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

Ancient City of Nessebar

Bulgaria
Factors affecting the property in 2011*
  • Housing
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) urban development pressure

b) lack of a management plan, of an urban master plan and of a conservation master plan of monuments and archaeological sites

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2011
Requests approved: 3 (from 1991-1995)
Total amount approved : 21,290 USD
Missions to the property until 2011**

November 2010: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission 

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

During its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010), the World Heritage Committee expressed its deep concern regarding the overall state of conservation of the property, urged the State Party to immediately adopt all necessary measures and to immediately halt “any development projects which may affect the Outstanding Universal Value, integrity and authenticity of the property. 

A joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission visited the property from 29 November to 1 December 2010, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session. A report of the mission is available online at the following Web address: https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/35COM

Following consultations with all stakeholders and in the light of on-site visit to the World Heritage property, the mission considered that despite the various problems and challenges identified by the mission the value for which this property was inscribed on the World Heritage List is substantially maintained. However, the mission underlines that the property is vulnerable and the current problems if not dealt with in the short term could represent a threat to the property.

The mission considers that a set of measures developed by the mission in close coordination with the national authorities should be implemented by the authorities, as a matter of urgency in order to maintain the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. 

The mission observed at the time of the visit that the negative urban developments within the property have stopped and that the existing developments/constructions could be considered as reversible in principle. The mission notes the initiation of a process by the national authorities for the removal of illegal constructions or inadequate adjustments to existing structures, in order to prevent serious deterioration of architectural and urban planning coherence.

Despite some recent improvement in protective legislation, the mission noted that implementation is lagging due to the lack of updated decrees, regulations and directives without which the existing normative acts while adequate, are still inapplicable for solving problems of management, conservation and urban planning. 

The mission considered that the following measures should be taken by the national and local authorities as a matter of urgency:

  • Immediately establish regulations for tourism activities, movable facilities and components of urban infrastructure, advertising activity and open-air commercial activity;
  • Immediately halt the allowance of new construction permits within the World Heritage property and surrounding sea coast area, which could visually affect the property, prior to the preparation of a visual impact study for development projects, the approval of adequate and effective protective juridical regulations, and the establishment of effective control mechanisms and institutional frameworks among all stakeholders involved in the management and protection of the Ancient City of Nessebar.
  • l>

    The report includes the following recommendations concerning management and protection of the property and its buffer zone: 

    • Establish an overall management strategy and co-ordination mechanism for the property;
    • Organise property inventory to serve management, conservation and planning purposes, including topographic and archaeological recording of surface conditions, archaeological vestiges, historic monuments and important landscapes, and a complete inventory of frescoes;
    • Adapt planning mechanisms to the boundaries of the property and its buffer zone, develop and adopt an urban master plan for the Ancient City establishing land use goals (including rehabilitation of infrastructure provisions, zoning controls (including no build zones), institutional reform, and strengthening capacity building, community relations and tourism development), clear operational plans strictly limiting development in the property and its buffer zone, a conservation master plan, an integrated management plan for the property and its buffer zone, clearly defined development rights for private property, improving availability of accessible and use friendly planning information for the public, and create an integrated multi-institutional tourism strategy with regulations governing movable facilities and infrastructure development, and prepare a Technical Manual for conservation, rehabilitation and restoration;
    • Strengthen the protection status of the sea coastline in relation to the capacity of the municipality, including cultural heritage impact studies of the any proposed developments on the sea coastline on the property’s OUV; 
    • Undertake restoration and maintenance works including long term consolidation of the historic monuments of ancient Nessebar, put in place a monitoring mechanism for physical conservation of buildings and archaeological sites, develop guidelines for new construction, urban design and advertising and information panels in the property and its buffer zone, create a training programme for conservation and management for the property’s responsible personnel, a programme for restoration of the property’s religious frescoes, a special programme for the protection of the property’s archaeological resources, and identify financial support to assist home owners in rehabilitation work;
    • Develop capacity building activities including a World Heritage training seminar for all professional staff involved with World Heritage properties, conservation and management training for maintenance staff;
    • Create awareness raising initiatives including cultural tourism activities to renew the City-Museum area as a spiritual and unique cultural centre, and promoting international “twinning” exchanges.
    • l>

      The mission recommends that the State Party submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2013 a detailed state of conservation progress report including documents and information on the implementation of all necessary measures recommended, and as well, that a reactive monitoring mission be carried out prior to the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee to review the state of conservation of the World Heritage property, the implementation of recommended measures, - and the existence of an integrated and comprehensive management plan for the World Heritage property, and the State Party response to all recommendations.

      On 31 January 2011, the State Party submitted a detailed and comprehensive state of conservation report as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session. This report addresses the requests of the World Heritage Committee one by one.

      • Concerning actions taken for improving management of the property, the report notes employment of a qualified conservation architect to act as Chief Architect for the ancient Nessebar Reserve, and improved co-ordination between activities of the State and the municipality.
      • Concerning development of a conservation and management plan, the State Party reported progress in developing a draft regulation to guide legislation for establishing World Heritage Conservation and Management Plans, enabling municipal funding, terms of reference for the project, a programme for its execution and the systematisation of available documentation.
      • Concerning actions for the removal of illegal constructions and improved control to prevent future such problems, the report noted periodic inspections on site under the authority of the new Cultural Heritage Act by inspectors of the south-eastern region, and in co-operation with the municipality also undertook compliance actions in relation to already enforced orders for the removal of certain illegal constructions. Seven successful such actions are illustrated in the report of the 23 processes initiated by the municipality, and the report documents interim progress on these as well.
      • Concerning improved efforts for monitoring, the report notes that all major structures and sites in the property were monitored during the period December 2010 to January 2011. The report noted that most structures were in good condition, some needing maintenance. The associated risk analysis allowed identification of prevalent key threats for single structures or complexes, including non-harmonious interventions, unprofessional reconstructions, poor quality conservation on archaeological sites, physical deterioration, problems in adapting to new uses, and lack of identification plaques, and also for the urban environment: the coastal setting, and increased development including tourism.
      • Concerning the review of the spatial planning policy in the reserve, the report noted plans to carry out an analysis of problems of the dated provisions of the current plan and to develop a new detailed Spatial Plan linked to provisions of the Conservation and Management Plan.
      • Concerning efforts to improve exploration, conservation, restoration and presentation of archaeological sites, the report notes strengthened reconnaissance provisions, strengthened inspection efforts and proposed regulations for land exploration (including professional qualifications), and conservation and restoration of immoveable property. 
      • Concerning efforts to improve conservation and presentation of medieval churches, the report noted plans recently adopted to use the sites of St. John the Baptist Church, Saint Paraskeva, of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel for educational and functional purposes, dependent on European funding.
      • Concerning efforts to control development of mobile retail units, the report notes plans to develop a “total concept” for management, design, location, and conditions etc. of such units.
      • Concerning activities to strengthen awareness of the OUV of Nessebar, the report notes the emphasis given to the importance of bringing conservation messages to young people through initiatives of the Ancient Nessebar Museum, the municipality, schools and youth centres as well as ongoing initiatives to engage adults through continuing exhibitions, web site development, photo competitions and scientific symposia.
      • Concerning activities to develop a long term cultural tourism strategy, the report notes that a section of the conservation and management plan will be devoted to this effort. The report further notes efforts to develop a cultural itinerary (the Spiritual Road of the Ancient City of Nessebar)
      • l>

        The State Party’s report notes that the municipality suspended the issuing of building permits in the protected area (reserve) until a plan could be drawn up for the conservation and management of the Ancient City of Nessebar. The national authorities have also requested the municipality to impose a temporary construction ban within the buffer zone of the property; in relation to this, a proposal to construct a complex within the area of the ancient Necroplis was suspended. As a consequence, the report notes that no development projects need be reported under Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2011

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that while the State Party has made strong and significant efforts to launch policy and legislative initiatives intended to enhance protection of the World Heritage property, most of these are in the planning stages and have not been implemented yet. The joint reactive mission noted that a shared vision of how the property should be safeguarded and managed had been recently developed by the national and municipal authorities and that a process in order to prevent serious deterioration of architectural and urban planning coherence had been recently initiated by the national authorities.

However, the mission emphasized the need to urgently define appropriate control mechanisms accompanied by strong awareness raising programmes in order to ensure compliance with the 1972 Convention and enhance long-term effective management and protection of the property including its buffer zone.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies underline that the mission considered that if the necessary measures are not implemented by the authorities as a matter of urgency, the continued absence of an appropriate master plan for the City of Nessebar which specifies particular regulations and norms adopted to the status of the World Heritage property and aims to maintain the present balance between the natural and built environment, along with a conservation master plan with a specific programme of protection, including the archaeological remains in the city and underwater, the absence of a Management Plan for the property, including tourism management policy with regulations for movable facilities and components of urban infrastructure, as well as the absence of advertising activity and open-air commercial activity to be developed in harmony with local traditions and knowledge, could propose threats to the property’s OUV, as defined in paragraph 179 (b) of the Operational Guidelines.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2011
35 COM 7B.87
Ancient City of Nessebar (Bulgaria) (C 217)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.81, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Acknowledges the State Party detailed report and the efforts made to launch policy and legislative initiatives intended to enhance protection of the World Heritage property, as well as the strong commitment of the State Party to improve measures in place for the conservation of the World Heritage property;

4. Notes with appreciation that the municipality suspended the issuing of building permits in the protected area and requests the State Party to declare a temporary construction moratorium within the buffer zone of the property and its sea coast line prior to the approval of adequate and effective protective juridical regulations, and the establishment of effective control mechanisms and institutional frameworks among all stakeholders involved in the management and protection of the Ancient City of Nessebar;

5. Also notes that the continued absence of an appropriate planning, monitoring, management and conservation mechanisms could pose a threat to the property's Outstanding Universal Value, as defined in Paragraph 179 (b) of the Operational Guidelines;

6. Also requests the State Party to implement all the recommendations of the 2010 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to the property, including:

a) immediately establish regulations for tourism activities, movable facilities and components of urban infrastructure, advertising activity and open-air commercial activity,

b) fully develop and implement all planning, policy and legislative initiatives recently launched or planned by the State Party including preparation, adoption and implementation of a management plan (including integrated multi-institutional tourism strategy and guidelines for the use of historic buildings and monuments), urban master plan and a conservation master plan of monuments and archaeological sites,

c) ensure a permanent monitoring of the property with a view of halting and preventing any threats to its Outstanding Universal Value,

d) establish a protection regime for the buffer zone of the property, as well as of the sea coastline and strengthen the system of development control within it,

e) ensure that all tourism development plans be subservient to the overall Master Plan for the inscribed property and that control mechanisms be established for the buffer zone and be developed in ways which will not negatively impact on the Outstanding Universal Value, of the property,

f) remove or demolish all illegal and inappropriate structures within the property and its buffer zone;

7. Further requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission, prior to its 37th session in 2013, to review the state of conservation of the property, the implementation of measures which adequately ensure the authenticity and integrity of the property and its World Heritage values, - and the existence of an integrated and comprehensive management plan for the World Heritage property, and specifically the State Party response to all 2010 mission recommendations;

8. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2013, 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 37th session in 2013.

Draft Decision: 35 COM 7B.87

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B.Add,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.81, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Acknowledges the State Party detailed report and the efforts made to launch policy and legislative initiatives intended to enhance protection of the World Heritage property, as well as the State Party’s strong commitment to improve measures in place for conservation of the World Heritage property;

4. Notes with appreciation that the municipality suspended the issuing of building permits in the protected area and requests the State Party to declare a temporary construction moratorium within the buffer zone of the property and its sea coast line prior to the approval of adequate and effective protective juridical regulations, and the establishment of effective control mechanisms and institutional frameworks among all stakeholders involved in the management and protection of the Ancient City of Nessebar;

5. Also notes that the continued absence of an appropriate planning, monitoring, management and conservation mechanisms could pose a threat to the property’s Outstanding Universal Value, as defined in Paragraph 179 (b) of the Operational Guidelines;

6. Also requests the State Party to implement all the recommendations of the 2010 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to the property, including: 

a) Immediately establish regulations for tourism activities, movable facilities and components of urban infrastructure, advertising activity and open-air commercial activity,

b) Fully develop and implement all planning, policy and legislative initiatives recently launched or planned by the State Party including preparation, adoption and implementation of a management plan (including integrated multi-institutional tourism strategy and guidelines for the use of historic buildings and monuments), urban master plan and a conservation master plan of monuments and archaeological sites,

c) Ensure a permanent monitoring of the property with a view of halting and preventing any threats to its Outstanding Universal Value,

d) Establish a protection regime for the buffer zone of the property, as well as of the sea coastline and strengthen the system of development control within it,

e) Ensure that all tourism development plans be subservient to the overall Master Plan for the inscribed property, and that control mechanisms be established for the buffer zone and be developed in ways which will not negatively impact on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value,

f) Remove or demolish all illegal and inappropriate structures within the property and its buffer zone;

7. Further requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission, prior to its 37th session in 2013, to review the state of conservation of the property, the implementation of measures which adequately ensure the authenticity and integrity of the property and its World Heritage values, - and the existence of an integrated and comprehensive management plan for the World Heritage property, and specifically State Party response to all 2010 mission recommendations;

8. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2013, 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 37th session in 2013.

Report year: 2011
Bulgaria
Date of Inscription: 1983
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 35COM (2011)
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