1.         Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower (Azerbaijan) (C 958)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2000

Criteria  (iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   2003-2009

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/958/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1998-1998)
Total amount approved: USD 15,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/958/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Urban Pressure; Lack of management mechanism (including legislation)

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/958/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2004

Since the inscription of the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2003, the World Heritage Centre has been preparing an Action Plan in consultation with UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage Division, ICOMOS, ICCROM and the national authorities. One of the first steps foreseen in the Action Plan is a Round Table/workshop in September/October 2004 for stakeholders in order to share a common vision for the management of the site and to agree on concrete measures to be undertaken within the Action Plan.

 

As part of the Action Plan, the State Party has started a project in March 2004 with financial assistance from the World Heritage Fund to update plans and maps together with an inventory of buildings within the World Heritage property. Planning for future conservation efforts needs to be based on the updated information on the state of conservation of the buildings and structures within the inscribed area of the World Heritage property. The preparation of detailed maps indicating the current state of conservation of buildings and structures, accompanied by an inventory shall provide a basis on which different activities foreseen in the Action Plan will be developed. Within the framework of the Action Plan, other activities foreseen for implementation include the production of a short film and poster to be distributed in Azerbaijan. The aim of this activity, which will be financed by the German World Heritage Foundation, is to raise awareness about the World Heritage Convention as well as the conservation issues affecting the property. Moreover, the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Division is organising a workshop on community participation in heritage management in May 2004, which will also address the conservation problems of the World Heritage property. A round table in Baku is foreseen in September/October 2004 in order to involve all stakeholders in sharing a common vision and to agree on concrete measures to be taken in the future for the conservation of the property. Relevant stakeholders include the representatives of the National Commission of Azerbaijan for UNESCO, the Ministry of Culture, the Municipality of Baku, the Academy of Science of Azerbaijan, the Scientific Research Institute for Restoration and Conservation of Architectural Monuments (Azerberpa) as well as ICCROM, ICOMOS and UNESCO. This Round Table will provide an opportunity to develop the existing institutional structure and to ensure its coordination as it provides a platform for dialogues amongst international, national and regional stakeholders. Furthermore, the discussion at the Round Table will be a basis for the elaboration of a Master Plan for safeguarding the World Heritage property that incorporates a management plan, tourism development plan and conservation plan.

 

The Division of Cultural Heritage provided financial support in 2003 for the small-scale restoration of the mausoleum of the Sufi Saint, Seyid Yahya akuvie, located within the property.

 

The Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan invited an ICCROM expert mission from 10 to 15 November 2003 to examine the management mechanism of the old town of Baku. The mission recommended improving long-term management to take into account the specific situation in Baku, as well as to identify the needs for training and capacity building in the field of urban heritage management.

 

Having confirmed the findings and concerns highlighted by the joint UNESCO-ICOMOS mission in October 2002, the ICCROM mission of November 2003 further stressed the urgent need for the national authorities to provide political and financial support for the management of the site. Despite the Presidential Decree of January 2003, which ordered the ceasing of any unauthorized construction within the inscribed area, uncontrolled urban development and demolition of buildings continues to be observed. Planning processes for the management of the site are being delayed because the State Party does not have sufficient information and documentation on the state of conservation of the property, and faces financial constraints. The lack of coordination amongst the decision makers in the country, particularly between the national authorities and the municipality, is of further concern. These factors are preventing the authorities from responding to the urgent management and conservation needs of the World Heritage property.

 

At the time of the preparation of this document, the State Party has not provided a report on the state of conservation of the property, as requested by the 27th session of the World Heritage Committee.

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 28 COM 15A.29

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Acknowledges the recent efforts of the State Party, World Heritage Centre, UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage Division, the Advisory Bodies in setting up an Action Plan to address issues affecting the property, and welcomes the active co-operation amongst the stakeholders in the process;

2. Notes with concern that the State Party has not provided a report on the state of conservation of the property by 1 February 2005;

3. Further regrets that demolition and inappropriate urban development continues despite the Presidential Decree of 2003 to halt uncontrolled development within the World Heritage property and urges that this Decree is fully enforced;

4. Expresses its serious concern regarding the overall lack of management of the property and in particular insufficient coordination between the national and municipal authorities;

5. Urges the State Party to provide a detailed report on the state of conservation of the property prior to the Round Table in September/October 2004, so that the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies can examine and propose appropriate follow up action;

6. Requests the State Party to continue to work in close collaboration with the World Heritage Centre, the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Division, ICOMOS and ICCROM in implementing activities foreseen in the Action Plan;

7. Strongly urges the State Party to elaborate a comprehensive Management Plan to address conservation issues, development control and tourism management in order to ensure the future preservation of the property;

8. Also requests the State Party in co-operation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to review the situation and to provide a progress report including an updated Action Plan, by 1 February 2005, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 29th session of the Committee in 2005;

9. Decides to retain the Walled City of Baku, with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower, on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 28 COM 15C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following examination of state of conservation reports of properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-04/28.COM/15A Rev),

2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: