1.         Antigua Guatemala (Guatemala) (C 65)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1979

Criteria  (ii)(iii)(iv)

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/65/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1979-1999)
Total amount approved: USD 96,016
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/65/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions


Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Urban Pressure; Tourism Pressure; Lack of capacity in conservation techniques; Lack of management mechanism (including legislation); Lack of monitoring system; Lack of institution coordination; Earthquake. 

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/65/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2004

In accordance with Committee decision WHC-03/27.COM/7B.92, a second ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission took place from 9 to 13 February 2004 with the objective to gather information on current factors that threaten the property, related to urban development and tourism pressures, lack of management and updated legislation and inadequate institutional coordination. In particular the construction of a new large shopping centre in the Old Town had raised concerns, for which an earlier ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission was sent in 2001. The mission served also to verify the results of the reconstruction works of the Cathedral and the Third Cloister of the Compañía de Jesús.


A progress report from the Ministry of Culture and Sports was received at the Secretariat on 30 January 2004 containing information on:


a)  The plan to develop a former plantation in the surroundings of Antigua, the Finca Retana Project, as part of the Urban Development Plan for La Antigua Guatemala, for which the local authorities are currently dealing with an impact study. However, no project plans or details have been received by the Secretariat, while the ICOMOS expert was not allowed to consult the proposal.


b)  The partial reconstruction of the ruins of the Cathedral, which is now completed. This intervention aimed at consolidating the structure.


c)  The successful intervention by the Spanish Agency for International Co-operation (AECI) at the Third Cloister of the Compañia de Jesús, which had the objective to revitalize the building by establishing a school for heritage training and capacity building activities.


d)  Legal changes in process to update the draft law for La Antigua Guatemala. The Law is in Congress for a consultative process.


The ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission report was received at the Secretariat on 26 March 2004 and clearly recognized the urgent need for updating and approval of the Protection Law for Antigua, as well as the finalization and legal approval of Antigua’s new Regulations and Master Plan, including a territorial approach.


The ICOMOS report confirmed that all the relevant authorities and decision makers now agree on not building the projected shopping centre in the Old Town. The discussion is now focused on the development of the twenty-two hectares of the Finca Retana, a former plantation in the surroundings of Antigua. Over the last year,the plan for a large commercial centre was rejected and, instead, a convention centre and related facilities were proposed for Finca Retana. In the opinion of the ICOMOS expert the development of Antigua, under the current growth rate of its population and related demands, cannot be avoided, but should be guided through necessary control and proper regulations according to the obligation to preserve the World Heritage site and its surrounding natural landscape. New building projects should only be authorized, if they do not interfere with the preservation of cultural-historic values of the property and if the design is of high quality.


The ICOMOS report further stated that the reconstruction of the Third Cloister of the Compañia de Jesús, which was turned into a very modern information centre for conservation and restoration training as part of the Spanish Program for the Americas, does not present major problems regarding authenticity and integrity.

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


Decision Adopted: 28 COM 15B.114

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Taking note of the reports provided by the State Party and ICOMOSconcerning the process of revision and updating of legislation for the protection of Antigua Guatemala and the reconstruction and revitalizationprojects of the Cathedral and the Third Cloister of the Compañía de Jesús, which have not negatively affected the values of the property (Decision 27COM 7B.92),

2. Thanking the Spanish Agency for International Co-operation (AECI) for theirvaluable contribution to revitalizing Antigua Guatemala, while respecting its cultural heritage,

3. Invites the State Party to further cooperate with the Spanish Agency for International Co-operation (AECI) as well as with ICOMOS to finalize and implement a Master Plan for Antigua, including clear delimitation of theproperty's buffer zone, detailed management plan, risk preparedness programmes, traffic regulation studies and tourism revenue policy for conservation;

4. Requests the State Party to keep the Committee informed on further developments with regard to the Master Plan for Antigua Guatemala.