Egypt and the World Heritage List


The World Heritage List was established under terms of The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage adopted in November 1972 at the 17th General Conference of UNESCO.

The Convention states that a World Heritage Committee "will establish, keep up-to-date and publish" a World Heritage List of cultural and natural properties, submitted by the States Parties and considered to be of outstanding universal value.

One of the main responsibilities of this Committee is to provide technical co-operation under the World Heritage Fund for the safeguarding of World Heritage properties to States Parties whose resources are insufficient.

States Parties can request international assistance under the Fund for the preparation of tentative lists and nomination forms, expert missions, training of specialized staff, and supply of equipment when appropriate; they can also apply for long-term loans and, in special cases, non-repayable grants. Requests must concern work necessary for the preservation of cultural or natural sites included in the World Heritage List or assistance to national or regional training centres.

Emergency assistance is also available under the Fund in the case of properties severely damaged by specific natural or man-made disasters or threatened with imminent destruction (UNESCO, World Heritage List, 2003).

Until the year 2002 there were only 5 areas of Egypt inscribed on the World Heritage List:

  1. Memphis and its Necropolis – the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur
    (N29 51 E31 15)
  2. Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis
    (N25 42 E32 35)
  3. Nubian Monuments from Abu Simbel to Philae
    (N22 30 E31 50)
  4. Islamic (Old) Cairo
    (N30 6 E31 26)
  5. Abu Mena (Monastery near Alexandria)
    (N30 51 E29 40)
  6. These areas were inscribed on the List in 1979, however, in 2002 one more area was added to the list:

  7. St. Katherine's (Monastery and Area Immediately Surrounding it)
    (N28 34 E34 0)

In 2001, members of ECHO were involved in site management plans at various archaeological sites in the St. Katherine's Protectorate. Although these sites are not on the World Heritage List they are in the St. Katherine Protectorate and therefore, under the protection of the Egyptian Government.

In 2003, Gebel Barkal and the Sites of the Napatan Region in Upper Nubia (Sudan) was inscribed on the World Heritage List. The area comprises of 5 sites:

  1. Gebel Barkal
    (N18 32 E31 49)
  2. El Kurru
    (N18 24 E31 46)
  3. Nuri
    (N18 33 E31 55)
  4. Sanam
    (N18 28 E31 49)
  5. Zuma
    (N18 22 E31 44)
  6. The latest site to be inscribed on the World Heritage List was in 2005:

  7. Wadi Al-Hitan (Whale Valley) in the Faiyum Governorate
    (N30 11 00 0 E29 20 00 0)

For more information on these sites and the conservation means being implemented to protect them visit the UNESCO World Heritage List. Although at present only six areas in Egypt are inscribed on the World Heritage List, ECHO hopes that many more important and endangered areas will soon be inscribed on the List. Recent developments within UNESCO have seen a Tentative List of World Heritage Sites drawn up by the various member states.

ECHO has drawn up a further list of the most important archaeological sites to supplement the six sites already on UNESCO's World Heritage List. Many of the sites and monuments on ECHO's list concur and complement the Tentative List. This woefully inadequate amount of sites indentured on the World Heritage List, particularly Prehistoric sites, is only the first step to protecting these sites and monuments. However, the list of sites and monuments that fulfill the criteria of the UNESCO Guidelines article 24 should include:

Proposed List of Sites and Monuments to be Examined

This list is only preliminary, and is by no means a complete list of Egypt's most important sites. The complete list can only be fully compiled after much extensive research. The job of researching the state of preservation of these and other sites to be added to the list, is the first step in cultural heritage management (CHM).

Prehistoric Localities

1. Bir Tarfawi & Bir Sahara Acheulian sites and lake beds
2. Kharga Oasis (Tentative W.H.L.) Acheulian & fossil springs
3. Dendera (Tentative W.H.L.) Acheulian
4. Wadi Kubbaniya (Tentative W.H.L.) Middle Palaeolithic and wadi habitat
5. Wadi Feiran (Tentative W.H.L.) Upper Palaeolithic and oasis habitat
6. Nazlet Khater Upper Palaeolithic mining
7. Taramsa-Tikh Early Homo Sapiens
8. North Faiyum (Tentative W.H.L.) Terminal Palaeolithic & Lake Moeris shorelines
9. Wadi Mukatab, Sinai (Tentative W.H.L.) Ancient writing and petroglyphs (Origins of Alphabet)

Origins of Agriculture and the Egyptian State

10. Bir Kisseiba & Nabta Playa Earliest domesticated cattle in Africa
11. Farafra Oasis (Tentative W.H.L.) Rock art & organised communities
12. Merimde Beni Salama Oldest Delta farming communities
13. Badari Earliest farming chiefdoms in Upper Egypt
14. Nagada Predynastic cemeteries, villages and towns
15. Hierakonpolis Predynastic cemeteries and settlements
16. Tell Ibrahim Awad Predynastic to Early Dynastic transition, earliest temple in Egypt
17. Maadi Late Predynastic site
18. Buto Early Delta capital
19. Abydos (Tentative W.H.L.) Tombs of first kings of Egypt


20. Qusseir Qadeim Red Sea port with many Roman remains
21. Berenice Predynastic - Roman Red Sea Port
22. Fustat and Misr al-Qadima Old Cairo Nile port
23. Safaga Red Sea port


24. Serabit el-khadim (Tentative W.H.L.) Mining and temple
25. Wadi Hammamat* (Tentative W.H.L.) Petroglyphs, ancient mining and historical route
26. Wadi Gimal (Tentative W.H.L.) Ancient mining
27. Gebel el-Silsila Chapel of Horemheb, inscriptions and early mines
28. Widen el-Faras (Tentative W.H.L.) Old Kingdom basalt quarries, north Faiyum
29. Umm el-Sawan (Tentative W.H.L.) Old Kingdom gypsum quarries, north Faiyum

Historical Routes

30. Wadi Hammamat* (Tentative W.H.L.) Petroglyphs, ancient mining and historical route
31. Horus Road (Tentative W.H.L.) Egypt's eastern road
32. Wadi Tumilat Oldest canal, and Egypt-Near East connection
33. Wadi el-Qash (Tentative W.H.L.) Koptos to Berenice (Red Sea port) road, Kanays Temple

Religious Sites

34. Tree of Mariam Sacred tree of the Virgin Mary
35. St. Catherine's Monastery and Gebel Musa (W. H. Listed) Monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai and the mountain of Moses
36. Abu Mena (W. H. Listed) Coptic monastery
37. Wadi el-Natrun (Tentative W.H.L.) Coptic monasteries and Hathor Temple
38. Nag Hamadi Pachomian monasteries of Tabennesi, Phbow and Sheneset
39. Islamic Cairo (W.H. Listed) The foundation of the city of Cairo, including Fustat and the Roman fort of Babylon, as well as many early Coptic churches
40. Deir el-Abaid (Sohag) Monastery
41. Monasteries of St. Anthony and St. Paul Earliest monasteries in the world
42. Medinet Madi (Tentative W.H.L.) Middle Kingdom temple of Amenemhet III and Ptolemaic temples in the Faiyum

Ancient Dams

43. Balawan Dam (Tentative W.H.L.) Middle Kingdom dam built across the Hawara Channel, Faiyum
44. Shedmu Dam (Tentative W.H.L.) Remains of Ptolemaic and historic Islamic dam, built on earlier Pharaonic dam, near Itsa, Faiyum
45. Giza Dam Oldest dam in the world, built in the Old Kingdom, near ancient Memphis

Political Sites

46. Al-Azbakia Mameluk and Napoleon's residence in Egypt
47. Citadel Site of Mameluk power, and birth of modern Egypt
48. Abdine Palace Royal residence from Ismail to Farouk
49. Al-Tell El-Kebir Battle with Ahmed Orabi & British occupation
50. Alexandria (Abu Qir) (Tentative W.H.L.) Bombardment of Alexandria and navel battles
51. Al-Alumni Site of WWII battle that turned back Nazi invasion into Egypt & war cemetery

Traditional Settlements

52. Old Siwa & Gara (Tentative W.H.L.) Traditional oasis village
53. Qasr el-Dakhla (Tentative W.H.L.) Old Kingdom oasis town

Pharaonic Sites

54. Akhmim Dismantled remains of the 9th nome capital
55. Nubian sites to Aswan (W. H. Listed) Abu Simbel, Philae
56. Kom Ombo (Tentative W.H.L.) Ptolemaic temple
57. Edfu Temple Ptolemaic temple (almost complete)
58. El-Kab Site of Nekhbet & successive temples
59 Esna Temple (Tentative W.H.L.) Ptolemaic temple and sacred site of Lates fish
60. Thebes (W.H. Listed) Karnak, Valley of the Kings
61. Dendera Hathor Temple: Early Dynastic - Ptolemaic
62 El-Arabeh Al-Madfuna Temples of Seti I & Ramesses II
63. Tell el-Amarna (Tentative W.H.L.) City of Akhenaten
64. Ashmunin (Tentative W.H.L.) Graeco-Roman necropolis
65. Tuna el-Gebel Unique tomb of Petosiris
66. Ahnasya Capital of Egypt in the 9th & 10th Dynasties
67. Beni Hasan (Tentative W.H.L.) First Intermediate Period to Middle Kingdom necropolis
68. Al-Lahun (Tentative W.H.L.) Middle Kingdom pyramid and town of Senusret II
69. el-Lisht Middle Kingdom pyramids of Senusret I and Amenemhet I
70. Hawara (Tentative W.H.L.) Middle Kingdom Pyramid of Amenemhet III
71. Dimai, Qasr Sagha (Tentative W.H.L.) Graeco-Roman city, Middle Kingdom temple Faiyum
72. Byahmu (Tentative W.H.L.) Bases of colossal statues of Amenemhet III and history of Qarun Lake
73. Maidum IVth Dynasty pyramid of Sneferu and IIIrd to IVth Dynasty cemetery
74. The pyramid fields from Dahshur to Abu Roash, including Memphis (W. H. Listed) Pyramids and mortuary complexes with the surrounding tombs of the elite of the Old Kingdom, first and enduring capital of Egypt
75. Sais (Sa el-Hagar)* Early Capital of Egypt and again in the XXVIth Dynasty
76. Buto (Tell el-Fara'in)* Important Pharaonic remains at the ancient Delta Capital
77. Tell el-Mashkuta Late Period to Graeco-Roman settlement and cemetery remains
78. Bahbit el-Hagar Premier temple of Isis
79. Heliopolis (Al-Mataryia) Ancient Egyptian religious and learning centre
80. Tell Basta The town of Bastet
81. San el Hagar (Tanis) Ramesses II and Late Period city
82. Hibis Temple, El-Kharga Well-preserved temple of Darius (and others)
83. Aghourmi Temple, Siwa (Tentative W.H.L.) Site of the Oracle of Amun visited by Alexander the Great
84. Zawyet Umm el-Rakham Ramesside fort
85. Tanis Late Period city
86. Pi-Ramesses City of Ramesses II
87. Alexandria* (Tentative W.H.L.) Temples and palaces of Cleopatra and Anthony
88. Kom el-Aushim (Karanis)* (Tentative W.H.L.) Ptolemaic and Roman city, Faiyum
89. Kom Umm el-Boreigat (Tebtynis)* (Tentative W.H.L.) Ptolemaic and Roman city, Faiyum
90. Mendes (Tell el-Rub’a and Tell el-Timai)* Predynastic to Ptolemaic city
91. Tell el-Ratabi* Predynastic to Late Period settlement, Wadi Tumilat

W. H. Listed = World Heritage Listed

* Site that fits two categories or/and is listed twice


Current Affairs


The Trustees of ECHO are sad to announce the loss of our beloved friend and colleague Dr. Geoffrey J. Tassie, affectionately known as Tass.

There has been and continues to be illegal encroachment on the UNESCO World Heritage Listed site of Dahshur. The Trustees of ECHO are supporting this petition to try and stop this illegal building activity and so can you, please sign the petition

The ECHO trustees are pleased to announce that ECHO is now a registered charity (number 1142484) this will enable ECHO to continue and develop into the future.

ECHO is now on Facebook

ECHO article detailing the endangered sites in the Faiyum is now available to download as a PDF

Protection of Cultural Heritage in Revolutionary Times: The International Workshop on Prevention of Destruction, Looting and Theft of Cultural Heritage. Cairo, September 2012.
Call for Papers

New Nubian Dams are planned by the Sudanese Government, none of which have the consent of the local population who will be the ones most affected.
Sign the petition to stop the building of these dams

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