Heritage Impact Assessment of the Green Line high-speed rail project on the World Heritage Site of Memphis and its Necropolis
Work scope : Heritage Impact Assessment

Year : 2022
Giza Governorate, Egypt

Memphis and its Necropolis, The Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur World Heritage site, consists of two outstanding components: the first is Memphis - Currently known as Mit Rahina- the capital of Egypt for over three thousand years. A city that was destined to fall at the junction between geography and history. It had manifested by the inevitability of their existence and formulated by knowledge and science that civilization was established. It revolved around the site and man. The second is The Necropolis of Memphis, to the north and south of the capital, extends southwards from the Giza plateau, through Zawyet Elarian, Abu Ghurab, Abusir, Saqqara, and northwards to Dahshur. It contains the first complex monumental stone buildings in Egyptian history, as well as evidence of the development of the royal tombs. More than thirty-eight pyramids including the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the only surviving wonder of the ancient world and one of the most important monuments in the history of humankind. Besides these monumental creations, there are more than nine thousand rock-cut tombs, from different historical periods, ranging from the First to the Thirtieth Dynasty, and extending to the Graeco-Roman Period. The site was inscribed as world heritage in 1979 under Criteria: (i) (iii) (vi), the site is owned and managed by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. It is one of the most visited sites in Egypt by both international and domestic tourists.

The High-Speed Rail (HSR) Green Line is owned and operated by the Ministry of Transport and the National Tunnels Authority. The project is an important development project within Egypt’s Vision 2030 and is in line with the United Nations Social Development Goals (SDGs) regarding social and economic development and the objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA). In terms of reducing carbon emissions by 2050. The expected project provides an environmentally friendly and economically efficient solution to the urgent social and economic need for accessibility and connectivity, taking into account the significant population increase in Egypt. The Green Line route will cross between Saqqara and Dahshur, next to the existing railway line. The route will be accompanied by a depot shop and a passenger station, both located outside the property’s boundaries but within its immediate perimeter. The main objective of this study is to conduct a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) to evaluate the potential impacts of the project on the property. The study was conducted following the updated international requirements applicable for conducting the 2022 Heritage Impact Assessment. The heritage impact assessment study plays an important role in planning development projects without risking diminishing the cultural values of heritage sites. Over the past years, with increasing urban development pressures, the need to adopt heritage impact assessment methodology has increased, especially for World Heritage sites, as heritage impact assessment was introduced as a conservation requirement within the World Heritage Convention. The current study of one of the most important World Heritage sites is a first step taken by Egypt towards applying the impact assessment methodology in preserving World Heritage sites.

The study included :

  • The Historical, Archaeological, Urban context
  • The cultural significance 
  • Attributes identification 
  • Mapping Rights-holders, local communities, and stakeholders
  • State of conservation
  • Relevant legal, regulatory, and policy frameworks
  • The governance and heritage management system

The proposed action (the high-speed rail Green Line - HSR)

Identification and evaluation of impacts:

  • Physical impacts
  • Visual Impacts
  • Cultural Impacts
  • Socioeconomic Impacts
  • Management impacts

Evaluation of the significance of potential impacts on the attributes

Mitigation measures