Decision : 40 COM 8B.26
Examination of nominations of cultural properties to the World Heritage List
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Documents WHC/16/40.COM/8B and WHC/16/40.COM/INF.8B1,
- Inscribes the Archaeological Site of Philippi, Greece, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (iii) and (iv);
- Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:
The Archaeological Site of Philippi is lying at the foot of an acropolis in north-eastern Greece on the ancient route linking Europe with Asia, the Via Egnatia. The city of Philippi, re-founded by Philip II on a former colony of Thasians in 356 BCE, was reshaped by the Romans into a "small Rome" with its elevation to a Colonia Augusta of the Roman Empire in the decades following the Battle of Philippi. The vibrant Hellenistic city of Philip II, of which the walls and their gates, the theatre and the funerary heroon (temple) are to be seen, was adorned and transformed with Roman public buildings including the Forum and a monumental terrace with temples to its north. Later the city became a centre of Christian faith and pilgrimage deriving from the visit of the Apostle Paul in 49/50 CE and the remains of Christian basilicas and the octagonal church testify to its importance as a metropolitan see.
Criterion (iii): Philippi is an exceptional testimony to the incorporation of regions into the Roman Empire as demonstrated by the city’s layout and architecture as a colony resembling a “small Rome”. The remains of its churches are exceptional testimony to the early establishment and growth of Christianity.
Criterion (iv): The monuments of Philippi exemplify various architectural types and reflect the development of architecture during the Roman and Early Christian period. The Forum stands out as an example of such a public space in the eastern Roman provinces. The Octagon Church, the transept Basilica, and the domed Basilica stand out as types of Early Christian architecture.
The walled city includes all elements necessary to convey its values, and is not subject to development or neglect. The modern asphalted road, closed in 2014, which essentially follows the route of the ancient Via Egnatia, will be dismantled east of the west entrance to the site near the Museum.
The walled city was subject to major destruction in the earthquake of 620 CE. Many stones and elements of the buildings including inscriptions and mosaic and opus sectile floors remain in situ from that time, although some stones were subsequently reused in later buildings. Modern constructions and interventions at the site have been generally limited to archaeological investigations and necessary measures for the protection and enhancement of the site. For the most part the principle of reversibility has been respected and the walled city can be considered authentic in terms of form and design, location and setting.
Protection and management requirements
The property and buffer zone are protected at the highest level under the antiquities Law 3028/2002 ‘On the Protection of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage in General’ as re-designated in 2012, and as protected zone A in 2013. This covers both State and privately-owned land and, except for the buffer zone extension in the south-east corner which covers part of the adjacent town, is a ‘non-construction’ zone. The area of the adjacent town is covered by planning requirements to report archaeological finds during works. The boundaries of the property and buffer zone are clearly defined on the maps and the property will be fully fenced in the near future.
The property is managed at the local level by the Ephorate of Antiquities, the Regional Service of the General Directorate of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage, within the Ministry of Culture and Sports. The Management Plan was drafted in 2014 and will be implemented by a seven-member committee including representatives of government and municipal agencies and co-ordinated by the Head of the local Ephorate of Antiquities. A conservation strategy aimed at unifying and upgrading the property and identifying the priority projects and funding sources will be included in the Management Plan, together with a co-ordinated archaeological research plan aimed at better understanding and interpretation of the site and an overall database as a basis for monitoring and conservation.
- Recommends that the State Party give consideration to the following:
- extending the management plan to include:
- the conservation strategy identifying the priority projects and showing the allocation and sources of funding for these,
- the co-ordinated archaeological research plan aimed at better understanding and interpretation of the site,
- an overall database as a basis for monitoring and conservation,
- increased site maintenance and protection of wall and floor finishes;
- marking clearly and permanently on the ground the boundaries of the property components and buffer zones; and fully fencing the property.
- extending the management plan to include: