1.         Cultural Landscape of Sintra (Portugal) (C 723)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1995

Criteria  (ii)(iv)(v)

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/723/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1994-1994)
Total amount approved: USD 10,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/723/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

Joint ICOMOS/IUCN mission November 2000; Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN mission March 2006.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Lack of management plan;

b) Lack of overall conservation of the site, its parks and palaces;

c) Urban development pressure.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/723/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

At the request of the Committee (28 COM 15B.77, 29 COM 7B.81) a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN monitoring mission was undertaken to evaluate the overall state of conservation of the site as well as of its buffer and transition zones six years after the first monitoring mission and ten years after inscription, and to assess the implementation of the management plan submitted in two parts, in 2003 (Part 1) and 2005 (Part 2). The first joint ICOMOS/IUCN mission in 2000 highlighted both the serious condition of some structures and the urgent need for a management plan that addressed conservation needs and prioritized repairs, restoration and maintenance.

The recent mission found that the overall state of conservation of the palaces and parks included in the core zone has improved considerably compared to the situation of 2000. Well-trained and committed professional staff is available for restoration works. The mission concluded that there is no severe problem of threat or loss concerning the outstanding universal value for which the property has been inscribed. The remaining problems have not changed the integrity and authenticity of the World Heritage site.

Threats nevertheless exist due to the absence of a clear management structure and of a comprehensive management plan, the significant debt of the Monte da Lua S.A., the serious urban pressure on the rural and semi-natural landscape surrounding the World Heritage core zone. The conditions of integrity of the property with reference to the values for which it was inscribed are satisfactory in the core zone.

The key monuments under the State control are in good general condition (Palacio real de Sintra, Palacio da Pena). The Palacio de Monserrate and the Convento dos Capuchos, under the Monte da Lua S.A. management, are equally well restored and maintained. The Quinta da Regaleira, property of the Municipality managed by the Cultursintra Foundation is in a particularly good condition.

In terms of natural and landscape values of the area, the protection and the management of the World Heritage property have supposedly had a positive indirect effect on the biodiversity of the region: circa 80% of the high biological values of the Natural Park are still present in the site. As the general trend for the natural values (flora and fauna) is the risk of decreasing numbers of species and the loss of habitats, the importance of a coherent overall management plan is obvious.

Critical points concerning the integrity of the core area of the property are related to: a) the existence of inappropriate pre-fabricated offices at the entrances of some sites; b) the urgent need for restoration of the Chalet of the Countess Edla; c) the absence of any assistance for private owners of high value properties (buildings and parks) to maintain their heritage (colours, volumes; species of plants etc) and ensuring that the essential elements of the properties are kept on site.

For the buffer and transition zones, the rapid urbanisation with the construction of infrastructures and houses creates a major potential threat for the next years. The interface between the core area and the buffer and transition zones could suffer crucial change, leading to a loss of the values of the property, including cultural, semi-natural and natural values.

The mission proposed a detailed agenda for elaborating the following documents that will serve as benchmarks against which to evaluate the progress of future conservation works and development in Sintra in the coming five years:  Management structure; Short term action plan; Urban development strategy; Plan for site interpretation; Sintra-Cascais Natural Park management plan (2010-2014); Sintra Municipality management plan (2010-2019); Updating of the World Heritage site management plan (2010-2014).

Given the short- and mid-term planning for the above documents, approval would need to be achieved before the end of 2009. It is proposed that the follow-up of the above measures be done on a regular basis. For the preparation of the related documents, the State Party may wish to request technical advice from UNESCO and the Advisory Bodies if required.

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


Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7B.89

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decisions 28 COM 15B.77 and 29 COM 7B.81, adopted at its 28th (Suzhou, 2004) and 29th (Durban, 2005) sessions respectively,

3. Notes with satisfaction that significant work has been carried out to improve the state of conservation of the parks and palaces in the core zone of the World Heritage property and notes the efforts made by the State Party and the responsible authorities;

4. Requests the State Party to set up a clear management structure for the World Heritage site and to prepare an integrated comprehensive management plan, that takes into account all the relevant planning documents for the area of Sintra;

5. Also requests, as a first step, that the State Party ensure the preparation of a short-term Action Plan for the period of 2007 to 2009, defining the overall concept and measures for enhancing the World Heritage values including the buffer zones;

6. Encourages the State Party to seek technical support, if necessary, for the elaboration of the above requested documents;

7. Further requests the State Party to submit an up-dated report including the above-mentioned Action Plan to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2007 for examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007.