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Samarkand – Crossroad of Cultures

Uzbekistan
Factors affecting the property in 2005*
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • High impact research / monitoring activities
  • Management activities
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2005
Requests approved: 1 (from 1999-1999)
Total amount approved : 15,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2005**

An assessment mission for by an international expert (April 2005)

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2005

In March 2005, the World Heritage Centre received alarming information concerning a large restoration and urban landscaping programme at the Shakhi-Zinda ensemble, a Royal funerary complex part of the World Heritage property of Samarkand, currently being undertaken by the Ministry of Culture and Sports.  This programme, which started in October 2004, should be completed by December 2005 and cost a total amount of USD 1,800,000. 

As suggested by the World Heritage Centre in its letter to the Ministry of Culture and Sports dated 4 April 2005, a short visit by an international expert from CRATerre-EAG (France) was arranged in the beginning of April 2005 to make a first evaluation of the on-going restoration works, taking advantage of his presence in Uzbekistan on other business.  According to the report submitted by the international expert, supplemented by extensive photographic documentation, the interventions under way include:

a)  Large-scale urban landscaping of the area surrounding the Shakhi-Zindah complex, including the demolition of the bazaar and several buildings, a new road replacing the existing one which was considered too close to the property and the establishment of a new green area facing the entrance to the complex;

b)  Large-scale restoration and reconstruction of almost all the ancient mausolea within the Shakhi-Zindah complex, with extensive use of cement and reinforced concrete;

c)  Extensive archaeological excavations in the eastern part of the Complex;

d)  The execution of a reinforced concrete wall, three to four metres high and faced with modern bricks.

Deeply concerned by the serious potential impact of these works for the conservation of the World Heritage property, and in particular its authenticity and integrity, the World Heritage Centre, in consultation with the Advisory Bodies, wrote to the Minister of Culture and Sports of Uzbekistan, by letter dated 27 April 2005, suggesting that a more thorough assessment be carried out by ICOMOS as soon as possible by a reactive monitoring mission.  In its letter, the World Heritage Centre also recommended that the works be temporarily suspended, pending the outcome of the above-mentioned mission.

At the time of the drafting of the present report, the World Heritage Centre had not yet received a formal response from the State Party on whether it would be possible to organize a reactive monitoring mission to the property before the 29th session of the Committee in July 2005. More up-dated information may be available to the Committee at the time of its 29th session if, through negotiations with the State Party, the above-mentioned reactive monitoring mission takes place in the meantime. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2005
29 COM 7B.57
Samarkand - Crossroads of Cultures (Uzbekistan)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/7B.Rev,

2. Expressing its deep concern about the on-going large-scale restoration and urban landscaping programme at the Shakhi-Zindah ensemble, which appear to be severely affecting the integrity and authenticity of the World Heritage property;

3. Requests the State Party of Uzbekistan immediately to stop the on-going works at Shaki-Zindah;

4. Also requests the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre a complete documentation on the works being planned, in accordance to the provisions of the Operational Guidelines (paragraph 172);

5. Further requests ICOMOS to carry out a reactive monitoring mission to the property as soon as possible in order to assess the actual impact of the works on the outstanding universal value of the World Heritage property and report to the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006). Depending on the results of this mission, the Committee may inscribe the property in the List of World Heritage in Danger at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006).

Draft Decision: 29 COM 7B.57

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/7B.Rev,

2.  Expressing its deep concern about the on-going large-scale restoration and urban landscaping programme at the Shakhi-Zindah ensemble, which appear to be severely  affecting  the integrity and authenticity of the World Heritage property;

3.  Requests the State Party to immediately stop the on-going works at Shaki-Zindah;

4.  Also requests the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre a complete documentation on the works being planned, in accordance to the provisions of the Operational Guidelines (paragraph 172);

5.  Further requests ICOMOS to carry out a reactive monitoring mission to the property as soon as possible in order to assess the actual impact of the works on the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage property and  report to the Committee at its 30th session in 2006.

Report year: 2005
Uzbekistan
Date of Inscription: 2001
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iv)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 29COM (2005)
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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