Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai declared as a World Heritage Property by UNESCO on June 30, 2018 as per decision taken at 42nd session of World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO at Manama in Bahrain from 24 June to 4 July 2018. India’s 37th World UNESCO Heritage Site, include the Victorian buildings, which are amongst the finest and most cohesive group of 19th century Victorian Gothic in the world, and the Art Deco of the 20th century, which is the second largest and homogenous collections in the world. As recommended by WHC India accepted the renaming of the ensemble as “Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai”, whereas, as per the Nomination Dossier presented to UNESCO, prepared by Abha Narain Lambah, it was named as, “Victorian and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai”.
Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensemble, the iconic cluster, Maharashtra’s fifth, is the third such honour for the Metropolis after Elephanta Caves and majestic Victoria Terminus, rechristened Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway station.
- Mumbai city is now the second city in India after Ahmedabad to be inscribed on the World Heritage List.
- Ahmedabad in Gujarat, 606 year old walled city, founded by emperor Ahmed Shah, was declared a World Heritage City on July 8, 2017 by WHC after a meeting in Krakwo, Poland, was the first city in India to be inscribed on the World Heritage List.
- Mumbai now has equal number of UNESCO sites as Delhi, which also has three: Red Fort, Qutub Minar and Humayun’s Tomb.
- India has managed to get inscribed seven of its properties/sites on the World Heritage List of UNESCO in the past five years.
- India now has overall 37 World Heritage Inscriptions with 29 Cultural, 07 Natural and 01 Mixed sites.
- India stands sixth largest in the world and second largest after China in terms of number of World Heritage properties in Asia and Pacific (ASPAC) region.
- Ensemble comprises of two architectural styles, the 19thcentury collection of Victorian structures and the 20th century Art Deco buildings along the sea, conjoined by means of the historical open space of the Oval Maidan.
- Together, this architectural ensemble represents the most remarkable collection of Victorian and Art Deco buildings in the world which forms the unique character of this urban setting, unparalleled in the world.
- Ensemble consists of 94 buildings primarily of 19thcentury Victorian Gothic revival and early 20th century Art Deco style of architecture with the Oval Maidan in the centre.
- The 19thcentury Victorian buildings form part of the larger Fort precinct 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.
- Art Deco styled buildings to the west of the Oval Maidan were raised in early 20thcentury on the newly reclaimed lands at Marine Drive and symbolised the shift in expression to represent contemporary aspirations.
Union Minister of State for Culture (I/c) Dr. Mahesh Sharma said, “This international recognition to the heritage precinct of the city of Mumbai will boost the local economy and is expected to give a tremendous fillip 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.”