Take advantage of the search to browse through the World Heritage Centre information.

Historic City of Ayutthaya

Thailand
Factors affecting the property in 2015*
  • Flooding
  • Management activities
  • Other Threats:

    Deterioration due to time

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2015
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2015**

April/May 2014: ICOMOS Advisory mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2015

From 28 April to 2 May 2014, at the invitation of the State Party, ICOMOS carried out an Advisory mission to the property and identified the following threats: Deterioration due to time; Direct and indirect impact of heavy flooding in 2011; Insufficient number of craftsmen with high standard of skill and traditional knowledge undertaking conservation activities; Concerns about quality of post-flood restoration work.

On 11 March 2015, the State Party submitted a response to the mission report of the ICOMOS Advisory mission to Ayutthaya, which informed on the following:

  • Wall paintings: The Fine Art Department (FAD) has halted all mural painting restorations as suggested by the mission. A capacity building workshop will be held for restorers, conservators, scientists, technicians, architects, landscape architects and engineers and results will be transmitted to the World Heritage Centre.
  • Flood prevention: Recognizing the need to address flood mitigation measures, the FAD, with the assistance of UNESCO Bangkok, has initiated a project to study and establish flood modeling in order to propose flood risk mitigation measures for the Historic City of Ayutthaya. The project is financially supported by the Asian Development Bank and is due to be completed in March 2015. In parallel a Disaster Risk Mitigation Plan will be developed on the basis of the UNESCO project and the FAD intends to integrate this plan into the Master Plan.
  • Conservation approaches and practices: A detailed documentation system for structures based on the existing GIS system inventory will be established and include additional information on the assessment and documentation of modern structural interventions. To address the need for capacity building in conservation practices, materials and craftsmanship, the FAD will be carrying out training workshops. Furthermore, the FAD recognizes the need to establish quality control measures for private companies involved in the extensive conservation/rehabilitation works.
  • Wat Dusi Daram Temple: The report clarifies that there is no evidence of the original floor tile of the temple and that the terracotta tile was chosen to harmonize with other architectural remains of the same period where this terracotta paving has been found.
  • Building regulations: At present, the FAD does not have any procedural means to control new constructions within the property. However, the FAD intends to review this issue with the municipality and to encourage them to reassess the procedures and to adopt a better conservation approach to ensure that the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property is maintained.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2015

In response to the concerns about the quality of the post-2011 heavy flood restoration work undertaken in a rushed manner in the 2012 fiscal year, ICOMOS carried out an Advisory mission to the property, which reviewed the state of conservation of the property, and notably assessed the impact of the heavy flood and provided technical advice to the State Party with respect to the conservation works and protection measures.

The overall damage to the architectural ruins by flooding was found to be negligible. However, the flooding has caused considerable damage to the mural paintings and resulted in their detachment. The mission suggested the application of resin on the mural paintings to stop the detachment caused by the precipitation of salt crystals, and the construction of drainage system inside the walls to ensure evaporation towards the outside rather than into the rooms. The authorities require specialist advice and capacity building in order to carry out this work.

A number of flood mitigation measures have been suggested and should be explored by the authorities. These include the construction of protective walls, landscaping to reduce water pressure during a flood, exploring traditional knowledge and techniques, as well as considering the reproduction of the city wall.

A comprehensive plan for conservation and utilization should be developed and a wide range of experts and specialists of different disciplines should be involved in updating the Master Plan. To this end, the authorities should consider organizing an international symposium with academics, the FAD and conservation practitioners to debate the conservation philosophy of brick associated sites and to discuss flood prevention, conservation and management measures at the property to make sure the present intervention correspond to international conservation guidelines. The symposium could provide an opportunity to discuss and agree on principles for the development of an integrated site management plan to address issues relating to the protection of monuments and sites and the historic setting of the property.  

The extensive interventions at the property (over 100 monuments at the site) which have taken place are lacking in craftsmanship and documentation. Furthermore, the information on these projects has not been submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines. The mission therefore suggests that the attributes bearing the OUV, the significance of the materials and the craftsmanship and the principles of minimal intervention should be clearly understood so that the work foreseen respects the authenticity and integrity of the property. To this end, training programmes should be put in place as a matter of urgency to improve the skills and expertise of craftsmen undertaking the conservation activities. It is also recommended that conservation approaches are based on scientific conservation principles and respecting use of traditional materials and skills. This will also require a scientific laboratory to assist the restoration and conservation processes. New temples were found to have been built within the historical sites which have an impact on the OUV of the property. Although the FAD does not have any jurisdiction over these developments, appropriate control in line with the national policy concerning the protection of cultural heritage and World Heritage properties must be undertaken.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2015
39 COM 7B.71
Historic City of Ayutthaya (Thailand) (C 576)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B;
  2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 8E, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012), adopting the retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) for the property;
  3. Acknowledges the information provided by the State Party and the steps taken in response to the concerns about the quality of the post-flood restoration work undertaken in 2012 and to the ICOMOS Advisory mission; as well as the project to study and establish flood modelling, in order to propose flood risk mitigation measures for the Historic City of Ayutthaya with the assistance of the World Heritage Centre and UNESCO Bangkok;
  4. Recommends the State Party to carry out, as a matter of urgency, training programmes to improve the skills and expertise of craftsmen undertaking the conservation activities and to ensure conservation approaches are based on scientific conservation principles and respecting use of traditional materials and skills;
  5. Requests the State Party to develop a comprehensive plan for conservation and utilization with the assistance of experts and specialists of different disciplines and to update the site Management Plan accordingly;
  6. Encourages the State Party to organize an international symposium, in collaboration with UNESCO and the Advisory Bodies, to debate on the conservation philosophy of brick associated sites, together with academics and international conservation practitioners;
  7. Also requests the State Party to refrain from new construction within the property and its setting in particular within the area of the footprint of the historic city that may have an impact on its OUV of the property and to ensure appropriate control mechanisms are established, in line with the national policy concerning the protection of cultural heritage and World Heritage properties;
  8. Invites the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with detailed information concerning the restoration projects as part of the post-flood interventions and, in general, any major projects foreseen at the property and its buffer zone, for review by the Advisory Bodies, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  9. 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.
Draft Decision: 39 COM 7B.71

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-15/39.COM/7B;
  2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 8E, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012), adopting the retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) for the property;
  3. Acknowledges the information provided by the State Party and the steps taken in response to the concerns about the quality of the post-flood restoration work undertaken in 2012 and to the ICOMOS Advisory mission; as well as the project to study and establish flood modelling, in order to propose flood risk mitigation measures for the Historic City of Ayutthaya with the assistance of the World Heritage Centre and UNESCO Bangkok;
  4. Recommends the State Party to carry out, as a matter of urgency, training programmes to improve the skills and expertise of craftsmen undertaking the conservation activities and to ensure conservation approaches are based on scientific conservation principles and respecting use of traditional materials and skills;
  5. Requests the State Party to develop a comprehensive plan for conservation and utilization with the assistance of experts and specialists of different disciplines and to update the site Management Plan accordingly;
  6. Encourages the State Party to organize an international symposium, in collaboration with UNESCO and the Advisory Bodies, to debate on the conservation philosophy of brick associated sites, together with academics and international conservation practitioners;
  7. Also requests the State Party to refrain from new construction within the property and its setting in particular within the area of the footprint of the historic city that may have an impact on its OUV of the property and to ensure appropriate control mechanisms are established, in line with the national policy concerning the protection of cultural heritage and World Heritage properties;
  8. Invites the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with detailed information concerning the restoration projects as part of the post-flood interventions and, in general, any major projects foreseen at the property and its buffer zone, for review by the Advisory Bodies, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  9. 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.
Report year: 2015
Thailand
Date of Inscription: 1991
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)
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.


top