x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Dubai Creek to receive upgrade as part of Unesco World Heritage site bid

Improved signage, increased lighting and new toilet facilities are part of a planned upgrade for the site as the municipality works to make it more tourist-friendly.

The historic area surrounding Dubai Creek will be upgraded with better facilities as Dubai enters the final stages of evaluation by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) to have the Creek and surrounding area become a World Heritage site. Antonie Robertson/The National
The historic area surrounding Dubai Creek will be upgraded with better facilities as Dubai enters the final stages of evaluation by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) to have the Creek and surrounding area become a World Heritage site. Antonie Robertson/The National

Dubai // The historic area around Dubai Creek is to be upgraded with better signs and service facilities to make it more attractive to tourists.

The development will include improved toilets and more lighting, Dubai Municipality said.

The upgrades are based on reviews by the municipality.

The plan is in its initial phases but work is due to proceed within three months.

The upgrade comes while Dubai is in its final stages of evaluation by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) to have the Creek and surrounding area become a World Heritage site.

A specialist from the agency is to carry out a visit to the site to determine its eligibility from October 21 to 24.

To be recognised by Unesco, the area must represent a unique creative genius and be directly associated with historical events or living traditions, ideas or beliefs, among other standards.

The Dubai Creek, or Khor Dubai in Arabic, and the area surrounding it has a historical record which shows a vibrant culture of sea-fearing and trading of more than 150 years.

Authorities hope being deemed a World Heritage site will protect the UAE’s heritage, enhance its competitiveness internationally and help it become a cultural hub in the same way it has become an economic centre.

They also hope that the listing will double the number of tourists to Dubai from last year’s three million to six million next year.

The area, which has already been included on the Unesco World Heritage tentative list, comprises the mouth of the creek and the first 4.5 kilometres.

It includes the quay, piers of the harbour along the banks of the creek and dhows. It covers the areas of Shindagah and Bastakiya, with their well-preserved traditional buildings.

The Fahidi Fort and souqs, including the Bur Dubai souq, are also in the proposed area.

The municipality has carried out renovation work in the area for more than 20 years and 187 historical buildings have been improved, according to the municipality.

If Dubai Creek wins the bid, it will join Egypt’s pyramids, India’s Taj Mahal and Al Ain on the Unesco list.

The oasis city made the list in 2011 after repeated inspections of the sites and eight years of preparation by the UAE.

Unesco emphasised the importance of Hili because it features “one of the oldest examples” of the falaj irrigation system dating to the Iron Age.

“The property provides important testimony to the transition of cultures in the region from hunting and gathering to sedentarisation,” Unesco said at the time.

wissa@thenational.ae