UNESCO Receives Asmara World Heritage Status Application

News Photos
asmara for World Heritage city
Ambassador Hanna Simon (R) presenting the official application for nomination of Asmara as a World Heritage city to the Director of the Heritage Division and UNESCO World Heritage Center, Dr. Mechtild Rössler (second from the right).

By Eritrea Embassy Media,

The nomination dossier and the supporting documents for the candidature of the city of Asmara to the World Heritage List has officially been submitted today to the World Heritage Center located at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

Eritrea’s Ambassador to France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Mrs. Hanna Simon, officially submitted the nomination dossier titled “Asmara: Africa’s Modernist City” and its supporting documents to the Director of UNESCO World Heritage Center, Dr. Mechtild Rössler.

The Asmara Heritage Office, located at the administration of central region in Asmara, has prepared the nomination dossier and all the supporting documents in accordance with operational guidelines for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention.

The Historic Perimeter of Asmara, along with its modernist architecture, was put in the tentative list of UNESCO in 2005.

Eritrea’s and other countries submissions will be reviewed mainly by the World Heritage Committee in a year-and-half long process that will end up with either an approval or rejection of the applications submitted.

Asmara’s application is expected to be approved no later than July 2017 as the Asmara project already meets four out of the ten criterion, which is more than enough for the selection.

A profound collection of high resolution Asmara Art-deco pictures by Dr. Edward Denison can provide readers a glimpse of the amazing Asmara modernist architectures.

EDITOR’S NOTE: What are the criterion?

In order to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least ONE out of ten selection criteria. However, Asmara already meets criteria 1, 2, 3 and 4. Here are the ten criterion:

Selection criteria (i)

to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;

Selection criteria (ii)

to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design;

Selection criteria (iii)

to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;

Selection criteria (iv)

to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;

Selection criteria (v)

to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;

Selection criteria (vi)

to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria);

Selection criteria (vii)

to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;

Selection criteria (viii)

to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of land-forms, or significant geomorphic or physio-graphic features;

Selection criteria (ix)

to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;

Selection criteria (x)

to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

Asmara represents perhaps the most concentrated and intact assemblage of Modernist architecture anywhere in the world. The urban design within the Historic Perimeter has remained untouched since its original implementation and subsequent evolution throughout the 1930s, and the architectural elements exemplify a superlative example of Modernist architecture in a complete urban setting.