Dubai: Dubai will submit its revised bid to list its historic area around Dubai Creek as a Unesco World Heritage Site on January 31, 2016, an official said.
After the bid, Unesco officials will visit Dubai in October 2016 to judge the area and a decision is expected in June 2017, said Rashad Bukhash, Director, Architectural Heritage Department, Dubai Municipality.
A Unesco World Heritage Site is a place listed by Unesco for having great cultural or physical significance.
The history and culture of early Dubai is synonymous with Dubai Creek, an inlet of the Arabian Gulf which was lined with trading dhows, bazaars and traditional homes.
Much of the historic area has been preserved and is going up for the Unesco listing bid.
Bukhash’s comments came on the sidelines of an architectural conservation seminar by the municipality on Sunday, held as part of activities for World Heritage Day (April 18).
He said as part of the bid preparation, officials are undertaking studies on culture and the history of trade in Dubai. They are also comparing the Dubai bid area to other listed sites in the world.
Bukhash added that more than a dozen visiting Unesco experts were brought up to speed on Dubai’s restoration of some of the historic buildings.
Any restoration is carefully weighed as the site or building in question must be as true to the original as possible.
“In general, yes, it is an issue. But what we’re doing for certain cases is in a very scientific way,” he said.
The materials and techniques used in the process are identical to those used in the original buildings. Also, Bukhash added, the foundations still exist, and there is evidence — such as old photographs, documents and interviews with residents — to support the authenticity of the works.
He also mentioned that there are sites, such as post-Second World War sites in Warsaw, Poland and some Japanese temples, which were restored and made it onto the list.
Dubai’s revised bid has limited the area 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.
Separately, Dubai is also revamping streets and facilities in its historic area under a three-year project undertaken by the municipality and other government departments.
The upgrades will cover parts of Bur Dubai, Al Fahidi, Shindagha and Deira. There will be more shops focused on art and culture, walkways, parking, washrooms, and other facilities. The project includes the Al Shindagha Museum that will feature 17 pavilions.
At Sunday’s seminar, municipality officials also discussed investment in heritage and a virtual museum project.