1.         Taxila (Pakistan) (C 139)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1980

Criteria  (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/139/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1995-1995)
Total amount approved: USD 28,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/139/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/139/

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1995

With regard to Taxila, the World Heritage Centre's mission in March 1995 observed that the nomination file, on the basis of which the property was inscribed on the World Heritage List, did not clearly indicate the number of sites it contained. The site of Taxila, under the national registry of historic monuments is composed of some 55 sites spread over an area of about 18 kms x 8 kms of the Taxila Valley.

The states of conservation of the sites visited varied but, on the whole, were in very good condition given the enormous maintenance work the property entails by its size and dispersed components. A scientific study on the application of non-toxic herbicide is urgently needed in view of the vegetation overgrowth which cannot be cleared mechanically. The mission noted concern over the gradual expansion of the industrial estates located within the Taxila Valley which, despite their location outside the very limited buffer zone surrounding the registered archaeological sites, nonetheless risk impacting upon the overall integrity of the Taxila World Heritage site in its ensemble. The limestone blasting and quarrying activities in the Taxila Valley also need to be monitored in view of the alleged impact on the structural stability of the Jaulian site, Dharmajika Temple and the Bhir Stupa.

International and national funding to establish a site conservation laboratory in Taxila, both for the conservation of movable objects of the impressive Taxila Museum collection and for in-situ sculptures must be sought. Specific recommendations on stucco preservation, roofing, drainage and other conservation measures will be presented in a monitoring report currently under preparation with the Sub-regional Office for Taxila of the Department of Archaeology and Museums.

The mission noted with great satisfaction the extremely positive attitude on the part of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and notably, its Department of Archaeology and Museums, on the establishment of a national monitoring mechanism as a management tool for the conservation of World Heritage sites in Pakistan.

Action Required

Having noted the interim oral report on the state of conservation of Taxila, the Bureau requests the Department of Archaeology and Museums, in cooperation with the World Heritage Centre, to: (i) carry out the required scientific studies on vegetation control to minimize the damage to the masonry and structure of the monuments, and (ii) to appraise the impact of the heavy industries and the stone quarrying in the Taxila Valley areas.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1995

The Bureau at its nineteenth session requested the Department of Archaeology & Museums, in cooperation with the World Heritage Centre, to (i) carry out the required scientific studies on vegetation control to minimize the damage to the masonry and structure of the monuments, and (ii) appraise the impact of the heavy industries and the stone quarrying in the Taxila Valley areas, identified during the systematic monitoring mission carried out in March-April 1995.

The Government of Pakistan has submitted a technical cooperation request to carry out the vegetation control study. The Centre is currently assisting the DOAM to prepare a project proposal to address the issues referred to under (ii) above, and to redefine if necessary, the boundaries of the Taxila World Heritage Site including a thorough study of the legal regimes protecting the Taxila Valley. This project proposal would be submitted to donors for extrabudgetary funding considerations.

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

The Bureau may wish to recommend the Committee to commend the DOAM and other concerned bodies of the Government of Pakistan for their enthusiastic undertaking of the systematic monitoring exercise which enabled the joint DOAM-UNESCO teams to complete within 1995, the state of conservation draft reports on four of the five World Heritage cultural properties in Pakistan. The Bureau may wish to approve the technical cooperation and preparatory assistance requests submitted by Pakistan to enable the DOAM to take immediate and tangible action to address the problems identified by the monitoring exercise.

Decision Adopted: 19 BUR VI.22

With regard to Taxila, the Centre reported that during its joint mission with the Sub-regional Office of the Department of Archaeology and Museum in March 1995, it was observed that the nomination file, on the basis of which the property was inscribed on the World Heritage List, did not clearly indicate the number of sites it contained. The site of Taxila, under the national registry of historic monuments is composed of some 55 sites spread over an area of about 18 kms x 8 kms of the Taxila Valley.

The Centre reported that the state of conservation of the sites visited varied but, on the whole, were in very good condition given the enormous maintenance work the property entails by its size and dispersed components. A scientific study on the application of non-toxic herbicide was deemed to be urgently needed in view of the vegetation overgrowth which cannot be cleared mechanically. The mission noted concern over the gradual expansion of the industrial estates located within the Taxila Valley which, despite their location outside the very limited buffer zone surrounding the registered archaeological sites, nonetheless risk impacting upon the overall integrity of the Taxila World Heritage site in its ensemble. The limestone blasting and quarrying activities in the Taxila Valley also need to be monitored in view of the alleged impact on the structural stability of the Jaulian site, Dharmajika Temple and the Bhir Stupa.

International and national funding to establish a site conservation laboratory in Taxila, both for the conservation of movable objects of the impressive Taxila Museum collection and for in-situ sculptures must be sought. The Centre reported that specific recommendations on stucco preservation, roofing, drainage and other conservation measures will be contained in a monitoring report currently under preparation with the Sub-regional Office in Taxila of the Department of Archaeology and Museums.

The Centre reported on the extremely positive attitude on the part of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and.Tourism and notably, its Department of Archaeology and Museums, on the establishment of a national monitoring mechanism as a management tool for the conservation of World Heritage sites in Pakistan.

Having noted the interim report on the state of conservation of Taxila, the Bureau recommended that the Department of Archaeology and Museums, in cooperation with the World Heritage Centre, (i) carry out the required scientific studies on vegetation control to minimize the damage to the masonry and structure of the monuments, and (ii) to appraise the impact of the heavy industries and the stone quarrying in the Taxila Valley areas.

Decision Adopted: 19 COM VII.C.2.47/48

VII.47 Taxila (Pakistan)

The Committee noted that the Bureau at its nineteenth session requested the Department of Archaeology & Museums, in cooperation with the World Heritage Centre, to (i) carry out the required scientific studies on vegetation control to minimize the damage to the masonry and structure of the monuments, and (ii) appraise the impact of the heavy industries and the stone quarrying in the Taxila Valley areas, identified during the systematic monitoring mission carried out in March-April 1995.

It noted that the Government of Pakistan submitted a technical cooperation request to carry out the vegetation control study and that the Centre had assisted the DOAM to prepare a project proposal to address the issues referred to under (ii) above which includes activities to redefine if necessary, the boundaries of the Taxila World Heritage site and a thorough study of the legal regimes protecting the Taxila Valley.

The Committee commended the Department of Archaeology and Museums and other concerned bodies of the Government of Pakistan for their enthusiastic undertaking of the systematic monitoring exercise which enabled the joint DOAM-UNESCO teams to complete within 1995, the state of conservation draft reports on five of the six World Heritage cultural properties in Pakistan. It invited the Pakistani authorities to submit a proposed revision of the Taxila site in due course.