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Site of Palmyra

Syrian Arab Republic
Factors affecting the property in 1998*
  • Air pollution
  • Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Localised utilities
  • Major linear utilities
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Temperature
  • Water (rain/water table)
  • Other Threats:

    serious weathering of many stone blocks

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • serious weathering of many stone blocks due to capillary rising and variations in humidity and temperature
  • urban growth of the neighbouring agglomeration
  • international tarmac road crosses the site
  • heavy automobile and truck traffic (vibrations, pollution, risk of accidents...)
  • pipeline crossing the southern necropolis
  • brightly-coloured antenna on hill
  • construction of an hotel close to the thermal springs
Corrective Measures for the property

December 1997: mission sent by the World Hertiage Centre; August 1998: expert mission

International Assistance: requests for the property until 1998
Requests approved: 2 (from 1989-1998)
Total amount approved : 30,000 USD
1998 Management plan for Palmyra (Approved)   15,000 USD
1994 Palmyra: topographical and architectural studies to be ... (Not approved)   0 USD
1989 Contribution to a computer aided design conservation ... (Approved)   15,000 USD
Missions to the property until 1998**
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1998

The December 1997 mission visited the site of Palmyra and identifed the following issues:

  • lack of a co-ordinated development plan for the Palmyra region and a management plan for the site itself. Several different national and local government services are operating in the Palmyra area without proper co-ordination, each having its own line of authority with Damascus;
  • strong urban growth encroaching on the archaeological zone;
  • inadequate infrastructure.

Consequently, the mission recommended that an overall management and development plan for the site and the region of Palmyra be prepared in co-operation with UNESCO.

Action Required
After having taken note of the report of the Secretariat, the Bureau recommends that the Centre provides support to the Syrian authorities to elaborate the necessary management and development plans and provide training courses for capacity building.
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1998

In December 1997, the mission sent by the Secretariat to study the state of conservation of World Heritage sites in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon had recommended that an overall management plan should be prepared for the site of Palmyra.

The Syrian authorities have requested the Secretariat to prepare detailed terms of reference for the management plan. A specialist visited the site in August 1998 and, in close co-operation with the Directorate General for Antiquities and Museums of Syria and with the assistance of the Institut français d’archéologie du Proche-Orient (IFAPO), prepared detailed terms of reference for the management plan which encompasses the archaeological site and the oasis and town of which are intertwined. Meanwhile, the authorities have already taken important protection measures, such as the diversion of the international road crossing the site.

The Bureau congratulates the Syrian authorities for their commitment in the conservation of the important site of Pahnyra. It supported the continuation of the work for the development of a full-fledged integral management plan covering the oasis, the town and the archaeological zone. It also thanks the IFAPO for its involvement and the UNDP for its interest. It finally requests the Secretariat to continue its work to develop the management plan of the site, starting early in 1999. It therefore recommends the Syrian authorities to submit as soon as possible a request for international assistance to this effect.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1998
22 BUR V.B.66
Palmyra (Syrian Arab Republic)

After having taken note of the report of the Secretariat, the Bureau recommended that the Secretariat provide support to the Syrian authorities to elaborate the necessary management and development plans and to ensure capacity-building training courses.

22 COM VII.43
Reports on the State of Conservation of Cultural Properties Noted by the Committee

VII.43 The Committee noted the decisions of the twenty-second extraordinary session of the Bureau as reflected in the Report of the Bureau session (Working Document WHC-98/CONF.203/5) and included in Annex IV of this report on the following properties:

Rapa Nui National Park (Chile)

The Mountain Resort and Its Outlying Temples in Chengde (China)

The Potala Palace, Lhasa (China)

Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu (China)

Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains (China)

City of Quito (Ecuador)

Memphis and its Necropolis - the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur (Egypt)

Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis (Egypt)

Islamic Cairo (Egypt)

Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn (Estonia)

Collegiate Church, Castle and Old Town in Quedlinburg (Germany)

Historic Centre of Florence (Italy)

Quseir Amra (Jordan)

Luang Prabang (Laos)

Baalbek (Lebanon)

Tyre (Lebanon)

Vilnius Historic Centre (Lithuania)

Old Towns of Djenné (Mali)

City of Cusco (Peru)

Archaeological site of Chavin (Peru)

Historic Centre of Lima (Peru)

The Baroque Churches of the Philippines (The Philippines)

Historic Centre of Porto (Portugal)

Island of Gorée (Senegal)

Sacred City of Anuradhapura (Sri Lanka)

Ancient City of Polonnaruva (Sri Lanka)

Ancient City of Sigiriya (Sri Lanka)

Site of Palmyra (Syrian Arab Republic)

Historic Areas of Istanbul (Turkey)

Kiev: Saint Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings (Ukraine)

Complex of Hué Monuments (Vietnam)

Old City of Sana'a (Yemen)

No draft Decision

Report year: 1998
Syrian Arab Republic
Date of Inscription: 1980
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iv)
Danger List (dates): 2013-present
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 22COM (1998)

* : 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.