In what is sure to serve as a major reason for celebration for all Mumbaikars, the UNESCO on Saturday inscribed the historic Victorian Gothic and Art Deco buildings in the city as World Heritage Site.
The buildings thus join Elephanta Caves and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (formerly known as Victoria Terminus), which were included in the elite list in 1987 and 2004, respectively.
“Just inscribed as @UNESCO #WorldHeritage site: Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai, #India Congratulations!,” UNSECO tweeted.
— UNESCO (@UNESCO) June 30, 2018
The decision was taken at the 42nd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, which is underway at Manama in Bahrain.
Last year, Ahmedabad in Gujarat was declared a World Heritage City, the first city in India to have earned that tag.
The Victorian style buildings were constructed in the 19th century and designed by masters like Sir Gilbert Scott, James Trubshaw and Lt. Col. James Fuller. Some of the buildings that are listed as Victorian style are University of Mumbai, the Bombay High Court, and the Maharashtra Police Headquarters.
The Art Deco types were constructed in the early part of the 20th century. They comprise over 125 buildings and were designed by WR Davidge in the 1920s onwards, making it the second largest ensemble of such buildings in the world after Miami.
Some of the prominent Art Deco structures that stand majestically include the Regal Cinema, Rajab Mahal, India Assurance Building, New Empire Cinema, Fairlawns building, Eros Cinema, several residential buildings on Marine Drive, and a few even in the northern parts of the island city.
The Oval Maidan cricketing ground is flanked by buildings constructed in the two unique genres of architecture. Most of the buildings are clustered in the southern part of Mumbai and were built during the British era between the later part of the 19th century and the middle of the 20th century.
No other city in the world has such a large ensemble emblematic of the 19th and 20th century architectural styles, literally facing each other over a small geographical area of urban design.
The buildings had failed to enter the list in 2012 when the Maharashtra government had first submitted its formal nomination proposal for UNESCO honour.
(With inputs from agencies.)