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Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls

Jerusalem (Site proposed by Jordan)
Factors affecting the property in 2004*
  • Earthquake
  • Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure
  • Financial resources
  • High impact research / monitoring activities
  • Housing
  • Human resources
  • Legal framework
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Solid waste
  • Temperature change
  • Other Threats:

    a) Lack of maintenance; b) Natural factors

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2004
Requests approved: 1 (from 1982-1982)
Total amount approved : 100,000 USD
Missions to the property until 2004**
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2004

The present report on the state of conservation of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls was prepared on the basis of information collected by the Centre[1]. The scope of this report is an assessment of the state of conservation of the World Heritage property of the Old City of Jerusalem in line with the guidelines for properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger. This issue is also examined by the Executive Board and the General Conference of UNESCO on the basis of the General Conference Resolution 32 C/39, which referred to “the relevant United Nations resolutions and decisions, in particular the relevant Security Council resolutions on the legal status of Jerusalem”, and to "31 C/Resolution 31, as well as to the provisions of the four Geneva Conventions (1949), The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954) and the related Protocol and to the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972), the inscription of the Old City of Jerusalem on the World Heritage List and on the List of World Heritage in Danger and the recommendations, resolutions and decisions of UNESCO on the protection of the cultural heritage".

 

The boundaries of the World Heritage property coincide with the Walls of Suleyman the Magnificent, as no buffer zone was identified at the time of inscription on the World Heritage List.

 

In 1982, following the recommendations by ICOMOS, the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls was inscribed by the World Heritage Committee on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The justifications given by the Committee for the Danger listing (Cf. Doc. CLT-82/CH/CONF.015/8), with reference to the Operational Guidelines in force at the time, were the following: "...the situation of the property corresponds to the criteria mentioned in the ICOMOS note and, in particular, to criteria (e) (significant loss of historical authenticity) and (f) (important loss of cultural significance) as far as "ascertained danger" is concerned, and to criteria (a) (modification of juridical status of the property diminishing the degree of its protection), (b) (lack of conservation policy) and (d) (threatening effect of town planning) as far as "potential danger" is concerned."

 

The above criteria have been considered as being still valid following the assessment by the UNESCO Mission to Jerusalem on the state of conservation of the Old City of Jerusalem ands its Walls led from 28 February to 5 March 2004. The following factors have been reported by the mission:

 

a)       Alteration to the urban historic fabric changing the traditional skyline of the Old City: alterations are also affecting the internal structure of vernacular buildings and, in some cases, historic monuments in the Old City;

 

b)       Alteration to the visual integrity of the roofscape within the Old City: the gradual new building development of the areas surrounding the Walls of the Old City negatively and irreversibly affected its traditional view;

 

c)       Lack of maintenance and inappropriate approach in the conservation of historic monuments: with some exceptions, the state of conservation of most of the historic monuments, in particular in the area covered by the Islamic historic monuments, within the Old City is generally poor, due to lack of maintenance and resources. Some sites, moreover, are left in a state of neglect and used as garbage dump. In many cases, the conservation approach does not apply international principles of the relevant ICOMOS Charters;

 

d)       Limitations to free access of labourers and supply of materials for conservation to the site: limited access, especially to Islamic historic monuments, is affecting the implementation of conservation activities;

 

e)       Traffic: increasing vehicular traffic within the Old City is a matter of concern. Traffic causes pollution and vibrations that can affect the state of conservation of the built historic fabric, and the occupation of public spaces generates a negative visual impact;

 

f)        Non-compliance with international standards in the field of archaeological research: archaeological research should take place in conformity with international principles and standards;

 

g)       Natural factors: the region of Jerusalem lies on an active seismic zone. There is no specific risk preparedness policy to protect the Old City and notably its main historic monuments. Water and fluctuations in temperature are also a cause of concern, as they affect the state of conservation of the limestone building materials.



[1]The sources for the preparation of the report included: 1) All previous reports by the Special Advisers of the Director-General for Jerusalem; 2) International Charters and Conventions related to heritage and heritage conservation; and 3) Information gathered during the UNESCO mission of February/March 2004.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2004
28 COM 15A.31
Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Jerusalem (Site proposed by Jordan))
The World Heritage Committee,

1. Takes note with satisfaction of the continuing effort of the Director-General in pursuing a comprehensive initiative for the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem, particularly with the setting up of highly qualified and purely technical missions and in line with the General Conference Resolution 32 C/Res 39 (October 2003) which referred to the relevant United Nations resolutions and decisions in particular the relevant Security Council Resolutions on the legal status of Jerusalem;

2. Expresses its concern for the threats to the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem, including the progressive alteration of its historic urban fabric and visual integrity, the lack of maintenance and inappropriate conservation approaches to some of its historic monuments, due to the difficulties posed by the present situation;

3. Urges the responsible authorities to establish in close consultation and cooperation with, and with the prior approval of all the concerned stakeholders, appropriate regulations, sensitive to the historic character of the Old City, for all rehabilitation and conservation activities within the Old City and to ensure its safeguarding;

4. Further urges the responsible authorities to facilitate the normal progress of rehabilitation and conservation works within the Old City, by allowing the free access of labourers and conservation materials to the property;

5. Encourages the concerned parties to take into account, when undertaking conservation activities, the principles and recommendations of the relevant international Charters, particularly with regard to the need to preserve the authenticity and integrity of the property and requests the concerned parties toensure that international principles be applied with regard to interventions to the subsurface deposits in the Old City;

6. Encourages the Director-General to pursue his initiative for the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem in the spirit of the General Conference Resolution 32C/Res 39 (October 2003) related to the establishment of guidelines for an Action Plan and proposals for its implementation;

7. Decides to retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
28 COM 15C.2
List of World Heritage in Danger

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following examination of state of conservation reports of properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-04/28.COM/15A Rev),

2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:

  • Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam, Afghanistan (Decision 28 COM 15A.21)
  • Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley, Afghanistan (Decision 28 COM 15A.22)
  • Butrint, Albania (Decision 28 COM 15A.28)
  • Tipasa, Algeria (Decision 28 COM 15A.16)
  • Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower, Azerbaijan (Decision 28 COM 15A.29)
  • Royal Palaces of Abomey, Benin (Decision 28 COM 15A.14)
  • Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park, Central African Republic (Decision 28 COM 15A.1)
  • Comoé National Park, Côte d'Ivoire (Decision 28 COM 15A.2 )
  • Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve, Côte d'Ivoire/Guinea (Decision 28 COM 15A.5)
  • Okapi Wildlife Reserve, Democratic Rep. of the Congo (Decision 28 COM 15A.3)
  • Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Democratic Rep. of the Congo (Decision 28 COM 15A.3)
  • Virunga National Park, Democratic Rep. of the Congo (Decision 28 COM 15A.3)
  • Garamba National Park, Democratic Rep. of the Congo (Decision 28 COM 15A.3)
  • Salonga National Park, Democratic Rep. of the Congo (Decision 28 COM 15A.3)
  • Sangay National Park, Ecuador (Decision 28 COM 15A.12)
  • Abu Mena, Egypt (Decision 28 COM 15A.17)
  • Simien National Park, Ethiopia
  • (Decision 28 COM 15A.4)
  • Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, Honduras (Decision 28 COM 15A.13)
  • Group of Monuments at Hampi, India (Decision 28 COM 15A.24)
  • Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, India (Decision 28 COM 15A.10)
  • Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat), Iraq (Decision 28 COM 15A.18)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls, Jerusalem (Decision 28 COM 15A.31)
  • Timbuktu, Mali (Decision 28 COM 15A. 15)
  • Kathmandu Valley, Nepal (Decision 28 COM 15A.25)
  • Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves, Niger (Decision 28 COM 15A.6)
  • Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore, Pakistan (Decision 28 COM 15A.26)
  • Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone, Peru (Decision 28 COM 15A.30)
  • Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, Philippines (Decision 28 COM 15A.27)
  • Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary, Senegal (Decision 28 COM 15A.7 )
  • Ichkeul National Park, Tunisia (Decision 28 COM 15A.9)
  • Everglades National Park, United States of America (Decision 28 COM 15A.11)
  • Historic Town of Zabid, Yemen (Decision 28 COM 15A.20)

Draft Decision: 28 COM 15A.31

 The World Heritage Committee,

 1.     Takes note with satisfaction of the continuing efforts of the Director-General in pursuing a comprehensive initiative for the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem in line with General Conference Resolution 32 C/Res.39 (October 2003);

 2.     Expresses its concern for the threats to the cultural heritage of the Old City of Jerusalem, including the progressive alteration of its historic urban fabric and visual integrity, the lack of maintenance and inappropriate conservation approaches to some of its historic monuments, the difficulties posed by the present situation notably with regard to the free access of labourers to the site and supply of conservation materials;

 3.     Strongly encourages the responsible parties to facilitate to the maximum possible extent the normal progress of rehabilitation and conservation works within the Old City, by allowing the access of labourers and conservation materials as required;

 4.     Strongly encourages the authorities to establish, in close consultation and co-operation with all the concerned stakeholders, appropriate regulations, sensitive to the historic character of the City, for all rehabilitation and conservation activities within the Old City and to ensure their enforcement;

 5.     Further encourages the concerned parties to take into account, when undertaking conservation activities, the principles and recommendations of the relevant international Charters, particularly with regard to the need to preserve the authenticity and integrity of the site;

 6.     Requests all responsible authorities to ensure that international principles be applied with regard to interventions to the subsurface deposits in the Old City;

 7.     Decides to retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Report year: 2004
Jerusalem (Site proposed by Jordan)
Date of Inscription: 1981
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(vi)
Danger List (dates): 1982-present
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 28COM (2004)
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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