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Committee Decisions

32 COM 8B.43

Examination of nomination of natural, mixed and cultural proprerties to the World Heritage List - Historic Centre of Camagüey (CUBA)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-08/32.COM/8B and WHC-08/32.COM/INF.8B1,

2. Inscribes the Historic Centre of Camagüey, Cuba, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (iv) and (v);

3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

One of the first seven villages founded by the Spaniards in Cuba, Camagüey played a prominent role as the urban centre of an inland territory dedicated to cattle breeding and the sugar industry. Once settled in its current location in 1528, the town developed on the basis on an irregular urban pattern that contains a system of squares, minor squares, serpentine streets, alleys and irregular urban blocks, highly exceptional for Latin American colonial towns located in plain territories. Religious buildings, associated with the main squares, constitute a system of landmarks in the urban fabric, characterized by its homogeneity. Architectural values are associated with typical domestic architectural typologies and the use of consistent construction materials and techniques, especially the extended use of earthen components, which reveal influences from Andalusia. The use of truncated pilasters at the entrance gates and of clay vessels for water storage are features that identify Camagüey's domestic architecture. The historic centre continues to act as the city core and the place for social and cultural activities, which reflect a rich intangible heritage.

Criterion (iv): The Historic Centre of Camagüey constitutes an outstanding urban architectural type in Latin America, featured by its irregular urban layout that produced an unusual system of squares, minor squares, serpentine streets, alleys, urban blocks and plots system. Monumental and domestic architecture form a homogeneous urban fabric where it is possible to find architectural expressions corresponding to different periods of the evolution of the town.

Criterion (v): The Historic Centre of Camagüey constitutes an exceptional example of a traditional urban settlement relatively isolated from main trade routes, where the Spanish colonizers were subject to European medieval urban influences in the urban layout and to traditional construction techniques brought to the Americas by the first masons and construction masters.

The nominated property is of adequate size and contains all the necessary material components to guarantee the integrity of the historic centre. The persistence of the original urban layout, of the architectural types and materials, of the traditional craftsmanship and of uses and spirit allows the historic centre to meet the required conditions of authenticity.

The legal protection and the management system and instruments have proved to be adequate for ensuring the proper conservation of the nominated area and its buffer zone.

4. Recommends that the State Party:

  • a) proceed to a new translation of the revised nomination dossier written in Spanish to be kept in the archives as a reference for new nominations or comparative studies;
  • b) provide information on the existing risk preparedness plan, especially on issues concerning natural disasters. Environmental pressures, such as water contamination or atmospheric pollution, should also be considered in the plan;
  • c) consider the integral conservation of heritage buildings, especially those corresponding to domestic architecture instead of intervening only in main façades;
  • d) design and implement the policy and instruments for the adequate presentation of the property;
  • e) consider the addition of complementary indicators to the monitoring system. ICOMOS recommends taking into account indicators related to accessibility, visual pollution, noise and preservation of natural resources.