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World Heritage Convention

Decision 44 COM 8B.26
Roșia Montană Mining Landscape (Romania)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Documents WHC/21/44.COM/8B and WHC/21/44.COM/INF.8B1,
  2. Inscribes the Roșia Montană Mining Landscape, Romania, on the World Heritage List as a cultural landscape on the basis of criteria (ii), (iii) and (iv);
  3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

    Brief Synthesis

    Roșia Montană Mining Landscape contains the most significant, extensive and technically diverse underground Roman gold mining complex currently known in the world, dating from the Roman occupation of Dacia (106-271 CE). Roșia Montană is situated in a natural amphitheatre of massifs and radiating valleys in the Metalliferous range of the Apuseni Mountains, located in the historical region of Transylvania in the central part of Romania.

    Roman gold mining occurred within four small mountains (Cârnic, Lety, Orlea and Cetate) that visually dominate the landscape of Roșia Montană, itself surrounded on three sides by dividing ridges and peaks. Roman archaeology in the surrounding landscape is prolific and pervasive, comprising ore-processing areas, living quarters, administrative buildings, sacred areas and necropoli, some with funerary buildings with complex architecture, all set in relation to over 7 km of ancient underground workings that have been discovered to date.

    Criterion (ii): Roșia Montană Mining Landscape contains the world’s pre-eminent example of underground Roman gold mining and demonstrates an interchange of values through innovative techniques developed by skilled migrant Illyrian-Dalmatian miners to exploit gold in ways that suited the technical nature of the deposit. Multiple chambers that housed treadmill-operated water-dipping wheels for drainage represent a technique likely routed from Hispania to the Balkans, whilst perfectly carved trapezoidal-section galleries, helicoidal shafts, inclined communication galleries with stairways cut into the bedrock, and vertical extraction areas (stopes) superimposed above one another with the roof carved out in steps, are in a combination so specific to Roșia Montană that they likely represent pioneering aspects in the technical history of mining.

    Criterion (iii): Roșia Montană Mining Landscape embodies the cultural traditions of one of the oldest documented mining communities in Europe, anciently founded by the Romans, as manifested in extant underground mining works, chronologically differentiated by distinctive technical features; and a socio‐technical mining landscape consisting of ore‐processing areas, habitation areas, sacred places and necropoli. The interpretation of its history is enriched by Roman wax‐coated wooden writing tablets discovered in the mines during the 18th and 19th centuries. Together with prolific stone epigraphic monuments, they provide an authentic picture of daily life and cultural practice in this ancient frontier mining community. 

    Combined with outcomes of recent, intensive and systematic archaeological investigation, an exceptional reflection of Roman mining practices has emerged. 

    Criterion (iv): Roșia Montană Mining Landscape illustrates the strategic control and vigorous development of precious metals’ mining by the Roman Empire, essential for its longevity and military power. Following the decline of mining in Hispania, Roșia Montană located in Aurariae Dacicae (Roman Dacia) was the only significant new source of gold and silver for the Roman Empire, among the likely key motivations for Trajan’s conquest.


    Roșia Montană contains all the elements necessary to express the values of the property for the Roman mining period. The property is of adequate size to ensure the complete representation of the features and processes which convey its significance. Moreover, the property comprises an area in which future archaeological research will probably discover a large number of further surface and underground mining, ore processing and settlement sites of the Roman period. However, the current mining proposal means that the integrity of the property is highly vulnerable.


    The property contains attributes that are high in authenticity in terms of the location and the form and materials of surviving historic features, with a clear sense of how, when and by whom mining shaped the land. In terms of knowledge, epigraphic and documentary evidence combined with a decade of intensive systematic archaeological investigation has provided a major contribution to the understanding of Roman mining techniques and organisation. There is considerable potential for future research and for new discoveries related to many periods of the region’s mining history. However, the current mining proposal means that the authenticity of the property is highly vulnerable.

    Protection and management requirements

    Roșia Montană Mining Landscape is legally protected in accordance with Romanian law as a World Heritage property.

    The protection of Roșia Montană is supported by listing under the Law for the protection of historic monuments (L. 422/2001) which allows for the development of urban planning measures. Currently there are no planning controls in place and these need to be urgently developed. Currently there are active mining licences on the property and inadequate controls to stop these being extended. To activate these, permits need to be approved. There is clearly a need for the development of a General Urban Plan (Plan Urbanistic General) and a Zonal Urban Plan (Plan Urbanistic Zonal) to restrict approvals for mining permits.

    The management plan for the property is being finalized by the National Institute of Heritage who is also responsible for the monitoring of the property. The management plan should be augmented by an internationally supported conservation plan and a tourism strategy should be implemented.

  4. Also inscribes the Roșia Montană Mining Landscape, Romania, on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  5. Recommends that the State Party invite a reactive monitoring mission to the property to establish a desired state of conservation and a programme of corrective measures to remove the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  6. Also recommends that the State Party give urgent consideration to the following:
    1. Halting approval of mining permits at the property,
    2. Developing as soon as possible planning controls for the property, in the form of a General Urban Plan (Plan Urbanistic General) and a Zonal Urban Plan (Plan Urbanistic Zonal), that prevents further mining at the property and submit these in draft to the World Heritage Centre for review by ICOMOS,
    3. Approving, submitting and implementing the management plan of the property, and augmenting through:
      1. An internationally supported conservation plan for the Roman remains,
      2. A management tourism strategy, to improve visitor management and interpretation and presentation of the site,
      3. The involvement of the stakeholders in the management of the property,
      4. A commitment for adequate human and financial resources for its implementation,
    4. Developing an inspection and maintenance plan for the header ponds to ensure their long term stability,
    5. Developing and implementing a monitoring programme for the property;
  7. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2022 a report on the implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session;
  8. Encourages international cooperation to support the protection and conservation of the property.
Decision Code
44 COM 8B.26
Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
States Parties 1
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision