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The Cultural Landscape of As-Salt, Jordan: Keys to World Heritage Nomination

Abstract
As-Salt, a city in Jordan, has undergone heritage enhancement projects since the 1990s and is currently undergoing a heritage regeneration project in its downtown core, in preparation for potential World Heritage designation. Consequently, the State Party representing As-Salt submitted a report in 2015 to UNESCO for World Heritage Nomination. The report was entitled “Arab Eclecticism - Foundation and evolution of an Architectural School in the city of As-Salt (1860-1925)”. It focused mainly on the architectural image of the city. Unfortunately, the report was unsuccessful in proving the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of As-Salt, a value used by UNESCO to determine the cultural or natural significance of sites and monuments. Hence, As-Salt’s nomination status was deferred. While the ongoing project of “Oqbah bin Nafe” in As-Salt’s downtown addresses touristic amenities and increasing public open space, a piecemeal approach of specific physical interventions is not the solution. In order for a resubmission of the nomination, the State Party of As-Salt must go beyond architectural merit to identify what makes As-Salt unique in comparison with other Muslim cities of the Levant. This paper develops an understanding of the history of As-Salt’s development, and compares its physical characteristics with other Muslim cities at the local, and regional level, in order to establish the characteristics that make As-Salt significant, and may propel its nomination to World Heritage status and may identify additional aspects that may raise the level of Outstanding Universal Value.
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2019-04-01
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