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Historical Monuments of Mtskheta

Georgia
Factors affecting the property in 2011*
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Land conversion
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Lack of a management mechanism
  • Lack of definition of property and buffer zones
  • Privatisation of surrounding land
  • Natural erosion of stone
  • Loss of authenticity in recent works carried out by the Church
  • Insufficient coordination between the Georgian Church and the national authorities
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Lack of a management mechanism
  • Privatisation of surrounding land
  • Loss of authenticity of some components due to restoration works conducted with unacceptable methods
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
Corrective Measures for the property
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2011
Requests approved: 4 (from 1997-2010)
Total amount approved : 96,160 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

On 2 February 2011the State Party submitted a state of conservation report addressing the issues identified by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010). While this report provides updated information on progress towards removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger, the State Party notes slow progress.

a) Topographic and archaeological surface surveys

The State Party report does not note any progress in undertaking topographic and archaeological surface surveys.

b) Boundary issues

The State Party report notes that cartographic documentation using modern technologies to define the boundaries of the nominated property has been updated. Similar efforts for the buffer zone were less successful as conditions and land ownership have changed since inscription. On 4 March 2011, the State Party informed the World Heritage Centre that the boundaries of all three components of the serial property (the Sveti Tskhoveli Church, the Samtavro Church and Monastery, and the Mtskhetis Jvari), have been recently clarified. Thus the first option proposed by the 2010 reactive monitoring mission, which does not involve a re-nomination, has been chosen by the authorities. However, the State Party notes that a possible modification of the boundary of the property might be proposed in the future, in order to include additional components of great archaeological importance. The State Party states that the clarified boundaries of the buffer zone will be submitted for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.

c) Training programme for the conservation and management of the site

The State Party reports that it is developing a long term training programme for conservation specialists and heritage managers with the Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation at Leuven (Belgium).

d) Monitoring mechanism for the physical conservation of the buildings and archaeologicalsites

The State Party reports that monitoring of cultural heritage sites in Georgia is carried out by means of annual visits to sites to determine priorities for prevention, conservation or rehabilitation and repair, and that no additional monitoring mechanism has been put in place for the property.

e) Long-term conservation and consolidation measures

The State Party indicates that its priorities for conservation are those of the joint reactive monitoring mission of March 2010, although these are not spelled out. The report further notes that priorities include the rehabilitation of the Jvari monastery, the conservation of wall paintings of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, and the rehabilitation of the Samtavro nunnery bell tower.

Specific details are provided for individual sites. At Jvari Monastery, urgent measures have been taken to assess the condition of the western part of the main church and discussions on the problems of stone conservation have been held with an ICCROM stone conservation expert, who has developed a project proposal for the conservation of Jvari bas-reliefs. The project proposal for the conservation of the Minor Jvari church will be submitted to the World Heritage Centre shortly along with a proposal for rehabilitation of visitor infrastructure.

Concerning the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, UNESCO supported financially a project to prepare a full set of up-to-date measured drawings. In 2010 a project was carried out to estimate the annual fluctuation of the groundwater level in the area of the Cathedral. Plans for 2011 include the conservation of the wall paintings on the southern wall of the Cathedral, minor repair works for the roof and the replacement of gutters and drainpipes. The conservation of the wall paintings has been included in the 2011 priorities as well as in the Action Plan of the National agency.

In 2010, a project for the rehabilitation of the bell tower at the Samtavro nunnery was prepared and its implementation included in the 2011 Action Plan of the National Agency.

f) Statement of Outstanding Universal Value

In 2010 the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation prepared a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value for the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta. This proposal needs to be redrafted by the State Party in response to comments by ICOMOS.

g) Management plan

The preparation of a management plan for the property is partially financially supported by the World Heritage Fund. The project, co-funded by the national authorities, will be implemented in 2011 as soon as the detailed updated action plan has been finalised. It is proposed that national and local authorities be assisted by an international expert team in designing a scheme for improved management of the property.

h) Institutional framework

According to the Constitutional agreement between the State and the Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Georgia, all Georgian monuments connected to Orthodox Christianity (even in ruins) as well as their land and archaeological remains, which include the Svetotskhoveli Catherdal, Jvari church ensemble and Samtavro nunnery, are under the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church.

The State Party report mentions that consensus with the local authorities has not yet been achieved with regard to preventing inappropriate land use and land privatisation in the vicinity of the property. The means to achieve the desired consensus includes continued discussion, awareness-raising and exchange of information.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2011

The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies note the State Party’s efforts to implement the World Heritage Committee’s decision of the 34th session and in particular the approved corrective measures. The authorities plan to improve in 2011 the coordination among the institutional stakeholders through the completion of the Management Plan, as well as to develop scientific research and study of individual monuments.

The World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies note the information concerning clarification of the boundaries of the property and that the boundaries of the buffer zone will be submitted for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012. They note that any extension of the property in order to include additional components situated in the City of Mtskheta, and perhaps in Great Mtskheta and its surroundings, would represent a significant modification and thus require a re-nomination. They suggest that the buffer zone should include the landscape surrounding all components; in particular the panorama along the rivers and the mountain setting, or that alternative means of protection should be put in place for the wider setting beyond the buffer zone.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the lack of consensus around conservation priorities among the local and national authorities. They regret that the State Party did not provide the detailed information that had been requested regarding the development and implementation of the Urban Land-Use Master Plan of the City of Mtskheta, including its operating plans and conservation master plan. This Master Plan should address all aspects of infrastructure rehabilitation, zoning regulations with particular emphasis on the establishment of no-construction zones, institutional reform and capacity building, community relations, and tourism development. While the tram system mentioned in the report might be a positive development for the city, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that such a project cannot be considered outside the provisions of the Urban Master Plan. Moreover, impact assessment studies should be undertaken to address the effects of this project, such as the displacement of traffic to historic and residential areas. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2011
35 COM 7A.30
Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) (C 708)

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.27 adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Notes the efforts made by the State Party in the implementation of the World Heritage Committee's decisions with regard to the corrective measures aimed at future removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger;

4. Urges the State Party to submit proposals for a buffer zone as a minor boundary modification, as well as to develop and finalize the Urban Land-Use Master Plan of the City of Mtskheta;

5. Also urges the State Party to adopt legislation that ensures adequate protection of the property and of any defined buffer zone and wider setting so as to sustain its Outstanding Universal Value;

6. Encourages the State Party to continue developing strategies to enhance awareness of World Heritage among stakeholders and developers;

7. Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission to the property to assess the progress in the implementation of the corrective measures;

8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a detailed state of conservation report, including a progress report on the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36thsession in2012;

9. Decides to retain the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

35 COM 8C.2
Establishment of the World Heritage List in Danger (Retained Properties)

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:

  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 35 COM 7A.24)
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 35 COM 7A.25)
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 35 COM 7A.15)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 35 COM 7A.1)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 35 COM 7A.32)
  • Colombia, Los Katios National Park (Decision 35 COM 7A.16)
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 35 COM 7A.2)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 35 COM 7A.3)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 35 COM 7A.4)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 35 COM 7A.5)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 35 COM 7A.6)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 35 COM 7A.7)
  • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 35 COM 7A.8)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 35 COM 7A.19)
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 35 COM 7A.9)
  • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 35 COM 7A.29)
  • Georgia, Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Decision 35 COM 7A.30)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 35 COM 7A.20)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 35 COM  7A.21)
  • Islamic Republic of Iran, Bam and its Cultural Landscape (Decision 35 COM 7A.26)
  • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Decision 35 COM 7A.22)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 35 COM 7A.10)
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 35 COM 7A.11)
  • Pakistan, Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (Decision 35 COM 7A.27)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 35 COM 7A.33)
  • Philippines, Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Decision 35 COM 7A.28)
  • Senegal, Niokolo Koba National Park (Decision 35 COM  7A.12)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 35 COM 7A.31)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara (Decision 35 COM 7A.18)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 35 COM 7A.17)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 35 COM 7A.14)
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 35 COM 7A.34)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 35 COM 7A.23)
Draft Decision: 35 COM 7A.30

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.27 adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Notes the efforts made by the State Party in the implementation of the World Heritage Committee’s decisions with regard to the corrective measures aimed at future removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger;

4. Urges the State Party to submit clarified boundaries of the property and proposals for a buffer zone as a minor boundary modification, as well as to develop and implement the Urban Land-Use Master Plan of the City of Mtskheta;

5. Also urges the State Party to adopt a legislation that ensures adequate protection of the property and of any defined buffer zone and wider setting so as to sustain its Outstanding Universal Value;

6. Encourages the State Party to continue developing strategies to enhance awareness of World Heritage among stakeholders and developers;

7. Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM reactive monitoring mission to the property to assess the progress in the implementation of the corrective measures;

8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a detailed state of conservation report, including a progress report on the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012;

9. Decides to retain the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Report year: 2011
Georgia
Date of Inscription: 1994
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Danger List (dates): 2009-2016
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 35COM (2011)
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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