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 1999-1999)
Total amount approved: USD 15,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/603/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

March 2006: UNESCO / ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission; April 2005: expert mission; October 2006: UNESCO/ICOMOS mission; December 2007: UNESCO/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Serious impact of a large-scale restoration project;

b) Impact of urban landscaping programme on the authenticity and integrity of the property;

c) Detrimental impact of new roads;

d) Demolition of traditional urban houses.

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2008

In its report, received by the World Heritage Centre on 18 February 2008, the State Party confirmed its commitment to further develop the management plan, clarify road schemes, and develop zoning arrangements taking into account the recommendations of the World Heritage Committee and the 2007 mission. The report states that a Coordinating Committee for the property was established in 2001 as an “Inter Departmental Commission on Coordination of Safeguarding and Utilization of Cultural Monuments of Samarkand”.

The UNESCO / ICOMOS mission of December 2007 noted the following:

a) Strengthened coordination:

The recommendations of previous missions have been acted upon and there is better coordination between the various bodies responsible for the overall urban areas. Nevertheless, the mission considered that there was a need for more formal coordination and a strengthening of the overall decision-making system. It noted, in particular, that theInter Departmental Commission for Samarkand should be strengthened, and that international experts should be consulted for essential advice on principles of restoration, documentation of historic properties, and rehabilitation of historic quarters.

b) New developments:

The mission noted that recent constructions on the periphery of the new road (between the historic areas of Afrosiab and Timurid) consisting of a shopping centre, restaurant, bus stop and gas station are inappropriate for the locality and have a negative impact on Shakhi-Zinda. The mission underlined the urgent need for zoning regulations to be established to respect the sensitive areas of the city.

c) Proposed Reconstruction projects:

The mission also expressed concern over a proposed large-scale reconstruction project for the Timurid walls and the proposed development of a hotel next to the walls. It was considered that these would be very harmful for the general view of the Timurid part of the town, and would not conform to international conservation principles. A more sensitive development is needed for this area, based on archaeological investigation and the removal of harmful modern buildings.

d) Traditional housing:

The mission reinforced the need to make progress with documenting the traditional housing in the residential areas around the main monuments and to stop any further demolition until survey work has been undertaken as a basis for the development of an integrated conservation strategy.

e) Road schemes:

Concerning the roads scheme, the mission was advised by the State Party that the new Urban Plan for Development of Samarkand city 2004 –2025 (General Plan), is being revised, based on the recommendations of the World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS mission undertaken in October 2006. After the approval of this General Plan a more detailed plan will then be developed, and this will be submitted to the World Heritage Centre. The timescale for the development of the new road schemes has not yet been fixed. However the mission was told that it will be included in the first stage of realization of the draft management plan: 2007- 2010.


The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS welcome the progress that has been made, but note however that there is a need to keep up the momentum to address the issues highlighted by the mission, in order to ensure that within a reasonable timescale a clear approach is put in place for the overall management, conservation and development of the property. The State Party should submit all major project proposals to the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS for consideration, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines

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


Decision Adopted: 32 COM 7B.79

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7B.74, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Notes the progress made by the State Party and its commitment to set up a Coordinating Committee for the property;

4. Notes with concern further new and inappropriate development proposals between the Afrosiab and Timurid city for the re-creation of the Timurid city walls, and a new hotel with "historic façades" near the city walls;

5. Urges the State Party to continue the development of the management plan, including appropriate zoning and other matters identified at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007);

6. Also urges the State Party to develop an overall strategic approach to the property's conservation to be agreed to by stakeholders through the adoption of the management plan, and to submit, to the World Heritage Centre, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, information about any major project proposals;

7. Decides to implement the Reinforced Monitoring mechanism to the property and asks in particular that the Committee be informed on the results on any information relevant for the conservation of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2009, a report on the state of conservation of the property, including progress made in:

a) finalizing the management plan,

b) developing the conservation plan,

c) documenting historic features (inventories and surveys),

d) strengthening the Coordinating Committee,

e) developing proposed zoning and road schemes including proposals to close the new road between Afrosiab and Timurid city to through-traffic,

for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009.