1.         Historic Centre of Sighişoara (Romania) (C 902)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1999

Criteria  (iii)(v)

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/902/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/902/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

March 2002: joint UNESCO/ICOMOS monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Proposed Dracula Park construction project

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/902/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2003


The Centre has been informed through several press releases of the official decision of the Romanian authorities to relocate the proposed theme park, which was planned in the immediate vicinity of the World Heritage site. No official information from the national authorities had been received by the deadline of 1 February 2003. A letter was received on 5 February 2003 from the Ministry of Culture indicating that a request for technical co-operation will be submitted in the near future to enhance the state of conservation of the site.

By 19 March 2003, a report on the state of conservation of Sighisoara was submitted by the Romanian Ministry of Culture accompanied by a letter, which states:

1. Concerning the state of conservation of the World Heritage site of Sighisoara, a strategy and methodology has been developed by the institution in charge of the management of historic monuments based on the Law 564 of 2001 concerning measures to protect World Heritage sites. The Minister of Culture and the local authorities have identified financing for the most urgent works to address the state of conservation of the site. The Ministry expressed its great interest and commitment in preserving this World Heritage site and other sites on the World Heritage List. The annex to the letter lists a number of projects carried out at the site, including rehabilitation of buildings, measures against landslides, as well as projects foreseen in the future. Furthermore, proposals were developed for the management of the site and its continuous monitoring, as well as infrastructure and tourism development.

2. The letter also informs the Centre that the Minister of Tourism has provided information concerning the Dracula Park project, for which alternative location away from the World Heritage site of Sighisoara is sought now. The UNESCO mission report also stressed the importance and urgency of surveying, reinforcing and repairing the fortifications of Sighisoara. It drew attention to the collapsed sections of walls and the poor state of some of the towers.


Commenting on the state of conservation report dated 20 March 2003, ICOMOS drew attention to the persisting lack of protection and maintenance measures for the site as an ensemble, the lack of clearly identifiable responsibilities and locally integrated co-operation as well as to the lack of financing strategies. ICOMOS noted that the Report is divided into three parts: 1. State of conservation, protection and restoration, as well as management of the “Historic Centre of Sighisoara”; 2. Programme and framework for the protection and management of historic monuments on the World Heritage List, and 3. The future Protection and Management Plan.

ICOMOS noted that it is not the geological structure, but the lack of maintenance that has been the cause of the degradation at the site. In the past, if a section of wall collapsed, it would immediately be rebuilt more strongly and securely than before. Symptomatic of the failure to appreciate the vital importance of regular maintenance, is the absence of any mention in the sections on regular maintenance and repair, of the source of funding, budget and organization responsible for carrying out the work. ICOMOS recalls that the UNESCO-ICOMOS mission report of 2002 stressed the importance and urgency of surveying, reinforcing and repairing the fortifications of Sighisoara. It drew attention to the collapsed sections of wall and the poor state of some of the towers. It identified some international sources of funding. Although the Report of the Romanian Ministry of Culture recognized the need to rebuilt the collapsed wall sections, take appropriate measures against landslides and strengthen the wall at the base of the Bootmakers’ Tower and in the vicinity of the Blacksmiths’ Tower, it is disappointing in that it pays little regard to the suggestion that international sources of funding might be available through UNESCO. It omits any mention of the feasibility study into ways of contending with landslides, an urgent need for which is expressly mentioned in Part I under “measures for conservation”.

Another example is the feasibility study for the rehabilitation of the historic centre, timed for 2003/2004, which has a blank under “project executant”. It is also disappointing to read yet again “Establish zones of protection for each monument…”. Where the solution in a World Heritage site like Sighisoara must be to make the whole a “conservation area” in which there is strict development control. Also, the role of the local inhabitants needs to be recognized, amenity societies encouraged by being given some official standing, for example being made part of the consultation process. Finally, on restoration, a general comment is desirable regarding the importance in restoration/conservation of using materials and techniques which are compatible with the existing structure (i.e. no more indiscriminate use of concrete and cement). 

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


Decision Adopted: 27 COM 7B.73

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Congratulating the State Party on the decision to relocate the proposed theme park,;

2. Takes note of the progress made with regard to restoration projects and protection measures and the intention to request technical assistance under the World Heritage Fund in order to enhance the state of conservation of the property;

3. Requests the State Party to comply as soon as possible with the additional recommendations made by the international mission and the decision by the 26th session of the World Heritage Committee in 2002 (26 COM 21 (b) 67), i.e. to prepare an overall management plan, including management of tourism, for the World Heritage property;

4. Urges the authorities to take into account the comments made by ICOMOS on the restoration and conservation of the property;

5. Further requests the State Party to provide to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2004 a progress report on these issues in order that the World Heritage Committee can examine the state of conservation of the property at its 28th session in 2004.