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World Heritage Conservation and Sustainable Development


Sustainable Development and Community Involvement Initiatives at Makli Established within the UNESCO/Republic of Korea Funds-in-Trust Agreement

UNESCO World Heritage Centre launched the project "Local Community Involvement and Sustainable Development for World Heritage" in the Makli Hill World Heritage property, Pakistan, under the Republic of Korea/UNESCO Funds-in-Trust. Local Community and Sustainable Development was the theme of 40th anniversary of the 1972 World Heritage Convention that highlighted the importance o fthe role that can be played by local communities in conservation and management of World Heritage Sites.

Goal: The overall aim of the project is to establish best practices regarding the preservation of cultural heritage by developing frameworks in which local communities are actively involved in the conservation of monuments, which would ultimately develop income-generating activities to them.

Background: Makli has historically been one of the three centers of glazed tiles in Pakistan. Unfortunately, the traditional knowledge to produce ancient glazed tiles and ceramics has been lost over time, despite there being a great need for glazed tiles for conservation purposes. In order to revive that knowledge and indigenous skills, the Makli WH property has been selected as one of the pilot cases for the project.

The project basically aims to revitalize the technique of ancient glazed tiles that will also boost the local production of glazed tiles in and around Makli Hill, Thatta. Once this technique is revitalized and good quality glazed tiles can be produced at a local level, which will greatly contribute to the conservation of various monuments of the Makli Hill. Moreover, a cultural survey will be carried out to better understand socio-cultural aspects related to ancient tile production in relation to local kilns.

This project aims to revitalize traditional cultural skills and knowledge of glazed tile at Makli which evolved in this region for centuries and influenced Sindhi art and built environment, and for a long time and has been a source of pride and livelihood for people in the area and commonly found on mosques, tombs, and archaeological sites at Makli and Thatta. So the project will focus on reviving this tile making skills through a series of workshops (in tile production, finishing and designing) and at the same time shall provide livelihoods opportunities to the local community. So the project illustrate how communities' participation can both safeguard and protect cultural heritage and same time providing further source of income for local people.

Another important feature of this project is that it shall be complementing another project which aims at conservation of two mausoleums including sultan Ibrahim tomb and Isa Khan Tharkhan whose building craft shall be restored through the revitalized glazed tiles produced through this project.

Sultan Ibrahim is buried in an octagonal brick structure. The dome was originally covered with turquoise-blue tiles that have been vandalized. The tomb introduces a new style of brick architecture in Thatta that was followed in the tombs of Mirza Jani Beg and Dewan Shurfa that were built during the Mughal period.