1.         Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) (C 708bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1994

Criteria  (iii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger    2009-present

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

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

See Decision 34 COM 7A.27 (https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/34COM/decisions

Corrective measures identified

See Decision 34 COM 7A.27 (https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/34COM/decisions

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

See Decision 34 COM 7A.27 (https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/34COM/decisions)

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1997-2010)
Total amount approved: USD 96,160
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/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

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/

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 Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

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. 

Decision Adopted: 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 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.

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: