1.         Port, Fortresses and Group of Monuments, Cartagena (Colombia) (C 285)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1984

Criteria  (iv)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/285/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1988-1999)
Total amount approved: USD 108,800
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/285/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions


Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Tourism Pressure

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/285/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2004

Upon request of the Colombian national authorities an ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission took place from 29 November to 5 December 2003 to assess the state of conservation of the Church of Santo Domingo in Cartagena de Indias. The ICOMOS mission report was received at the Secretariat on 10 March 2004. A progress report from the Dirección de Patrimonio (Heritage Department) of the Ministry of Culture of Colombia was received on 9 March 2004.


In accordance with the recommendations of the May-June 2003 UNESCO-ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to Cartagena de Indias, the Ministry of Culture has initiated a series of activities involving: a) a proper delimitation of the site; b) elaboration of a Management Plan; c) strengthening of community participation in this process; d) the restoration and conservation of the Church of Santo Domingo; and e) the execution of detailed investigations and inventories of the walled cordon around the inscribed property.


A study was executed that described typologies of structures and spaces of historic and architectonic interest to provide for a detailed delimitation of the historic urban landscape of the property. The elaboration of a Management Plan is taking place in the framework of a Special Protection Plan (Plan Especial de Protección - PEP), which aims to formulate a planning instrument for the integrated protection and development of cultural properties under Law 397 of 1997. In the elaboration and implementation of these activities community participation constituted a central element of the methodology employed.


Concerning the Church of Santo Domingo, the objectives were to assess the overall state of the building's fabric and to advise the Colombian representatives of the Ministry of Culture, and the architects and engineers working on the building site, on the current repair of the masonry construction. The conclusions of the mission were that the repair works on the Church are being executed in a very professional manner, and both the choice of materials and the execution of the work by the craftsmen proved to be of excellent quality. The building's fabric, which has been improved and consolidated over the last 400 years, was considered to be stable with no need for extra reinforcement, and the walls and vaults showed after intense investigation and in spite of their age no serious damage that could be related to earthquakes.


ICOMOS received the report of the State Party and congratulates the authorities for having taken note of the recommendations of the joint UNESCO-ICOMOS mission of 2003, in particular for the preparation of the Management Plan for the property. The first part of the report included a very detailed study of the delimitation of the historic urban landscape of Cartagena. It identified zones for protection and conservation of historic, cultural, architectural and archaeological heritage of the historic centre of Cartagena, its perimeter of influence into the historic urban landscape, including visual axes and the historic sections of urban and rural expansion. This inventory has been completed by a typology of architectural/historic structures and spaces for each of the zones. The second part of the report contained a civil engineering study concerning the different elements of the fortification system of the property (walls, bastions and ditches), an analysis of their capacity aiming at the installation of cultural infrastructures and an evaluation of their state of conservation.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM


Decision Adopted: 28 COM 15B.112

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Taking note of the reports provided by the State Party and ICOMOS on the state of conservation of the property (Decision 27 COM 7B.89),

2. Congratulates the authorities for thoroughly implementing the recommendations of the UNESCO-ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission of 2003.