The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA)  in coordination with Jeddah municipality and other government agencies has completed the nomination file for registration of Jeddah historic area in the UNESCO’s World Heritage site list, the SCTA’s media center said on Monday.
Stating that the file has since been submitted to the UNESCO, an SCTA official said: “According to the established procedure for seeking inclusion in the World Heritage site list , after formal acceptance, the file should be referred to the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) to ensure the site’s eligibility for joining the heritage list before the final stage of registration.” The final stage includes voting on the site at the meeting of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee,” the officials said, adding the various stages progress as per a specific time-frame, and in concurrence with the work of a number of committees and sectors specialized in studying, evaluating and analyzing the nomination.
Accordingly, the Jeddah historic area file is expected to be submitted for voting by the World Heritage Committee during its 38th session to be held in Qatar in June, 2014, he said.
The commission is also putting in all effort in Jeddah historic area in accordance with the project for development and rehabilitation of historic centers which is carried out by the SCTA in collaboration with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, the official underlined.He said the project aims to develop and preserve important historic sites and transform them into tourism and business locations to score points for inclusion in the list.
From Thursday, Jeddah city will be hosting the 10-day “Jeddah Historic Area Festival”  under the patronage of Prince Mesh’al bin Abdullah, Governor of Makkah. It will also be attended by the SCTA president Prince Sultan bin Salman, the official informed.
Through development of the historic area, the SCTA aims to preserve, rehabilitate and develop it architecturally, culturally and economically in a sustainable manner and highlight its heritage, urban and cultural features and encourage area owners to preserve and protect their properties.
Working on the rehabilitation of the area with local authorities, the SCTA has carried out several responsibilities including preparation of the basic document for the King Abdul Aziz project for preservation and development of the historic area.
A number of committees were formed for the project, the most important of which is the ‘Supreme Committee’ under the chairmanship of the Governor.
According to the official, there are a number of projects, valued at over SR 50 million, in progress in the historic area. These include consultation services for restoration of heritage buildings in Al Balad area, supplying and installing lighting columns, establishing parking lots and pavements for cars, cleaning and maintenance of the historic area, maintenance and restoration of buildings and museums inside the area.
Earlier, the SCTA in collaboration with Jeddah municipality, had conducted a number of workshops and participated jointly in evaluation of schematic studies for the development of the area.It was also involved in preparing the plan for executive projects, besides signing a contract with an international consulting firm to set up preservation plan and management of the historic area in preparation of finalyzing its registration in UNESCO’s heritage list.Besides, several heritage buildings were chosen and one of them was selected for restoration and conversion into a heritage hotel by the Saudi Heritage Hospitality Company.
Moreover, the SCTA in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry for Islamic Affairs, Endowment, Dawa and Guidance, undertakes several issues related to endowment as it is keen to develop and preserve the historic area in a sustainable manner since it is considered to be only remaining city representing the architectural style of the Red Sea basin.