1.         Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments (Russian Federation) (C 540bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1990

Criteria  (i)(ii)(iv)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/540/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2002-2002)
Total amount approved: USD 5,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/540/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 18,000 for the St Petersburg International Conference January 2007;

Previous monitoring missions

Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission February 2006 and International Conference of Eastern and Central Europe Countries on the Application of Scientific and Technological Achievements in the Management and Preservation of Historic Cities inscribed on the World Heritage List, St Petersburg, 28 January to 3 February 2007;

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Quality of new design projects in the inscribed zone;

b) Confusion over definition and extent of inscribed zone and buffer zone;

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/540/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007

Following the request by 30th session of the Committee (Vilnius, 2006), an international conference was organized in St Petersburg, which also provided the opportunity for ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre to review the current state of conservation of the property. Furthermore, a session was organized as a follow-up to the 2006 reactive monitoring mission to review the boundaries of this serial property and modifications envisaged in line with the Retrospective Inventory Project. The State Party informed the World Heritage Centre that the changes to the original boundaries of the property would constitute a clarification while the provision of buffer zones (which were not foreseen at the time of inscription) would imply a boundary modification. During the meeting, the State Party provided a document to the World Heritage Centre entitled “Proposals of St Petersburg on Identifying the World Heritage Area: Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments”.

This document refers to the recently completed Retrospective Inventory analysis by the World Heritage Centre, and the State Party’s agreement with its conclusions. The State Party notes various mistakes, discrepancies and gaps in the World Heritage nomination documents originally submitted, owing to the different socio-economic and legal system in place at the time. The document includes a brief analysis of the nomination dossier, which identifies three types of components: those located within the historical centre, those situated outside of the historical centre but within the District of St Petersburg, and those located outside the District of St Petersburg and managed by a different authority, the Leningrad Region. The report also contains a table explaining how existing anomalies in the nomination dossier arose, and why. Finally, a revised Serial Nomination Table, listing all components of this serial property, is included; this table also refers to a set of 39 maps submitted with the report, indicating in which map each component is displayed. However, the boundaries of some components, as displayed in such maps, are unclear. Moreover, geographical information concerning the components of the site within the Leningrad Region is not provided, and relevant maps for such components are not attached. After examination of this document and the attached maps, the World Heritage Centre provided the State Party during the international conference with a report concerning the modifications to be made to the maps in order for them to be presented to the World Heritage Committee in Document WHC-07/31.COM/11A.2 at its 31st session. An action plan was agreed with the local authorities, establishing that modified and missing maps should all be submitted to the Secretariat by 15 March 2007. By that date, no document had been received. On 20 March 2007, a revised version of the maps was submitted and analysed. However the delimitation of some components was still not considered satisfactory and maps for the components of the site located within Leningrad Region were still missing. The State Party’s proposals concerning the boundaries and buffer zone remain ambiguous, despite considerable collaboration with the World Heritage Centre.

On 29 November 2006, the World Heritage Centre wrote to the State Party to inquire about reported plans of a tower to be constructed by Gazprom (300m tall with 77 floors) just outside the inscribed property, and reminded the State Party of its obligations under Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines to inform the Committee of any major projects which might threaten the integrity of the property inscribed. At the time of the preparation of this document, no official response to this letter had been received by the World Heritage Centre. During the formal proceedings of the St Petersburg meeting the Gazprom Tower was not discussed, nor was it mentioned in the meeting conclusions. However, a site visit was organized with representatives of the World Heritage Centre to meet with Gazprom officials as well as the Governor of St Petersburg to discuss the matter and view the various proposals from the design competition. Meeting participants, including the ICOMOS representative, were also given the opportunity to visit the site and to receive a briefing from Gazprom on the proposed project.

Serious concerns by the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and many workshop participants were raised about the potential impact of the Gazprom Tower on the outstanding universal value of the Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg. Local and national authorities are urged to refrain from issuing any building permits which would allow the project to proceed until a full independent environmental impact assessment has been undertaken which acknowledges existing height limitations, legal provisions as well as the recommendations of the International Meeting concerning the horizontal character of the historic urban landscape of St Petersburg.

The conclusions and recommendations of the International Meeting (see https://whc.unesco.org/en/events/362) included a number of relevant points for the conservation of St Petersburg including:

a) the need to include all of the river and the embankments within the nominated area, given the city’s image as a port city and “Venice of the North”;

b)  a large buffer zone should be created in St Petersburg around its historic centre that should include an area sufficient to protect the horizontal character of the viewscape, one of the dominant characteristics of the city, in accordance with the layout of the protective zone;

c) Based on the documentation and analysis prepared by the authorities, a set of boundaries for the outstanding universal value of the site should be presented with special reference for its role as a river city;

d) A series of buffer zones should be prepared including, where relevant, the initiation of planning and design alternatives for current projects.

It is noted that the State Party integrated its efforts to address issues identified by the Committee during its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006), with an expert meeting to review issues in St Petersburg but also to place these in the larger context of the conservation issues of the region’s historic cities. This has permitted a wider understanding of the particular conservation issues being addressed by the local authorities and the ability to frame discussion of these issues within an “historic urban landscape” analysis. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM


Decision Adopted: 31 COM 7B.102

The World Heritage Committee,

1.       Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7B,

2.       Recalling Decision 30 COM 7B.78, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),

3.       Notes the results of the International Conference on the “Application of Scientific and Technological Achievements in Management and Preservation of Historic Cities Inscribed on the World Heritage List”, St Petersburg, 28 January – 3 February 2007;

4.       Regrets that the maps submitted by the State Party dated 18 January 2007 and 5 March 2007, did not comply with the Committee’s request as they did not provide detailed boundaries and buffer zones of all components of the property, including Leningrad Region and urges the State Party to provide these maps by 1 February 2008 at the latest;

5.       Strongly urges the State Party, at the earliest opportunity, to provide a detailed report on the Gazprom tower development project in order for the World Heritage Committee to evaluate the impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

6.       Requests the State Party to stop any development, including the issuing of building permits, until all relevant materials have been reviewed and its impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage property has been fully assessed;

7.       Also requests the State Party to provide a state of conservation report, including details on the Gazprom project, which may have an impact on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, to the World Heritage Centre on 1 February 2008 for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008 in view of the possibility of inclusion of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger