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Ancient City of Sigiriya

Sri Lanka
Factors affecting the property in 1998*
  • Legal framework
  • Management systems/ management plan
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1998
Requests approved: 2 (from 1988-1997)
Total amount approved : 23,000 USD
Missions to the property until 1998**

November-December 1994: monitoring missions by ICOMOS

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1998

Joint report on the World Heritage sites in Sri Lanka:
Sacred City of Anuradhapura (Sri Lanka)
Ancient City of Polonnaruva (Sri Lanka)
Ancient City of Sigiriya (Sri Lanka)

ICOMOS monitoring missions to these three World Heritage sites in Sri Lanka were undertaken in November December 1994. The final and comprehensive report of this mission was submitted by ICOMOS in July 1998, due to a series of unavoidable events which led to the delay in the completion of the report. The preparation of the report was also considered by ICOMOS as a process for the establishment of general parameters for future monitoring reports, which could possibly serve as guidelines for the World Heritage Committee. The report will be made available upon request by the World Heritage Centre for consultation at the twenty-second session of the World Heritage Committee. The report was submitted to the Government of Sri Lanka by ICOMOS in July 1998.

The report of the ICOMOS monitoring mission recommends a lo-point general recommendation for enhanced management and adequate protection of the three World Heritage sites, with a final recommendation that the concerned authorities refer to the 10 points as a guide in structuring periodic monitoring activities. The report also presents numerous recommendations concerning issues of management, planning, legal protection, conservation practice, training, tourism development, documentation, monitoring and presentation, as well as site-specific recommendations.

Amongst the comprehensive information and various recommendations presented in the report, ICOMOS experts noted that the area surrounding the rock of the outer moat at the Ancient City of Sigiriya site, which clearly was intended to be included in the original 1984 nomination dossier, is not indicated on the map of the nomination file. ICOMOS recommended that this be officially included in the protected area and that the World Heritage Committee be officially notified of the boundaries of the Ancient City of Sigiriya site.

ICOMOS also reported that the complex water-management system, one of the most significant elements of the ancient landscape of Polonnaruva, is not specifically listed in the original 1984 nomination form. Particular-y alarming at the Ancient City of Polonnaruva site, for which no buffer zones are fixed, was the construction of new buildings without specific design guidelines taking place in half of the city.

Furthermore, ICOMOS noted that the boundaries delineated on the official map of the Sacred City of Anuradhapura exclude important areas of the World Heritage site.

Therefore, ICOMOS recommended that the Government of Sri Lanka submit to the World Heritage Committee, maps for all three properties clearly indicating the core and buffer zones of each site. These maps should be accompanied by explanatory material concerning each monument within each zone, also indicating the protection afforded to the monuments and areas protected. ICOMOS also recommended that copies of relevant management plans for individual projects and the corresponding development plans be transmitted to the World Heritage Committee through the World Heritage Centre.

The Bureau took note of the comprehensive ICOMOS report of the three sites in Sri Lanka and requested the Government of Sri Lanka to submit maps of the three sites, clearly indicating the core and buffer zones of each, accompanied by an inventory of all the religious and secular monuments, historically significant buildings and landscape elements within the core and buffer zones of the sites with explanatory information. Furthermore, the Bureau requested that copies of legislation and relevant management plans which ensure the protection of these zones be submitted to the World Heritage Committee by 15 September 1999. Finally, the Bureau requested the Government to submit a report to the World Heritage Committee concerning the actions taken to address the concerns and recommendations of ICOMOS following the monitoring mission, before 15 September 1999, especially concerning the building control within and surrounding the sites.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1998
22 COM VII.43
Reports on the State of Conservation of Cultural Properties Noted by the Committee

VII.43 The Committee noted the decisions of the twenty-second extraordinary session of the Bureau as reflected in the Report of the Bureau session (Working Document WHC-98/CONF.203/5) and included in Annex IV of this report on the following properties:

Rapa Nui National Park (Chile)

The Mountain Resort and Its Outlying Temples in Chengde (China)

The Potala Palace, Lhasa (China)

Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu (China)

Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains (China)

City of Quito (Ecuador)

Memphis and its Necropolis - the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur (Egypt)

Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis (Egypt)

Islamic Cairo (Egypt)

Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn (Estonia)

Collegiate Church, Castle and Old Town in Quedlinburg (Germany)

Historic Centre of Florence (Italy)

Quseir Amra (Jordan)

Luang Prabang (Laos)

Baalbek (Lebanon)

Tyre (Lebanon)

Vilnius Historic Centre (Lithuania)

Old Towns of Djenné (Mali)

City of Cusco (Peru)

Archaeological site of Chavin (Peru)

Historic Centre of Lima (Peru)

The Baroque Churches of the Philippines (The Philippines)

Historic Centre of Porto (Portugal)

Island of Gorée (Senegal)

Sacred City of Anuradhapura (Sri Lanka)

Ancient City of Polonnaruva (Sri Lanka)

Ancient City of Sigiriya (Sri Lanka)

Site of Palmyra (Syrian Arab Republic)

Historic Areas of Istanbul (Turkey)

Kiev: Saint Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings (Ukraine)

Complex of Hué Monuments (Vietnam)

Old City of Sana'a (Yemen)

No draft Decision
Report year: 1998
Sri Lanka
Date of Inscription: 1982
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(iv)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 22COM (1998)

* : 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.