1.         Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower (Azerbaijan) (C 958)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2000

Criteria  (iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   2003-2009

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

a) Operational institutional framework for the conservation and management of the World Heritage property and its buffer zone;

b) Clearly defined and approved framework for the active engagement of all stakeholders;

c) “Integrated Area Management Action Plan” implemented.

Corrective measures identified

a) Administrative structure and related programmes within the Cabinet of Ministers defined and supported with adequate resources and fully operational;

b) Completion of an inventory of all monuments, buildings and their infrastructures indicating their physical condition as well as expected rehabilitation methodologies;

c) Completion of a comprehensive management plan to address conservation issues, urban development control and tourism management.

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

1 February 2009

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/958/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1998-1998)
Total amount approved: USD 15,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/958/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: USD 30,000 (American Funds Special Account 2005/06); USD 22,000 (Netherlands Funds-in-Trust, 2005/06)

Previous monitoring missions

UNESCO mission, 23 February-1 March 2002; UNESCO-ICOMOS mission, 18-22 October 2002; UNESCO mission (Assistant Director-General for Culture), 21-25 January 2003; UNESCO mission, 22-23 April 2003; ICCROM mission, 10-14 November 2003; UNESCO mission to participate in the Round Table, 6-8 October 2004; UNESCO mission, 3-8 September 2005 (with the University of Minnesota, USA); World Heritage Centre – ICOMOS mission 4 -10 March 2007.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Changing urban fabric due to the demolition of buildings and uncontrolled construction within the Walled City;

b) Overall lack of any management system and in particular insufficient coordination between the national and municipal authorities;

c) Absence of a comprehensive management plan that addresses conservation problems, urban development control and tourism activities.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/958/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007

A joint World Heritage Centre – ICOMOS mission visited the property from 4 to10 March 2007 to review the implementation of follow-up measures to previous decisions of the World Heritage Committee on the state of conservation of the property, as well as the measures which the State Party plans to take to protect the outstanding universal value of the property. The mission was also to elaborate an updated Action Plan in collaboration with the State Party, and progress was noted in the following areas:

a) Management structure:

The Department of the Historical-Architectural Reserve Icheri Sheher (SDHARIS), established in 2005 by Presidential decree has full management responsibility for the World Heritage property, replacing the former authorities of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and the Executive Power of the City of Baku. Its Director was appointed on 29 December 2006. The mission considered that he should pay particular attention to hiring an architect qualified in urban conservation management. The new Department needs to be made fully operational and financially sustainable as soon as possible.

The mission noted the absence of any current coordination between the Direction of SDHARIS and national institutions and local authorities working on the Walled City and its buffer zone. It is understood that the structure for this collaboration will develop from the Management Plan.

b) Demolition of buildings:

The new Director has exercised his powers to stop all demolition and construction activities in the Walled City area in conformity with the Presidential Decrees of 2003 to 2006. He has also begun assessing the state of conservation of the buildings, verifying the leasing conditions of buildings under the state protection, initiating the improvement of infrastructures in the Walled City, establishing an electronic control for the entry and exit of motor vehicles, as well as improving visitor information.

c) Inventory:

Following the signing of an agreement between the University of Minnesota (USA) and the Azerbaijan University of Architecture and Construction (within the framework of an activity-financing contract between UNESCO and the University of Minnesota), a joint team has prepared a digital database inventory of all historic buildings in the Walled City area. The inventory needs to be further elaborated and maintained as a digitized information database for management and planning purposes.

d) Management Plan:

An international team appointed by the World Bank has prepared, in close co-ordination with SDHARIS, an “Integrated Area Management ActionPlan” for the World Heritage property and its buffer zone. The plan will be finalized in April 2007 and will be communicated officially to the World Heritage Centre after its approval. It is hoped that the Plan will address the need for guidelines for rehabilitation and restoration of historic buildings, as well as design guidelines for new constructions and the street furniture.

It was understood by the mission that the “Integrated Area Management Action Plan” foresees a proposed structure for the new SDHARIS, which included the establishment of a Scientific Council of institutional stakeholders and experts, as well as a Council of Elders, involving representatives of the local community. How this collaborative structure will function still needs to be clarified.

Once the Plan has been approved at all levels, the challenge will be to ensure that it is properly implemented as a strategic guideline for conservation management of the Walled City and its buffer zone. The World Bank consultant team has expressed the wish that the Management Plan be officially recognized as a planning tool by the Azerbaijan Government and the Municipality of Baku.

e) Urban Conservation Plan:

Considering the urgent needs of the Historic Town of Baku, its Walled City with its buffer zone, the Director of SDHARIS requested the World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission to provide a list of potential experts for the preparation of an Urban Conservation Plan for the World Heritage property and its buffer zone. This Plan could later be integrated in the overall City Master Plan, which was valid until 2005, and should now be reviewed.

f) Buffer Zone:

The buffer zone, as adopted at the time of inscription, surrounds the core zone on all sides, extending some 100m to the north-west and south-west, and about 200m to the north-east. It also covers the seafront area to the south-east. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has taken initiatives to provide protection for the entire area that developed in the 19th and early 20th centuries, which is much larger than the buffer zone. The area has maintained much of its historic integrity and it also contains significant public buildings. The integrity of the area is however at risk, from the current oil boom and the rapid development trends in the town of Baku. There are already several high-rise buildings built or under construction which will cause an negative impact on the integrity of the area.

Considering that the current buffer zone covers a relatively narrow area around the World Heritage core zone, the possibility of extending the buffer zone should be given careful thought, in order to integrate the 19th and early 20th centuries urban development areas.

The presidential decree mentioned above does not clarify the management responsibility for the buffer zone. Therefore, at the moment, it stays within the municipal authority. The Director of SDHARIS has however confirmed that he will take steps to clarify the management authority in the buffer zone, and propose collaboration with the City of Baku and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

g) Capacity building:

The mission observed the urgent need to prepare a comprehensive strategy for training and education involving those responsible for rehabilitation, restoration and eventual reconstruction activities in the Walled City. 

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

N/A

Decision Adopted: 31 COM 7A.26

  The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decision 30 COM 7A.29, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),

3.  Notes the significant progress made with setting up management systems, the development of an "Integrated Area Management Action Plan" and welcomes the implementation of the Presidential Decree by the Director of the Historical-Architectural Reserve Icheri Sheher (SDHARIS), aiming at halting demolition and building construction in the Walled City area;

4. Requests the State Party to submit the completed "Integrated Area Management Action Plan" to ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre for review, to adopt it and integrate it into the urban planning system of the City of Baku, together with a draft statement of outstanding universal value and updated boundaries for the property;

5. Also requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS, to develop a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value including the conditions of integrity and authenticity, for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008;

6. Further requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS, to develop a draft statement of the desired state of conservation for the property based on its Outstanding Universal Value;

7.  Requests furthermore the State Party to ensure that the new management structure is made fully operational and adequately resourced as soon as possible;

8. Recommends that the building inventory be further elaborated and maintained as a digitized information database for management and planning purposes;

9.  Encourages the State Party to elaborate guidelines for the rehabilitation and restoration of historic buildings, as well as the design of new constructions and street furniture, preferably as part of the "Integrated Area Management Action Plan"; and that a training strategy as well as a risk preparedness plan be prepared for heritage conservation in the Walled City area;

10.  Decides to evaluate the possibility for removing the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger when the corrective measures have been carried out and the desired state of conservation has been achieved;

11. Further requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with an updated report by 1 February 2008, on the state of conservation of the property, and progress with the implementation of the "Integrated Area Management Action Plan" and the new management structure, for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008.

12. Decides to retain the Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower (Azerbaijan) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 31 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-07/31.COM/7A and WHC-07/31.COM/7A.Add, WHC-07/31.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC-07/31.COM/7A.Add.3),

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