1.         Samarkand – Crossroad of Cultures (Uzbekistan) (C 603rev)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2001

Criteria  (i)(ii)(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/603/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1999-2011)
Total amount approved: USD 44,800
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/603/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

March 2006: UNESCO Tashkent Office/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; April 2005: UNESCO Tashkent Office/ICOMOS expert mission; October 2006: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission; December 2007: Word Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; March 2009: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Lack of strategic approach to urban conservation;

b) Lack of a proper Management Plan;

c) Detrimental impact of new roads;

d) Conservation of urban fabric.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/603/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

On 1 February 2012, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report in response to the recommendations of the World Heritage Committee at it 35th session, (Decision 35 COM 7B.80). The report addressed the following:

a) The scope and extent of the general plan 2010-2015

The State Party states that the main goal of the general plan is the preservation of attributes of historical heritage; it is responsible for establishing the boundaries of the six districts of Samarkand. The property and buffer zone lie within the Central Planning District where all construction must comply with Uzbekistan’s cultural heritage legislation. The general plan stipulates that all works within the property and buffer zone, be they infrastructure, traffic control or conservation works, will be controlled by the Management Plan.

b) Clarification on the major Conservation and Restoration proposals in the general plan

The report states that June 2011 saw the approval of the “State program on research, conservation, restoration and adaptation for up to date utilization of Samarkand cultural property up to 2015” and the Regional Tourism Development Plan. 22 projects are listed and those targeted for 2011-12 have been approved. Within the general plan, property preservation activities are developed for the condition analysis and partial preventative intervention into damaged or vulnerable structures of both large ensembles and separate monuments.

c) Scope of World Bank Water and Sewage projects and impact on archaeological and historic structures

The State Party reports that this project is rectifying the lack of a sewage system and inadequate water supply in the historic city centre but that appropriate monitoring by the Board of Monuments has ensured that no archaeological damage has occurred and there has been no negative impact on the property.

d) Progress on and scope of the Management Plan

International assistance organised subsequent to the 2009 mission has facilitated the significant progress with the preparation of the Management Plan, drafted in 2006 but now considerably expanded in scope. The Plan will include all requested issues – strategic and infrastructure planning, conservation projects and tourist development, and will ensure cooperation between government bodies, public organizations and other partners.

The report details progress on the preparation of the Management Plan, including the establishment of a working group and an action plan to oversee the work, the establishment of a database, submission of the retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, and the adoption of a Master Plan, Conservation Plan and Intervention Guidelines. Two Workshops with UNESCO/ICOMOS expert participation have been held and a third is planned for March 2012 to define the Management System. Liaison with stakeholders and government bodies is underway with new legislation being implemented to provide for funding for restoration projects. The preparation of conservation approaches for the different components of the property and the establishment of a management framework is set to be completed by March 2012. A Workshop is to be held in June 2012 for finalising the documents, with the aim of submission to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2013.

e) New Urban Development projects

The State Party reports that at present neither large construction nor infrastructure projects are foreseen within the property.

However this does not appear to reflect road proposals, details of which are included in the report. The maps provided show an overall traffic scheme with bypass roads, some within the property. This includes one road which has been moved slightly away from city walls in order to ‘”respect historic topography of the Temurid period”. No further details of these road schemes are provided, such as approvals, timescales, details of width and construction, and whether or not impact assessments have been undertaken.

f) State of conservation

The State Party reports on the state of conservation of four districts of the property and the buffer zone. It notes that the roads through Afrosiab City are now only used for tourist routes and emergency vehicles, as requested in the 2007 mission report. The State Party lists the restoration and conservation work carried out in Timurid in 2011, and plans for the European City and the Three Monument Ensemble enclaves from 2011 to 2015, as targeted projects undertaken in accordance with the 2011 State programme. Within the Buffer Zone, the campaign of removal of modern and inappropriate structures will be continued with the budgets in place. The hotel and garage near the Siab market have already been removed. 

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the considerable progress towards the completion of the Management Plan due for submission in February 2013, as also the Conservation Plan and Intervention Guidelines, and the establishment of conservation approaches for different areas of the property.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies underscore the need for the Management Plan to contain details of conservation principles to be adopted during conservation and restoration projects both for large monuments and traditional urban structures, as well as the methodology for their implementation through the scientific monitoring system advocated previously.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies take note of the maps provided on the overall traffic scheme for Samarkand, including new roads within the property and its buffer zone. They recall that the widening of the road between Arosiab and Timurid which was considered by the Committee to have a negative impact on the property, prompted the Committee at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008) to request the development of an overall traffic scheme for Samarkand in order to minimise traffic through the property. Such a scheme has not yet been submitted and needs to be developed in detail and submitted to the World Heritage Committee for its approval before any commitment is made on individual road improvements proposals and bypass schemes.

Various proposals advocated within the 2007 mission report are not mentioned in the 2011 nor the 2012 state of conservation reports, such as the reconstruction, landscaping and speed reduction of the new four lane road between Arosiab and Timurid, the relocation of parking areas and the prioritisation of conservation projects on traditional houses.

Overall it is recommended that the State Party should ensure that large development or infrastructure projects that will affect the property and Buffer Zone, including roads, are reported to the World Heritage Committee before their approval, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 7B.69

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7B,

2.   Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.80, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.   Welcomes the progress made by the State Party in the preparation of the Management Plan and encourages the State Party to continue its cooperation with Ministry of Culture, local authorities, the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS to finalize the Management Plan for submission by 1 February 2013 for review by ICOMOS;

4.   Requests the State Party to ensure that the Management Plan contains a clear articulation of conservation principles for restoration and conservation of historic structures and especially of the traditional urban fabric, and also contains the system of monitoring to ensure their implementation;

5.   Notes the maps provided for an overall traffic scheme for the Samarkand area which includes proposed new roads in the property and its buffer zone, and also requests the State Party, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, to develop and submit to the World Heritage Centre, as a matter of urgency, a draft traffic scheme including the size of the roads, traffic use and timescales for construction, to the World Heritage Centre for assessment by the Advisory Bodies, before any commitments are made to individual road proposals, as well as information concerning proposed, new constructions including parking schemes before their approval;

6.   Further requests that once the overall draft traffic scheme has been scrutinised by the World Heritage Committee any detailed road proposals should be subject to an Heritage Impact Assessment in accordance with ICOMOS Guidance;

7.   Also notes the list of proposed conservation projects within the State program up to 2015 and reiterates the recommendations of the 2007 mission report that priority should be given to the conservation of traditional houses;

8.   Further notes the State Party’s assertion that, at the current stage of urban development, neither new large constructions nor crucial infrastructure works are foreseen within the property and also reiterates the recommendation of the 2007 mission report that priority should be given to parking issues within the property and to mitigation of the impact of the four lane road between Afrosiab and Timurid;

9.   Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2013 an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, including submission of the completed Management Plan and draft Traffic scheme for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session in 2013. 

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 8B.4

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/8B,
  2. Approves the proposed name change to Samarkand – Crossroads of Cultures as proposed by the Uzbek authorities. The name of the property becomes Samarkand – Crossroad of Cultures in English.

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 8D

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/8D,

2.   Recalling Decision 35 COM 8D adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.   Acknowledges the excellent work accomplished by States Parties in the clarification of the delimitation of their World Heritage properties and thanks them for their efforts to improve the credibility of the World Heritage List;

4.   Recalls that the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies will not be able to examine proposals for minor or significant modifications to boundaries of World Heritage properties whenever the delimitation of such properties as inscribed is unclear;

5.   Takes note of the clarifications of property boundaries and areas provided by the following States Parties in response to the Retrospective Inventory, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC-12/36.COM/8D:

6.   Requests the States Parties which have not yet answered the questions raised in the framework of the Retrospective Inventory to provide all clarifications and documentation as soon as possible and by 1 December 2012 at the latest.

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 8E

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/8E,

2.   Congratulates States Parties for the excellent work accomplished in the elaboration of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in their territories;

3.   Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC-12/36.COM/8E, for the following World Heritage properties:

4.   Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in Danger will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies in priority;

5.   Further decides that, considering the high number of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value to be examined, the order in which they will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies will follow the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting, namely: