Devendra Fadnavis, others welcome world heritage tag for two Mumbai clusters
Historian and heritage expert Rafiq Baghdadi welcomed the decision, but said preservation would be the harder part
As two building clusters of Victorian Gothic and Art Deco architectural styles in Mumbai were on Saturday jointly inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List, heritage lovers in the city welcomed the development.
Historian and heritage expert Rafiq Baghdadi welcomed the decision but said preservation would be the harder part.
"They should take care of these buildings. Mumbai's Art Deco buildings are like Picasso's paintings. People will now start taking note of these structures around them," he said.
The Fort area of South Mumbai, where these buildings are located, was once part of the fortified city of Bombay. Though its walls were torn down in the 1860s, the name 'Fort' persisted.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had endorsed the proposal to nominate Mumbai as India's official entry to UNESCO, saying that like London and some European cities, Mumbai could have the unique distinction of being both a financial capital and a world heritage site.
"Great day for Mumbai & Maharashtra! Mumbai has always been a world city and now structures & monuments are being listed in the @UNESCO #WorldHeritage site! Sincere thanks to all who have worked hard for this achievement!," Fadnavis tweeted on Saturday.
Archaeologist Kurush Dalal said apart from Mumbai, only Miami in the US has Art Deco buildings in such a great number.
"Preservation is important. Mumbai also has a huge variety of Gothic buildings. However, many of these monuments are owned by trusts who don't have funds. These monuments are in bad condition. The government should prepare a plan to maintain them.
"Once a building is listed as heritage, there can not be any changes to the structure. For the owner, the building becomes a white elephant," he said, adding that such owners should be compensated in some way.
This is the third such honour for the metropolis after the Elephanta Caves and the majestic Victoria Terminus (later rechristened Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) which earned the coveted tag in 1987 and 2004, respectively.
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