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World Heritage Convention

Decision 44 COM 7B.39
Itchan Kala (Uzbekistan) (C 543)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Welcomes the halting of demolition and reconstruction work in Dishan Kala, part of the proposed buffer zone, in line with the recommendations of the 2018 ICOMOS Advisory mission;
  3. Also welcomes the proposed revision of the overarching Detailed Planning of Historical Centre of Khiva (PDP), which is part of the Master Plan of Khiva city for the period up to 2030 that was initiated following the decree ‘On the Program for Complex Development of Touristic Potential of the Khiva City and Khorezm Region for 2017-2021’;
  4. Notes that this proposed revision will be subject to a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA), and requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre outlines of the PDP and relevant sections of the Master Plan before these plans are approved, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  5. Also requests the State Party to engage in phased dialogue and consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies on further development of these important plans through capacity-building assistance, either virtually or in person, as these plans will define how Itchan Kala and its setting will develop over the next few decades;
  6. Acknowledges the development and tourism pressures that are facing the city as a result of investments and the creation of a high-speed rail link to Bukhara and Samarkand, and also notes the development of a Tourism Destination Management Plan;
  7. Regrets the demolition of large areas of Dishan Kala and considers that the status of non-monumental urban fabric needs to be strengthened both in the property and in Dishan Kala, the traditional residential area for the fortified city, and that the interlinkages between these two areas, which together formed ancient Khiva, must be strengthened to ensure that the urban grain and individual buildings are sustained;
  8. Further notes the focus on the distinctive traditional architecture of Khiva in the draft Management Plan and the existence of a Geographic Information System (GIS) database of all buildings and structures of Itchan Kala, and urges the State Party to ensure that the PDP, the Master Plan and the Management Plan address the issue of conservation and use of historical and architectural heritage, including principles and urgent measures to improve the preventative conservation of this housing stock, and to put in place any necessary incentives;
  9. Further welcomes progress with strengthening the management system through the creation of a new World Heritage Management Unit for the property, acknowledges that legal frameworks have been strengthened since 2018, as a result of a national initiative that includes the establishment of a Cultural Heritage Committee under the Cabinet of Ministers, and notes furthermore that the State Party acknowledges that:
    1. There is a need for capacity building for decision makers, conservation professionals and developers, especially in the fields of brick building conservation, reuse of historic monuments, and planning for regeneration,
    2. Tangible and intangible cultural heritage need to be better understood to achieve inclusive and holistic urban regeneration processes,
    3. Proper coordination with the International Advisory Committee (IAC) for cultural World Heritage properties in Uzbekistan is needed to ensure follow-up of the Committee’s decisions and the mission’s recommendations;
  10. Also considers that the draft Management Plan for the property needs to be amended accordingly and to include measures that encompass the historic urban environment for both the property and its proposed buffer zone, and that the amended Management Plan should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  11. Further considers that the property continues to be extremely vulnerable, and also urges the State Party to maintain the moratorium on demolition and reconstruction until the PDP and the Master Plan have been reviewed and approved by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, and the proposed buffer zone has been approved by the World Heritage Committee, in line with Decision 40 COM 8B.42;
  12. Recommends that conservation issues having an impact on public health and the condition of heritage be addressed in a way that respects the need for adequate infrastructure while protecting the authenticity of heritage structures above and below ground;
  13. Also regrets that the development of the Mevaston Hotel occurred before revised proposals and plans were approved, and considers furthermore that, while this project might be acceptable with some revisions, it cannot be taken as a model for development in areas of demolished mahallas;
  14. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, 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 45th session.
Decision Code
44 COM 7B.39
States Parties 1
Properties 1
State of conservation reports
2021 Itchan Kala
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision