Decision : 31 COM 8B.30
Nomination of natural, mixed and cultural properties to the world heritage list - Parthian Fortresses of Nisa

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-07/31.COM/8B and WHC-07/31.COM/INF.8B.1,

2. Inscribes the Parthian Fortresses of Nisa, Turkmenistan, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (ii) and (iii);

3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

Nisa was the capital of the Parthian Empire, which dominated this region of central Asia from the mid 3rd century BCE to the early 3rd century CE. As such it formed a barrier to Roman expansion, whilst at the same time serving as an important communications and trading centre, at the crossroads of north-south and east-west routes. Its political and economic power is well illustrated by the surviving remains, which underline the interaction between central Asian and Mediterranean cultures.  

Criterion (ii): Nisa is situated at the crossroads of important commercial and strategic axes. The archaeological remains vividly illustrate the significant interaction of cultural influences from central Asia and from the Mediterranean world.

Criterion (iii): The Parthian Empire was one of the most powerful and influential civilizations of the ancient world, and a brilliant rival of Rome which prevented the expansion of the Roman Empire to the east. Nisa, the capital of the Parthian Empire, is the outstanding symbol of the significance of this imperial power.

The integrity and authenticity of the property, and also of the surrounding landscape, in terms of the size of the two tells and the siting of the capital at the foot of the Kopet-Dag mountains, are unquestionable. The two tells do not in any sense represent the original appearance of the Parthian capital, but their present appearance is due solely to natural erosion.

The site is gazetted as one of the 1,300 historical and cultural monuments of Turkmenistan. Nisa is also one of the eight State Historical and Cultural Parks (SHCP) that have been created to protect the most significant sites in Turkmenistan. A buffer zone has been established. The property comes within the provisions of the Bagyr town development plan. Serious efforts are still needed to set up an efficient preventive maintenance scheme that will ensure the survival of recently excavated parts of the site. A five-year plan has been formulated for 2006-2010, in order to ensure a better balance between the different activities (e.g. archaeology vis-à-vis conservation) and to combine and harmonize all the existing documents and strategies relating to the site.

4. Recommends that the State Party give consideration to the following points:

     a) replacement, using more appropriate materials and a more sympathetic design, of the present access stairs and viewing platform at Old Nisa;

     b) improvement of the facilities for visitors, and more particularly the viewing platforms;

     c) the need to pay attention in future planning to the conservation of excavated sites, the allocation of financial resources, and the implementation of its Management Plan. This should include a work plan covering the coordinated maintenance, monitoring, and presentation of both sites;

     d) requiring all excavation proposals, as a condition for granting permits, to include allowances, in terms of time and funding, for the conservation of excavated structures;

     e) the creation on site of a comprehensive documentation programme and an accessible database;

     f) the formulation of plans for conservation, interpretation, and visitor management as subsidiary elements of the overall Management Plan;

     g) extension of the buffer zone to the south-east of both tells, to include the foot of the Kopet-Dag mountain, and that to the east of New Nisa, which should be increased from 200m to at least 500m.

5. Requests the State Party to provide annual reports by 1 February to the Committee for the next three years on progress with respect to the implementation of the Management Plan.

 Decisions Report
Context of Decision
Themes: Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
States Parties: Turkmenistan
Year: 2007
Decision Code: 31 COM 8B.30