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Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower

Azerbaijan
Factors affecting the property in 2014*
  • Deliberate destruction of heritage
  • Housing
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Changing urban fabric due to the demolition of buildings and uncontrolled construction within the Walled City;
  • Overall lack of any management system and in particular insufficient coordination between the national and municipal authorities;
  • Absence of a comprehensive management plan that addresses conservation problems, urban development control and tourism activities. 
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2014

Total amount provided to the property: USD 30,000 (American Funds Special Account, 2005/06); USD 22,000 (Netherlands Funds-in-Trust, 2005/06) 

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2014
Requests approved: 1 (from 1998-1998)
Total amount approved : 15,000 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

The State Party submitted a state of conservation report on 6 January 2014, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/958/documents/. The report provides information on measures implemented in response to the decisions of the World Heritage Committee as follows:

  • Reorganization of management structure to better respond to conservation and protection issues at the property. Hiring of new staff and attending training courses have also strengthened capacities. A State Program on Restoration and Preservation of Historical-Cultural Monuments and Improvement and development of functionality of cultural reserves (2014-2020) was adopted in December 2013. This is expected to improve legal frameworks and conservation actions for heritage.
  • A moratorium on further construction of tall buildings in the surroundings of the property has been officially confirmed by the relevant agencies.
  • The Greater Baku Regional Development Plan was finalised in May 2013. This document is expected to enhance collaboration between stakeholders and to set out clear policies for the development of Greater Baku, including zoning and land use plans as well as management provisions at the regional and city level. No timeframe for official adoption has been indicated.
  • Other measures to improve protection and conservation of the property include the dissemination of Heritage Impact Assessment (HIAs) guidelines to consider in relation to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property when evaluating projects and the establishment of an inter-agency commission for monitoring conservation works within the reserve area. Additional actions were carried out to strengthen the implementation of the living city policy including healthcare and medical support, identification and interventions for housing, among others. Engagement with the Council of Elders in relation to the property has also improved.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2014

The information provided by the State Party regarding the implementation of measures to improve the management, conservation and protection of the property is well noted. Notwithstanding this progress, the visual qualities and skyline of the setting of the property have been impacted due to the number of high-rise buildings.  Although a moratorium is currently in place for high-rise construction, it is crucial that other urban development activities within the buffer zone and wider setting, which can hinder the ability of the property to convey its OUV, be controlled.

It should also be underscored that no information was provided on actions foreseen to address the impact, in relation to character and volume, of new constructions, or elevation and transformation of historical buildings within the property. The adoption of the Greater Baku Regional Development Plan and other regulatory measures needs to be prioritised and strict control and enforcement is required to ensure that no further alterations to architectural and urban planning coherence, as well as impacts to the authenticity of the property in relation to location and setting, occur as a result of inadequate interventions. The information provided by the State Party regarding a moratorium on further construction of tall buildings in the surroundings of the property is welcomed.

It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to introduce a moratorium on further construction, elevation and inappropriate transformation of historical buildings within the property.

In regard to further construction and infrastructure development in the buffer zone of the property and its wider setting, integrating HIAs and visual studies on proposals will be crucial to prevent the erosion of the attributes of the property and of its conditions of authenticity and integrity. These requirements should be included in regulatory provisions for the property, its buffer zone and wider setting. The State Party should give consideration to the recommendation on Historic Urban Landscapes in the review of planning and management tools.

Finally, considering the conservation work carried out, it is recommended that these actions extend to other areas so that the decay of the urban fabric in general is addressed.  It is also crucial that a strong policy is enforced to promote maintenance and good conservation practice and to prioritise rehabilitation of the building stock.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2014
38 COM 7B.23
Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower (Azerbaijan) (C 958)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.71, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),
  3. Takes note of the actions undertaken by the State Party to improve the conservation and management of the property and urges it to finalize the approval process for recently developed management and planning tools to ensure their effective implementation;
  4. Encourages the State Party to sustain its conservation and protection efforts with particular attention to the following:
    1. Formulate and adopt guidance for a consistent conservation and maintenance approach to the building stock within the property to ensure that fabric decay is adequately addressed and urban planning coherence is maintained,
    2. Actively encourage the rehabilitation of decayed buildings through incentives to strengthen conservation of historic buildings and support a living city approach,
    3. In accordance with the legislative framework, examine options for the removal of illegal constructions within the property and for alternatives to mitigate the impacts, in relation to character and volume, of existing new constructions and/or elevation or transformation of historical buildings,
    4. Strictly enforce regulatory measures in the buffer zone, giving consideration to defining a larger protection zone for the wider setting of the property to avoid further erosion of its visual qualities and to enhance protection,
    5. Continue the work of the Technical Review Committee to review projects for intervention and enforce planning controls and clear procedures for approval of proposals,
    6. Consider the integration of the Historic Urban Landscape approach for the definition/updating of planning tools for the property, its buffer zone and wider setting;
  5. Also urges the State Party to strengthen the effective implementation of the moratorium on further construction, elevation and inappropriate transformation of historical buildings within the property;
  6. Requests the State Party to continue, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines , to inform the World Heritage Centre about planned projects within the buffer zone and wider setting of the property and to submit technical details, including Heritage Impact Assessments, for projects being considered for approval;
  7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 December 2015 a report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and on the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.
38 COM 8E
Adoption of Retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/8E,
  2. Congratulates the 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-14/38.COM/8E, for the following World Heritage properties:
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC:
  • China: Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area;
  • Japan: Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu; Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara; Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama; The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome);
  • Sri Lanka: Sinharaja Forest;
  • Vietnam: Hoi An Ancient Town; Complex of Hué Monuments;

    EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA:

    • Albania: Butrint;
    • Armenia: Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley;
    • Austria: Semmering Railway; Wachau Cultural Landscape;
    • Azerbaijan: Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower;
    • Belarus / Estonia / Finland / Latvia / Lithuania / Moldova / Norway / Russian Federation / Sweden / Ukraine: Struve Geodetic Arc;
    • Belgium: Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (Brussels); Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons); Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai; Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex;
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Old Bridge Area of the Old City of Mostar;
    • Cyprus: Paphos;
    • Denmark: Ilulissat Icefjord;
    • Finland: Bronze Age Burial Site of Sammallahdenmäki; Fortress of Suomenlinna; Old Rauma; Petäjävesi Old Church; Verla Groundwood and Board Mill;
    • Georgia: Historical Monuments of Mtskheta; Upper Svaneti;
    • Germany / Poland: Muskauer Park / Park Mużakowski;
    • Germany: Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch; Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau; Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust at Brühl; Collegiate Church, Castle and Old Town of Quedlinburg; Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz; Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg; Monastic Island of Reichenau; Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin; Pilgrimage Church of Wies; St Mary's Cathedral and St Michael's Church at Hildesheim; Völklingen Ironworks; Wartburg Castle; Würzburg Residence with the Court Gardens and Residence Square; Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen;
    • Holy See / Italy: Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura;
    • Holy See: Vatican City;
    • Iceland: Þingvellir National Park;
    • Italy: Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico), Padua; Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta; Historic Centre of Florence; Historic Centre of Naples;
    • Lithuania / Russian Federation: Curonian Spit;
    • Lithuania: Kernavė Archaeological Site (Cultural Reserve of Kernavė);
    • Malta: City of Valletta; Hal Saflieni Hypogeum; Megalithic Temples of Malta;
    • Mongolia / Russian Federation: Uvs Nuur Basin;
    • Montenegro: Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor;
    • Netherlands: Historic Area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour, Curaçao;
    • Norway: Vegaøyan -- The Vega Archipelago; West Norwegian Fjords – Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord;
    • Poland: Centennial Hall in Wrocław; Historic Centre of Warsaw;
    • Portugal: Historic Centre of Évora; Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture; Monastery of Alcobaça; Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon;
    • Russian Federation: Church of the Ascension, Kolomenskoye; Historical Centre of the City of Yaroslavl; Kizhi Pogost;
    • Slovakia: Bardejov Town Conservation Reserve; Vlkolínec;
    • Slovenia: Škocjan Caves;
    • Spain: Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida; Burgos Cathedral; Historic Centre of Cordoba; Monastery and Site of the Escurial, Madrid; Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias; Mudejar Architecture of Aragon; Old City of Salamanca; Old Town of Ávila with its Extra-Muros Churches; Old Town of Cáceres; Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct; Poblet Monastery; Route of Santiago de Compostela; Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe; San Cristóbal de La Laguna; Santiago de Compostela (Old Town); Works of Antoni Gaudí;
    • Turkey: Archaeological Site of Troy; City of Safranbolu; Hattusha: the Hittite Capital; Xanthos-Letoon;
    • Ukraine: Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra;
    • United Kingdom: Gough and Inaccessible Islands; Henderson Island; Historic Town of St George and Related Fortifications, Bermuda;
    • United States of America: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site; Chaco Culture; Independence Hall; Mesa Verde National Park; Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville; Statue of Liberty;

    LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARRIBBEANS:

    • Argentina: Ischigualasto / Talampaya Natural Parks; Los Glaciares; Península Valdés;
    • Belize: Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System;
    • Bolivia: City of Potosí;
    • Brazil: Brasilia; Historic Centre of Salvador de Bahia; Historic Centre of São Luís; Historic Centre of the Town of Diamantina; Historic Centre of the Town of Goiás; Historic Centre of the Town of Olinda; Historic Town of Ouro Preto; Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas;
    • Colombia: Los Katíos National Park;
    • Costa Rica / Panama: Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves / La Amistad National Park;
    • Cuba: Archaeological Landscape of the First Coffee Plantations in the South-East of Cuba; San Pedro de la Roca Castle, Santiago de Cuba; Urban Historic Centre of Cienfuegos; Viñales Valley;
    • Dominican Republic: Colonial City of Santo Domingo;
    • Guatemala: Tikal National Park;
    • Panama: Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection; Fortifications on the Caribbean Side, Portobelo and San Lorenzo;
    • Suriname: Central Suriname Nature Reserve; Historic Inner City of Paramaribo;

    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:

    • World Heritage properties in the Arab States;
    • World Heritage properties in Africa;
    • World Heritage properties in Asia and the Pacific;
    • World Heritage properties in Latin America and the Caribbean;
    • World Heritage properties in Europe and North America;

    6.  Takes note that the World Heritage Centre is in the process of harmonising all sub-headings in the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value and, as appropriate, reflects name changes of World Heritage properties throughout the text of the Statements as requested by the Committee at its 37th session, and requests the World Heritage Centre to also update the size of the property and/or its buffer zone, as appropriate, following subsequent Decisions of the World Heritage Committee concerning Minor Boundary Modifications.
    7.  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 the two language versions on its website.

    Draft Decision:   38 COM 7B.23

    The World Heritage Committee,

    1.  Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add,

    2.  Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.71, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

    3.  Takes note of the actions undertaken by the State Party to improve the conservation and management of the property and urges it to finalize the approval process for recently developed management and planning tools to ensure their effective implementation;

    4.  Encourages the State Party to sustain its conservation and protection efforts with particular attention to the following:

    a)  Formulate and adopt guidance for a consistent conservation and maintenance approach to the building stock within the property to ensure that fabric decay is adequately addressed and urban planning coherence is maintained,

    b)  Actively encourage the rehabilitation of decayed buildings through incentives to strengthen conservation of historic buildings and support a living city approach,

    c)  In accordance with the legislative framework, examine options for the removal of illegal constructions within the property and for alternatives to mitigate the impacts, in relation to character and volume, of existing new constructions and/or elevation or transformation of historical buildings,

    d)  Strictly enforce regulatory measures in the buffer zone, giving consideration to defining a larger protection zone for the wider setting of the property to avoid further erosion of its visual qualities and to enhance protection,

    e)  Continue the work of the Technical Review Committee to review projects for intervention and enforce planning controls and clear procedures for approval of proposals,

    f)  Consider the integration of the Historic Urban Landscape approach for the definition/updating of planning tools for the property, its buffer zone and wider setting;

    5.  Also urges the State Party to introduce a moratorium on further construction, elevation and inappropriate transformation of historical buildings within the property;

    6.  Requests the State Party to continue, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, to inform the World Heritage Centre about planned projects within the buffer zone and wider setting of the property and to submit technical details, including Heritage Impact Assessments, for projects being considered for approval;

    7.  Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2016 a report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and on the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.

    Report year: 2014
    Azerbaijan
    Date of Inscription: 2000
    Category: Cultural
    Criteria: (iv)
    Danger List (dates): 2003-2009
    Documents examined by the Committee
    SOC Report by the State Party
    Report (2014) .pdf
    arrow_circle_right 38COM (2014)
    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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