Dubai Creek for World Heritage List

Filed on September 25, 2013
Dubai Creek for World Heritage List

Major development of civic amenities in areas around the Dubai Creek is in the pipeline as part of the Dubai Municipality’s final push to enlist the Creek and its surroundings among the Unesco’s World Heritage Sites.

The final announcement about the creek’s eligibility to enter the prestigious list is expected to come in June 2014. Before that, lighting, signage, landscaping, waste collection and toilet facilities will be upgraded and added, and more boutique hotels and restaurants will come up at Al Shindagha, Al Fahidi and Deira streets around the creek, according to a senior official.

The Director of the Architectural Heritage Department at Dubai Municipality, Rashad Mohammed Bukhash, told Khaleej Times on Tuesday that some development works in these areas were already under way as the civic body was expecting the Unesco to send its expert for inspecting the historic sites around the creek next month.

“We are assigning a new consultant to study the rest of the requirements and carry them out in the coming months.”

The civic body is also planning to set up a new public committee to pool the ideas and suggestions of people who live and work in these areas. “This is a government initiative for the public and we need to know how they think we can improve it. We want to know what the merchants, the owners of the shops, the traders there, whether locals or non-locals, have to comment on our efforts. Any suggestion is welcome.”

The municipality, which has submitted a 460 page report to support its bid, has now identified a large traditional house in Al Shindagha to convert it into a visitors’ centre, a requisite for the World Heritage Sites. “It will have all the information related to the Creek for the tourists and other visitors. There will be lecture halls, culture and heritage offices and administrative offices in the centre.”

The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing is also pitching in to upgrade the management and administration activities of the campaign to get the Creek listed.

The integrity of the project, the management of its programme, maintenance works under it, visitors’ centre and other activities will be evaluated by the expert from Unesco for four days, beginning October 21. The expert is also expected to interact with the stakeholders of the project.

“They will also be evaluating the regulations and legislations in place. The Dubai Municipality has its own regulations.” Bukhash said officials were awaiting the Federal Law that seeks to protect the ancient sites, traditional buildings and other antiquities of the UAE to be passed in six months.

The technical committee is all set to launch an exclusive website to share information related to the Creek. It will also release three books and brochures on the Creek’s history and its bid to become a World Heritage Site.

Bukhash pointed out that the Dubai Creek has played an important and vital role in making Dubai as we see it now. “Being instrumental in making a civilisation along its embankments with the components of history, culture, tradition, business and culmination of different societies, the Creek can’t be parted at any levels from the word-Dubai… We see the cultural and civilization fabric that the Creek created alongside its embankment still emerging and expanding,” he said in a lecture about Dubai Creek.

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