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Ain Shams Engineering Journal xxx (2018) xxx–xxx

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Heritage conservation management in Egypt

A review of the current and proposed situation to amend it
Khaled Abdul-Aziz Osman
Misr International University (MIU), Egypt

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: The study at hand is a review of the non-democratic administrative system to the heritage conservation
Received 14 May 2018 in Egypt, and includes an analysis and re-drafting of this system to address current situation’s problems.
Revised 5 September 2018 The research methodology is based on a theoretical foundation and a practical one. It defines and reviews
Accepted 8 October 2018
the heritage conservation management in Egypt. In order to achieve an effective democratic system to the
Available online xxxx
heritage conservation management in Egypt, the study defines the following: The heritage sites conser-
vation problems, the specific legislation and laws governing the process of heritage conservation in Egypt,
most of the administrative bodies concerned with such sites, the current status of the management of
Heritage conservation
Heritage conservation management
heritage conservation in Egypt, and, finally, the modification of this system on its three levels: strategic,
Partnership planning, and site management. The study also discusses the findings in order to give insight into the
Ó 2018 Ain Shams University. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under
the CC BY-NC-ND license (

1. Introduction the framework of the local administrative system. The governor

has the president’s authorities in the area from the point of
The idea of reviving Historic Cairo dominated the interests of implementation only to guarantee him the presidency over the
many strategies and urban policies due to its cultural importance representatives of other executive bodies [2]. In addition to that,
and its urban components. Over the past six decades, many studies, the popular council represents the population of the area,
projects, and conferences were organized and legislations were which has the right to accept or reject the plan before its
issued for that purpose. However, most of them were not imple- implementation. Thus, these special sites include Luxor,
mented [1]. This indicates the importance of taking practical and where a decision was made to separate it from the local admin-
administrative measures necessary to maintain this wealth [2]. istration to be on the same administrative level with the gover-
The administrative bodies concerned with heritage sites conser- norate [5].
vation in Egypt, both on the central or local levels, are heavily bur-
dened. Maintaining the urban environment is one of these burdens.
2. The Methodology
But maintaining the distinguished heritage sites does not have the
same level of priority in most cases, as it is mostly regarded from a
The methods used in collecting data and analyses are as
broader urban frame subject to the same local administrative body
without being allocated the same importance [3]. Some heritage
First: To review the administrative system and most of the
sites are sometimes also subject to more than one administrative
administrative bodies concerned with heritage sites in Egypt, per-
body that does not deal with each of them consistently. These her-
sonal interviews had been conducted with the competent author-
itage sites need special expertise to manage their urban heritage
ities, such as the Ministry of State for Antiquities (2015) and the
that may not be required for managing others. The availability of
National Organization of Urban Harmony. Also, an analysis of a
such expertise in these bodies is very low [4].
case study on the administrative system in Egypt by Mahmoud
As for the current administrative interventions, these areas
Youssry and others (2003) in the Faculty of Regional Planning at
represent effective administrative authorities for many of the
Cairo University was employed.
executive authorities headed by the governorate and within
Second: To review certain legislations and laws governing the
process of heritage conservation in Egypt, an analysis for Egyptian
Peer review under responsibility of Ain Shams University. laws, such as Law No. 117 of 1989 about antiquities and Law No. 43
E-mail address: of 1979 about the local administrative system, was carried out.
2090-4479/Ó 2018 Ain Shams University. Production and hosting by Elsevier B.V.
This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

Please cite this article in press as: Osman K-AA. Heritage conservation management in Egypt. Ain Shams Eng J (2018),
2 K.A.-A. Osman / Ain Shams Engineering Journal xxx (2018) xxx–xxx

Third: The methodology of conserving heritage sites respects branch out from where the building is situated. Since the death
the heretical roots and the environmental factors. The research of its owner in 1923, businessman Gabrıl Habıb al-Sakakını, the
intends to make an approximation towards a model on how to palace has fallen into disrepair due inattention from the govern-
achieve an effective democratic system to the heritage conserva- ment, and today, the palace stands as a shadow of its past glory.
tion management in Egypt. This model avoids the non- Too many of Egypt’s cultural sites have suffered the same fate,
democratic system of the governmental administrative bodies con- and many have been formally closed due to lack of maintenance
cerned with heritage sites. [8].
Third: These areas were exposed to variables, changes, and
updates that were not considered when designing the urban fabric.
3. The current heritage conservation management in Egypt
Such variables include infrastructure, and number of cars. So, the
replacement process was largely affected by these variables, as
3.1. Heritage sites in Egypt and the mechanism of their choice
buildings of historic value and areas of historic fabric that were,
for a certain period of time, not of interest, remained to be dealt
One of the most important steps of any program for conserva-
with away from the perception of historical and cultural value that
tion management is to determine what will be kept first. In this
denote them [3].
case, these are heritage conservation areas. In the case of Egypt’s
Fourth: The laws particularly outfitted towards protecting
cultural heritage, which includes many great writings describing
Egypt’s built heritage (Laws No. 117/1983, No. 178/1961 and No.
the cultural heritage, the first step of conservation management
144/2006) have also led to the endangerment and sometimes
is a review of all writings and all heritage sites, and the second is
demolition of historic houses due to ambiguous legal jargon. Antiq-
the creation of a cultural heritage centre in which all these writings
uities in general are protected by Law No. 117 of 1983 and build-
are placed. This should comprise the main database in the list of
ings of architectural value and historical importance are
national registration that includes all the documents for the mon-
protected by Law No. 178 of 1961. Law No. 144 of 2006 regulates
uments and the heritage sites [6].
demolition licenses and is concerned with protecting buildings of
The Egyptian Cultural Heritage sites include a wide range of
recognized architectural value. According to Law No. 117, buildings
types that span prehistoric to modern times. They must be defined
are classified as ‘‘historic” if they can be attributed to one of Egypt’s
carefully, and criteria by which to determine the extent of their
essential cultural influences (Greek, Christian, Islamic, or Ancient
importance should be developed. For example, there are important
Egyptian). Law No. 144, by contrast, leaves the ‘‘heritage” classifi-
historic places but they do not carry any evidence that indicates
cation much more ambiguous, and there is no ministry or state
their importance, yet are known through writings or oral tradition.
institution that is explicitly responsible for the official classifica-
These include places that have political importance, like the battle-
tion or protection of heritage buildings. Because of these loopholes,
field that witnessed the Ottomans’ triumph in 1517, which turned
property owners who aim to demolish a heritage building need
Egypt into part of the Ottoman Empire. According to CULTNAT
only to request consent from a heritage committee consisting of
(2001) this battle occurred at a site called the Al-Rydaniah desert,
specialists and representatives from the governorate and the Min-
which is now known as East Abbasia, and other sites that should be
istry of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Communities. These rulings
identified and documented [7].
essentially remove all legal barriers that protect these buildings
from demolition [8].
3.2. Conservation problems for heritage sites Fifth: These areas were exposed to the invasion of the interfer-
ing elements that were imposed due to the nature of the area, their
In February 2014, the leader of the National Organization for proximity to the central works in Cairo and the increase of some
Urban Harmony, Samir Gharib, said, ‘‘Since 2011, we’ve been living harmful activities such as marble workshops which result in liquid
in the time of the Great Downfall of Egyptian urbanization”. How- or solid waste that is left in the alleys, or residues stored in the
ever, Egypt’s cultural heritage has been in decline some time before spread areas [11].
2011; the revolution has only exacerbated prior issues [8]. The Sixth: Another impact of the instability brought on by the rev-
problems affecting cultural heritage sites are many, and they vary. olution is the increase in incidents of vandalism and looting of
But the delayed action towards them may increase the cost of Egyptian archaeological sites and museums. The most referred to
addressing these problems [9]. The problems include the limited incident is the looting of the Malawi Museum in Minya: at the
financial abilities of the residents of heritage sites, the design of beginning of August 2013, looters broke into the museum and took
the urban fabric that was not appropriate to recent changes and more than one thousand objects. This significant increase in loot-
updates, the invasion of the interfering elements that were ing has been attributed to both the economic downturn and the
imposed due to the nature of the area, the poor environmental sit- weak security with regards to guarding the nation’s exhibition
uation in general and particularly in urban heritage, and the scarce halls and archaeological sites [8].
maintenance for the buildings [5]. The most evident problems and Seventh: The environmental situation generally and in urban
difficulties confronting heritage conservation in Egypt will be tack- heritage particularly is poor, and the maintenance for buildings is
led in this area: scarce. Recently, the problems increased when the water supply
First: The majority of the residents in these areas have very networks were connected, which exposed these areas to
limited financial abilities, and the conservation process requires the increase of ground water that affected their historical facilities
a huge capital that might be a burden on the society. Hence, [2].
the responsibilities should be identified and should be clear All of these problems facing the cultural heritage sites are
[10]. expected to escalate due to the importance of such unique sites,
Second: Some of the nation’s socially noteworthy property has which increases the land request and the land value. However,
been entirely dismissed. The instance of Al-Sakakını Palace in al- the deteriorating urban situation exposes these sites to
Ẓāhir provides us with one case of this endemic state disregard replacement processes that are not aimed at protecting the historic
for architectural heritage in Egypt. The royal residence, which areas from randomness and pollution. Moreover, the vital site of
was developed in 1897, is critical to the inhabitants, not only these areas within the urban mass makes them an attractive loca-
because of its tasteful excellence, but also because it constitutes tion for service and investment activities in trading and services
the nucleus of the area’s urban design as eight principle roads [10].

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K.A.-A. Osman / Ain Shams Engineering Journal xxx (2018) xxx–xxx 3

3.3. Laws and legislation governing the management of heritage sites Major defects were found, in particular with the section related
to the one hundred years, as the Egyptian present confirms the
The voice of cultural heritage management cannot be heard presence of heritage areas that are rich with cultural and artistic
without the appropriate supporting legislation. The Egyptian law means in the 19th and 20th centuries, such as Cairo, Alexandria,
has been developed to deal with monuments (buildings or other Luxor, Assiut, and Bani Swif, which have a lot of special buildings
structures erected to commemorate a famous person or event) in the European style with local effects that have their own special
and antiquities (objects of the ancient past). Nevertheless, this characteristics that shall be conserved. How should this be done if
law is several steps behind compared to its counterparts elsewhere the life span of these buildings did not exceed one hundred years?
in the world [7]. Therefore, we must develop and define the legal [11].
framework for the cultural heritage management strategy. It is The last updated law about conservation, Law No. 144 of 2006,
essential that this framework includes transparency and clarity. is concerned with the organization of the demolition of buildings
In addition, to cover all aspects of the implementation of this strat- and the preservation of the architectural heritage. Based on this
egy, it is also necessary to apply this strategy to all levels of man- law, many committees composed of faculty members and a repre-
agement [12]. sentative from the province were created [15]. These committees’
The law governing the protection of cultural heritage is Law No. task was to keep a record of the heritage buildings and recommend
117 of 1983, which covers the concept of protected property that any decisions concerning the demolition of the buildings, yet they
must be preserved in paragraphs 1 and 2; the system of ownership were only consultants and were unable to fulfil the real role they
in paragraphs 6, 8, 9, 16, and 35; and also, the extension of protec- were required for [2].
tion and conservation operations as follows: [7]

3.4. The administrative bodies concerned with the heritage

 Registration and documentation in paragraphs 2, 8, 9, 16, and
conservation in Egypt
 Rights and duties of the owner of the historic properties as well
For a long time, Egyptian heritage sites have been suffering ‘‘due
as people who have the authority to control such properties in
to the crumbled states of their environment and the absence of a
paragraphs 2, 9, 10, 13, 26, and 28;
maintained support” as the Egyptian heritage conservation sector
 Organize ways of dealing with monuments and antiquities in
has kept on confronting challenges [8]. These have just worsened
paragraphs 7 and 8;
after January 2011. State carelessness, illicit infringements, con-
 Export rules in paragraphs 9 and 13;
tamination and expanded episodes of plundering keep on nega-
 Accidental discoveries and discoveries made by chance in para-
tively affecting heritage sites. As the revolution articulated an
graph 24;
aggregate interest for a more equitable and just society, not just
 Archaeological excavations in paragraphs 5, 31, and 37;
as far as political portrayal or even political framework, yet in all
 Regulations of punishments in paragraphs 40 and 47; and
aspects of society, a more extensive assortment of on-screen char-
 Authorities responsible for conservation operations in para-
acters from society, private divisions, scholarly associations, and
graph 5.
state foundations are occupied with characterizing, creating, and
ensuring Egypt’s social legacy [8].
As for the Egyptian law that regulates the local administration,
These bodies are responsible for urban development work
the establishment of the non-governmental organizations and
within the framework of national policies, which makes it difficult
their roles and responsibilities is as follows:
for those bodies to affect these policies. The standards and budgets
are developed on the basis of the national development goals
 Law No. 32 of 1964 that concerns non-governmental organi-
instead of the needs of the local community. In addition, the terms
zations and the updated amended law; this law does not
of responsibilities of the bodies are determined in urban and polit-
extend to the rules governing the management of sites or
ical considerations, more than on their economic or administrative
buildings or premises for economic projects, due to the strong
effectiveness [2].
definitions and direct supervision of the Ministry of Social
These bodies suffer from a number of planning and organiza-
tional problems that weaken their efficiency [4]. The Ministry of
 Law No. 106 of 1976, as amended by law No. 101 of 1996, that
State for Antiquities and the Supreme Council of Culture, in addi-
organizes the demolition and removal of buildings; this law did
tion to some of the council’s sub-committees, are the only govern-
not refer to cultural areas;
mental bodies responsible for heritage conservation in Egypt [2].
 Law No. 43 of 1979 that organizes local administration process,
Following is a review of the bodies responsible for heritage conser-
the governors, administrators of cities, the heads of the people’s
vation in Egypt (see Table 1):
congresses and local centres and put their respective roles and
responsibilities. Although this law extends the legislation to
the organization of cities and residential areas, such as giving 3.4.1. The Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA) (National Level)
permits to remove buildings or sites, it did not touch upon In January 2011, the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA)
the issues in areas containing any cultural heritage buildings became an independent ministry and its name was changed to
[13]; and the Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA). The principal mission
 Law no. 117 of 1983 that is concerned with the process of deter- of the Ministry of State for Antiquities is to protect and promote
mining and registering the Egyptian monuments: The first para- the cultural heritage of Egypt, both independently and in coopera-
graph stipulates that ‘‘it shall be deemed an antique any tion with national and international organizations. To achieve its
property or disposal produced by the various civilizations or goals, it formulates and implements all policies concerned with
made by the arts, science, or religions from the prehistoric era antiquities; issues guidelines and permits for the excavation,
and throughout the successive eras until before one hundred restoration, conservation, documentation, and study of sites and
years whenever it has a value, importance whether on historical monuments; and manages a country-wide system of antiquities’
or antiques level as a manifestation of various civilizations that museums. In addition, it oversees the publication of journals and
were founded on Egypt or was related to its history, also the books on archaeology and cultural heritage, and finances its own
remains and the beings lived with it” [14]. archaeological excavation, documentation, and conservation

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Table 1
The roles of each body that identifies linkages and administrative clashes.

The Ministry of Endowments

National Council for Culture,

National Organization for
The Ministry of State for

National Center for doc.

The administrave

Antiquities (MSA)

Arts & Literature

Urban Harmony

The roles of each
administrave body

Formulating and implementing all policies & strategies

concerned with antiquities and heritage sites Consult Advice

Issuing guidelines and permits for excavation, restoration,

conservation, and documentation of monuments & heritage
Protecting the rich legacy of all of Egypt’s eras, from
prehistory through the Pharaonic, Greco-Roman, Coptic, and
Islamic periods
Building awareness of the Egyptian heritage among members
of the local community through media or other means
Reformulating the aesthetic vision for all parts of the country,
especially for Urban Spaces such as parks, streets, &
Training experts and those interested in the preservation and
documentation of cultural and natural heritage
The owner of most of the Islamic monuments in Egypt

projects. The MSA is responsible for the protection of the rich structure of the Organization, development of the agenda and the
legacy of all of Egypt’s eras, from the prehistoric era through the regulations for workers; approval of the annual budget; and accep-
Pharaonic, Greco-Roman, Coptic, and Islamic periods and into the tance of donations to the Organization [5].
modern age [16].
The MSA is a governmental body responsible for the conserva-
tion and restoration operations in all the conservation areas in 3.4.3. The Ministry of Endowments (National Level)
Egypt. Since 1995, the restoration projects have been assigned, in This Ministry can be regarded as the owner of most of the Isla-
terms of implementation, to certified contractors under the super- mic monuments in Egypt as the Ministry of State for Antiquities
vision of engineers and archaeologists from the SCA (Now MSA). does not have the right to legal disposal except for only 2% of the
The Ministry is composed of the general secretariat, which over- total Islamic monuments, while the Ministry of Endowments con-
sees the documentation, the information and statistics unit, the trols the rest. The Ministry of Endowments is also specialized in
advertisements unit, the planning unit, the research and studies determining the private property of the buildings and land. It is
unit, the heritage revival centre unit, and the training unit [16]. also a body that intervenes in the management, uses, and utilities
of Islamic buildings [17].

3.4.2. National Organization for Urban Harmony – The Ministry of

Culture 3.4.4. National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature
Based on the Presidential Decree No. 37 of 2001, a national body The National Council for Culture, Arts, and Literature falls under
called the ‘National Organization for Urban Harmony’ was estab- the supervision of the Specialized National Councils, which, in turn,
lished in Cairo. The Organization is responsible for the following: falls under the supervision of the presidency. It works through a set
Reformulation of the aesthetic vision for all parts of the country; of committees that collaborate together. Each one of these commit-
preparation of a comprehensive database of all the ancient build- tees is specialized in one of the fields covered by the Council. The
ings, palaces, and villas; development of controls to ensure that Council is composed of the ministers concerned, namely the min-
there are no changes to the current architectural form; develop- isters of culture, youth and sports, and education as well as the
ment of the rules for dealing with urban spaces such as parks, well-experienced individuals in the areas covered by the Council.
streets, and sidewalks; establishment of the conditions necessary These individuals include academics, public figures, chairmen of
for the form of advertisements and banners in terms of size, height, bodies, committees, and representatives of relevant government
colour, and the place in which the banners are placed; re- associations, chairmen of relevant unions, and chairmen of the Par-
formulation of the public squares according to an architectural liament committees whose work relates to the terms of reference
and visual vision that is consistent with the distinctive character of the Council. The Council spreads cultural and aesthetic aware-
of each region; expression of opinion about the draft laws and reg- ness, works on improving the various arts, proposes the plans
ulations that contribute to achieving urban harmony; approval of and mechanisms that achieve the objectives of the Council, and
the action plans of the Organization; approval of the organizational provides advice and opinion for the decision-makers [5].

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3.4.5. National Centre for Documentation of Cultural and Natural istry involved is the Ministry of Housing and Urban Communities.
Heritage (CULTNAT) If these areas require development in the transport and communi-
The Centre was established under the supervision of the Min- cations system, they fall under the supervision of the Ministry of
istry of Communications and Information as part of the national Transport and Communications [4].
project of technological renaissance in Egypt. It is one of the good Dealing with these overlapping and sensitive details calls for a
starting points for the electronic documentation of the Egyptian careful and scientific perception [9]. In fact, dividing these respon-
Cultural Heritage. The centre is also specialized in documenting sibilities among many bodies must be leading to institutional con-
all the elements of the Egyptian cultural heritage, in terms of the fusion and an inability to combine all the efforts to perform the
different features and its concrete or intangible facts and docu- needed work. (see Table 1) There is a one possible solution to that
mentation of natural heritage elements. It is also specialized in problem. The solution is to issue one piece of legislation that estab-
the application of the national plan for implementing the docu- lishes one body with supreme authorities over all the other bodies.
mentation and registry program using the latest available informa- This body could, for example, be named ‘The Development of His-
tion technologies in cooperation with the specialized national and toric Areas Authority’. Such legislation will avoid the overlap of
international organizations. The Centre is additionally specialized authorities, and will divide the costs and benefits among the vari-
in building awareness of the Egyptian heritage among members ous parties [19] (see Fig. 1).
of the local community, whether through media or other means,
and training experts and those interested in the preservation and 4. The proposed democratic heritage conservation management
documentation of cultural and natural heritage [7]. in Egypt
Some committees were established for the purpose of conserva-
tion. These committees, such as the Ministerial Committee for The freedom to express and participate in cultural practices and
Studying the Development of Historical Cairo, have stopped work- to communicate and spread cultural traditions, knowledge, and
ing now. This Ministerial Committee was in charge of supervising practices is an attribute of a functional democracy. Without the free-
the implementation of the development of Historical Cairo. How- dom to practice and express one’s culture, there can be no true
ever, most of the committees involved with conservation are not democracy [20]. Democracy extols the virtues of freedom to beliefs,
independent. They fall under the supervision of the Minister of Cul- knowledge, and expression, and the right to information. Democracy
also presupposes the existence of opportunity of access to informa-
ture, the Supreme Council for Culture, or the Prime Minister, which
tion as well as free and lively media. Thus, the media, whether writ-
reduces their independence and affects their performance [5].
ten or audio-visual, has to be in a position to spread culture to all
Some NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) for conserva-
categories of the population and, along these lines, contribute effec-
tion also existed, such as the Urban Development Association in
tively to the procedures of democracy. The media should guarantee
Cairo, Al-’Asheerah Al-Muhammadiyah Association, Assalah Asso-
that culture does not remain a benefit of the elite [20].
ciation for Heritage Conservation, and Al-Ghoury Artists Associa-
Based on the above concept of democracy and review of the
tion [5]. There are also some virtual organization like professors
problems of heritage conservation management system in Egypt,
of architecture and planning Egypt, Egyptian council of architec-
the government might advance and promote the democratization
ture EAC. They compose virtual groups of university PhD holders
of all institutions in a manner that engenders cultural harmony
and professors which discuss and try to solve heritage and urban
and tolerance [4]. This research has identified an alternative her-
problems. However, the biggest shortcomings of these associations
itage conservation management system for Egypt that requires
are that they were not democratic in terms of planning, they lacked
the following key changes to the current institutional structures.
the supervision of a community partnership, and they lacked coor- It has to be restructured to three interrelated and independent
dination among them, since there was no definite body that orga- levels at the same time. The ‘‘Heritage Conservation Management
nized the works of these associations or determined the tasks and Levels” are: (a) the Policies and Strategies Level; (b) the Planning
functions of each one [11]. and Implementation Level; and (c) the Site Management Level.
The Ministry might bring together all the parties concerned
3.5. A Review of the current situation of the heritage conservation with the valuable areas to take over all tasks and activities, includ-
management in Egypt ing the development of public policies and strategies for the con-
servation for each area. This will be handled by a higher
The administrative mechanism of the non-democratic system of committee in the first level of the senior management. This Higher
heritage conservation in Egypt indicates that the Ministry of State Committee will participate with the Ministry, the local administra-
for Antiquities is primarily responsible for the policies and strate- tions for the valuable areas, and the investors in providing funding,
gies related to the valuable areas. This is in terms of issuing the or the associations, organizations, and NGOs which drive public
decisions concerning these areas, identifying these areas, identify- participation, or even participate with the local community and
ing the work priorities in these areas, assigning the General the organizational structure that represents a partnership with
Authority for Urban Planning or the consultancy offices the task these parties for each conservation area.
of putting forward the development plans for these areas under There is still a need for a supervisory department to follow up
its supervision, funding these plans and projects, assigning con- on and control all tasks mentioned above. Regarding the third level
tractors to carry out these plans, managing, monitoring, following of management, it will be partnerships that include the above-
up, and continuously maintaining the sites of these areas [18]. mentioned partnership structure with specialized companies.
The Ministry involved in one of the following areas must coor- These partnerships are in the field of conservation, urban manage-
dinate with other ministries with regard to these issues. In the ment of these areas in the long term, on-going maintenance, and
event of any interference by the ministries concerned with these control of the investment operations [4].
areas, which may include lands or properties, the ministries The Ministry of State for Antiquities shall take the decisions
involved are the Ministry of Endowments or ministries that care within its own discretion in relation to the projects within valuable
about the need to preserve these places in order to add sources areas. It shall have its financial resources and will enjoy the freedom
of income to the state, such as the Ministry of Tourism. The min- of accepting aid from local or international official organizations;
istries must also coordinate if certain areas are their joint focus, such as the support of international experts in construction manage-
such as the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Environment. ment, conservation, restoration, maintenance, and developing public
If the areas in question are part of the urban construction, the min- utilities [20].

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Fig. 1. The current heritage conservation management in Egypt. Source: The Author.

Through this process, the Ministry of State for Antiquities could 4.1. Policies and strategies: the supreme committee for heritage
be restructured in terms of its organizational structure, its legal management
requirements, or its financial resources, instead of establishing a
new body altogether. Following is a review of the management The government can make appropriate legislation to encourage
levels (see Fig. 2): the key actors dealing with culture. The key actors work together

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K.A.-A. Osman / Ain Shams Engineering Journal xxx (2018) xxx–xxx 7

Fig. 2. The proposed democratic heritage conservation management in Egypt. Source: The Author.

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in ensuring the successful implementation of the Culture and Her- covered vertically and all the technical points are covered
itage Policy. This Committee can be formed as per the following horizontally.
organizational structure: The authority departments shall be as follows: Cultural devel-
opment and building management; management of tourism devel-
 The Chairman of the Committee shall be the Prime Minister opment; management of environmental development; department
who reports directly to the President; of antiquities, endowments, public relations and media; manage-
 the ministers concerned with the conservation areas who inter- ment of public utilities and services; management of research
vene directly in the process of developing policies and strategies and documentation; management training and guidance
for the conservation areas, namely the Ministers of Culture, management of popular participation; and a special management
Tourism, Environment, Endowments, Transport, Communica- of the financial and legal affairs, which directly follows the presi-
tions and Information Technology, and Education; dent of the authority that controls all the financial and legal affairs
 the governors of the provinces which include areas that must be [21].
preserved; The authority in cooperation with the CULTNAT should con-
 the chairmen of the private enterprises concerned with apply- tinue the preparation of a comprehensive database for all areas,
ing the idea of conservation; headed by the Ministry of State its buildings, and valuable palaces through information technol-
for Antiquities; and ogy, such as the registration via computer, Internet, or GIS. The
 Members with considerable experience in the field of conserva- authority should also be involved in the adoption and expression
tion who must be chosen from the Egyptian faculty members, of opinion on the laws and regulations that contribute to the
namely the chairmen of the restoration of monuments projects, preservation of such scope projects. The authority is primarily
chairmen of municipalities, development, and recycling, chair- responsible for the reception and distribution of available capital
men of the rehabilitation projects, chairmen of the projects for through the legal and financial management, and is the key
upgrading the community, and the Technical Secretariat which assistant in attracting expertise and skills available on both
is responsible for holding various meetings as well as communi- national and international levels. Finally, it should provide train-
cating with the ministers, chairmen, and members of the con- ing and guidance to all leaders and employees in order to equip
servation projects based on the guidance of the Chairman of them with new skills and to develop technical and managerial
the Committee. skills [21].
The legal requirements for forming such authority include the
This structure will achieve the highest level of coordination and necessity of having the authority fall under the supervision of the
cooperation among all the relevant ministries. In addition, the president of the republic directly, or at least under that of the
decisions of this Committee shall spread easily within the govern- prime minister. This can also ensure political support and make
mental system. the authority’s decision binding to all concerned parties. It could
The Committee shall approve all the policies and strategies con- include in its management all the conservation areas in the repub-
cerning the different kinds of valuable areas, whether these poli- lic. The funding could be independent from the budget of the gov-
cies are touristic, cultural, environmental, or educational. It shall ernment [22]. The legal basis for such independence lies in law no.
determine the geographical borders of the conservation areas 27 of 1981 in paragraph no. 118 which stipulates that ‘The admin-
through defining their borders and registering them as areas that istrative units may, after the consent of the minister of finance, cre-
must be protected, issuing conservation decisions for each area, ate a special account in the Central Bank or another bank for the
and developing all the policies and strategies for all the conserva- grants, support, denotations or any financial contributions’; so,
tion areas in the country which aim to maintain the general char- such account will not be part of the state budget.
acter of each area. The Committee shall also develop the policies The finance authority resources are the provisions allocated by
and strategies of funding, investment, and management that are the state in its general budget to achieve the objectives of the
necessary to attract national and international support [11]. authority. The aid, donations, and grants to the authority should
be accepted, as well as loans to be held in its favour, proceeds from
4.2. Planning, execution, and application the sale of publications, pictures, and artistic performances in valu-
able areas, tourist visits’ fees to the sites of value, in addition to the
A legal authority can be formed to manage the conservation. museums available in the state, and the yield from the investment
This could be conducted through restructuring of the Ministry of of funds [23].
State for Antiquities and renaming it as the Egyptian Authority The conservation project management model: A partnership
for Conservation Management to cover all the scopes of value on model could be conducted for each registered conservation area
the national level, not just for the antiques and historic areas only. among the public sector represented in the Egyptian Authority
It shall be issued by a presidential decree to restructure and for Conservation Management, the representatives of the local
rename it. The Authority could be directly under the supervision administration of each region, the people/community sector repre-
of the President or at least the Prime Minister. The general objec- sented by members of the local community or their representa-
tive of this Authority is to conserve, protect, and develop all scopes tives from associations or community leaders, non-governmental
of value of different types and manage the conservation through organizations, and, finally, the private/investment sector repre-
developing plans. sented by organizations and companies involved in operations of
An authority following the below organizational structure conservation either from within or outside Egypt [22].
should be formed: Chairman of the Authority; the Minister of State This structure aims at developing the conservation of this
for Antiquities, representatives of the member-ministries; heads of region schemes in light of the strategies set by the High Commit-
the main departments which are receiving instructions and direc- tee, in addition to the policies of this area developed by the author-
tions on vertical and horizontal levels. The authority could receive ity. It also aims at developing ways to finance these schemes, both
the vertical instructions (strategic directions) from the ministries’ in the before design or after, or even in the implementation phase
representatives affiliated with and specialized in specific direc- of the scheme. Finally, this structure is primarily responsible for
tions, while the horizontal instructions (technical directions) could the various implementations of the schemes in place to conserve
be from the heads of the specialized projects in any conservation this area. The implementation of these works shall be assigned to
projects, so that all the administrative and political points are contractors [24].

Please cite this article in press as: Osman K-AA. Heritage conservation management in Egypt. Ain Shams Eng J (2018),
K.A.-A. Osman / Ain Shams Engineering Journal xxx (2018) xxx–xxx 9

4.3. Site management 6. Conclusions and recommendations

After developing and implementing the conservation plan for In Egypt, the non-democratic system of heritage sites conserva-
any valuable area, a system for on-going conservation must be tion shows the importance of the Ministry of State for Antiquities.
developed so as to avoid the deterioration of the site in the It is the only entity responsible for the policies and strategies that
future [25]. It is important to note that there is a possibility to control valuable areas in terms of:
use the same system, which is called ‘‘Site Management”, for
any valuable area in a stable condition for which there is no  Issuing decisions concerning these areas;
developmental plan. Site Management is the third level of the  Identifying and prioritizing them;
proposed administrative mechanism, which should be imple-  Assigning the general authority for urban planning or advisory
mented locally, but with central monitoring by the Egyptian offices to develop plans for such areas under its supervision;
Authority, or a semi-centralized monitoring by the above-  Funding these schemes and projects through the state’s
mentioned joint structure. At this level, a partnership, or more, resources and from its own budget;
will be established [26].  Assigning contractors to implement these schemes; and
This Partnership will have the following tasks:  Following up, doing on-going maintenance developing conser-
vation programs, and managing any interference from the min-
 Determining the main objectives of sites’ management. The istries concerned with these areas.
partnership’s administration may study the ideal ways for
reducing the impact of tourists and visitors on the conserva- The government could promote the democratization of all insti-
tion areas, monuments, or valuable buildings. It could be tutions. The proposed democratic administrative mechanism
responsible for the development of an effective and integrated depends on restructuring the Ministry of State for Antiquities to
system for securing and guarding the movable monuments work on three levels. These levels are policies & strategies, applica-
against theft; tion, planning, & implementation, and, finally, site management.
 Developing an integrated program for on-going maintenance, The Ministry will assemble all concerned parties of the valuable
such as on-going removal of wastes and the providing of areas. All conservation management functions, activities, policies,
required safety standards. Restoration operations must be car- and general strategies of conservation will be assigned by a high
ried out to prevent the deterioration of the site [26]; committee on the first level. The committee shall be called the
 Developing a program for touristic visits to the area, controlling higher management.
the number of visitors and directing them, and organizing the The heritage conservation management involves a wide range
tourist’s visits and activities in order to prevent and reduce of actors, such as governmental organizations, non-governmental
the damage that may affect these sites. The visits’ program must organizations, and private interests. However, the government’s
also contain the financial returns from visitors through the sale associations must act as supreme managers. To perform this sus-
of books, posters, maps, and the entry fee [26]; tainable and democratic duty, the state must set up the right
 Preparing a program for continuous guidance to individuals and strategies. They are balanced between development and conserva-
the population and teaching them how to maintain all the ele- tion to induce, arrange, and execute the essential protection activ-
ments of the site. This is necessary for gaining public support for ities, and to protect these activities against the interests of people.
the exerted conservation efforts and encouraging the individu- Achieving a partnership among the Ministry, local administra-
als to participate in these efforts; and tions, investors, and non-governmental organizations to each con-
 Developing a program for training all the administrative staff in servation area is very necessary. It involves many tasks, such as
the Partnership so as to create a distinguished group of site developing programs, funding, implementing projects [22]. This
managers and those who perform the restoration and conserva- will be assigned on the second level. It shall be called the medium
tion works [25]. management.
As for the third level which includes the sub-management, the
5. Methods of implementation: the validation of the proposed Ministry will form a special partnership with each heritage site. It
model includes specialized partnerships in the field of conservation and
construction. They will manage these areas in the long term, main-
Like any other executable management model, the proposed tain the on-going management, and control the investment opera-
model needs to coordinate essential logical undertakings with offi- tions to be continuously conserved.
cial measures to understand its objectives. There are various rules The missions/activities could be explained, whether on the
with respect to how this integration (between scientific research technical, financial, training or control levels, and suggested by
and executive procedures) could be achieved. The creation of a the researcher and conducted by the parties joining the adminis-
high quality research body of various specializations is essential. trative process as an aggregate matrix, and, through it, the ele-
Adaptable and focused interdisciplinary teams responsive to the ments of partnership, roles, and tasks for each conservation
proposed model needs can be maintained and advanced for the territory in other future researches can be defined.
proliferation of huge and complex research projects. The proposed
model tries to build up appropriate channels of communication
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al-misriyya tibqan li-ahdath al-ta’dilat [The Enactment of the Protection of as lecturer in Cairo University (Fauoum branch) and
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me’mary [The Executive By-law for the Law Regulating the Demolition of Non Misr International University (MIU). He can be reached
Falling Establishments and Buildings and the Preservation of Architectural
by e-mail at:
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Please cite this article in press as: Osman K-AA. Heritage conservation management in Egypt. Ain Shams Eng J (2018),