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World Heritage Convention

Decision 37 COM 7B.85
Historic Areas of Istanbul (Turkey) (C 356)

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7B.Add,

2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.89 , adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3.  Take notes of the results of the 2012 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission and requests the State Party to implement its recommendations and to duly proceed with the annual review of the Management Plan;

4.  Acknowledges the commitment of the State Party to halt work on the Golden Horn Bridge for a year in order to consider ways of further improving its design and mitigating its intrusion into the historic landscape, but notes that although amendments have refined the original design, the bridge will still impact adversely on views of the Historic Peninsula and on the ability of the property to convey certain aspects of its Outstanding Universal Value;

5.  Recognises the logic and benefits of a Bosphorus road tunnel, but also notes that the currently preferred shorter 5.4 km tunnel option, emerging partway along the southern shore of the Historic Peninsula with a wide 8-13 lane approach road, would have a highly significant, negative impact on the Sea Walls, the Marble Tower, and the overall relationship between the Historic Peninsula and the sea;

6.  Urges the State Party to undertake multi-disciplinary studies (technical, environmental, social, cultural and economic) as a basis for considering the extension of the tunnel beyond the Land Walls and to remove an intersection at Yenikapı in order to ensure that the impacts on the Historic Peninsula are both limited and largely positive; and to duly take all options into consideration when finalising the Heritage Impact Assessment, and submit this to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies before any irreversible decision or commitment is made;

7.  Notes with concern that the Yenikapı project for reclaiming a large area of land (58 hectares) to the south-west of the Historic Peninsula and thus create a recreation area for up to a million people, was started before a Heritage Impact Assessment had been undertaken, and without any advance notification being provided to the World Heritage Committee; and also requests that the State Party finalise the Heritage Impact Assessment, which should include the potential impact of such large gatherings on the environment and infrastructure of the peninsula as a whole, and submit it as soon as possible to the World Heritage Committee for review by the Advisory bodies;

8.  Also notes with concern the mission’s opinion that a crisis point has been reached for the remaining Ottoman timber buildings, and further requests the State Party to consider a rapid assessment of Ottoman buildings at risk, to reconsider renewal area schemes, to undertake first-aid works in order to slow down the rate of decay and loss, and, if possible, to reinstate grants allowing private owners to repair their buildings;

9.  Welcomes that height restrictions have been put in place by the State Party in a timely manner to protect the silhouette of the Historic Peninsula;

10.  Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015 , an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.

Decision Code
37 COM 7B.85
Conservation, Outstanding Universal Value
States Parties 1
State of conservation reports
2013 Historic Areas of Istanbul
Decisions Adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th Session (Phnom Penh, 2013)
Context of Decision
Other Documents (1)
Report on the Joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS Reactif Monitoring Mission to the Historic Areas of Istanbul, 19-23 November 2012