1.         Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) (C 708)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1994

Criteria  (iii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   2009-2016

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Defined in mission report (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/documents/)

Corrective measures identified

Defined in mission report (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/documents

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Defined in mission report (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/documents

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1997-2010)
Total amount approved: USD 96,160
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

November 2003 and June 2008: Joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS reactive monitoring missions.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2010

The World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session expressed its serious concern about the state of conservation of the different components of the property and “noted with regret that some components have lost their authenticity due to restoration works conducted with unacceptable methods”. The Committee further regretted that the State Party report did not adequately address the preparation of legal and technical provisions to address the various threats, the aspect of land privatization, the development of an integrated management plan and the development of a special programme on the protection of all archaeological components, as well as documents clarifying the exact boundaries of the protected area of the property and its buffer zone. The Committee decided to inscribe the Historic Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger and urged the State Party to develop, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value and a proposed desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of the World Heritage in Danger, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010.

 

On 29 January 2010, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report which addresses point by point the requests made by the Committee during its 32nd session, but does not address the additional requests made by the Committee during its 33rd session. The report contains supplementary observations on progress towards removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, success factors and difficulties in implementing necessary corrective measures and observations on other conservation issues, including celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, progress in rehabilitating the MtskhetaMuseum, and organisation of a Donor’s Conference.

The State Party reports that it is studying the issue concerning the land privatization in order to reach consensus, that the development of an integrated management plan is in process, that it has been working on the project of boundary clarification, as well as that a Special State Commission on World Heritage has been established by decree on 14 July 2009. The State Party also reports on projects for roofing some excavated archaeological areas, on further excavations in the Samtavro necropolis, and efforts to fundraise for further archaeological conservation. Concerning the Committee’s request to implement a multi-stakeholder approach to the conservation of JvariChurch, the State Party reports technical progress on a proposed wooden roof to prevent further damage to the interior of this church and ongoing research to identify methodologies which will prevent further decay.

The State Party acknowledges the importance of “corrective measures” and notes that it would use the budget allocated to the property in 2010 to attempt to carry out necessary corrective measures.

A joint World Heritage Centre/ ICOMOS / ICCROM reactive monitoring mission to the property was undertaken from 11 to 17 March 2010, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session.

The mission expressed its serious concern about the state of conservation of the components of the World Heritage property monuments. Although partial positive measures have been taken by the State Party, the main threats to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property that resulted in the property being placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger continue to exist. The mission noted with concern structural problems, lack of conservation, lack of consolidation of excavated remains, uncontrolled development, and lack of collaboration with the monastic community.

The mission noted that the land privatization process has been stopped. However, the mission expressed its concern about the projects which the Municipality plans to develop on the river bank in the vicinity of the World Heritage property. The mission recommends stopping any development before the boundary clarification is completed, as well as before the preparation and legal approval of the "Special Statement on protection of World Heritage properties in Georgia" defining the World Heritage property's status, the World Heritage property’s strict protected areas and its buffer zones with all necessary restrictive regulations. The mission recommended that any development projects (including a project for the recreation area) should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre, in conformity with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for review by the Advisory Bodies, before any commitment has been made.

The mission recommended that a constant collaboration be established between the Patriarchate Technical office and the monastic communities in the functioning monasteries. In parallel, a constant collaboration should be established between the Patriarchate Technical office and the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Protection. The mission noted that it was essential that the appropriate functions, in the context of the various liturgical and non-liturgical possibilities for the continuing use of buildings of religious significance, inside the monumental religious buildings and ensembles of the World Heritage property should be clarified by the “Special Statement on protection of the World Heritage properties in Georgia” and reflected in the Integrated management plan

The mission noted that many of the conservation issues cited in the mission report could be addressed through the implementation of a long term regional training programme which would be aimed at a broad spectrum of target groups and would cover an equally broad range of conservation issues. It recommended, therefore, that any training activities initiated in the field of Cultural Heritage Conservation should from now on always include members of the Clergy, in order that they develop an understanding as to how to approach the conservation of ancient religious buildings.

The mission report also included specific recommendations for the three component parts of the property and also for key monuments and sites in its buffer zone.

Following numerous consultations with the national and local authorities and site visits, the mission prepared a draft desired state of conservation for the property, for its future removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger, including the necessary corrective measures and the timeframe for their implementation. 

One of the corrective measures recommended is the "Precise identification of the World Heritage property and clearly marked boundaries and buffer zones" to be effected within one year. The mission recommended that the State Party consider possible options for boundary clarification/ modification of the component parts of the property: 

- to clarify the existing boundaries of the three components of the serial property, that is the Sveti Tskhoveli Church, the Samtavro Church and Monastery, and the Mtskhetis Jvari (The Church of the Holy Cross-Mtskheta), as well as the overall buffer zone which corresponds to the limits of the City-Museum Reserve of Mtskheta and the protected area of Great Mtskheta, as inscribed in 1994. This option would not need a re-nomination;

- to consider extending the serial property, in the light of the development of a Statement of Outstanding Universal value for the property, in order to include an area as defined by a triangle of the churches of Jvari, Samtavro and Armatsikhe, as recommended in previous missions (this option would be a minor modification);

- or to extend the property in order to include additional components situated in the City of Mtskheta, and perhaps in Great Mtskheta and its surroundings that relate to the existing components and their setting and context.(this would be a major modification and need a re-nomination).

The mission also recommended that the buffer zones be established to include the landscape surrounding all components, in particular the panorama along the rivers and the mountain setting. The mission recommended that all relevant documents (legal instruments, management plan, Master Plan, Conservation Master Plan) should be developed and approved.

The mission assessed the state of conservation of property and proposed a large number of recommendations, related to conservation, management and presentation of the property and its buffer zone. 

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies acknowledge the positive response of the State Party to the Committee’s requests to take greater responsibility for this World Heritage property.

However, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies do not consider that enough is yet being done on an urgent basis to address critical issues. The archaeological areas need an intensive conservation effort, not additional excavation. Many of the buildings need conservation and maintenance; there is a need to control development. The management regime must allow the authorities to intervene to address the threats to Outstanding Universal Value as a matter of urgency, and to co-ordinate action in all sectors in this respect without the need for further prolonged discussion or study.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that the State Party should implement the defined corrective measures as a matter of urgency.

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 34 COM 7A.27

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/7A.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7B.102, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3. Notes the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Commission to ensure co-ordination of all World Heritage matters;

4. Also notes the recommendations of the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission to the property in March 2010;

5. Reiterates its serious concern about the state of conservation of the different components of the property, and the slow rate of progress made by the State Party in addressing urgent issues;

6. Adopts the following Desired State of Conservation for the property, for its future removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger:

a) The World Heritage property with clearly marked boundaries and buffer zone precisely identified,

b) The Urban Master Plan of the City of Mtskheta, including land-use regulations and conservation master plan approved,

c) A comprehensive management system, including an Integrated Management Plan of the World Heritage property and its buffer zone, approved,

d) Long-term consolidation and conservation of the historical monuments in Mtskheta ensured;

7. Adopts the following corrective measures and the timeframe for their implementation:

a) Changes to be effected within one year - Precise identification of the World Heritage property and clearly marked boundaries and buffer zones by the following actions:

- Prepare adequate maps showing clear limits of all components of the property,

- Undertake topographic and archaeological surface surveys including the archaeological remains, important historical monuments and landscapes,

- Define the boundaries of the World Heritage property according to the results of the relevant surveys,

- Develop a 5-year training programme for the conservation and management of the site, possibly with participation at sub-regional/regional level,

- Develop a monitoring mechanism for the physical conservation of the buildings and archaeological sites,

- Define and prioritize the long-term conservation and consolidation measures within the World Heritage property;

b) Changes to be effected within one/two years - Implementation of the Urban Land-Use Master Plan of the City of Mtskheta, including operating plans and conservation master plan by the following actions:

- Establish complete cadastral information (land ownership), in publicly available and easily accessible format, for all land within the World Heritage property and its buffer zone,

- Establish clear operating plans and strict limits to development rights and management regulations within the property and its buffer zone, to ensure the long-term protection and conservation of the World Heritage property,

- Ensure that development rights on existing private or leased lands within the property are clearly defined and strictly controlled,

- Adopt and implement the Urban Land-Use Master Plan of the City of Mtskheta, including all aspects of infrastructure rehabilitation, zoning regulations with particular emphasis on the establishment of no-construction zones, the institutional reform and capacity building, community relations, and tourism development,

- Make publicly available the information on land-use for all lands within the property and its buffer zone, in easily accessible format, to ensure transparency in land use and allocations;

c) Changes to be effected within two/three years - Ensured site management by the following actions:

- Adopt legislation that assures the protection and maintenance of the Outstanding Universal Value of the whole of the World Heritage property and its component parts,

- Adopt the necessary priority for the conservation of the property in national policy, planning and budgets, and take pro-active measures to solicit donor support for property management and conservation,

- Develop and implement an Integrated Management Plan for the World Heritage property and its buffer zone, including:

- Develop and implement a management system,

- Undertake appropriate training in conservation and management for the staff in charge of the preservation of the property,

- Establish a clear institutional coordination mechanism ensuring that the conservation of the property receives priority consideration within relevant governmental decision-making processes,

- Develop a state programme for the protection of World Heritage religious properties in Georgia, as a legal framework for co-management under which the respective responsibilities of the State Party and the Georgian Patriarchate are effectively established, monitored and evaluated in relation to the protection and conservation of the property,

d) Changes to be effected within five years (after possible removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2 - 3 years) - Long-term protection and conservation of the historical monuments and the archaeological remains in Mtskheta by the following actions:

- Complete the documentation and recording of all historical monuments and archaeological remains in a digitized information database for management, conservation and planning purposes,

- Establish a full inventory of paintings including digitalization and reference system for all historical monuments in Mtskheta,

- Implement restoration of the paintings,

- Develop a special programme on the protection of all archaeological components of the City of Mtskheta;

8. Urges the State Party to develop, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a draft retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value of the property for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011;

9. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, a detailed state of conservation report, including a progress report relevant to the implementation of the corrective measures, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011;

10. Decides to retain the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 34 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following the examination of the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-10/34.COM/7A, WHC-10/34.COM/7A.Add and WHC-10/34.COM/7A.Add.2),

2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: