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World Heritage Convention

Decision 25 BUR V.241-243
Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications (Sri Lanka)

V.241     The Bureau was informed that the Deputy Director of the Centre, who visited the site in April 2001, observed the urgently required conservation needs of the main historic building, the 17th century Dutch Reformed Church, notably the need to repair the roof and stain-glass windows to prevent rainwater infiltration. Moreover, the Bureau took note with concern, of the extent of deformation to the urban historic fabric which undermines the authenticity of this town, characterized by the Portuguese, Dutch, English, Chinese and Indian building traditions. ICOMOS expressed its full agreement with the observations of the Deputy Director of the Centre. It added that there was now a Centre for urban studies in Galle directed by the President of ICOMOS Sri Lanka which was addressing the problems of Galle as a matter of urgency.

V.242     The Bureau examined the state of conservation of the site, noting that the historic centre suffered serious deterioration and deformation of the existing cultural-historic fabric due to lack of maintenance of the historic buildings and lack of control on building activities. The Bureau requested the Sri Lankan authorities to strengthen control on building permits and activities in the City and allocate funds for the maintenance of the historic monuments. The Bureau invited the State Party to submit an international assistance request to elaborate a programme of corrective measures.

V.243     The Observer of Sri Lanka, drawing the attention of the Bureau to the challenges facing the authorities in conserving and managing changes within a "living" City of Galle, underscored the importance of elaborating a specific conservation and development plan for this World Heritage site. 

Decision Code
25 BUR V.241-243
States Parties 1
State of conservation reports
2001 Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications
Context of Decision