1.         Churches of Chiloé (Chile) (C 971bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2000

Criteria  (ii)(iii)

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/971/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2002-2002)
Total amount approved: USD 50,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/971/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions


Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/971/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

In February 2012, information was received by the World Heritage Centre on the construction of a shopping mall, in the vicinity of the Castro Church, a component part of the inscribed serial property. In conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, technical information was requested from the State Party on 8 March 2012. The State Party submitted the requested information on 12 February 2013. This information includes a Technical Report on the shopping mall, as well as copies of the legal instruments mentioned in the report and twenty-five blueprints of floor plans and sections of the shopping mall building.

Furthermore, the draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) has been finalized by the State Party.

a)  Project background

The State Party reports on the municipal regulation applicable to the church setting. The town of Castro has a communal regulatory plan that includes a zoning plan. The area where the Castro shopping mall is located corresponds to the central zone of Castro. Existing regulations only allow a maximum construction height of 10 meters. The communal plan does not include provisions for protecting the character of the city, its urban heritage and setting.

The Technical Report provides a description of the background of the construction project and the legal course of actions for its approval. The construction permit for the shopping mall was granted in April 2008. The project involves the construction of five story building over an area of 24,137 square meters and 149 parking spaces. In November 2011, the construction company was fined by the Municipality for constructing in the adjacent lots without a permit. In February 2012, suspension of works was requested by the Municipality because construction exceeded the authorised surface and modifications had been made with respect to the limitations of the permit initially granted. In spite of this request, works continued and further fines were imposed for not suspending works. In April 2012, the Municipality of Castro and the owner of the shopping mall signed a Transaction Contract to end illegal processes and to regularise the construction permits.

b)  Project evaluation

The construction process was evaluated by the General Comptroller of the Republic, at its Ruling No. 61211 on 3 October 2012, which ascertained the legal flaws and irregularities, particularly in the Transaction Contract. There is no indication as to when a final permit might be issued that would regularise all works already constructed, and would approve new ones for the parking areas, in a single project.

The National Monuments Council has expressed a negative opinion on the initiative of the Municipality of Castro for building underground parking lots, and has requested official information on this matter, for submission to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies. However, the National Monuments Council has limited mandates in regard to development and new construction outside the areas legally recognised as heritage, consequently the preservation of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property cannot be ensured.


The size, scale and location (on the limits of a natural plateau at the peninsula) of the shopping mall make it a dominant element of the landscape of Castro, particularly in light of the characteristics of its traditional constructions and the scale of the setting. From the sea, the new mall is a prevailing element of the Castro skyline, competing transversally against the inscribed component part, with the dominant silhouettes of the towers of the Church of Castro, and with the traditional setting.

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that the buffer zones of the component parts of property are limited to encompass only the adjacent square areas or plazas. In addition, there are no legal provisions or regulatory measures in place to ensure the protection of the buffer zone and the setting of each of the inscribed components. It should also be noted that there are no legal provisions requiring environmental or heritage impact assessments for these types of constructions.


Moreover, the limited mandate of the National Monuments Council is insufficient to protect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property in respect to developments within the setting of the property. This lack of protection is reflected in the process that led to the approval of the construction of the shopping mall at Castro, which has a significant negative impact on the visual characteristics of the component part of the inscribed property and its context.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7B.94

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37COM/7B,

2.  Takes note of the comprehensive information submitted by the State Party but regrets that the information was submitted almost a year after having been requested;

3.  Also regrets that the shopping mall was constructed, given its impact on the setting and skyline of Castro;

4.  Requests the State Party to invite, as soon as possible, a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to address the following elements:

a)  The definition of the characteristics of the wider setting for all component parts, in relation to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, and put in place appropriate protection, including the review of the buffer zones and regulatory measures for the protection of the setting of the Churches of Chiloe,

b)  The review of the current protection and management arrangements for the property and the required measures to improve the legal framework and permit granting processes between types of preservation and institutional competences,

c)  The update and enforcement of legislative and regulatory measures to ensure that the defined characteristics of the wider setting are adequately protected and that new development takes into account the visual relations between the inscribed property and its setting,

d)  The measures to mitigate the visual impact of the Castro shopping mall on the component part as well as other measures  to better integrate it with the existing setting;

5.  Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014 , an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014. 

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 8E

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Documents WHC-13/37.COM/8E and WHC-13/37.COM/8E.Add,

2.  Congratulates States Parties for the excellent work accomplished in the elaboration of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in their territories;

3.  Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC-13/37.COM/8E, for the following World Heritage properties:

4.  Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in Danger will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies in priority;

5.  Further decides that, considering the high number of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value to be examined, the order in which they will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies will follow the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting, namely:

6.  Requests the World Heritage Centre to harmonise all sub-headings in the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value where appropriate and when resources and staff time allow to carry out this work;

7.  Also requests the State Parties, Advisory Bodies and World Heritage Centre to ensure the use of gender-neutral language in the Statements proposed for adoption to the World Heritage Committee;

8.  Further requests the World Heritage Centre to keep the adopted Statements in line with subsequent decisions by the World Heritage Committee concerning name changes of World Heritage properties, and to reflect them throughout the text of the Statements, in consultation with States Parties and Advisory Bodies;

9.  Finally requests the States Parties to provide support to the World Heritage Centre for translation of the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value into English or French respectively, and finally requests the Centre to upload these onto its web-pages.