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Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela

Ethiopia
Factors affecting the property in 1998*
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Water (rain/water table)
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Need for restoration and rehabilitation of the monuments
  • Rainfall, water infiltration and water run off 
  • Lack of conservation and management plans 
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1998
Requests approved: 2 (from 1980-1996)
Total amount approved : 88,300 USD
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1998

In accordance with the recommendation adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its twenty-first session (December 1997) which « underlined the importance of an integrated conservation and a long-term management plan of the site” the World Heritage Centre organized a mission to Ethiopia from 5 to 12 February 1998.   This mission, which was carried out by the Director of the Cultural Heritage Division of UNESCO and a consultant, Professor Laureano, had as objective to first of all establish an action plan for the conservation programme of Lalibela, approved by the Committee in December 1997 in the framework of the co-operation agreement signed between the Ethiopian authorities and the European Union.  The visit to the site in the company of  His Holiness the Patriach of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, representing the highest religious authority of the country, and the Director of the Cultural Heritage Centre for Research and Conservation, provided an opportunity to study in detail the proposal relating to the construction of shelters for the protection of the five churches against bad weather and which had been the subject of several meetings and exchanges of correspondence between UNESCO and the European Union. 

The results of this visit to the site were communicated in Addis Ababa to the Chief of the Delegation of the European Union, who agreed with the documents relating to the bids for the construction of the shelters for the five churches, which should be of a «temporary nature and removable », and that the project funded by the European Union should, parallel to the studies foreseen: record photogrammatic hydro-geological and geological studies, and integrate a thorough conservation programme of the entire site. Furthermore, the European Union has agreed to study the establishment of a pilot project for the restoration of the « Biet Maryam » Church.  The project document, with a budget of 200,000 ECU, was prepared by the consultant of the World Heritage Centre and transmitted to the Ethiopian authorities and to the Chief of the Delegation of the European Union in April 1998.

Action Required

The Bureau,

  1. thanks the civil and religious authorities of Ethiopia and the Delegation of the European Union for the support they have provided for the integrated preservation of the site of Lalibela;
  2. notes the positive results of the mission organized  by the World Heritage Centre   which took place in February 1998;
  3. requests that information on the implementation of the mission’s recommendations be communicated to the World Heritage Committee at its twenty-second session in December 1998.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1998
22 BUR V.B.42
Churches of Lalibela (Ethiopia)

The Bureau thanked the civil and religious authorities of Ethiopia and the Delegation of the European Union for the support they have provided for the integrated preservation of the site of Lalibela. It noted the positive results of the mission organized by the World Heritage Centre which took place in February 1998, and requested that information on the implementation of the mission’s recommendations be communicated to the World Heritage Committee at its twenty-second session in December 1998.

The Bureau expressed the wish that the co-operation between Ethiopia, UNESCO and the European Union be strengthened through a systematic monitoring of the projects envisaged at Lalibela.

Report year: 1998
Ethiopia
Date of Inscription: 1978
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)
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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