Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains (China) (C 705)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1994
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/705/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/705/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
March 2014: Joint World Heritage Center/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Management activities (Project to raise up the Yuzhen Palace at the property)
- Management systems / Management Plan (Requirement for a living heritage management approach)
- Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation (Tourism development has begun to reach a critical mass)
Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/705/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018
On 29 November 2017, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/705/documents/ and provides the following details:
- The raised platform for the Yuzhen Palace has been redesigned to provide a more natural shoreline, and the work on the platform has been completed. In addition, work is proceeding on the reinstallation of buildings and archaeological remains on the raised platform. Work is also underway to install exhibitions to allow visitors to have a full understanding of the work that has taken place at the palace;
- A draft Protection and Management Plan was produced in 2014, and a process of consultation took place with heritage professionals and other stakeholders to make improvements. Based on the results of this process, a revised Plan has been produced and will be submitted soon to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
- A visitor management system has also been designed and is currently in implementation. The total number of visitors to the property is nearly 2 million annually with 10,000 on peak days. The State Party reports that it is trying to divert tourist traffic to other scenic parts of the property, and limit the burning of incense which has a potential to cause problems with air quality;
- Municipal legislation for the protection of the property was approved and implemented as of September 2017;
- The State Party considers that only 49 of the 62 component parts that make up the national-level “State Priority Protected Cultural Heritage Site – Building Complex of Wudang Mountains” are actually included in the World Heritage property, and that the remaining 13 components are far away from the Wudang Mountains and were therefore not included in the inscribed property. The State Party therefore requests the World Heritage Centre to modify the Brief Synthesis of the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (SOUV) to take this clarification into account;
- In an annex which contains the 2015 state of conservation report for the property, the State Party explains that there are buffer zones around each of the individual components, rather than a larger buffer zone encompassing the entire Wudang Mountains National Scenic Area.
On 30 March 2018, the Director of the World Heritage Centre requested the State Party to clarify the buffer zone of the property and the component parts as inscribed with proper documentation. At the time of preparing this working document, no further information has been submitted by the State Party.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
The ongoing work on the platform at the Yuzhen Palace and the redesigned, more natural shoreline are noted. It is also noted that work is proceeding on the reinstallation of the buildings and archaeological remains on the site, all in accordance with the recommendations of the 2014 mission and Committee’s Decision 40 COM 7B.30. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to provide an update on the reinstallation efforts as they continue to be implemented.
Concerns remain, however, in terms of the carrying capacity for visitors to the property, in particular during peak tourist season and specific holidays. This is true for the property in general, which has very fragile links between the cultural and natural elements of the landscape, and particularly true for more sensitive areas of the property such as the Golden Shrine. While recognizing that a visitor management system has been put in place, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that specific studies should be carried out at all component parts of the property to better understand carrying capacity, guarantee the necessary physical conservation of the property and its setting, and ensure visitor experience is not compromised by too many people at any one component at the same time. The results of these studies should then be reflected in a visitor management plan for the property.
It is positive that a municipal legislation is in place for the protection of the property, but the Protection and Management Plan for the property should be completed and submitted as soon as possible to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies.
Clarification of the number of component parts of the property and any subsequent revision of the SOUV will require a Decision by the Committee. It is therefore recommended that a meeting take place with representatives of the State Party, the World Heritage Centre, and the Advisory Bodies, to clarify the overall issues (boundary clarification and revision of the SOUV) and the necessary process to reach a resolution.
Given the landscape qualities of the property and the need to preserve the integrity of the component parts, their relationships to each other, and the main perspectives to and from these components, it is considered that establishing individual buffer zones around each of the component parts is not satisfactory to protect the OUV of the property. Instead, a buffer zone of adequate size around all the component parts, corresponding to the larger protected area of the Wudang Mountains Historic and Scenic Area, is considered necessary. This larger buffer zone corresponds to that proposed at the time of inscription, as found in the ICOMOS Evaluation report, which noted that the State Party clarified “the buffer zone being protected area of the park.” This issue should also be clarified during the meeting recommended above.
Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7B.1
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B.Add,
- Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.30, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
- Notes the redesign of the shoreline and the progess made on the finalization of the uplift process for the Yuzhen Palace, and requests the State Party to provide an update on the reinstallation efforts as they continue to be implemented;
- Also requests that the State Party provide more information on the visitor management system in place, and in particular that specific studies be carried out at all component parts of the property to better understand carrying capacities, and to guide the preparation of a visitor management plan, so as to guarantee the necessary physical conservation of the property and its setting and also to ensure that visitor experience is not compromised by too many people visiting any one component at the same time;
- Welcomes the adoption of the municipal legislation for the protection of the property and further requests that the protection and management plan for the property be completed and submitted as soon as possible to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
- Requests furthermore the State Party to initiate a meeting with representatives of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies to clarify the following issues and determine the necessary processes for their resolution:
- Final determination of the number of component parts of the property,
- Potential revision of the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (SOUV) for the property, depending on the final number of component parts,
- Revised buffer zone to ensure that it is large enough to protect the entire property and its setting;
- Requests moreover, further to the outcomes of the above-mentioned meeting, that the State Party prepare and submit the appropriate documentation for review by the World Heritage Committee at its subsequent session, especially regarding the final number of component parts, the definition of the buffer zone, and the SOUV;
- Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020.