1.         Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville (Spain) (C 383bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1987

Criteria  (i)(ii)(iii)(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/383/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/383/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

November 2011: ICOMOS Advisory Mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/383/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

The State Party submitted a state of conservation report on 31 January 2013, informing on the progress on some of the requests of the Committee at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012).

a)  Progress with Special Protection Plans, buffer zone and protection of the wider setting

The extended Conjunto Histórico, which was declared by Royal Decree on 2 November 2009, covers 783.5 hectares, including the historic city and the modern city – with 19th and 20th century extensions. As it was considered unfeasible to prepare an encompassing Special Protection Plan, it has been divided into 27 sectors and an approved plan is required for each. The 2011 mission noted that it is important for the Special Protection Plans to be completed and approved for all ‘sectors’. Some sectors are so complex that they have been divided into smaller sub-sectors for which plans are to be approved separately.

The State Party report provides a useful analysis of the progress with the plans for all these sectors. Four sectors are considered to be sufficiently protected by the Heritage of Cultural Interest (HCI) legislation, as they fall within an HCI or are adjacent to one; these are Sector 6 “Royal Alcázar”, Sector 11 “Hospital de las Cinco Llagas”, Sector 15 “La Cartuja”, and Sector 26 “Ibero-American Exhibition enclosure”.

Concerning other 16 sectors, some of them are at the approval stage for the Special Protection Plan, while others are still in an earlier stage (previous steps as organizational standards and/or cataloguing, etc). Therefore there are 7 sectors which have specific issues and require a more detailed analysis and a new Special Protection Plan. It is expected that all the Special Protection Plans will have been developed and definitively approved within the first six months of 2013.

The State Party reports that the current buffer zone does not have specific protection but its area will be covered by the Special Protection Plans that should provide adequate control.

The value of these sectors that make up the buffer zone has been identified in terms of their intrinsic value rather than of their relationship to the property. Nevertheless, as previously reported to the Committee, an extensive survey has been carried out of the area surrounding the property to allow a full understanding of how it relates to its immediate setting.

The State Party report sets out details as to how controls of height, voids, archaeology, urban spaces, visual pollution and other pertinent issues are dealt with. It also stresses the fact that most of the buildings in the buffer zone are listed, and there are few urban voids which means that urban developments that could impact on the property are not expected.

The protection for the wider setting is not specifically dealt with in the State Party report but the information provided on development projects includes control measures.

b)  Details of all major building projects that might impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV)

Three potential high-rise developments are mentioned in the State Party report. These are taller than the average and are all to the south of the property, at a distance varying from 2.6 to 5km from the property. Currently none have licences and the projects are not likely to become active in the short to medium term. In each of the cases the conclusion drawn is that the distance between the development and the property means that there will be no visual impact.

In general terms, the State Party reports that it is not possible to determine the building heights in the areas of projected growth based solely on the assessments of the current General Plan. Therefore, to avoid future urban developments which could visually impact on the property, the State Party reports that adequate control measures will be implemented through the Municipality and specifically the Urban Directorate, who will request an Impact Study with appropriate images and photographs for all buildings over 20 storeys high in order to confirm that there will be no visual impact.

c)  Other matters

The request by the Committee for the State Party to collaborate with ICOMOS on studies necessary to avoid further high-rise buildings that would impact adversely on the OUV was not addressed in the State Party report. However, in  a letter from the State Party dated 11 April 2013, ICOMOS has been requested to collaborate with the Spanish authorities on this matter.


The Spanish authorities informed the World Heritage Centre that an international expert meeting in Seville on historic urban landscapes and contemporary architecture (Decision 36 COM 7B.88) will be held in September 2013.

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the progress with finalising and approving the Special Protection Plans and also note that these are due for completion during 2013. The buffer zone will be entirely covered by Special Protection Plans. Taking also into account the density of protected structures and the lack of areas for development, all these elements provide a basis for its protection.

Although the specific measures to control the wider setting of the property are not mentioned, it appears that controls will be put in place by the authorities to limit the height of buildings that might impact adversely on the OUV of the property. It should be ensured that Heritage Impact Assessments (HIA) are undertaken in line with the ICOMOS Guidance on HIAs for new constructions that could potentially impact the OUV of the property.


The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies recommend that the Committee remind the State Party of the importance of collaborating with the Advisory Bodies on studies necessary to avoid further high-rise buildings that would impact adversely on the OUV.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7B.84

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7B,

2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.88 , adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Notes the progress with finalising and approving Special Protection Plans for sectors of the Conjunto Histórico, due for completion in 2013;

4.  Also notes that the buffer zone will be completely covered by these Plans which should provide it with adequate protection;

5.  Further notes that for the wider setting, the local authorities will be tasked with establishing adequate control measures for new constructions;

6.  Considers that impact assessments for new constructions which can potentially impact the Outstanding Universal Value should be carried out in line with the ICOMOS Guidance on Heritage Impact Assessments;

7.  Takes note that no collaboration with ICOMOS has so far been undertaken on studies necessary to avoid further high-rise buildings that would impact adversely on the Outstanding Universal Value, but notes furthermore the  request made by the State Party to ICOMOS to start this process;

8.  Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015 , a progress report on the implementation of the above.