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Historical Monuments of Mtskheta

Georgia
Factors affecting the property in 2015*
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Housing
  • Land conversion
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Lack of a management mechanism (issue resolved)
  • Lack of definition of the unified buffer zone
  • Lack of Urban Master Plan of the City of Mtskheta
  • Insufficient coordination between the Georgian Church and the national authorities (issue resolved)
  • Privatisation of surrounding land
  • Natural erosion of stone
  • Loss of authenticity during previous works carried out by the Church
  • Inappropriate urban development within a sensitive historical environment
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 using unacceptable methods.
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4103

 

Corrective Measures for the property

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4103

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4103
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2015
Requests approved: 4 (from 1997-2010)
Total amount approved : 96,160 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

On 30 January 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/documents. It provides information on archaeological excavation and conservation works, and the progress made with the implementation of the corrective measures adopted by the Committee at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010), as follows:

  • Urban Land-Use Master Plan: The proposed tripartite co-operation agreement with the World Bank, UNESCO and Georgia, shall provide further assistance in the development of this Master Plan, as well as address the remaining corrective measures.
  • Zoning regulations: Recommendations regarding the modification of the boundaries of the cultural heritage protection zones and the buffer zones of the World Heritage property were transmitted to the town administration and shall be taken into consideration in the Urban Land-Use Master Plan.
  • Management plan: The management plan, completed in 2012, has to date not been formally adopted. The State Party expects that the national Law on World Heritage in Georgia will provide the necessary legal basis for its adoption. In addition, the management framework for Mtskheta has been improved by the 2014 adopted Local Self-Government Code, which bestows the city administration with its own funding and decision making rights. Improved cooperation is foreseen through the memorandum of cooperation signed between the Ministry of Culture and the Representative of the Patriarchate of Georgia.
  • Development projects: The Third Regional Development Project, funded by the World Bank, includes numerous rehabilitation, construction and archaeological works, such as, among others, construction of a visitor centre at Jvari Church. Two projects “The Mtskheta Jvari (Holy Cross) infrastructure project (II stage)” and “The church of Holy Transfiguration of the Saviour, Tomb of Holy Father St. Gabriel and Fool for Christ, Samtavro Monastery in Mtskheta” were submitted by the authorities for ICOMOS review.

In November 2014, a joint ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to the property assessed its state of conservation, as well as the progress achieved in implementing the corrective measures, in view of the eventual removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger. The mission has made a number of observations and recommendations which are essential for implementing the remaining corrective measures.  

Moreover, a joint World Heritage Centre/World Bank mission to the property defined the priorities for development of a project on Sustainable Development of the World Heritage City of Mtskheta within the framework of the implementation of the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) recommendations. Both mission reports are available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/documents.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2015

The State Party’s efforts to address the corrective measures and to develop a range of legal measures and protection mechanisms are acknowledged. It is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to address all remaining measures, such as the development of the Urban Land-Use Master Plan, to increase the levels of protection to the property. The property has neither appropriate buffer zone nor conservation master plan. These tools have been discussed during the recent missions and are part of the Georgian authority’s commitment.

The mission noted that the Committee´s decisions regarding the cultural landscape setting have not been addressed and no attempt has been made to prevent inappropriate constructions on the Aragvi and Mtgvari rivers banks which have an impact on the setting of the property. Due to the absence of master plan, new developments have resulted in numerous heterogeneous buildings being constructed which, in terms of morphology, volume and layout, reflect patchy city-planning in this most sensitive site area of the city.

The mission recommended that a more effective monitoring mechanism should be developed in the Urban Master Plan regarding the location, density, control of volumes, heights and views of any new town buildings, in order to maintain the dominating presence of the historical monuments over the Mtskheta City. The mission further recommended including zoning regulations with particular emphasis on the establishment of no-construction zones, clearly detailed and outlined development zones and a conservation master plan which should take into consideration the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, its specific landscape setting, as well as important views and visual connection lines.

Work on the new Justice House had started but has been stopped at the request of the Committee as the new building had negative impact on one of the components of the property. A new proposal for the House of Justice was reviewed by the mission. A new location has been chosen by the authorities and the design has been reviewed after taking on board comments by ICOMOS. The mission agreed that the new location is more suitable but at the same time the mission report notes that some minor changes to the design are recommended, such as breaking up the mass. It is also recommended that the space next to the river should not be built upon and developed, as it ensures visual connection between the property components and has an important cultural significance. The State Party is invited to develop a project for the recreation area along the Aragvi river bank which should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre, in conformity with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for review by the Advisory Bodies, before any commitment is made. The recommendations and suggestions made by the mission should be addressed by the State Party.

A proposal for a modification of the boundaries of the buffer zones of the World Heritage property should be transmitted to the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies for review, prior to any further works being completed on the Urban Land-Use Master Plan.

It is hoped that the planned tripartite cooperation between the State Party, the World Bank and the World Heritage Centre can assist the State Party in implementing the remaining corrective measures.

It is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to suspend any construction in the zone next to the Aragvi and Mtgvari rivers banks and promote the adoption of a non aedeficandi zone as long as the Urban Master Plan and unified buffer zone are not approved and implemented to curb uncontrolled development.

Finally, it is recommended that the World Heritage Committee retain the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger until the examination of its state of conservation by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2015
39 COM 7A.41
Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) (C 708)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7A.17, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Welcomes the efforts made by the State Party to improve the protection of all components of the property and its buffer zone and, more particularly, introducing a moratorium on any development in the zone next to the Aragvi and Mtgvari rivers banks declared as a non aedeficandi zone until the Urban Land-Use Master Plan and unified buffer zone are approved and implemented to curb uncontrolled development;
  4. Notes with appreciation that an inter-ministerial coordination mechanism has been established with the purpose to ensure that the conservation of World Heritage properties receive priority consideration within the governmental decision-making processes and that a Heritage Code and a World Heritage law are currently in the last stages of approval by the respective authorities and encourages the State Party to sustain these efforts and to secure that all necessary resources and regulatory regimes are in place;
  5. Acknowledges the steps taken in addressing the corrective measures through training and capacity building activities, as well as the development, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and partnership with the World Bank, of a project towards the completion of the Urban Master Plan, as well as strengthening the management system through the self-governing status bestowed to the City of Mtskheta and the cooperation agreement with the Patriarchate of Georgia, ensuring co-management of protection and conservation of historical churches;
  6. Takes note of the findings and recommendations made by the joint ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission and the joint World Heritage Centre/World Bank Advisory mission, carried out to the property in November 2014;
  7. Reiterates its request to the State Party to establish a unified buffer zone, to encompass the landscape surrounding the components, including in particular the panorama along the rivers and the mountain setting, and provide this enlarged buffer zone with appropriate protection, and to submit a minor boundary modification proposal of the unified buffer zone of the property to the World Heritage Centre, prior to any further works being completed on the Urban Land-Use Master Plan;
  8. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, technical details, including Heritage Impact Assessments, for all proposed projects that may have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  10. Decides to retain the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger and to examine the implementation of the corrective measures at its 40th session in 2016, in view of the possible removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
39 COM 8C.2
Update of the List of the World Heritage in Danger

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-15/39.COM/7A and WHC-15/39.COM/7A.Add),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 39 COM 7A.38)
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 39 COM 7A.39)
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 39 COM 7A.18)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosi (Decision 39 COM 7A.44)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.1)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 39 COM 7A.45)
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.2)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.3)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.4)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.5)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.6)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.7)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.8)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 39 COM 7A.24)
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.10)
  • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 39 COM 7A.40)
  • Georgia, Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Decision 39 COM 7A.41)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.20)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 39 COM 7A.15)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 39 COM 7A.25)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 39 COM 7A.26)
  • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 39 COM 7A.27)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 39 COM 7A.11)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 39 COM 7A.21)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 39 COM 7A.22)
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 39 COM 7A.12)
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 39 COM 7A.28)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 39 COM 7A.29)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 39 COM 7A.46)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 39 COM 7A.47)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.13)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 39 COM 7A.42)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 39 COM 7A.16)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 39 COM 7A.30)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 39 COM 7A.31)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 39 COM 7A.32)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 39 COM 7A.33)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 39 COM 7A.34)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 39 COM 7A.35)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 39 COM 7A.23)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 39 COM 7A.43)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 39 COM 7A.14)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 39 COM 7A.17)
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 39 COM 7A.48)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 39 COM 7A.37)
Draft Decision: 39 COM 7A.41

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7A.17, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Welcomes the efforts made by the State Party to improve the protection of all components of the property and its buffer zone and encourages it to sustain these efforts and to secure the necessary resources and regulatory regimes to ensure no inappropriate development or deterioration to the heritage buildings, which could constitute a threat to the property and its buffer zones;
  4. Acknowledges the steps taken to address the corrective measures through training and capacity building activities, as well as the development, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and partnership with the World Bank, of a project towards the completion of the Urban Master Plan, as well as strengthening the management system through the self-governing status bestowed to the City of Mtskheta and the cooperation agreement with the Patriarchate of Georgia, ensuring co-management of protection and conservation of historical churches;
  5. Takes note of the findings and recommendations made by the joint ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission and the joint World Heritage Centre/World Bank Advisory mission, carried out to the property in November 2014;
  6. Reiterates its request to the State Party to establish a unified buffer zone, to encompass the landscape surrounding the components, including in particular the panorama along the rivers and the mountain setting, and provide this enlarged buffer zone with appropriate protection, and to submit a minor boundary modification proposal of the unified buffer zone of the property to the World Heritage Centre, prior to any further works being completed on the Urban Land-Use Master Plan;
  7. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, technical details, including Heritage Impact Assessments, for all proposed projects that may have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  8. Also encourages the State Party to suspend any construction in the zone next to the Aragvi and Mtgvari rivers banks and promote the adoption of a non aedeficandi zone as long as the Urban Master Plan and unified buffer zone are not approved and implemented to curb uncontrolled development;
  9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  10. Decides to retain the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

REVISED DECISION SUBMITTED ON 30/06/2015 BY THE WORLD HERITAGE CENTRE, ICOMOS AND ICCROM: 

Draft Decision: 39 COM 7A.41 Rev

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7A.17, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Welcomes the efforts made by the State Party to improve the protection of all components of the property and its buffer zone and, more particularly, introducing a moratorium on any development in the zone next to the Aragvi and Mtgvari rivers banks declared as a non aedeficandi zone until  the Urban Land-Use Master Plan and unified buffer zone are approved and implemented to curb uncontrolled development;
  4. Notes with appreciation that an inter-ministerial coordination mechanism has been established with the purpose to ensure that the conservation of World Heritage properties receive priority consideration within the governmental decision-making processes and that a Heritage Code and a World Heritage law are currently in the last stages of approval by the respective authorities and encourages the State Party  to sustain these efforts and to secure that all  necessary resources and regulatory regimes are in place; ;
  5. Acknowledges the steps taken in addressing the corrective measures through training and capacity building activities, as well as the development, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and partnership with the World Bank, of a project towards the completion of the Urban Master Plan, as well as strengthening the management system through the self-governing status bestowed to the City of Mtskheta and the cooperation agreement with the Patriarchate of Georgia, ensuring co-management of protection and conservation of historical churches;
  6. Takes note of the findings and recommendations made by the joint ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission and the joint World Heritage Centre/World Bank Advisory mission, carried out to the property in November 2014;
  7. Reiterates its request to the State Party to establish a unified buffer zone, to encompass the landscape surrounding the components, including in particular the panorama along the rivers and the mountain setting, and provide this enlarged buffer zone with appropriate protection, and to submit a minor boundary modification proposal of the unified buffer zone of the property to the World Heritage Centre, prior to any further works being completed on the Urban Land-Use Master Plan;
  8. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, technical details, including Heritage Impact Assessments, for all proposed projects that may have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016;
  10. Decides to retain the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger and to examine the implementation of the corrective measures at its 40th session in 2016 in view of the possible removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2015
Georgia
Date of Inscription: 1994
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Danger List (dates): 2009-2016
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2015) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 39COM (2015)
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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