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Historic Areas of Istanbul

Türkiye
Factors affecting the property in 2007*
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Housing
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Continued degradation of the vernacular architecture within the protected areas (mainly the Ottoman period timber houses in the district of Zeyrek and Süleymaniye)

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Continued degradation of the vernacular architecture within the protected areas (mainly the Ottoman period timber houses in the district of Zeyrek and Süleymaniye);

b) Quality of repairs and reconstruction of the Roman and Byzantine Walls;

c) Uncontrolled development and absence of a World Heritage management plan;

d) Lack of co-ordination between national and municipal authorities, and lack of organisational relationships between decision-making bodies for the safeguarding of World Heritage at the site;

e) Potential impacts of new buildings and development projects on the World Heritage values and integrity of the property

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2007

Total amount provided to the property: USD 211,900 (Conservation of Hagia Sophia); USD 36,686 (Convention France UNESCO); UNESCO CLT/CH USD 100,000 (in the framework of the International Safeguarding Campaign for Istanbul and Göreme).

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2007
Requests approved: 16 (from 1986-2004)
Total amount approved : 452,208 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2007

As requested by the World Heritage Committee, the State Party provided a progress report on the state of conservation of the Historic Areas of Istanbul on 1 February 2007. The report provides information on progress achieved in the implementation of the pervious Committee decision and the main issues raised in the April 2006 World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission report and its recommendations, endorsed by the Committee.

The report describes the measures taken with regard to the management structure and coordination mechanisms between relevant national authorities, including the establishment of a “UNESCO World Heritage Coordination Unit” in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and a Focal Point for the World Heritage issues. A site manager was appointed by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Site management studies covering the urban, archaeological and historical areas of the World Heritage property have started. An “Advisory Council” and “Coordination and Supervision Council” will be constituted and experts for the preparation of the Management Plan are being identified by the Metropolitan Municipality. A “Steering Committee for the Historic Area of Istanbul” bringing together 22 relevant institutions, and its “Execution Council” was established. The Committee counsels for all ongoing and forthcoming conservation and protection studies, whereas the “Execution Council” determines and follows up on the implementation of these studies. The report points out that the appointment of the Site Manager and the Steering Committee constitutes the initial step in the preparation of the Management Plan for the property.

A Conservation Implementation and Control Bureau (KUDEB) was established by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality in 2006, with 40 staff, including architects, archaeologists, urban planners and civil engineers. The staff is being trained in Regional Conservation Councils until February 2007. The Bureau analyses the recent situation of the heritage to be preserved before the restoration process, controls the implementation of the restoration and maintenance works compatible with the original style and material, and supervises the proper implementation of the projects.

Concerning the revision of the boundaries for the protection of the integrity of the urban topography and setting of the property, ICOMOS Turkey has prepared a proposal for a buffer zone around the Historic Peninsula to be presented to Conservation Council.

The Development Plan for Conservation, which was approved by the Conservation Council and Metropolitan Municipality in 2005, is being implemented. Urban Design and restoration projects for listed monuments will be completed according to this plan until the year 2008. In Suleymaniye, one of the core areas, urban design projects are being prepared by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality in order to preserve traditional dwellings and the urban pattern in the whole area. Some listed timber houses will be also restored by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. In Zeyrek, the restoration of Seyh Suleyman mosque and the Pantocrator Cistern has started. However, the report does not mention effective measures for the safeguarding of the Ottoman-period timber structures in this core area, which was one of the main concerns raised by previous Committee sessions. An “International Symposium for Conservation of Timber Houses” was held on 20 September 2006 in Istanbul. During the symposium a declaration on the conservation of timber structures was adopted. It is hoped that the results of the symposium will be taken into consideration in the future safeguarding and restoration projects. Another international symposium and workshop on “Appropriate Methods and Approaches on the Conservation of the Land Walls” was organized in Istanbul from 20 to 22 January 2007 by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and the Istanbul Steering Committee. The symposium aimed at determining the most appropriate method for the restoration of the Land Walls and buildings that are adjacent to the walls, like Ayvansaray and Tekfur Palace, and also to benefit from the national and international experts’ experiences on this matter. The final report of the symposium proposes concrete actions for international standard conservation, restoration, monitoring, and training for the Land Walls, which should be considered in the framework of the World Heritage site Management Plan currently being prepared.

Furthermore, in its report, the State Party presents the latest developments concerning new large-scale development projects, but does not provide the results of the impact studies as requested by last Committee and the Mission recommendations. It also provides information on the progress achieved in other important issues, such as the current state of protective legislation and financial provisions for the restoration of immovable cultural heritage properties, Rehabilitation of Fener and Balat Districts Programme, Maramary Rail Tube Tunnel and archaeological excavations in Yenikapi and Uskudar metro stations, the Istanbul Seismic Risk Mitigation and Emergency Preparedness Plan, and the new legal arrangement to facilitate conservation activities in the scope of 2010 European Culture Capital.

In addition, the joint UNESCO/ICOMOS mission report of April 2006 was translated into Turkish and distributed in hardcopy to all relevant institutions to provide for a better understanding and wider collaboration in the preparation of the submitted Progress Report. In order to present and promote the World Heritage sites in Turkey, a book entitled “Turkey: A World Heritage”, was published in Turkish by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in 2006. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2007
31 COM 7B.89
Historic Areas of Istanbul (Turkey)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 30 COM 7B.73, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),

3. Commends the efforts, progress and commitments made by the State Party in the implementation of the corrective measures to reduce threats to the site and improve management and conservation practices and for the preparation of the World Heritage Management Plan;

4. Welcomes the appointment of a Site Manager and Steering Committee for the property as a first step, and the establishment of a "UNESCO World Heritage Coordination Unit" in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and a Focal Point for the World Heritage issues, as well as for the holding of the two international symposiums;

5. Regrets, however, that the State Party report does not provide information on impact studies for the new large-scale development projects, and information on effective measures for the safeguarding of the Ottoman-period timber structures in the core area of Zeyrek, which was one of the main concerns of the previous Committee sessions;

6. Requests the State Party:

a) to continue to implement the Decision 30 COM 7B.73 as well as the recommendations and corrective measures to achieve the desired state of conservation established by the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission;

b) to finalise the integrated and comprehensive World Heritage management plan in
compliance with the Operational Guidelines, including details of a new and effective management structure and buffer zone to protect the integrity of the property, by 1 February 2008 at the latest;

c) to provide the World Heritage Centre with information on impact studies, including Visual Impact Assessment, according to international standards for all new large-scale projects which may threaten the important views to and from the property and its buffer zone, including the Halic bridge across the Golden Horn, the proposed development project at Hydarpaşa, the Galataport project, the Dubai Towers, as well as the extension project for the Four Seasons Hotel over the archaeological remains of the Great Palace;

d) to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission in early 2008 to assess the state of conservation of the property and progress made in the finalisation of the World Heritage Site Management Plan and in the implementation of the corrective measures addressing the desired state of conservation, as requested by the Committee and the joint mission recommendations in 2006;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February
2008
a progress report including all issues indicated above to enable the World Heritage Committee to consider inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage
in Danger at its 32nd session in 2008.

Draft Decision: 31 COM 7B.89

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 30 COM 7B.73, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),

3. Commends the efforts, progress and commitments made by the State Party in the implementation of the corrective measures to reduce threats to the site and improve management and conservation practices and for the preparation of the World Heritage Management Plan;

4. Welcomes the appointment of a Site Manager and Steering Committee for the property as a first step, and the establishment of a “UNESCO World Heritage Coordination Unit” in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and a Focal Point for the World Heritage issues, as well as for the holding of the two international symposiums;

5. Regrets, however, that the State Party report does not provide information on impact studies for the new large-scale development projects, and information on effective measures for the safeguarding of the Ottoman-period timber structures in the core area of Zeyrek, which was one of the main concerns of the previous Committee sessions;

6. Requests the State Party:

a) to continue to implement the Decision 30 COM 7B.73 as well as the recommendations and corrective measures to achieve the benchmarks established by the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission;

b) to finalise the integrated and comprehensive World Heritage management plan in compliance with the Operational Guidelines, including details of a new and effective management structure and buffer zone to protect the integrity of the property, in accordance with the Vienna Memorandum, by 1 February 2008 at the latest;

c) to provide the World Heritage Centre with information impact studies, including Visual Impact Assessment, according to international standards for all new large-scale projects which may threaten the visual integrity of the Historic Peninsula and its setting, including the Halic bridge across the Golden Horn, the proposed development project at Hydarpaşa, the Galataport project, the Dubai Towers, as well as the extension project for the Four Seasons Hotel over the archaeological remains of the Great Palace;

d) to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission in early 2008 to assess the state of conservation of the property and progress made in the finalisation of the World Heritage Site Management Plan and in the implementation of the corrective measures addressing the benchmarks, as requested by the Committee and the joint mission recommendations in 2006;

7. Also requests the State Partyto submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2008 a progress report including all issues indicated above to enable the World Heritage Committee to consider inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in the case of absence of tangible remedial measures to prevent the loss of World Heritage value of this property, at its 32nd session in 2008.

Report year: 2007
Türkiye
Date of Inscription: 1985
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 31COM (2007)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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