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Historical Monuments of Mtskheta

Georgia
Factors affecting the property in 2016*
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • 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 (under development)
  • 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 (under control)
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
Corrective Measures for the property
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2016

Total amount provided: Funds-in-Trust. Georgia-UNESCO Agreement: Cultural heritage advisory service to the NACHP (National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia) to be implemented under the Third Regional Development Project (RDP III). Total budget: USD 250 000

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2016
Requests approved: 4 (from 1997-2010)
Total amount approved : 96,160 USD
Missions to the property until 2016**

November 2003, June 2008, March 2010, and April 2012: Joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring missions; November 2014: Joint World Heritage Centre / World Bank Advisory mission and joint ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission; November 2015: World Heritage Centre technical assistance mission; February 2016: World Heritage Centre technical assistance mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 29 January 2016, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/documents/, providing updated information on the implementation of the corrective measures, as well as details on conservation efforts and archaeological excavations at the property as follows:

  • Progress has been reported on the development of the Urban Land-Use Master Plan (ULUMP), expected to be finalized by 2016. Further work on the Master Plan is required following the recommendations made by the National Agency for the Protection of Cultural Heritage (NACHPG) and the World Heritage Centre technical assistance missions in November 2015 and February 2016. Until the official adoption of the ULUMP, the August 2015 adopted Decree on the Enactment of Special Regime of Urban Development Regulation in the Cultural Heritage Zone of Mtskheta imposes a strong moratorium on new constructions;
  • The Draft Code on Cultural Heritage is in its finalization stage and expected to be submitted to the Georgian Parliament for approval in the first quarter of 2016;
  • A special chapter on protection and management of World Heritage in Georgia is included in the Draft Code on Cultural Heritage and will serve as a basis for the official approval of the Management Plan. The Draft Code was prepared in the framework of the EU-funded Twinning programme. No further progress was reported by the State Party;
  • The new Archaeological Museum project is one of the activities to be implemented under the third Regional Development Project (RDP III) by the Government of Georgia with World Bank funding. The new museum should allow for the proper conservation and presentation of the archaeological collection of the former Mtskheta museum, which is currently in storage. The new museum will reuse the former cinema, built during the Soviet period, designed as a cultural building with two functions, a showcase for the archaeological site and a cinema theatre. This project was submitted by the State Party to the World Heritage Centre in June 2015 and submitted to ICOMOS for a technical review as per Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines. ICOMOS’ main recommendations were to further define the museographic functional programme and to respect the modern heritage values of the former cinema building.

The State Party reports that a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between NACHPG and ICCROM in December 2015 concerning the creation of a training platform in the field of cultural heritage in Georgia.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2016

It is recommended that the Committee acknowledge the important work and commitment by the State Party to ensure that the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) forms the core of the development of the ULUMP. Although the ULUMP has yet to be finalized and adopted, the State Party has advanced its contents and taken measures through the Decree on Urban Development to provide further protection to the property. This Decree halts building activities in the sensitive areas along the banks of the river, particularly those on the side of the Jvari monastery.

The signature in October 2015 of the Georgia/UNESCO agreement project Cultural heritage advisory service to the NACHP to be implemented under the Third Regional Development Project (RDP III) should also be acknowledged. This project mainly focuses on technical and upstream assistance, including assisting the elaboration of the Mtskheta ULUMP. 

The guiding principles and primary goals of the ULUMP are strongly supported. However, as highlighted by the November 2015 World Heritage Centre technical assistance mission and the ICOMOS technical review, there is a need to strengthen the strategic spatial planning vision for the whole of the City of Mtskheta and revise the methodology used to establish the ULUMP and refer to international standards as recommended by the technical mission.

In terms of governance and decision-making, the technical mission recommended that the governance issue at the local level needs to be addressed in order to ensure adequate planning, efficient management and decision making.

Capacity building should be provided to the local government. The local authorities with the support of the national authorities should also be encouraged to develop a stakeholder involvement strategy and methodology, together with communication tools. Furthermore, it is recommended that the Committee commend the State Party for setting up a stakeholder committee for the ULUMP and encourage the creation of a technical working committee to ensure that a shared and integrated approach is used for the ULUMP. In addition, it is recommended that the urban dimension of the property be fully reflected in the policies, measures and tools adopted to ensure the conservation of the latter, using if necessary the approach carried by the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (2011).

With respect to the administrative borders of the self-governing city of Mtskheta, the mission noted that the existing municipal borders are inadequate for correct planning and management of the World Heritage property, as the Jvari church, one of the components of the property, which is included in the national park, lies beyond the Mtskheta town borders. Furthermore, the property remains without an adequate buffer zone encompassing the landscape surrounding the heritage components. Therefore the Committee’s request for a minor boundary modification of the unified buffer zone of the property remains crucial and needs to be addressed by the authorities in conjunction with the further development of the ULUMP.

The 2015 technical assistance mission recommended, in line with the ICOMOS technical review, that the museum project should respect the archaeological site, meet the requirements of the museum collection currently in storage and preserve the architectural integrity of the modern building. The State Party has decided to undertake a specific urban landscape study concerning the integration of the museum project within the surrounding urban context and in connexion with all components of the World Heritage property.

Therefore, it is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to take into consideration the recommendations provided by the World Heritage Centre technical assistance mission and by ICOMOS and that it retain the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2016
40 COM 7A.29
Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) (C 708)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.41, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Welcomes the important work and commitment by the State Party to ensure that the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) forms the core of the development of the Urban Land-Use Master Plan (ULUMP);
  4. Notes the measures taken by the authorities to guarantee protection to the property through the Decree on the Moratorium on Urban Development and Land Privatization as well as a revised ULUMP which has yet to be finalized and implemented in accordance with World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS recommendations;
  5. Decides to remove the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) from the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  6. Recommends that the State Party take into consideration the recommendations provided by the 2015 and 2016 World Heritage Centre technical assistance missions, and by ICOMOS, notably to:
    1. Strengthen the strategic spatial planning vision and ensure that the urban dimension of the property be fully reflected in the policies, measures and tools adopted to ensure the conservation of the latter, using if necessary the approach carried by the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (2011),
    2. Address the governance issue at the local level in order to ensure adequate planning, efficient management and decision making,
    3. Pursue a stakeholder involvement strategy and methodology, together with communication tools,
    4. Review the administrative borders especially in relation to the Jvari site,
      in order to finalize and implement the ULUMP including supportive land use regulations, and a management plan, and also continue to ensure the long term conservation of monuments and archaeological sites through the development of adequate plans and restoration programmes;
  7. Welcomes the establishment of a unified buffer zone, encompassing the landscape surrounding the components, including in particular the panorama along the rivers and the mountain setting and requests the State Party to 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;
  8. Also welcomes the initiative of the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to assess the implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations;
  9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017.
40 COM 8C.3
Update of the World Heritage in Danger (removed sites)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/16/40.COM/7A, WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add and WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to remove the following property from the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Georgia, Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Decision 40 COM 7A.29).
Draft Decision: 40 COM 7A.29

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.41, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Acknowledges the important work and commitment by the State Party to ensure that the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) forms the core of the development of the Urban Land-Use Master Plan (ULUMP);
  4. Notes the measures taken by the authorities through the Decree on Urban Development to provide further protection to the property while the ULUMP has yet to be completed;
  5. Recommends that the State Party take into consideration the recommendations provided by the 2015 and 2016 World Heritage Centre technical assistance missions and by ICOMOS, notably to:
    1. Strengthen the strategic spatial planning vision and ensure that the urban dimension of the property be fully reflected in the policies, measures and tools adopted to ensure the conservation of the latter, using if necessary the approach carried by the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (2011),
    2. Revise the methodology of the ULUMP,
    3. Address the governance issue at the local level in order to ensure adequate planning, efficient management and decision making,
    4. Develop a stakeholder involvement strategy and methodology, together with communication tools,
    5. Review the administrative borders especially in relation to the Jvari site,
    6. Review the new museum project in order to ensure that the integrity of the archaeological site is preserved, that the project meets the museological standards and technical requirements for the artefacts collection currently in storage, and that the architectural integrity of the modern building is preserved,
    7. Ensure the proper linkage of the museum project design to the surrounding public spaces and urban setting;
  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, to 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 on the ULUMP;
  7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the propery and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
  8. Decides to retain the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2016
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 (2016) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 40COM (2016)
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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