1.         Gelati Monastery (Georgia) (C 710bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1994

Criteria  (iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2010-present

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

Irreversible interventions as part of major reconstruction of the structure of Bagrati Cathedral

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

See Decision 34 COM 7A.88 (https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/34COM/decisions)

Corrective measures identified

Voir décision 34 COM 7A.88 (https://whc.unesco.org/fr/sessions/34COM/decisions)

Calendrier pour la mise en œuvre des mesures correctives

Voir décision 34 COM 7A.88 (https://whc.unesco.org/fr/sessions/34COM/decisions)

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/710/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/710/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

November 2003, June 2008 and March 2010: Joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS reactive monitoring missions 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) General need for interior and exterior conservation work on the monuments;

b) Insufficient coordination between the Georgian Church and the national authorities;

c) Lack of co-ordinated management system;

d) Major reconstruction of the structure of Bagrati Cathedral. 

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/710/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

The State Party submitted a state of conservation report on 31 January 2011. This report addressed the requests of the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session. It reports that an action plan for addressing the corrective measures is being compiled with input from an international conservation architect, who has been appointed by the State Party as a consultant. On 3 May 2011, the State Party officially submitted two reports by this consultant on issues related to the Bagrati Cathedral rehabilitation project.

a) Halting of reconstruction work

The State Party has confirmed that, in response to the World Heritage Committee’s request, all interventions have now been halted.

 

b) Elaboration of an overall consolidation project and reversal of interventions, entirely or in part

In response to the World Heritage Committee’s request to seek advice from international conservation engineers and conservation architects, the State Party reports that it has appointed a conservation architect as consultant for Bagrati Cathedral who made his first visit to the property in January 2011. He has been asked to provide detailed guidelines for the rehabilitation of the Cathedral. A Working Group at the National Agency will also draw on advice from other experts.

In his report, the consultant noted that Georgian engineers are working on a three phased approach to the Cathedral:

i) In-depth architectural-historical study and archaeological research, aiming to understand the technical condition of the church;

ii) Reinforcement of the foundations, reinforcement of walls and other works so as to reach anti-seismic resistance (up to 8 degrees);

iii) Rehabilitation of the church.

The consultant also reported that the four central pillars that had been under reconstruction during the 2010 mission have now been partly rebuilt. The lower parts of the stone pillars have been replaced by reconstructed pillars with new foundations using root piles (20m deep). The reinforced concrete core is covered by ashlar stone. The foundations of a part of the external walls have been reinforced as a sandwich structure but without root piles. The upper part of the structure remains unroofed.

The consultant states that the project being considered by the authorities foresees that the reconstructed pillars, together with further reinforcement from a concrete ring at the top of the external walls, will form the structural basis for a new roof structure and tower.

The consultant further states that considering that Bagrati Cathedral is located in a seismic region, the current incomplete structural condition is not sustainable. However the consultant also considered that it might not be feasible to demolish what has been built as the interventions have been far-reaching and almost irreversible.

The consultant’s report suggests that one solution might be to keep the four central pillars and link them above with a structural ring and then to construct a lightweight roof in steel on top of this structure. However to produce an enclosed building, it would also be necessary to complete the tops of the external walls in masonry, in a way that is compatible with the reinforced concrete structure linked to the central pillars. Any solution would also need to address the consolidation of the unstable west facade of the building.

c) Conservation of Gelati Monastery

The State Party reports that the works are continuing to ensure step by step rehabilitation of the monastic complex and to improve the visitor infrastructure. The works undertaken in 2010 in conformity with the rehabilitation programme and the conservation master plan, included the activities funded by the State’s budget and by the Fund for Preservation of Georgia’s Historical Monuments, namely:

· Conservation of the wall paintings of the St. George church;

· Rehabilitation of the St. George church;

· Rehabilitation of the bell tower;

· Rehabilitation of the South entrance gate (the gate of the David the builder).

d) Management Plan

The State Party reports that a working group has been set up to develop the Management Plan for the property. An international expert will assist the State authorities in defining strategies for improved management of the World Heritage properties in Georgia.

e) Clarification of the boundaries and buffer zone

The State Party reports that updated maps were presented in 2009 as part of the Retrospective Inventory.

f) Coordination between the Georgian Church and the national authorities

The rehabilitation of Bagrati Cathedral was presented at the international seminar on the Role of religious communities in the management of World Heritage properties (Kyiv, November 2010). The State Party notes that it was particularly important that the official representatives of the Georgian Orthodox Church were also present in the Georgian delegation together with the national monuments protection authorities. The State Party considers that the improved coordination and close cooperation with the Church representatives is a great step forward in addressing the decisions of the World Heritage Committee. 

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies welcome the halting of work on Bagrati Cathedral. Taking into account that it appears that current incomplete structural condition of Bagrati Cathedral is not sustainable and that recent interventions have been far-reaching and could be almost irreversible, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that the request of the World Heritage Committee to reverse interventions already carried out, either entirely or in part, might be possible only in terms of reversing a very small part of the work. This might not include the most visible columns in the centre of the building, the rebuilt concrete pilasters, or the concrete underpinning.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodiesrecall that the 2010 joint reactive monitoring mission expressed concern at the interventions already undertaken in terms of their excessive weight on the medieval walls, as well in terms of the methodology being used for their consolidation, which they considered would not only significantly reduces material authenticity but may create additional conservation issues in the future through the choice of methods and materials. Concern was also expressed at the overall plan to rebuild the Bagrati Cathedral without adequate documentation for much of its original form.

In terms of ‘completing’ the building to make it usable, it should be recalled that:

· Only 40% of the whole structure is in currently in place;

· The World Heritage Committee at its 34th session expressed its serious concern about irreversible interventions carried out by the State Party as part of the preparations for the Bagrati Cathedral reconstruction project;

· Previous reactive monitoring missions to the property in considering the issue of re-building have suggested that other ways to make the church useable should be considered, such as through a combination of possible reconstruction of the 400 fragments still on the site combined with some sort of lightweight roof.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies understand that the consultant to the State Party has only just started his work and that more time will be needed to gain agreement to a consolidation philosophy within the country and for a formal proposal to be put to the World Heritage Committee.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies recommend that the World Heritage Committee urge the State Party that 1) any consolidation proposals need to be set out in detail and submitted to the World Heritage Centre as a strategy, for review by the Advisory Bodies, and consideration by the World Heritage Committee, before any commitment is given to a way forward; and that, 2) in line with the Desired state of conservation adopted by the World Heritage Committee, the proposals should include arrangements for:

· The maximum amount of recent work to be reversed;

· Fragments on site if possible to be incorporated where they form part of the walls;

· Any lightweight roof to provide a profile for the building that is similar to what might have once existed;

· The interior to be left unplastered.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the progress in the implementation of the rehabilitation programme and the conservation master plan in the Gelati Monastery endorsed by the 2010 reactive monitoring mission. Additionally, coordination between the Georgian Church and the national authorities has been enhanced, joint activities reinforced, and management of the religious and sacred World Heritage properties in Georgia, improved.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7A.29

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.88, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Welcomes the halting of all work on the Bagrati Cathedral, as well as progress in the implementation of the rehabilitation programme and the conservation master plan for Gelati Monastery;

4. Notes with satisfaction that the coordination between the Georgian Church and the national authorities has been enhanced, joint activities reinforced and the management of religious and sacred World Heritage properties in Georgia improved;

5. Also notes that the State Party has appointed an international conservation architect as a consultant for Bagrati Cathedral and that Georgian engineers are working on a three-phased approach to fully rehabilitate the Bagrati Cathedral, as an enclosed space;

6. Takes note that the international consultant considers that the incomplete structural condition of the Bagrati Cathedral is not sustainable, that it might not be feasible to reverse what has been recently built as the interventions are almost irreversible, and that a lightweight roof could be mounted on the existing concrete columns;

7. Urges the State Party to develop a rehabilitation strategy for the Bagrati Cathedral that reverses the maximum amount of recent work, incorporates fragments on site if possible where they form part of the walls, ensures any lightweight roof provides a profile for the building that is similar to what might have once existed and leaves the interior unplastered;

8. Requests the State Party to submit this rehabilitation strategy to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, before any commitment is made;

9. Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to assess the overall state of conservation of the property and to discuss approaches to the rehabilitation strategy of Bagrati Cathedral;

10. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1February2012, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012;

11. Decides to retain Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Georgia) on the World Heritage List in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following the examination of the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-11/35.COM/7A, WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add and WHC-11/35.COM/7A.Add.Corr),

2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: