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World Heritage Convention

Decision 44 COM 7B.153
Historic Centre of Sheki with the Khan’s Palace (Azerbaijan) (C 1549rev)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 8B.36, adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Welcomes the impressive work that has been undertaken over the past two years to develop an ambitious and aspirational suite of management documents consisting of a revised Management Plan, a new Conservation Master Plan, a new Urban Regeneration Plan, an Emergency Plan, and manuals for Restoration and Infill Design;
  4. Particularly welcomes the focus of the Urban Regeneration Plan on the ‘preservation of the main attributes of garden city concept including gardens and water system’ ensuring and encouraging ‘public participation in the planning and implementation of urban regeneration strategies’, as well as the overall scope of the documents;
  5. Also welcomes the upgrading of the Yukhari Bash Reserve to national status, with the resulting additional protection and resources for staff;
  6. Notes that although the management documents have now been approved and submitted, given the complexity of their implementation, some measures would need reviewing to ensure their effectiveness, and requests the State Party to:
    1. Re-assess and re-frame the urban protection zones to provide a clearer explanation of what they aim to protect across the city, not just in areas visible to visitors, in relation to the parameters of the ‘planned, productive garden city’ such as the design and form of dwellings, and the use of gardens framed by a network of irrigation canals,
    2. Ensure the urban zones, respect the property boundaries and clearly define differences between the property and its buffer zone, by strengthening protection within the property and making modifications, where necessary, to the boundaries of zones,
    3. Define more clearly how development threats to the surrounding forest, which has a crucial and symbiotic role as the backdrop to the city, will be managed,
    4. Provide more details of the monitoring system in relation to potential gradual degradation of urban landscape and architectural details that cumulatively provide coherence to the garden city, and how the system will inform management,
    5. Consider how the recommendations of the Restoration Manual might be more carefully worded in relation to the use of non-traditional materials and structural stabilization methods for the restoration of traditional houses, in order to ensure that the authenticity of the ensemble is not weakened cumulatively over time;
  7. Urges the State Party to consider the above listed specific weaknesses of the plans before implementation becomes entrenched in order to optimise the benefits of the huge efforts that have been put into the development of the management documents;
  8. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 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 46th session.
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision