Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1994
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger 2009-present
Previous Committee Decisions see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 70,500
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2004
At the request of the 27th session of the World Heritage Committee, a joint UNESCO-ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission was undertaken from 8 to 16 November 2003. Despite the political situation in Georgia at that time, which made it difficult to organise meetings with the relevant authorities, the mission evaluated the state of conservation of the property, the management of the World Heritage site and consulted local stakeholders on how best to implement the Master Plan developed by UNESCO and UNDP in 2003. Subsequently, the Georgian authorities provided a state of conservation report on 25 February 2004, which addresses a number of conservation issues.
The Church of Georgia has constructed new buildings in the vicinity of the Cathedral of Sveti Tskhoveli, which in the opinion of the mission affects the character of the World Heritage site. While the basilica of the Cathedral is in a good condition, the inappropriate method used for the restoration of mural paintings is of particular concern as the mission observed surface abrasion and general deterioration. The mission noted further conservation problems that include damages on the defence wall and uneven ground level as well as an underground concrete structure outside the defence wall of the Cathedral. The Georgian Church constructed a bishop palace within the ground, in view to demolish it later when another building is constructed outside the wall of the Cathedral. The State Party further mentioned in its report that the Church has made some inappropriate interventions for the conservation of the property. The exterior of the Samtavro Monastic Complex is in a good condition but the mission could not obtain permission to examine the interior of the building. The state of conservation of Jvari is favourable, except it is necessary to remove the scaffolding from the earlier restoration work and to define a buffer zone for the property. The State Party stated in its report that inappropriate material was used to restore the small church of the Jvari Monastery.
The mission considers that the Master Plan for the World Heritage property needs to be implemented with a more active involvement of the local, regional and national authorities as well as the Church. The translation of the Master Plan into Georgian would further facilitate this process. Moreover, future developments should take into account the vision provided in the Master Plan and to keep the integrity of the World Heritage property by, for example, respecting the existing architectural styles and using local material. The mission explored different ways in which the Master Plan could be supported by different international and national organisations including the World Bank, Soros Foundation and UNDP.
The ICOMOS-UNESCO mission highlights an urgent need to clarify the extent of a core zone and to define buffer zones as appropriate. At the time of the inscription in 1994, ICOMOS evaluated the outstanding universal value of only three churches. The World Heritage Committee at its 18th session in 1994, therefore, suggested to the State Party to change the name of the property to the "Historic Churches of Mtskheta" but this has never been taken up. The Georgian authorities stated in their state of conservation report that they wish to extend the core zone of the property to include an area as defined by a triangle of the churches of Jvari, Samtavro and Armatsikhe. The mission of November 2003 supports the view taken by the State Party in order to ensure landscape integrity, while recognising potential problems in controlling future developments in the enlarged area.
In accordance with the Constitutional Agreement with the State, the Georgian Orthodox Church owns all ecclesiastic buildings in Georgia. The report by the State Party confirmed the view of the mission that the interventions made by the Georgian Church for the conservation of the property are often inappropriate and the country lacks an overall process to manage urban development and other conservation issues at the national and local level.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
Decision Adopted: 28COM 15B.69
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Noting the outcome of the joint UNESCO-ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to the property,
2. Expresses its serious concerns for the lack of management mechanism for the property as well as insufficient coordination between the Georgian Church and the national authorities in safeguarding the outstanding universal value of the property;
3. Urges the State Party to change the name of the property to "Historic Churches of Mtskheta" as suggested by the World Heritage Committee at its 19th session in 1994, following the original ICOMOS evaluation at the time of the inscription that refers to the Churches of Jvari, Samtavro and Armatsikhe as the components of the property, and to prepare a detailed map indicating their core and buffer zones;
4. Encourages the State Party to implement the Master Plan developed by UNESCO and UNDP in 2003;
5. Requests the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre an updated report by 1 February 2005 so that the World Heritage Committee could examine the state of conservation of the property at its 29th session in 2005.