The World Heritage Committee during its 33rd session, appreciating the continuing efforts by the Kizhi Museum Reserve to improve maintenance, monitoring and presentation of the World Heritage property, regretted that the State Party had not implemented any of the activities requested by the Committee and strongly urged the State Party to establish a Special State Group to coordinate the implementation of all Committee decisions concerning this property. The Committee, concerned about the continuing deterioration of the structural fabric of the Church of the Transfiguration and management of the property, reiterated its request to the State Party to increase progress on all issues mentioned over the last decade including the submission of a detailed report on the main restoration works for the Church of the Transfiguration, of a draft integrated management plan for Kizhi Pogost including a tourism strategy and risk preparedness measures, and revised boundaries for the property and its buffer zone in relation to protected areas of the Kizhi Museum Reserve. The Committee, requested the State Party to develop, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, a desired state of conservation, a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, a set of corrective measures, as well as a timeframe for their implementation and to submit them to the World Heritage Centre, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010, with a view to considering in the absence of substantial progress the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
As requested, the State Party submitted to the World Heritage Centre on 29 January 2010 an informative report whose details responded to some of the requests made by the Committee over the past years, including the management issues and restoration concept for the Church of the Transfiguration. The report is organised in four sections: 1. «Measures of Kizhi Pogost Maintenance» (management and boundary issues, monitoring, environment and landscape protection, historical research, tourism development activities, infrastructure development, funding); 2. restoration of the Church of the Transfiguration; 3. maintenance and protection of the Church of the Intercession of Holy Mary; 4. maintenance and protection of the Bell Tower.
The State Party reports that at the federal level, funding has been secured by State order of 7 November 2008 “Plan of measures for protection of Kizhi Pogost and development of infrastructure of the Kizhi Federal Museum of Architecture and Cultural History” approved by the Government of the Russian Federation. Approximately 400 million roubles have been allocated for the treatment of the Kizhi Pogost monuments in 2009-2014, 80% of which is dedicated for the Church of the Transfiguration.
This report is clear and helpful in understanding the current situation, and the forces and factors at play which need to be addressed by management, and the policies, regulations and initiatives undertaken co-operatively by various key actors at Federal, State and local levels. The report provides the clearest picture of the state of conservation of the property received by the World Heritage Centre since inscription in 1990.
The report provides clarity on many key issues such as the measures in place to monitor and to respond to the possibility of fire. The report illustrates that most of the regulations and decrees being described as in place date from 2008, 2009 and 2010. It also states that after two decades of discussion, debate, planning efforts to repair and restore the Church of the Transfiguration are finally beginning.
However, as complete as it is, the report is not organized to respond directly to the requests made by the Committee in its Decisions at the 33rd session and at earlier sessions.
A joint World Heritage Centre-ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission was carried out from 5 to 7 April 2010. Recommendations and key findings are as follows:
a) Church of the Transfiguration
The mission noted that the fabric and structure of the Church of the Transfiguration are continuing to deteriorate and are now in a perilous state.
Over the course of more recent years the States Party has made significant progress in preparing for a major repair and restoration project at the church. Steps have been taken to reduce the rate of insect attack and decay and conservation work has started on the Church of the Transfiguration and a preventative maintenance program has been started on the Church of the Intercession. Predictable regular funding is now in place for 2009-2014 as a result of adoption of the Order “Plan of measures for maintenance and protection of Kizhi Pogost monuments”.
The mission observed that there has been good progress on development of the conservation project concept and on the conservation work itself. However, the mission had serious concerns about the technical approach to conservation of wood, the apparent lack of understanding of the dynamics of wood, as well as the potential for too much dismantling of the Church of the Transfiguration in one phase of the work.
Chemical preservatives are being used for stored logs, new roofs and in decayed areas. Unidentified chemical consolidants and fillers are being proposed for use for conservation work on the Church of the Transfiguration. The mission noted that the Kizhi restorers have little information about these products and estimates that these methods are of limited effectiveness, are untested, are absolutely contrary to international standards and guidelines that are relevant to this project. The mission recommends that the State Party be urged to avoid the use of wood preservatives, consolidants and chemical fillers due to their environmental impact, short period of testing, limited effectiveness and potential to reduce durability.
In order to sustain the Outstanding Universal Value of the Church, the mission recommended that the approach to the repair of individual logs based on gluing and patching be modified. The mission recommended that a revised approach needs to be set out and agreed as the Conservation Approach for the building.
The mission also considered that the conservation project is strongly oriented to technical solutions without any explicit relation to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. The importance of authenticity of materials needs to be balanced with concerns about authentic form and design. All of this should be reflected in the Integrity and Authenticity sections of a retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value.
Guiding Principles are needed that relate the conservation work to the key attributes of the property that convey its Outstanding Universal Value. Such principles will become increasingly important when they are needed to guide detailed decisions. The mission considered that it was essential for future decision making that Guiding Principles are developed on the basis of a Statement of Outstanding Universal Value and brought into the project.
Concerning structural stability, the mission recommended that the State Party use the temporary supplementary structural support during the project and then remove it. The mission also recommended that permanent supplementary and reinforcing structure be added to the building only if absolutely necessary, and that structural elements should be reinforced as needed rather than installing general strengthening.
In order to protect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, the mission stressed that project implementation must continue with no interruption. There is need to ensure that funding continues after 2014, as the overall restoration will not have been completed. The mission also stressed the need to prepare a capacity and skills building strategy with regular training courses involving those responsible for restoration activities in the Kizhi Museum Reserve.
The ICOMOS team during the mission prepared a set of guidelines for timber repair “Criteria for selecting log repair at Kizhi Pogost” to counter a presumption that maintaining authentic historic building fabric was the most important factor when deciding on repair methods. This was prepared to address the large numbers of individual repairs in single logs; the use of repairs which are not compatible with the shape, anatomy and natural characteristics of the wood and the use of adhesives, consolidants and other chemicals (some not yet tested).
The mission welcomed the monitoring reports reviewed, in particular “Wood-science monitoring of the Kizhi Open-air Museum Monuments” (Forest Research Institute, Karelian Research Centre, Russian Academy of Sciences, Petrozavodsk, 2009) and “Complex of land measuring on walls deformation monitoring of the Churches of Transfiguration and Intercession and the Bell tower on Kizhi” (Institute of restoration of historic and cultural monuments “Spetzprojectrestavratsija”, Moscow, 2009).
c) Boundary issues
While the boundaries for the protected zones of the Kizhi Museum-Reserve have been identified, the mission noted that the boundaries of the World Heritage property and its buffer zone are still unclear. The mission recommends that the State Party clarifies this boundary issue by 1 February 2011 in a way that protects the property and its setting and relates to the protection of the whole island as a Heritage site, as is proposed. The mission also noted concern at development proposals within certain areas of the Kizhi Museum Reserve and considered that these should be immediately halted.
d) Co-ordination and management
The initiative of Kizhi Museum Reserve to establish a Special State Board to coordinate the implementation of World Heritage Committee decisions has been stopped despite the World Heritage Committee’s request to the State Party to establish this Board. The mission recommends implementing this Committee’s decision as a matter of urgency.
The mission noted documents (in Russian) presented by the Kizhi Museum (Master Plan of the Kizhi Museum Reserve and its protected area) that had not been submitted for review and that they did not indicate the boundaries of the World Heritage property and its buffer zone. The mission expresses its concern that all protected areas regulations established within this Master Plan have been adapted to development activities and that the Kizhi Museum Reserve has the intention to develop new visitor facilities and to build a new visitor centre, in conformity with regulations of this Master Plan.
The mission recommends to halt any inappropriate development and new constructions within the property, its buffer zone and protected areas of the Kizhi Museum-Reserve, and submit to the World Heritage Centre, in conformity with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, all projects for review and comments prior to any approval.
The mission noted delays in State Party efforts to respond to the Committee’s request to develop a fully integrated management plan for the site, largely as a result of different interpretations by the national authorities of the intent of this request. The mission report notes in detail the issues to be addressed in the integrated management plan (including using Outstanding Universal Value as the core focus of all decision making for the site; formal inclusion of new partners and stakeholders such as the Church; the need to reference the overall context for decision-making, ensuring management and provision of facilities for dramatically increasing tourism numbers, respecting the setting of the property, balancing natural and built environment concerns, integrating provisions for risk preparedness and security, and clarifying boundary issues and protection, etc.).
The mission notedin the State Party report that the management plan and a tourism development programme will be submitted to the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies for review and comments.
In follow-up to the above recommendations, the mission proposed a set of corrective measures to be addressed by the State Party and a timeframe for their implementation. The mission report is available on-line at: http://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/34COM/.
The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS consider that the State Party should implement the defined corrective measures as a matter of urgency.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that the most critical issue at Kizhi Pogost is the seriously threatened state of the Church of the Transfiguration. In considering Sections 177-191 of the Operational Guidelines, it can be concluded that if the current loss of fabric and design features is not halted immediately the Outstanding Universal Value of the property will be threatened. The conservation work at the church of Transfiguration has been started, and it is crucial that it continue with no further delays.
The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies do not consider it advisable for Kizhi Pogost to be placed on the World Heritage List in Danger at this stage. A further reactive monitoring mission is recommended in 2011 to monitor progress in responding to all the issues above, and to further report to the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012, with a view to then considering, in the absence of substantial progress, the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are pleased to understand that repair and restoration works on the Church of the Transfiguration has now begun under stable financial conditions, and urge the authorities to continue this work, without further delays. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies also underline that the current approach to timber repair must be revised to follow the guidelines document prepared by the mission following its site visit and that there is a need to define Guiding Principles for the work that relate to the authenticity and Outstanding Universal Value of the property.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies wish, in the interests of improving the co-ordination and integration of property management, to reiterate the importance of establishing the Special State Board previously requested by the Committee, and the rapid completion of an integrated management plan of the property, including monitoring activities, risk preparedness, tourism strategy and protection of the landscape setting.