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Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn

Estonia
Factors affecting the property in 2006*
  • Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2006

Total amount provided to the property: Italian Funds-In-Trust USD 4,279 for an expert mission in December 2005.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2006
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2006**

Upon the request of Estonian National authorities a UNESCO expert mission to Tallinn was carried out in December 2005.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

In response to the request by the National Commission of Estonia for expert advice on development projects in the buffer zone, an international expert, funded through the Italian Funds in Trust with the World Heritage Centre, carried out a mission to Tallinn in December 2005.

The mission report (https://whc.unesco.org/archive/2006) detailed that the project proposal for the Viru Hotel extension, located in the buffer zone, is questionable in terms of volume and height. The current building is located close to the Old Town and the extension would obstruct this view from the north-east. The expert found that the whole area of Viru Square which includes the main entrance to the Old Town, city walls, a park, theatre and car park, is in need of an overall development plan. Similarly, the Skoone bastion and the city walls are in need of a comprehensive plan. The Old Town and buffer zone would benefit from an integrated management/development plan. The report also mentioned the potential threat to the Old Town posed by the transportation of hazardous material to the naval port of Tallinn, in the framework of a possible NATO naval base and recommended a formal risk assessment.

Furthermore, the World Heritage Centre has been contacted by the Estonian authorities regarding this issue and the links between the Hague Convention (1954) and the World Heritage Convention have been explained. The World Heritage Centre continues to follow this matter in collaboration with the concerned Section within the Division for Cultural Heritage of UNESCO and the national authorities.

In their letter of 26 April 2006, the Estonian authorities provided the World Heritage Centre with comments from the Tallinn City Government on the expert mission report and described the activities in tackling the problems outlined by the expert mission. The Tallinn City Government noted that maintaining the unique historic features of Tallinn is one of its priorities. It furthermore pointed out that: “Construction activities in the heritage protection area of Tallinn Old Town and in its buffer zone are regulated by the Statutes of Tallinn Old Town Heritage Protection Area. The Statutes have been approved by the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the activities of both city authorities and developers must be in line with the requirements contained in this document”.

Furthermore, they stated that the Tallinn City Council has adopted a decision to prepare a thematic plan of built-up areas in the centre of Tallinn. The work is already underway and it is envisaged that the thematic plan will be ready in 2007. Also, a comprehensive plan of Tallinn Central District is being elaborated. It covers Tallinn Old Town, its buffer zone and also thesurrounding areas and provides planning indicators for new constructions. The plan will be submitted to the Tallinn City Council for their endorsement in 2006. In addition the thematic plan for high-rise buildings is being finalized. This plan designates the areas in Tallinn suitable for erecting high-rise buildings, taking into account the need to maintain view corridors of the Old Town. This plan will be submitted to the Tallinn City Government for endorsement in 2006, after which the plan will be made public and will be put into effect by the City Council.

Regarding the implementation of decisions taken in the 1990s (such as reconstructing the buildings next to the city wall in Laboratoorium Street; high building volumes in the buffer zone, such as the planned extension to Viru hotel approved on 6 May 1999), the legal situation makes it difficult to change the process, as all plans and projects have been approved by the relevant institutions, including heritage protection institutions. Concerning the Skoone bastion, the City Enterprise Department organized a design contest. A detailed plan for the area will be initiated and Skoone bastion will remain a municipal property in the future.

The Tallinn City Government has established an ad-hoc committee to elaborate a development plan for Tallinn Old Town. This committee brings together heritage conservation specialists, city planning specialists and the representatives of the cultural institutions located in Tallinn Old Town and aims to improve the sustainable use for Tallinn Old Town architectural heritage. In the heritage protection area of Tallinn Old Town, car traffic has been limited and pedestrian areas enlarged.

The Tallinn City Government noted that it is aware of the dangers involved in transportation of hazardous materials and that it is cooperating with the state through amending legislation. Furthermore, a comprehensive plan of Northern Tallinn has been initiated, which will also change the use of the area of the Kopli freight station. The companies on Paljassaare peninsula that transport great quantities of oil products and fertilizers have been informed of the city authorities' position to strive for termination of such activities. Tallinn City Government has adopted a regulation which forbids transport of dangerous goods during rush hours. Ground storage tanks in petrol stations will be removed by 1 October 2006 and negotiations with the owners of petrol stations have started. In March 2006 the handling of ammonium nitrate in Paldiski port was halted. As a result the quantities of ammonium nitrate transported through Tallinn were cut down about 80%. Tallinn City Government has ordered several studies and concluded agreements with the private sector inorder to spare Tallinn from the transportation of dangerous goods. Finally the Tallinn City Government considers it of utmost importance that all the City Departments in their proposed solutions take into consideration the preservation of the outstanding universal value of the Old Town of Tallinn.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2006
30 COM 7B.84
State of Conservation (Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,

2. Notes that the State Party has taken the initiative to invite a mission to the property, and provided detailed information in reply to issues raised in the mission report including the project proposal for the Viru Hotel extension and the naval port;

3. Encourages the national authorities to carefully review and revise the Viru Hotel project, taking into account the Vienna Memorandum on "World Heritage and Contemporary Architecture, Managing the Historic Urban Landscape" (2005), and requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed of future developments in the Viru Hotel project and the naval port;

4. Urges the State Party to prepare a comprehensive management plan for the property and its buffer zone;

5. Notes that the State Party has addressed the issue of the transportation of hazardous materials and requests the State Party to carry out an overall risk assessment;

6. Further requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with an updated report on the issues above by 1 February 2007 including a progress report on the revision of the Viru Hotel project for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session in 2007.

Draft Decision: 30 COM 7B.84

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,

2. Notes that the State Party has taken the initiative to invite a mission to the property, and provided detailed information in reply to issues raised in the mission report including the project proposal for the Viru Hotel extension and the naval port;

3. Encourages the national authorities to carefully review and revise the Viru Hotel project, taking into account the Vienna Memorandum (May 2005), and requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed of future developments in the Viru Hotel project and the naval port;

4. Urges the State Party to prepare a comprehensive management plan for the property and its buffer zone;

5. Notes that the State Party has addressed the issue of the transportation of hazardous materials and requests the State Party to carry out an overall risk assessment;

6. Further requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with an updated report on the issues above by 1 February 2007 including a progress report on the revision of the Viru Hotel project for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session in 2007. 

Report year: 2006
Estonia
Date of Inscription: 1997
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 30COM (2006)
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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