The Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai has been declared as a World Heritage Property by UNESCO in Manama, Bahrain. The decision was taken at the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO at Manama in Bahrain. As recommended by the World Heritage Committee, India accepted the renaming of the ensemble as “Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai”.
This makes Mumbai city the second city in India after Ahmedabad to be inscribed on the World Heritage List. In the past 5 years alone, India has managed to get inscribed seven of its properties/sites on the World Heritage List of UNESCO. India now has overall 37 World Heritage Inscriptions with 29 Cultural, 07 Natural and 01 Mixed sites. While India stands second largest in number after China in terms of number of World Heritage properties in ASPAC (Asia and Pacific) region, it is overall sixth in the world.
On this historic moment, the Union Minister of State for Culture (I/c) Dr. Mahesh Sharma has congratulated the residents of Mumbai and the entire country for this landmark achievement. In his statement, the Minister said that the international recognition to the heritage precinct of the city of Mumbai is a matter of great pride to the nation and it will boost the local economy in a number of ways. He also added that this achievement 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.
University of Mumbai as part of the Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensemble of Mumbai.
The Ensemble comprises of two architectural styles, the 19th century 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.
The Ensemble consists of 94 buildings primarily of 19th century Victorian Gothic revival and early 20th century Art Deco style of architecture with the Oval Maidan in the center. The 19th century 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.
The Art Deco styled buildings to the west of the Oval Maidan were raised in early 20th century on the newly reclaimed lands at Marine Drive and symbolized the shift in expression to represent contemporary aspirations.