The Evolution of Built Heritage Conservation Policies in Saudi Arabia between 1970 and 2015: The Case of Historic Jeddah

  • Mohammed Bagader

Student thesis: Phd


Built heritage sites, which symbolise, represent and reveal valuable parts of any nation, require special attention including a visionary policy covering regulations, legislation and so on. Built heritage conservation policy worldwide has developed in the last four decades towards using heritage sites for tourism development. This thesis attempts to explain the evolution of built heritage conservation policy in Saudi Arabia, from the first conservation efforts in the 1970s to 2015, through the case study of Historic Jeddah.Jeddah is an ancient costal city on the Red Sea. Considered the main gateway to the holy cities of Makkah and Al-Medina since the 7th century, it has grown and developed with notable Islamic influence. The defensive wall which stood from 1509 to 1947 preserved the ancient city to the present day, where the remainder of the historic walled city is called Historic Jeddah. This is the only historic urban centre in Saudi Arabia that remains inhabited with its urban and architectural authenticity. The thesis argues that its survival has been assured by three successive built heritage conservation policies: Matthew's Policy (1970-2006), the SCTA Policy (2006-10) and the UNESCO Policy (2010-20).The research traces these three built heritage conservation policies by investigating in depth three analytical dimensions: the policy contents, the actors involved and the actual impacts (interventions and interactions) on the built environment of Historic Jeddah.The research is based on the hypothesis that the focus of built heritage conservation policy in Saudi Arabia has shifted from preserving national identity and legacy (mainly represented by structures of state power) towards using built heritage sites for the purpose of developing international tourism, especially after the recent attempts to inscribe a number of national heritage sites on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. The evidence used to test this hypothesis comes from the examination of a range of documents, archives and conservations projects since the 1970s, as well as interviews conducted with various Saudi heritage stakeholders.
Date of Award31 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorLeandro Minuchin (Supervisor) & Lukasz Stanek (Supervisor)


  • Historic Jeddah
  • Policies
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Built heritage
  • Conservition

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