The World Heritage Committee on June 30, 2018 declared the Victorian and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai as the World Heritage Property, thus, inscribing the site on the UNESCO's World Heritage list under Criteria (ii) and (iv) as defined in the UNESCO's Operational Guidelines.
This inscription makes Mumbai the second city in India after Ahmedabad to be inscribed on the World Heritage List. The decision was taken during the meeting of World Heritage Committee in Manama under the chair of Shaikha Haya Bint Rashed al-Khalifa of Bahrain.
Apart from the Mumbai site, the committee inscribed three other cultural sites on the World Heritage List. These sites are Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars region of Iran, Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region of Japan and Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea.
Renaming of the site as Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles
India accepted the renaming of the ensemble as “Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai”, as recommended by the World Heritage Committee.
Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai
• The Ensemble comprises of two architectural styles - the 19th century collection of Victorian structures and the 20th century Art Deco buildings along the sea, conjoined by the historical open space of the Oval Maidan.
• This architectural ensemble represents the most remarkable collection of Victorian and Art Deco buildings in the world which form the unique character of this urban setting, unparalleled in the world.
• The 19th century Victorian buildings form part of the larger Fort area situated to the east of the Oval Maidan.
• These public buildings include the Old Secretariat (1857-74), University Library and Convention Hall (1874-78), the Bombay High Court (1878), the Public Works Department Office (1872), Watson’s Hotel (1869), David Sasoon Library (1870), the Elphinstone College(1888), etc.
• The Art Deco styled buildings to the west of the Oval Maidan were raised in early 20th century on the new lands at Marine Drive and symbolised the shift in expression to represent contemporary aspirations.
With this inscription, India now has overall 37 World Heritage Inscriptions with 29 Cultural, 07 Natural and 01 Mixed sites. In the past 5 years, India has managed to get seven of its sites inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
Moreover, India stands second largest in number after China in terms of number of World Heritage properties in ASPAC (Asia and Pacific) region, it is overall sixth in the world.
This inscription is expected to give boost to domestic and international tourism leading to increased employment generation, creation of world-class infrastructure and augmentation of sale of local handicrafts, handlooms and heritage memorabilia.