1.         Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andr├íssy Avenue (Hungary) (C 400bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1987

Criteria  (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/400/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/400/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: 800 million HUF (ca. 2.7 million EUR) EU support for the “Street of Culture” project

Previous monitoring missions

March 2005: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS advisory mission; November 2007: ICOMOS advisory mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Demolition and inappropriate development in the buffer zone known as the ‘Jewish Quarter’;

b) Inappropriate use of public areas and street amenities;

c) Lack of conservation of residential housing in the area inscribed as World Heritage;

d) Increased traffic volume 

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/400/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

On 27 January 2011, a report on the state of conservation of the property was submitted by the State Party to the World Heritage Centre. The report addresses issues raised in Decision 33 COM 7B.107 and also contains detailed information about a major city centre development proposal in the buffer zone, adjacent to the property’s boundary, in the 5th District of Budapest.

a) Inappropriate development in the buffer zone

The State Party reported that although there are still valid demolitions and construction permits in the so-called Jewish Quarter of the buffer zone, work is not proceeding. Furthermore, it reports that between 2004 and 2010 the municipality authorities have taken decisions that endangered the status of the property’s buffer zone. The responsible municipal officials no longer hold these positions and some are the subject of criminal proceedings.

The State Party also reports that a comprehensive ten-year rehabilitation project (2009 – 2018) with a total budget of 3.622 million EUR has been initiated in the ‘Jewish Quarter’. The project ‘Street of Culture’ is centred on Kazinczy and involves the renovation and rehabilitation of buildings and their re-use as cultural spaces. In 2008, the City recommended that the government consider the development and legal enactment of detailed financial tax benefits and a targeted support system that would facilitate commercial and economic activities associated with the rehabilitation and re-use of historic urban districts. No action was taken regarding these initiatives by the previous Parliament. The State Party reports that the current government understands the merits of such an approach and will explore these possibilities.

 

b) Management plan and management system

The State Party reports that progress on a management plan and system has been suspended while the World Heritage Bill is being pursued.

 

c) Boundaries and buffer zone

The State Party also reports that the property and its buffer zone are currently protected in a historic monument district much larger in area than the inscribed property, including the entire Margit Island. It also reports that the incorporation of Margit Island into the property’s buffer zone has been agreed upon in principle at a national level, but that research would be required to advise on any possible extension and demarcation of the historic monument district.

d) World Heritage Bill

Within the present timeframe, a new World Heritage Bill could be enacted by the end of 2011 or the beginning of 2012. This would regulate the procedural and organisational issues related to the management of World Heritage sites and create necessary financial support.

e) Other issues

The State Party reports on the completed and necessary extension of the retaining wall of the lower Buda embankment to accommodate a new main wastewater collector. It also states that the advice of the UNESCO/ICOMOS advisory mission of 2005 was followed and the embankment road was not widened from two to four lanes.

f) Development Project in Bécsi Street

The State Party, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines and in response to a request by the World Heritage Centre of 8 December 2010, provides details on a development project planned for Bécsi Street in the historic part of downtown Pest, in the buffer zone between the so-called Jewish Quarter and the property boundary.

The State Party reports that this large-scale project would require the demolition of an entire side of Bécsi Street. Details of this demolition were made public in the second half of 2010 and occasioned a significant professional debate due to the intended design, and the number of important protected historic buildings that would be affected.  These buildings are under historic monument protection and lie within a historic monument district.

Currently no permission has been given for this demolition. The preliminary position statement of the professional authority of 29 December 2010 rejected the demolition request for three properties. The State Party acknowledges the need to strengthen heritage protection and to consider subsidy schemes to encourage restoration and adaptation.

g) Museum Project

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies have been made aware of a project to restructure and extend reuse at the Fine Arts Museum, Heroes’ Square by developing new rooms underground and creating various light wells at ground level as well as a new entrance structure on the principal elevation. The symmetry of this building and of the overall structure of the Square would appear to be interrupted by the proposals.

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that activating demolition permits in the so-called Jewish Quarter have slowed down and welcome the investment in the “Street of Culture” project to rehabilitate and find new uses for buildings along Kazinczy Street.

They also welcome progress with the drafting of a new World Heritage Bill and note that work on the revision of the management plan and improvements to the management system now await this Bill.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies further welcome the potential decision to enlarge the property buffer zone with the addition of Margit Island.

They note with extreme concern the development proposals in the historic part of downtown Pest that are predicated on the demolition of the whole of one side of Bécsi street. The buffer zone in this area includes many distinguished buildings that are linked to the attributes of the property’s Outstanding Universal Value. It provides a framework for Andrássy Avenue embedded in the urban fabric and for the overall Danube cityscape. They note the commitment of the State Party to strengthen protective measures to ensure the conservation of this extraordinarily important urban landscape. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that the impact of the proposals for Heroes Square needs to be considered through a detailed heritage assessment.  They suggest that a reactive monitoring mission takes place prior to the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee in 2013 to assess the progress in the implementation of all necessary measures requested by the World Heritage Committee. 

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.95

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7B.107 adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3. Notes the reduction in demolition permits in the so-called Jewish quarter;

4. Acknowledges the information provided by the State Party on progress being made regarding the 'Street of Culture' initiative that aims to act as a model for sustainable development of this area;

5. Also notes with extreme concern the major development proposal in the buffer zone in Pest adjacent to the property boundary that would result in the demolition of one side of Bécsi and urges the State Party to use all means necessary to halt this demolition;

6. Requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed regarding ongoing developments planned for Bécsi Street and for Heroes Square and that procedures for the Heritage Impact Assessments on Outstanding Universal Value are followed for all steps of these development proposals;

7. Recognises the work by the State Party to enable and enact a new World Heritage Bill by the beginning of 2012 and also requests that a copy of the document be sent to the World Heritage Centre on its promulgation;

8. Encourages the State Party to finalise the revision of the property management plan and its management organisation as soon as possible, following the promulgation of the new Bill;

9. Welcomes the in-principle decision reached at a national level for the incorporation of Margit Island into the property buffer zone and also urges the State Party to bring this initiative into action through the formal procedures of the Committee;

10. Further requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to assess progress in the implementation of all necessary measures in compliance with the World Heritage Committee's decisions, prior to its 37th session in 2013;

11. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, a report on the state of conservation of the property and on the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session in 2013.