jump to the content

Committee Decisions

32 COM 8B.44

Examination of nomination of natural, mixed and cultural proprerties to the World Heritage List - Protective Town of San Miguel and the Sanctuary of Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco (MEXICO)

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Inscribes the Protective Town of San Miguel and the Sanctuary of Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco, Mexico, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (ii) and (iv);

3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

San Miguel de Allende is an early example of a rational territorial and urban development in the Americas, related to the protection of one of the main Spanish inland roads. The town flourished in the 18th century with the construction of significant religious and civil architecture, which exhibits the evolution of different trends and styles, from Baroque to late 19th century Neo-Gothic. Urban mansions are exceptionally large and rich for a medium-size Latin American town and constitute an example of the transition from Baroque to Neo-Classic. The Sanctuary of Atotonilco is a remarkable architectural complex that illustrates a specific response, inspired by the doctrine of Saint Ignacio de Loyola. Its interior decoration, especially mural painting, makes the Sanctuary a masterpiece of Mexican Baroque. Both the town and the Sanctuary, intimately linked, played a significant role in the process of Mexican independence, with impacts throughout Latin America.

Criterion (ii): San Miguel de Allende constitutes an exceptional example of the interchange of human values; due to its location and functions, the town acted as a melting pot where Spaniards, Creoles and Amerindians exchanged cultural influences, something reflected in the tangible and intangible heritage. The Sanctuary of Jesús Nazareno de Atotonilco constitutes an exceptional example of the cultural exchange between European and Latin American cultures; the architectural disposition and interior decoration testify to the interpretation and adaptation of the doctrine of Saint Ignacio de Loyola to this specific regional context.

Criterion (iv): San Miguel de Allende is an exceptional example of the integration of different architectural trends and styles on the basis of a 16th century urban layout. Religious and civil architecture exhibit the evolution of different styles, well integrated into a homogeneous urban landscape. Urban mansions are exceptionally large and rich for a medium-size Latin American town. The Sanctuary of Atotonilco is an outstanding example of a specific religious settlement, containing exceptional decoration that makes it a masterpiece of Mexican Baroque.

The required conditions of integrity and authenticity have been met; both the town and Sanctuary have been subject to few significant alterations over time, urban changes have been adapted to the town's features and scale, and restoration works have been carried out according to appropriate theoretical and technical principles.

The legal system in place ensures the adequate protection of the property and the town and the Sanctuary exhibit an acceptable state of conservation. Management policies, structures and plans in place are adequate to ensure the preservation of the property's values, integrity and authenticity.

4. Recommends that, in order to ensure the optimisation of the current protection, conservation and management system for the property, the State Party should consider the following:

  • a) local authorities should be encouraged to continue the analysis and policy development for tourism management. This should include studies of carrying capacity of the most remarkable historic areas, urban spaces and buildings. The State Party is invited to report on the progress of the study and the results of its implementation;
  • b) local authorities should be encouraged to continue to work on and implement the proposed study on traffic control and planning in the historic centre of San Miguel and adjacent areas. The State Party is invited to report on the progress of the plan and on its results and impact;
  • c) the State Party should consider the possibility that the whole buffer zone of San Miguel be given federal protection;
  • d) the local government is encouraged to create a management agency or group that, with the participation of different stakeholders, can oversee the common implementation of the partial plans for San Miguel and the Sanctuary of Atotonilco;
  • e) the local government should define and implement a systematic monitoring programme that allows better measurement of the state of conservation of the properties over time, and identify priorities for conservation actions;
  • f) the State Party should continue with the plan to rehabilitate the village of Atotonilco, in order to improve the setting of the Sanctuary of Jesús Nazareno. The local government is encouraged to continue studies and the implementation of the project to re-establish the historic road linking San Miguel with Atotonilco.