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Vilnius Historic Centre

Factors affecting the property in 1995*
  • Financial resources
  • Other Threats:

    Need for a comprehensive rehabilitation programme

International Assistance: requests for the property until 1995
Requests approved: 1 (from 1995-1995)
Total amount approved : 15,000 USD
1995 Restoration strategy for the Old Town of Vilnius (Approved)   15,000 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1995

The Historic Centre of Vilnius was inscribed on the World Heritage List in December 1994. Located in the centre of the Lithuanian capital at the confluence of the Neris and Vilnia Rivers, this 359ha historic area is an outstanding example of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architectures, as well as the blending of Eastern and Western European cultures.

As it is in need of restoration, the Lithuanian Government, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre, launched a comprehensive rehabilitation programme. Heritage and real property laws were amended. A series of studies were initiated and experts' meetings were scheduled. The first of those meetings took place in April 1995, the next one is planned for November 1995. The World Heritage Centre was instrumental in securing for the City of Vilnius a financial assistance of the amount of $US 180,000 granted by the World Bank in order to develop a comprehensive Revitalization Strategy. An international team of consultants has been selected for this task; the World Heritage Centre was invited to evaluate the consultants' proposals.

In June, the Director of the World Heritage Centre travelled to Vilnius and met with the President of Lithuania, the Prime Minister, the Chair of the National Assembly, the Leader of the Opposition, the Mayor of Vilnius and several other Lithuanian dignitaries in order to discuss the broad principles of the Old Town Revitalization Plan, in accordance with UNESCO standards. The Vilnius Old Town Rehabilitation Programme is backed by a strong consensus and unflinching political will.

This ambitious undertaking raised considerable interest in several States Parties, notably in Scandinavia, Canada and the U.S.A. The New York-based World Monuments Fund has, for instance, initiated an activity regarding the rehabilitation of the Bernardine Convent.

The Lithuanian Government has offered premises in the Old Town in order to set up a UNESCO House, that is new office space for the UNESCO National Commission as well as exhibition space, meeting rooms and a documentation centre. The Vilnius UNESCO House is scheduled to open its doors in 1996.

With the help of PROCEED and private sponsors, a promotional brochure on Vilnius Old Town will be published. Likewise, it should be noted that several secondary schools of Vilnius will participate as of 1996, in UNESCO's "Young People's Participation in World Heritage Preservation and Promotion" project which includes students' involvement in on-going restoration projects.

Following the Revitalization Strategy Report, an International Donors and Investors Conference will take place in 1996, in order to secure international financing for the rehabilitation programme.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1995
19 COM VII.C.2.41/43
SOC: Vilnius Historic Centre (Lithuania)

VII.41 Vilnius Historic Centre (Lithuania)

The Committee took note of the report on the comprehensive rehabilitation programme for the City. It commended the Government of Lithuania and the municipal authorities of Vilnius for their timely and appropriate initiative.

The Secretariat recommends the Committee to examine the information contained in the working document and the oral report provided by the Secretariat. The Secretariat recommends the Committee to adopt the following:

"The Committee took note of the report on the comprehensive rehabilitation programme for the City. It commended the Government of Lithuania and the municipal authorities of Vilnius for their timely and appropriate initiative and commended UNESCO, its World Heritage Centre and donor institutions for their support."

Report year: 1995
Date of Inscription: 1994
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)

* : 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.