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Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastra

Albania
Factors affecting the property in 2017*
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Housing
  • Illegal activities
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Lack of adequate fire fighting arrangements in the historic urban zone

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Housing
  • Illegal activities (Illegal construction dating from the late 1990s and later on)
  • Lack of specific monitoring indicators
  • Lack of programme of archaeological excavations
  • Lack of detailed tourism development plan
  • Management activities (e.g. restoration work at the Berat Castle)
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Development projects within Gjirokastra (by-pass road and conversion of the bazaar into a pedestrian area)
  • Other threats (Lack of adequate firefighting arrangements in the historic urban zones)
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2017

Total amount granted: USD 1,367,014 is provided by the Albanian Government within the framework of the project 933 ALB 4000 “Safeguarding and restoration of selected monuments within the World Heritage site of the Old City of Gjirokaster – Albania

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2017
Requests approved: 3 (from 2002-2016)
Total amount approved : 49,956 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017

On 1 December 2015 and 21 November 2016 respectively, the State Party submitted reports, available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/569/documents/, responding to the recommendations and issues raised by the Committee at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015), as follows:

  • Legal framework: In November 2016, the new draft Law “On Cultural Heritage and Museums” was transmitted to the relevant institutions and stakeholders for consultation. The regulations for the protection, integrated conservation and administration of the Historic Centre of Gjirokastra have been adopted in 2015. New general local plans are being prepared for both municipalities;
  • Controlling illegal constructions: The National Council of Restoration has proclaimed an additional 332 buildings within the Historic Centre and buffer zone of Gjirokastra as 2nd category monuments. The numerical codification system and identification is an on-going process;
  • Risk management: A number of training workshops have been carried out to continue the work on the preparation of the risk management plans;
  • Monitoring indicators related to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV): In the framework of International Assistance, an ICOMOS workshop was held in April 2016 to train site managers of World Heritage properties in Albania, including local government representatives, Institute of Cultural Monuments, Ministry of Culture and interested NGO’s;
  • Rehabilitation project of Çerçiz Topulli Square in Gjirokastra: The preliminary design proposal for the square, including a plan for underground parking, was provided in May 2016, and the comments provided by ICOMOS are currently being reflected in the final implementation project, to be submitted to the World Heritage Centre prior to its approval;
  • Gjirokastra Bypass Road and Bazaar project: The decisions of approval from the National Council of Restoration of the design of the Bazaar restoration and the design of the Bypass Road as well as the removal of two houses from the list of cultural monuments of second category were submitted to the World Heritage Centre in September 2016. The State Party informs that the ICOMOS recommendations will be reflected in the final implementation project, following the approval phase of the National Restoration Council. In a letter dated 12 April 2017 the State Party further informed the World Heritage Centre that the bypass project was temporarily suspended until further evaluation of the needs and other possible options to regulate traffic within the property;
  • Rehabilitation project Berat Castle: No further rehabilitation projects have received funding.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2017

The efforts undertaken by the State Party to continue improving the conservation and management of the property, the maintenance and restoration works, carried out during 2015 and 2016, are noted. With regard to the draft Law “On Cultural Heritage and Museums”, it is recommended that the Committee reiterate the urgency of its timely adoption and implementation.

The progress made with the development of monitoring indicators related to the protection of the OUV, during the workshop held in April 2016, is welcomed. Authorities and stakeholders are encouraged to proceed with their finalization and continue monitoring and controlling development. The workshop highlighted yet again the fundamental and urgent need for an overarching Integrated Management Plan (IMP) and appropriate control mechanisms for the property and its buffer zones, and beyond. Regrettably, no progress has been reported on the development of such IMP for the property, which has been repeatedly requested by the Committee. Therefore, it is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to develop, as a matter of priority, an overarching IMP, including a risk management component with threat mitigation measures.

Currently, the protection of the Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastra is based on a building-by-building approach, not taking into account the socio-economic and cultural developments. In order to adequately respond and meet development and conservation requirements, it will be necessary to prepare an integrated urban conservation and development tool, which is to be an integral part of the overarching IMP. This must be based on a detailed survey and documentation of all buildings and environmental features that are located in the urban settlement and within its context, using, if necessary, the approach carried by the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (2011).This process requires strong inter-institutional cooperation in particular with the entities responsible for urban planning. It is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to develop an integrated urban conservation and development tool, which takes into account these observations as part of the territorial administrative reform and the opportunity this tool offers for revising strategic documents, such as the general local plans. It is also recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to maintain the moratorium on new constructions within the property and buffer zones in place since 2013, until approval of the above-mentioned tools for protection and management of Berat and Gjirokastra.

The proposed rehabilitation project of Çerçiz Topulli Square, including construction of underground parking in Gjirokastra, has been reviewed by ICOMOS and is deemed to be well conceived and shall considerably enhance the condition of the historic monuments. Some minor recommendations have been provided to the State Party. The projects for the Bazaar restoration and Bypass Road in Gjirokastra have been professionally prepared. The Bazaar restoration will have no negative impact on the OUV of the property, however the use of historic materials for new windows and doors, as well as the future use of these buildings should be carefully considered. As for the Bypass Road design, it should be noted that the World Heritage Centre has received a number of concerns from civil society as well as from the World Bank regarding the potential negative impact of the bypass on the OUV of the property. It is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to consider carefully the ICOMOS technical review submitted in November 2016, to reassess the real needs and to revise the parameters (carrying capacity) in order to minimize potential adverse impacts of this development project on the property; and to provide to the World Heritage Centre the results of the previously requested Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) on the entire rehabilitation project at Berat Castle in case of future funding opportunities.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2017
41 COM 7B.40
Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastra (Albania) (C 569bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.75, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Notes the efforts undertaken by the State Party to continue to improve the conservation and management of the property, notably the maintenance and restoration works carried out in 2015 and 2016, and strongly encourages the State Party to proceed with the timely adoption and implementation of the draft Law “On Cultural Heritage and Museums”;
  4. Welcomes the progress made with the development of monitoring indicators related to the protection of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) during the April 2016 workshop, and also encourages the State Party and stakeholders to proceed with their finalization and continue monitoring and controlling development;
  5. Recalling the fundamental and urgent need for an overarching Integrated Management Plan (IMP) and appropriate control mechanisms for the property and its buffer zones and beyond, regrets that, despite its repeated requests, no progress has been reported on the development of such IMP for the property and urges the State Party to develop, as a matter of priority, an overarching IMP, including a risk management component with threat mitigation measures, and to:
    1. Develop an integrated urban conservation and development tool, based on a detailed survey and documentation of all buildings and environmental features in the urban settlement and its wider context, using if necessary the approach carried by the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (2011),and ensure strong inter-institutional cooperation in particular with the entities responsible for urban planning,
    2. Maintain the moratorium on new constructions within the property and buffer zones, until approval of the above-mentioned tools for protection and management of Berat and Gjirokastra;
  6. Requests the State Party to take into consideration the review and recommendations provided by the Advisory Bodies concerning the infrastructural projects, and in particular, with regard to the Gjirokastra Bypass Road project, reassess the carrying capacity and scale in order to minimize potential adverse impacts of this development project on the OUV of property;
  7. Reiterates its request to the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre the results of a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) concerning the entirety of the rehabilitation project at Berat Castle, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  8. Further encourages the State Party to continue to provide to the World Heritage Centre any development proposals before their official approval, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2018, 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 43rd session in 2019.
Draft Decision: 41 COM 7B.40

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7B.75, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Notes the efforts undertaken by the State Party to continue to improve the conservation and management of the property, notably the maintenance and restoration works carried out in 2015 and 2016, and strongly encourages the State Party to proceed with the timely adoption and implementation of the draft Law “On Cultural Heritage and Museums”;
  4. Welcomes the progress made with the development of monitoring indicators related to the protection of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) during the April 2016 workshop, and also encourages the State Party and stakeholders to proceed with their finalization and continue monitoring and controlling development;
  5. Recalling the fundamental and urgent need for an overarching Integrated Management Plan (IMP) and appropriate control mechanisms for the property and its buffer zones and beyond, regrets that, despite its repeated requests, no progress has been reported on the development of such IMP for the property and urges the State Party to develop, as a matter of priority, an overarching IMP, including a risk management component with threat mitigation measures, and to:
    1. Develop an integrated urban conservation and development tool, based on a detailed survey and documentation of all buildings and environmental features in the urban settlement and its wider context, using if necessary the approach carried by the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (2011),and ensure strong inter-institutional cooperation in particular with the entities responsible for urban planning,
    2. Maintain the moratorium on new constructions within the property and buffer zones, until approval of the above-mentioned tools for protection and management of Berat and Gjirokastra;
  6. Requests the State Party to take into consideration the review and recommendations provided by the Advisory Bodies concerning the infrastructural projects, and in particular, with regard to the Gjirokastra Bypass Road project, reassess the carrying capacity and scale in order to minimize potential adverse impacts of this development project on the OUV of property;
  7. Reiterates its request to the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre the results of a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) concerning the entirety of the rehabilitation project at Berat Castle, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  8. Further encourages the State Party to continue to provide to the World Heritage Centre any development proposals before their official approval, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  9. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2018, 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 43rd session in 2019.
Report year: 2017
Albania
Date of Inscription: 2005
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2016) .pdf
Report (2015) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 41COM (2017)
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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