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World Heritage Convention

Decision 32 COM 8B.29
Examination of nomination of natural, mixed and cultural proprerties to the World Heritage List - Stari Grad Plain (CROATIA)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-08/32.COM/8B and WHC-08/32.COM/INF.8B1,

2. Inscribes the Stari Grad Plain, Croatia, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (ii), (iii) and (v);

3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

Stari Grad Plain represents a comprehensive system of land use and agricultural colonisation by the Greeks, in the 4th century BC. Its land organisation system, based on geometrical parcels with dry stone wall boundaries (chora), is exemplary. This system was completed from the very first by a rainwater recovery system involving the use of tanks and gutters. This testimony is of Outstanding Universal Value.

The land parcel system set up by the Greek colonisers has been respected over later periods. Agricultural activity in the chora has been uninterrupted for 24 centuries up to the present day, and is mainly based on grapes and olives.

The ensemble today constitutes the cultural landscape of a fertile cultivated plain whose territorial organisation is that of the Greek colonisation.

Criterion (ii): The land parcel system, dating from the 4th century BC, of Stari Grad Plain bears witness to the dissemination of the Greek geometrical model for the dividing up of agricultural land in the Mediterranean world.

Criterion (iii): The agricultural plain of Stari Grad has remained in continuous use, with the same initial crops being produced, for 2400 years. This bears witness to its permanency and sustainability down the centuries.

Criterion (v): The agricultural plain of Stari Grad and its environment are an example of very ancient traditional human settlement, which is today under threat from modern economic development, particularly from rural depopulation and the abandonment of traditional farming practices.

The Greek cadastral system has been fully respected during the continuous agricultural use of the plain, based on the same crops. This system is today perfectly identifiable, and has changed very little. Stari Grad Plain forms an agricultural and land use ensemble of great integrity. The authenticity of the Greek land division system known as chora is clearly in evidence throughout the plain.    The built structures of the stone walls are authentic, with the same basic dry stone wall materials being used and reused since the foundation by the Greeks.

The setting up of the management plan and of the authority in charge of its application should enable the carrying out of a thorough programme of archaeological excavations, the fostering of sustainable agricultural development in the chora and the control of urban and tourism development in the vicinity of the property, with all due care being taken to ensure that its Outstanding Universal Value is respected.

4. Requests the State Party to:

  • a) implement a thorough programme of archaeological excavations for the nominated property, with a view to the expression of its values. The resumption and the expansion of the excavations at the Church of St. John at Stari Grad should thus be seen as a priority, in the hope of better understanding the link between the ancient city and the agricultural system of the chora;
  • b) carry out a project for the sustainable revitalisation of the agricultural exploitation of the plain, while respecting its ancient land division system, its dry stone wall system and its agricultural traditions;
  • c) establish a programme to remove recent built elements that detract from the site's cultural heritage value, wherever this is possible;
  • d) set up a programme aimed at reducing the impact of tree roots on boundary walls and on buried archaeological vestiges, by the careful removal of the trees and planned management of the non-cultivated areas.
Decision Code
32 COM 8B.29
Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
States Parties 1
Properties 1
Decisions Adopted at the 32nd Session of the World Heritage Committee (Quebec City, 2008)
Context of Decision