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Colonial City of Santo Domingo

Dominican Republic
Factors affecting the property in 1998*
  • Housing
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Storms
  • Other Threats:

    Collapse of buildings due to lack of maintenance

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Need for the adoption of a Master Plan
  • Housing rehabilitation programme
  • Tourism development programme
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1998
Requests approved: 2 (from 1990-1998)
Total amount approved : 58,000 USD
Missions to the property until 1998**

1993: monitoring mission;  August 1998: expert mission

Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1998

22nd extraordinary session of the Bureau in 1998:

At the request of the authorities of the Dominican Republic, an expert mission was undertaken in August 1998 to assess the state of conservation of the World Heritage site of Santo Domingo. The report states that, compared to the previous monitoring mission in 1993, the situation is stable and does not present major problems. It emphasises, however, the need to balance interventions in the physical-environmental recuperation of the area, tourism development and the socio-cultural development of the local population (housing, services etc. It furthermore stresses that the effective control by the Office for the Cultural Heritage depends very much on the adoption of the Master Plan for the City which establishes an extended protection zone and norms for land use. It also points out that several buildings in the city had collapsed recently, not caused by natural disasters but by the lack of maintenance.

On 22 September 1998, Hurricane George caused severe damage to the Dominican Republic. The World Heritage Centre and the UNESCO Office in the country immediately requested information on the damage and informed the authorities about the possibilities for assistance under the World Heritage Convention.

On 5 October 1998 the Secretariat received a brief report prepared by the Office for Cultural Heritage of the Dominican Republic on the damage caused to the cultural heritage of the country. With regard to the World Heritage site of Santo Domingo, the report states that:
  • a great number of privately owned houses (mostly from the sixteenth century) were affected and several of them are about to collapse ;
  • several churches were affected, most seriously the Church of Santa Barbara ;
  • the most serious damage occurred to the Casa de Juan de Herrera which is located at the central Plaza de Colon. The gallery of the main facade collapsed;
  • urgent support is needed for at least the consolidation of the most threatened buildings.
A separate report was submitted by the national ICOMOS Committee through the Vice-President of ICOMOS for Latin America and the Caribbean on 7 October, particularly on the situation of the Casa de Juan de Herrera. It recommends a series of immediate actions to consolidate what remains of the structure, and detailed studies on the origin of the collapse and the most appropriate interventions. ICOMOS will collaborate in the restoration process of the building.

Action Required
Decision required:
The Bureau may wish to transmit the above report to the Committee for examination and recommend the following for adoption:

« The Committee expresses its concern about the damage caused by Hurricane George to the World Heritage site of Santo Domingo and encourages the national authorities to take the necessary measures for the consolidation and safeguarding of the damaged buildings. It expresses its readiness to assist in undertaking emergency measures for the consolidation and recuperation of damaged buildings.
At the same time, however, the Committee notes that part of the damage could only occur due to the lack of maintenance and preventive measures. It stresses the need for risk preparedness and preventive planning and conservation measures, particularly in hurricane prone areas such as the Caribbean. It strongly recommends the authorities to develop a risk preparedness plan for the City of Santo Domingo and to give priority to maintenance and preventive measures.
The Committee requests the authorities to submit, by 15 April 1999, a progress report on the actions taken in response to the report of the monitoring mission of August 1998 and to the damage caused by Hurricane George.
The Committee requests the Secretariat to look into the possibilities to develop specific activities for the Caribbean to promote and implement risk preparedness schemes. »
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1998

At the request of the authorities of the Dominican Republic, an expert mission was undertaken in August 1998 to assess the state of conservation of the World Heritage site of Santo Domingo. The report states that, compared to the previous monitoring mission in 1993, the situation is stable and does not present major problems. It emphasises, however, the need to balance interventions in the physical-environmental recuperation of the area, tourism development and the socio-cultural development of the local population (housing, services etc.). It furthermore stresses that the effective control by the Office for the Cultural Heritage depends very much on the adoption of the Master Plan for the City which establishes an extended protection zone and norms for land-use. It also points out that several buildings in the city had collapsed recently, not caused by natural disasters but by the lack of maintenance.

On 22 September 1998, Hurricane George caused severe damage to the Dominican Republic. The Secretariat received reports from the Office for Cultural Heritage of the Dominican Republic and the national ICOMOS Committee through the Vice-President of ICOMOS for Latin America and the Caribbean. It was reported that serious damage was caused to residential buildings, churches and to the Casa de Juan de Heerrera at the Plaza de Colon.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1998
22 COM VII.31/40
SOC: Colonial City of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic)

VII.31 Colonial City of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic)

At the request of the authorities of the Dominican Republic, an expert mission was undertaken in August 1998 to assess the state of conservation of the World Heritage site of Santo Domingo. The report emphasized the need to balance interventions in the physical-environmental recuperation of the area, tourism development and the socio-cultural development of the local population (housing, services etc.). It furthermore stressed that the effective control by the Office for the Cultural Heritage depends very much on the adoption of the Master Plan for the City which would establish an extended protection zone and norms for land-use. It also pointed out that several buildings in the city had collapsed recently, not caused by natural disasters but by the lack of maintenance.

On 22 September 1998, Hurricane Georges caused severe damage to the Dominican Republic. The Secretariat received reports from the Office for Cultural Heritage of the Dominican Republic and the national ICOMOS Committee. It was reported that serious damage was caused to residential buildings, churches and to the Casa de Juan de Herrera at the Plaza de Colon.

The Committee expressed concern about the damage caused by Hurricane George to the World Heritage site of Santo Domingo and encouraged the national authorities to take the necessary measures for the consolidation and safeguarding of the damaged buildings. It expressed its readiness to assist in undertaking emergency measures for the consolidation and recuperation of damaged buildings. It noted that the Chairperson had approved emergency assistance for the safeguarding of the Casa de Juan de Herrera.

At the same time, however, the Committee noted that part of the damage could only occur due to the lack of maintenance and preventive measures. It stressed the need for risk preparedness and preventive planning and conservation measures, particularly in hurricane prone areas such as the Caribbean.

The Committee requested the authorities to submit, by 15 April 1999, a progress report on the actions taken in response to the report of the monitoring mission of August 1998 and to the damage caused by Hurricane Georges.

The Committee requested the Secretariat and the advisory bodies to look into the possibilities to develop specific activities for the Caribbean to promote and implement risk preparedness schemes.

The Bureau recommended the Committee to adopt the following:

“The Committee expresses its concern about the damage caused by Hurricane George to the World Heritage site of Santo Domingo and encourages the national authorities to take the necessary measures for the consolidation and safeguarding of the damaged buildings. It expresses its readiness to assist in undertaking emergency measures for the consolidation and recuperation of damaged buildings.

At the same time, however, the Committee notes that part of the damage could only occur due to the lack of maintenance and preventive measures. It stresses the need for risk preparedness and preventive planning and conservation measures, particularly in hurricane prone areas such as the Caribbean. It strongly recommends the authorities to develop a risk preparedness plan for the City of Santo Domingo and to give priority to maintenance and preventive measures.

The Committee requests the authorities to submit, by 15 April 1999, a progress report on the actions taken in response to the report of the monitoring mission of August 1998 and to the damage caused by Hurricane George.

The Committee requests the Secretariat and the advisory bodies to look into the possibilities to develop specific activities for the Caribbean to promote and implement risk preparedness schemes.

Report year: 1998
Dominican Republic
Date of Inscription: 1990
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 22COM (1998)
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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