1.         Acropolis, Athens (Greece) (C 404)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1987

Criteria  (i)(ii)(iii)(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/404/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/404/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Urban pressure

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/404/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2004

The World Heritage Centre received three issues of the “Acropolis Restoration News” from the Greek authorities, together with a letter dated 7 February 2004. The review, published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, documents the restoration work that had been carried out at the World Heritage property from 2001 to 2003.  By letter of 2 February 2004 the State Party submitted information concerning the definition of the buffer zone and the conservation and restoration projects for the Acropolis monuments as well as a report on the “Unification of the Archaeological sites of Athens”, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 27th session in 2003. The Ministry of Culture together with the Ministry of Environment and Development have launched a general conservation and revitalisation programme for the main archaeological sites in Athens, including a conservation plan for the Acropolis. The plan foresees long-term restoration projects for the Parthenon and the Propylaia and it is also mentioned that the restoration of the Erhetheion has been finalised recently.

Concerning the definition of the buffer zone north/east of the World Heritage property, the Greek authorities referred to the Presidential Decree of 25 May 1987 by which the buffer zone (zone A and B) had been defined. In this area north/east of the property (zone A and B) the construction height is limited to a maximum of 4 m in Zone A and 7 meters in zone B to ensure the visual integrity of the property. The Greek authorities further indicate that a similar zone (Zone 3) situated south of the Acropolis, which had been established in 1975, was reinforced in 2002 to regulate construction developments and to limit the construction height to the height of already existing buildings.

With regard to the proposed high-rise building in Misaraliotou Street, located in the area lying to the south/east of the existing buffer zone (Zone 3), the report indicates that construction work has been suspended to await a decision regarding the extension of the building height control to this area. ICOMOS strongly urges the competent authorities to extend the controlled area as proposed, in order to protect the visual setting of the property. On 8 March 2004 the State Party submitted a detailed map, which illustrates the buffer zone mentioned above as well as the location of the proposed high-rise building.

As requested by the World Heritage Committee, the Greek authorities have also provided a report on the project of the new Acropolis museum on 5 April 2004. The site for the new museum at the foot of the Acropolis was chosen by the Central Archaeological Council of the Ministry of Culture for several reasons, including its central position vis-à-vis the planned integration of the archaeological sites in Athens. Archaeological excavations that had been carried out previously revealed archaeological remains, with the result that a second architectural competition for the planned museum was organised. The new design incorporates the most important of these remains and makes them accessible to the general public by a complex glass construction.

ICOMOS stated, that the new design is simple and does not conflict with the classical architecture of the Acropolis and that it will have a minimal visual impact on the World Heritage property.

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 28 COM 15B.71

The World Heritage Committee

1. Thanking the State Party for the report provided, concerning the conservation of the World Heritage property, including the redefinition of the buffer zone as well as information on construction developments in the immediate vicinity of the property,

2. Congratulates the State Party on its project “Unification of the Archaeological Sites of Athens,” and on the long-term conservation plan, including the new museum design for the Acropolis, as this will enhance the protection and presentation of the World Heritage property;

3. Strongly urges the State Party to define a coherent buffer zone surrounding the Acropolis and to extend the existing buffer zone (Zone 3) to the area of the proposed high-rise building, in order to limit the construction height and ensure the visual integrity of the property;

4. Recalls its request to undertake a visual impact study prior to the commencement of any construction developments;

5. Requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed on further developments, including the extension of the buffer zone and the visual impact study.