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Historical Monuments of Mtskheta

Georgia
Factors affecting the property in 2005*
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

Lack of a management mechanism; insufficient coordination between the Georgian Church and the national authorities; need to re-define core and buffer zones.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2005
Requests approved: 3 (from 1997-1999)
Total amount approved : 70,500 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2005

Following the decision by the Committee, the State Party requested on 17 March 2005 to change the name of the property to the "Historical Monuments of Mtskheta".

 The State Party submitted a detailed state of conservation report on 13 February 2005.  Following the elaboration in 2003 of the "Mtskheta Heritage and Tourism Master Plan" with the assistance of UNESCO/UNDP, the State Party recognised the urgent need to prepare a Management Plan for the property.  According to the State Party, factors affecting the property include (1) lack of funding, (2) climatic conditions, (3) inappropriate interventions by the Church authorities and (4) absence of an effective management system. 

ICOMOS' detailed comments and recommendations on the preparation of the well-structured and detailed report were transmitted to the State Party on 25 April 2005. 

Concerning the Javari Monastery, ICOMOS fully shared the concerns expressed in the State Party report on the state of conservation of both the interior and exterior of the main Church.  There are serious problems of stonework maintenance and bas-relief protection.  In addition, scaffolding from the earlier restoration work should be removed and a buffer zone must be defined.  Therefore, ICOMOS recommended that (1) conservation and partial restoration is needed for the seriously damaged limestone blocks of the external facades.  Soot, mildew, and parasites must be removed from certain building stones and capitals; (2) the carved building stones must be carefully removed without delay and taken to a special centre for stone conservation so that the crumbling parts can be strengthened.  Thereafter, they should be on display in the Regional Museum.  They should be replaced by replicas in accordance with Article 8 of the 1964 Venice Charter.  The replicas should be distinguishable from the authentic building stones.

The attempts, now halted, to restore the Northern Church and Parekklesion also pose a significant problem.  ICOMOS recommends that (1) specialised cleaning and treatment using herbicide, of the surrounding wall to remove plant growth, (2) repair work to the walling, including careful repair of the construction joints and restoration work in some sections.  A protective layer should be put on the upper level, as protection against inclement weather conditions, (3) removal of later, minor constructions or their replacement where necessary (e.g.  small wooden gates).

Concerning Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, the State Party reported on the continued and alarming state of the roofing, the bas-reliefs and ornaments of the cupola, and the facades of the monument.  Unfortunately, no conservation work has been carried out on the wall paintings inside the Church, which are of exceptional historical and artistic value.  They are at grave risk of further damage and eventual disappearance.  ICOMOS considered that it is of paramount importance for the future of the monument that stratigraphical investigations, systematic archaeological excavations and conservation should be initiated throughout the entire churchyard in advance of ‘Territory Maintenance'.  Illicit underground construction inside and outside the Monastery grounds and unsupervised excavations carried out by local Church authorities should be prohibited.  It is regrettable that the State Party provided no information on new building activities in the buffer zone of the monument, including the surrounding urban architectural ensemble.  According to ICOMOS, the illegal and inappropriate additions to the old Catholicos Palace continue to constitute one of the most difficult problems in preserving Mtskheta’s outstanding universal value, since this building continues to be the residence of the Catholicos–Patriarch of Georgia. 

ICOMOS regretted that the State Party report made no comment on the condition of the wall paintings inside the Samtavro Nunnery Church, which had been seriously damaged by plastering during the Soviet period (see A Heritage & Tourism Master Plan for Mtskheta, Georgia (UNESCO & UNDP-SPPD Pilot Project, March 2003, p.51).  The State Party report made no comment on the present condition of the Samtavro burial ground, the largest and one of the most important cemeteries in the Caucasus region.  Short- medium- and long-term recommendations were made in A Heritage & Tourism Master Plan for Mtskheta, Georgia (UNESCO & UNDP-SPPD Pilot Project, March 2003, p.37–40). 

ICOMOS shared the views on the existing condition and work carried out at the important Armaztsikhe-Bagineti archaeological property.  The proposals in A Heritage & Tourism Master Plan for Mtskheta, Georgia (UNESCO & UNDP-SPPD Pilot Project, March 2003) have not been acted upon in the face of the very serious problems of excavation, conservation, protection and adaptation of this property in the city of Mtskheta.  Some ‘conservation’ methods on the unfired brick walls are open to serious challenge as regards the protection and the underlying layout of the buildings. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2005
29 COM 7B.64
City-Museum Reserve of Mtskheta (Georgia)

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling its Decision 28 COM 15B.69, adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3. Urges the State Party of Georgia to define core and buffer zones of the property;

4. Expresses its serious concern over the state of conservation of this property and urges the State Party to take urgent and appropriate measures;

5. Encourages the State Party to implement the Master Plan developed by UNESCO and UNDP in 2003;

6. Recalls the importance of cooperation between the State Party and stakeholders for the conservation of the property.

7. Requests the State Party to solve the problem of the illegal and inappropriate additions to the old Catholicos Palace that strongly affects Mtskheta's outstanding universal value.

8. Requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with an updated report by 1 February 2007 for examination by the Committee at its 31st session (2007).

29 COM 8B.1
Changes to Names of Properties (Historical Monuments of Mtskheta)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/8B,

2. Approves the proposed name change to the City-Museum Reserve of Mtskheta (Georgia) as proposed by the Georgian authorities. The name of the property becomes Historical Monuments of Mtskheta in English and Monuments historiques de Mtskheta in French.

Draft Decision:29 COM 7B.64

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2.  Recalling its Decision 28 COM 15B.69, adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3.  Urges the State Party to define core and buffer zones of the property;

4.  Expresses its serious concern over the state of conservation of this property and urges the State Party to take urgent and appropriate measures;

5.  Encourages the State Party to implement the Maser Plan developed by UNESCO and UNDP in 2003;

6.  Requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with an updated report by 1 February 2007 in order for the World Heritage Committee to examine the state of conservation of the property at its 31th session in 2007. 

Report year: 2005
Georgia
Date of Inscription: 1994
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Danger List (dates): 2009-2016
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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