1.         Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi (Kazakhstan) (C 1103)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2003

Criteria  (i)(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/1103/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2000-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1103/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1103/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

Reports on the state of conservation of the property were submitted by the State Party on 7 September 2012 and on 3 March 2013. These reports address the construction of a new mosque outside the buffer zone, changes to the zoning plan and development of the Master Plan, as well as the completion of a management and conservation plan for the property.

a)  Construction of a new mosque

In 2010, the authorities of the South Kazakhstan Region commenced the construction of a new mosque located approx. 500 metres south of the Mausoleum of Khaja Ahmed Yasawi and approximately 70 metres south east of the buffer zone. The new construction was initially planned at 38.5 metres height for the minarets and 31.5 metres for the domes.

In view of the potential impact of this mosque on the ability of the Mausoleum to stand out as a key monument within its wider setting, an advisory mission visited the property in December 2010. The mission recommended that the height of the mosque should be reduced (from 31.5 to 28 metres) so that its dome and minarets do not compete visually with the dominant form of the Khoja Ahmed Yasawi mausoleum; the design of the New Mosque should be reworked at the national level in a local or regional style, with the assistance of local architects; the project should be approved by the Ministry of Culture and Information, so that it could pass all legal and institutional procedures; a site plan should be drawn up to show to scale of the overall mosque construction site in relation to the Mausoleum, as well as to the contemporary city of Turkestan with clear explanations of further development of the mosque’s services, engineering and transport infrastructure in order to consider potential impact.

In response the State Party agreed to reduce the height of the minaret of the mosque from 38.5 to 26.5 meters, and the height of the top of the dome of the mosque from 31.5 to 25 meters. As a result, the height of the minaret of the mosque is now15.5 meters below the height of the Khoja Ahmed Yasawi Mausoleum. One sketch of the revised design has been provided but no detailed plans.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that the height reduction may diminish the visual impacts on the property but as detailed drawings of the revised design have not been received, a full analysis is still to be undertaken. It also remains unclear how the infrastructural development foreseen around the mosque will progress.

Moreover, the December 2010 advisory mission strongly recommended that the various stakeholders including national experts, professionals and the local community should be involved so that their views could be reflected in the process. The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS have received an appeal from the architectural conservation community of Kazakhstan, which mentions that the construction of the mosque has been resumed without consultations with stakeholders. As recommended by the advisory mission, the project should also follow mandatory regulations established at the national level and this is still to be confirmed.

b)  Newly developed Master Plan

Information provided by the State Party in September 2012 referred to changes related to the urban development Master Plan of Turkestan. While the formal adoption of a revised Master Plan is welcome in principle, detailed information on the new regulations has not been provided. These need to endorse the commitments made at the time of the inscription which were also included in the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), to strengthen control over construction outside the buffer zone and to ensure that Turkestan retains a low skyline of 2-3 storey buildings.

c)  Buffer Zone

The State Party reports that, due to changes related to urban development in the city, work on the refinement of the buffer zone of the medieval fortress of Turkestan has been carried out. This project was coordinated with the Governor's Office of the South Kazakhstan region and was approved by the regional legislative body (Maslikhat). The revised buffer zone was included in the revised Master Plan of Turkestan. No details have been provided as to what changes to the Buffer Zone have been made and the revised buffer zone has not been submitted for approval to the World Heritage Committee.

d)  Conservation and Management Plan

 

The State Party reports that a new Management Plan and conservation programme have been finalized. A summary of the detailed programme for the conservation of the Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, to be implemented between 2012-2016 has been submitted. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies would also appreciate the formal submission of the management plan for their review, as well as details of responsibility for its implementation.

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the overall height reduction of the new mosque. They are of the view that the Committee should regret that its construction has been approved before detailed plans were provided for examination by the Advisory Bodies. They suggest that the Committee strongly recommend to the State Party to provide detailed drawings to ensure that the architectural design does not have any negative impacts on the setting of the World Heritage property, and that various stakeholders including the local communities are involved in the process.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies recommend that the Committee request further detailed information on the revised Master Plan, in particular an official commitment to retain the standard construction height of 2-3 storeys in Turkestan, the non-construction regulation in the buffer zone, and the control over tall buildings in the wider setting.

 

They also consider that the new Management Plan should also be submitted to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies. 

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7B.64

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.  Takes note of the information provided by the State Party, in particular concerning the actions that have been taken to reduce the potential negative impact of the new mosque construction on the setting of the property;

3.  Requests the State Party to:

a)  Submit detailed drawings of the latest mosque design, including the proposed exterior infrastructure, to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies,

b)  Involve key stakeholders, including national experts and local community in the process of the new mosque project to seek their views and recommendations,

c)  Provide information on the revised Master Plan of Turkestan, and an official commitment to retain the standard construction height of 2-3 storeys in Turkestan, the non-construction regulation in the buffer zone, and control over tall buildings in the wider setting,

4.  Also requests the State Party to provide details of any construction proposals in the buffer zone and in the wider setting of the property which might impact adversely on the historic landscape of the property, with appropriate Heritage Impact Assessments to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines ;

5.  Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014 , an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, together with the Management Plan, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014.