Historic Centre of Bukhara (Uzbekistan) (C 602bis)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1993
Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger N/A
Previous Committee Decisions see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/602/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 71,960
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/602/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
Previous monitoring missions
October 2010: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Recent hotel constructions which would negatively affect the integrity of the property (issue resolved)
- Heavy traffic, pollution and poor sewege system (issue resolved)
- Lack of a proper conservation and management plan
- Lack of coordination with regard to the conservation and restoration activities carried out as part of the State Programme
- Lack of on-going routine maintenance and varying state of conservation of monuments
- Lack of guidelines for rehabilitation of housing
- Use of new building material and methods
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/602/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015
On 27 February 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/602/documents/. The report does not address the issues raised in the Committee decision. Instead it provides information on other issues, as follows:
- Management Plan: No progress is reported on this matter. A Geographic Information System (GIS) database has been created and will be used for developing the Management Plan. The State Party notes that international assistance, including expertise, is required to perform this task, a procedure similar to the process used in Samarkand to develop the Management Plan will be adopted.
- Coordinated conservation approach: The State Party has not responded directly to this request. However, the report refers to the previously reported ‘State Program on research, conservation, restoration and adaptation to the modern use of cultural heritage of Bukhara until 2020’, adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers in March 2010, which is now being implemented.
- New decree of Cabinet of Ministers: In 2014 a new regulation regarding the utilization of cultural heritage was adopted which permit abandoned properties to be bought or rented. The intention is to attract more financial assistance for the renovation and preservation of abandoned cultural heritage properties.
- Wood conservation: During 2013 and 2014 a treatment plan to protect wooden structures from the attack of termites has been developed and implemented.
- Boundaries and Buffer Zones: As a result of the retrospective inventory project, the State Party has realised that there are some inconsistencies in the definition of the property boundaries and the buffer zone, and that these boundaries to date have no legal basis. Therefore the State Party, with the assistance of UNESCO Office in Tashkent, will be reviewing and redefining the boundaries based on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) adopted in 2012.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
Although the Committee requested the finalization of the Management Plan as a matter of urgency, no progress has been made. In its report, the State Party clearly indicates that there is a need for expertise and financial assistance in order to proceed with the preparation of the Management Plan.
The action taken to treat wooden structures against the attack of termites is an important conservation measure and should therefore be noted. The new regulation adopted to encourage investment for the conservation of abandoned structures is notable. While this could lead to the acceleration of restoration of indispensable buildings in the historic centre, it does however raise some concerns with regard to conservation approaches. As was previously requested by the Committee, this new regulation requires the development of a coordinated conservation approach or plan for the property, as well as clear guidelines for conservation, restoration and rehabilitation in order to ensure that the authenticity of the property is not compromised.
The UNESCO Recommendation on Historic Urban Landscape (HUL, 2011) could be a useful tool to address some of the current management issues at the property. The HUL approach can thus be introduced and promoted as a useful tool to help manage development within Bukhara.
It is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to seek International Assistance to finalize the Management Plan in line with the HUL approach, and to develop a coordinated conservation plan as well as guidelines for conservation, restoration and rehabilitation.
It is also recommended that the Committee note the concerns expressed by the State Party regarding the lack of clarity of the boundaries and buffer zone and urge it to clarify these and their status.
In view of the above, and recalling the potential threats identified by the 2010 Reactive Monitoring mission, such as the degradation of traditional houses, lack of guidelines for rehabilitation of housing and structural restoration projects, use of new materials and techniques, inadequate documentation of the major historic buildings and urban fabric, and lack of support in conservation planning in the historic area, it is recommended that the Committee express its concern about the slow progress made with the completion of the Management Plan and the lack of coordination with regard to the conservation and restoration activities carried out as part of the State Programme.
It is finally recommended that the Committee request the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to review the state of conservation, assess the current situation and advise the authorities on the issues identified above.
Decision Adopted: 39 COM 7B.72
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.68, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
- Expresses its concern with the slow progress in implementing the recommendations of the 2010 Reactive Monitoring mission, in particular the lack of progress with the completion of the Management Plan, including an adequate governance system;
- Notes with concern the slow progress made with the completion of the Management Plan and the lack of coordinated conservation plan and adequate guidance for the conservation and restoration activities carried out as part of the State Program and requests the State Party to address these issues, through:
- completing the Management Plan as a matter of urgency,
- developing a coordinated conservation plan to bring together key conservation activities carried out and planned within the property,
- developing clear guidelines for conservation, restoration and rehabilitation of housing to ensure that the authenticity of the property is not compromised,
- preparing adequate documentation of the major historic buildings and the overall urban fabric;
- Encourages the State Party to apply the UNESCO Recommendation on Historic Urban Landscape (HUL, 2011) as a useful tool to help manage development within the property and to seek International Assistance under the World Heritage Fund, in close consultation with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
- Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to evaluate the general state of conservation of the property and review its current management and planning system as well as progress made with the implementation of the above paragraph 4 above;
- Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 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 41st session in 2017.