Dubai: The bid to have Dubai Creek recognised as a Unesco World Heritage Site will be resubmitted after modifications, with a decision expected in mid-2017.
The natural inlet of the Arabian Gulf divides the city into two parts. It has historically played a major role in trade and economic development.
The Creek is also lined with traditional architectural sites of cultural significance, whose heritage is preserved, in a “buffer zone”.
Hussain Lootah, director-general, Dubai Municipality said tourists and residents should have an appreciation for Dubai’s heritage as well. He added that efforts to promote the Creek’s cultural significance are expected to draw millions of tourists in time for the Expo 2020.
The director-general’s comments came during a press conference on Sunday to announce the Fourth International Architectural Conservation Conference and Exhibition that will take place in February 2016.
Royalty from the UK and Arab countries known for their support and expertise in the field as well as leading specialists from universities will be invited to attend and discuss heritage conservation.
Rashad Bukhash, director, architectural heritage department, Dubai Municipality, added that the area to be considered in the bid has now been limited to the end of Al Fahidi area from Al Shindagha area, which lies around the mouth of the Creek.
This distance is about 1.75km, much shorter than the previous consideration until Al Maktoum Bridge further down the Creek.
Also, Dubai will submit a charter for reconstruction of historic buildings to Unesco and host a conference on the topic – all part of the process of solidifying the bid.
Some of the buildings in the area to be included in bid have been reconstructed, which Unesco takes into account when considering the “authenticity” of a building’s original heritage value.
However, Bukhash said the reconstructions will follow strict rules in keeping the building materials and techniques original. There will also be interviews with inhabitants of the buildings, reference to picture or video archives and other documentary procedures to ensure cultural authenticity.
The points of interest in the area include some 690 buildings of heritage value.
“The [bid] file will be submitted in January 2016. In October 2016, a [Unesco] team will come to see the site… There will be a review and a decision will be expected in June 2017. I think it’s looking good,” said Bukhash.