, exposing sedimentary rock in layers which appear as concentric rings. Igneous rock is exposed inside and there are spectacular rhyolites and gabbros which have undergone hydrothermal alteration and a central megabreccia. The structure is also the location of exceptional accumulations of Acheulean archeological artifacts.
The Richat Structure is the location of exceptional accumulations of Acheulean artifacts. These Acheulean archaeological sites are located along wadis that occupy outermost annular depression of this structure. Pre-Acheulean stone tools also have been found in the same areas.
Criteria: Mixed

Author Jurre
Partaker
#9 | Posted: 5 Apr 2020 17:31 
winterkjm:
We completed 2 weeks of discussion and proposals for Africa. Let us now move to the Arab States. Laas Gaal (Somalia) seems like a carryover from Africa, since it has a lot of support within our community, but in the end it was suggested to categorize Somalia with the Arab States.

I guess Laas Geel can be set to "Accepted" in our spreadsheet, as it had quite some support in the Africa thread? If not, let this be my second to Laas Geel.

Author Jurre
Partaker
#10 | Posted: 5 Apr 2020 17:39 
nfmungard:
French Oran
OUV: Camus. And "The atmosphere is unique! It's a trip back in time to southern France in the 1940s"

I'm reading "La Peste" now, which is set in Oran. The similarities with the coronavirus crisis and lockdown are astonishing.

Author winterkjm
Partaker
#11 | Posted: 5 Apr 2020 21:02 
Assif:
Taq-I-Kisra (Arch of Ctesiphon)

I would gladly second this! "It is the only visible remaining structure of the ancient city of Ctesiphon. The archway is considered a landmark in the history of architecture, and is the largest single-span vault of unreinforced brickwork in the world." - wiki

Author Colvin
Partaker
#12 | Posted: 5 Apr 2020 23:09 
There are two sites from Iraq's tentative list that are certainly deserving of preservation that I will nominate:

Full Name of Site: The Ancient City of Ninevah
Country: Iraq
TWHS? YES (linked in title)
Short description of site: The city of Ninevah was one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world. The city was first occupied in 6000 B.C., and became the capital of the Assyrian empire by 700 B.C. Excavations of the mounds of Ninevah have recovered parts of the city walls and gates, the palace of Sennacherib, and the site of the imperial arsenal. A mosque containing the reputed tomb of Jonah is also in the city. (from the WHS description)

Criteria: Cultural
Outstanding universal value / comparative analysis: Babylon

Full Name of Site: Nimrud
Country: Iraq
TWHS? YES (linked in title)
Short description of site: Nimrud was founded in the 13th century B.C., and was considered the second capital of the Assyrian Empire. Excavations have revealed an acropolis, a defensive wall, and three royal tombs. (from the WHS description)

Criteria: Cultural
Outstanding universal value / comparative analysis: Babylon

Unfortunately uncouth, barbaric ISIL militants destroyed large parts of both of these sites between 2014 and 2017. What remains at these sites should be protected.

Author Colvin
Partaker
#13 | Posted: 5 Apr 2020 23:12 | Edited by: Colvin 
Also, I'll second the Pharaonic Temples of Kom Ombo and Edfu (Egypt), Jericho (Palestine), and Historic Annaba (Algeria). The last one seems particularly relevant, since I'm reading The Confessions of Saint Augustine this week, and Augustine of Hippo plays a central role in the site nomination.

Author Khuft
Partaker
#14 | Posted: 6 Apr 2020 04:05 
Some Yemenite sites might also make sense. The most glaringly missing in my opinion is Marib, capital of the kingdom of Saba.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1717/

Author elsslots
Admin
#15 | Posted: 6 Apr 2020 04:17 | Edited by: elsslots 
I have to throw this one in of course:

Full name of site: Lalish
Country: Iraq
TWHS?: no
Short description of site: Holiest place of the Yazidis. Consists of a temple complex with shrines and the tomb of Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir, a central figure of the Yazidi faith. Active place of pilgrimage.
Criteria: Cultural

See my pics: https://www.flickr.com/search/?user_id=32282344%40N08&sort=date-taken-desc&text=lalesh&view_all=1
And https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lalish

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