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Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains

China
Factors affecting the property in 2016*
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Project to raise up the Yuzhen Palace at the property
  • Requirement for a living heritage management approach
  • Tourism development has begun to reach a critical mass
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2016
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2016**

March 2014: Joint World Heritage Center/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 27 November 2015, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, a summary of which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/705/documents/, presenting progress on a number of areas addressed by the Committee in its 38th session:

  • There are a number of design issues for the new earthwork platform at the Yuzhen Palace. In regard to the final shape of the platform, two proposals are put forward: to fill the narrow water channels surrounding the “peninsula” with aquatic plants or to infill these narrow channels with earth to form a more natural shoreline;
  • In regard to the archaeological remains that were temporarily removed during the construction of the platform, three options were initially provided: the creation of an underground museum space, the placement of the remains at the surface with individual shelters, and the consolidation and conservation of the remains, adding material where necessary to ensure conservation. The third option has been adopted;
  • A draft Protection and Management Plan for the property has been prepared and was discussed at a meeting in October 2015 where recommendations were made for improvements in regard to stakeholder involvement, tourism management, reform of the management framework, and monitoring. The draft plan has been submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  • Some measures are being taken to protect the property using a cultural landscape approach. The entire Wudang Mountains is designated a National Scenic Area, National Geopark, and National Forest Park, with various restrictions and protection requirements related to different agencies concerned.  Work has also been undertaken for reforestation and some structures with negative impacts have been demolished.  The promotion of living heritage is also occurring;
  • In regard to the definition of the property itself (in particular the number of component parts) and the buffer zones, the State Party maintains that there are 49 component parts to the property, while the approved Statement of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) indicates 62. Furthermore, it indicates that the buffer zone is constituted by small zones around each component part, rather than by the entire Wudang Mountains Scenic Area;
  • In regard to tourism management, a number of steps have been taken to ensure that the number of tourists do not exceed the carrying capacity of the property, including limiting vehicular traffic, limiting the number of tourists at the Golden Hall, and encouraging tourism at the lesser known parts of the serial property.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2016

The remaining work at the Yuzhen Palace must wait for the appropriate water levels to be reached in the reservoir.  In the meantime, there are a number of design decisions that must be taken in accordance with the recommendations of the 2014 Reactive Monitoring mission. 

The most appropriate solution for the final shape of the platform will be to adopt the second proposal to infill the narrow channels to form a more natural shoreline.  The 2014 mission did not find an ideal solution for the repositioning of the archaeological remains, but recommended, with reservation, that they be reinstalled at the new grade level.  The solution currently being proposed by the State Party is in line with the recommendation for the second proposal. It will be important, however, that interpretation and presentation for visitors explains that these remains are an archaeological display of the ruins rather than the authentic position of the remains.  In fact, the presentation of Yuzhen Palace in its entirety should be done in a way that visitors understand the changes that the property has undergone as part of the uplift project. 

It is acknowledged that a draft of the Protection and Management Plan for the Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains has been completed and is currently being improved, based on the comments of Chinese experts. The Advisory Bodies will provide comments separately to help the State Party as the management plan moves towards completion.  It will be very important, however, that the management of the property, as a cultural landscape, and the promotion of living heritage remain important aspects of the final management system.  This will require close collaboration with the other management authorities responsible for the National Scenic Area, National Geopark, and National Forest Park, as well as local authorities, to ensure that the property is treated consistently across all applicable planning and decision-making processes. 

Tourism management will also remain a challenge for the State Party, given the large number of tourists at certain times of the year, and the limited carrying capacity.  The steps taken by the State Party are acknowledged, but a strong, long-term programme of monitoring of visitor numbers and their impact should be undertaken to ensure that the property does not suffer negative impacts from the large numbers of visitors over time. 

Finally, there remains a serious issue in regard to a common understanding of the number of components of the property and its buffer zone.  In regard to the buffer zone, it is emphasized that the ICOMOS Evaluation report states that “The nomination dossier was unclear as to exactly what was being proposed for inclusion on the World Heritage List. This was, however, clarified by a map supplied by the Chinese authorities, showing the individual monuments identified to constitute the proposed World Heritage property, the buffer zone being the protected area of the Park (Scenic Area)”.  The report of the 18th session of the Committee (Phuket, 1994) notes no discussion or change to the ICOMOS report at the time of inscription.  On 11 December 2013, the World Heritage Centre had sent a letter to the State Party (Ref CLT/WHC/PSM/13/CM/440), asking it to revise the serial nomination table as well as the clarification map, due to missing information on the buffer zone. No response has been received yet at the time of writing this report. Both issues of the buffer zone and the exact components of the property should be addressed between representatives of the State Party, the World Heritage Centre, and the Advisory Bodies at the earliest convenience.  A final agreement on both issues should be then presented for examination by the World Heritage Committee.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2016
40 COM 7B.30
Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains (China) (C 705)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.9, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Takes note of the ongoing work and remaining design issues for the Yuzhen Palace uplift project, as well as the ongoing work on the mangement plan and other management issues;
  4. Requests the State Party to adopt the second proposal for the final shape of the platform, infilling the small channels to form a more natrual shoreline;
  5. Endorses the proposal to reinstall the archaeological remains at the new grade level as outlined in the State Party report, but also requests the State Party to ensure that interpretation and presentation of these remains and the entire Yezhen Palace complex should occur in a way that allows visitors to understand the changes that the propety has undergone as part of the uplift project;
  6. Notes that the State Party has submitted a draft of the Protection and Management Plan for the Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains, and further requests the State Party to finalize this plan, with a focus on promotion of living heritage, and a strengthened cultural landscape approach, and submit it to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  7. Requests furthermore the State Party to institute a strong, long-term programme of monitoring of visitor management, including not only the number of visitors, but also any impacts that visitors may be having, particularly on the more sensitive areas of the property;
  8. Regretting that the State Party has not yet responded to the December 2013 letter of the World Heritage Centre seeking clarification on the components of the property and its buffer zone, urges the State Party to address this matter with representatives of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, in order to reach a final agreement which, if necessary, should be presented for examination by the World Heritage Committee;
  9. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.
Draft Decision: 40 COM 7B.30

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 38 COM 7B.9, adopted at its 38th session (Doha, 2014),
  3. Takes note of the ongoing work and remaining design issues for the Yuzhen Palace uplift project, as well as the ongoing work on the mangement plan and other management issues;
  4. Requests the State Party to adopt the second proposal for the final shape of the platform, infilling the small channels to form a more natrual shoreline;
  5. Endorses the proposal to reinstall the archaeological remains at the new grade level as outlined in the State Party report, but also requests the State Party to ensure that interpretation and presentation of these remains and the entire Yezhen Palace complex should occur in a way that allows visitors to understand the changes that the propety has undergone as part of the uplift project;
  6. Notes that the State Party has submitted a draft of the Protection and Management Plan for the Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains, and further requests the State Party to finalize this plan, with a focus on promotion of living heritage, and a strengthened cultural landscape approach, and submit it to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  7. Requests furthermore the State Party to institute a strong, long-term programme of monitoring of visitor management, including not only the number of visitors, but also any impacts that visitors may be having, particularly on the more sensitive areas of the property;
  8. Regretting that the State Party has not yet responded to the December 2013 letter of the World Heritage Centre seeking clarification on the components of the property and its buffer zone, urges the State Party to address this matter with representatives of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, in order to reach a final agreement which, if necessary, should be presented for examination by the World Heritage Committee;
  9. Requests moreover the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.
Report year: 2016
China
Date of Inscription: 1994
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(ii)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2015) .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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