Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) (C 708bis)
Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1994
Year(s) of inscription 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
Previous Committee Decisions see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/documents/
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 96,160
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/assistance/
UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds
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
Previous monitoring missions
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, February and December 2016: World Heritage Centre technical assistance mission
Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports
- Lack of a management mechanism (issue resolved)
- Lack of definition of the unified buffer zone (in progress)
- Lack of Urban Master Plan of the City of Mtskheta
- Insufficient coordination between the Georgian Church and the national authorities
- Privatization 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)
Illustrative material see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2017
On 31 January 2017, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/documents. A request for a minor boundary modification was also submitted in December 2016. The State Party provided information on the Western Route Export Pipeline (WREP) Sectional Replacement (SR) Project and the rehabilitation project of a fragment of the Western Wall of the Defense Wall at Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. The progress made with the implementation of the decision adopted by the Committee at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) is reported as follows:
- Urban Land-Use Master Plan (ULUMP): The submitted document continues to be revised and improved according to recommendations received in December 2016 by the World Heritage Centre technical mission. In the scope of the tripartite agreement between the State Party and UNESCO, and the World Bank (Georgia/UNESCO Agreement) technical assistance is being provided to the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation (NACHP) regarding the revision of the ULUMP and development of the Urban Master Plan, and reinforcement of capacities for town administrators and all relevant stakeholders;
- Moratorium on urban development: The moratorium on Urban Development and Land Privatization in the Cultural Heritage Protection Zones of Mtskheta has been prolonged until 31 December 2018 with the condition that a full set of town planning documentation including the ULUMP and Historical-Cultural Base Plan be elaborated;
- Strategic spatial planning: Further work is needed, and the December 2016 World Heritage Centre mission provided assistance with setting up a revised action plan and in defining the cultural protection zones for the town of Mtskheta;
- Governance, planning and management: Since January 2017, the Mtskheta City Municipality has established a Temporary Working Group for Urban Planning in charge of the technical elaboration and implementation of the ULUMP. Its work is overseen by a Steering Committee composed of representatives of the main stakeholders (Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, NACHP, the Patriarchate, etc.);
- Stakeholder involvement: The Steering Committee ensures sharing and communication between all stakeholders as well as awareness raising to promote participation and involvement of the public;
- Jvari site: the NACHP has developed a guiding document for Conservation Plans for all components of Mtskheta. The document includes assessment of implemented conservation and identifies needs for long-term conservation;
- Minor boundary modification: The unified buffer zone, including the panorama along the rivers and mountain setting was adopted by Decree of the Minister of Culture in June 2016. The proposal for a minor boundary modification of the unified buffer zone was submitted to the World Heritage Committee;
- Mtskheta Archaeological Museum: The conservation and management of the collection and the new building project are ongoing.
Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
- Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM
Overall progress with the implementation of the recommendations has been achieved by the State Party. Regarding the Urban Land-Use Master Plan (ULUMP), it was rejected by the Municipal Council as it didn’t provide the adequate land use analysis and zoning. It will be revised in line with the recommendations provided by technical advisory missions in the framework of the Georgia/UNESCO Agreement and further progress is expected with the elaboration of a full set of town planning documentation (Master Plan) and an improved regulatory framework applicable to the whole City of Mtskheta. The Committee may welcome the extending of the moratorium and encourage the State Party to develop a detailed operational workplan for the revision and finalisation of the ULUMP and launching of the Master Plan.
The State Party should be encouraged for the progress made and the ongoing process to create comprehensive measures and join steering mechanisms between major stakeholders to eliminate the threats to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV); however, the situation is still fragile. Specifically in relation to the Master Plan, the World Heritage Centre stresses the importance for the State Party to define feasible procedures for strengthening the working relationship between all stakeholders concerned, in particular the National Agency (NACHP), the Department of Spatial Planning and the city of Mtskheta.
In accordance with the recommendations elaborated in the scope of the Georgia/UNESCO Agreement in January 2017, the Mtskheta City Municipality Council has established a Temporary Working Group for Urban Planning and the Steering Committee. This is a further positive step towards ensuring adequate planning, efficient management and decision-making.
The Memorandum of Collaboration on Cultural Heritage issues, signed between the Georgian Apostolic Autocephaly Orthodox Church and the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, provides an important tool for coordination of actions and cooperation between the two institutions.
It is recommended that the Committee invites the State Party to ensure that, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, any projects which may be proposed in the future in the immediate and wider setting of the World Heritage property be submitted to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible, before any tender is launched or decision taken.
Detailed analysis and recommendations of the projects on the WREP SR pipeline, the rehabilitation of the fragment of the Western Wall of the Defense Wall at Svetitskhoveli Church and the Mtskheta Archaeological Museum have been provided to the State Party. Therefore, the State Party should review the projects in question according to the recommendations provided.
The proposed unified buffer zone is certainly a positive step. However, additional and detailed analysis of the current situation and trends within the historic core of the city and the surrounding areas should be undertaken, as part of the process of the development of the Urban Land Use Master Plan and Master Plan, as well as in line with the technical assistance recommendation provided within the framework of the Georgia/UNESCO Agreement. A minor boundary modification for the buffer zone of the property will be examined by the Committee under item 8B of its Agenda at its 41st session.
The joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission requested by the Committee at its 40th session, has been formally invited by the State Party and should be undertaken before 31 December 2017.
Decision Adopted: 41 COM 7B.44
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Document WHC/17/41.COM/7B,
- Recalling Decisions 38 COM 7A.17, 39 COM 7A.41 and 40 COM 7A.29, adopted at its 38th (Doha, 2014), 39th (Bonn, 2015) and 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) sessions respectively,
- Welcomes the progress made by the State Party with the implementation of the recommendations, notably improvements to the Urban Land-Use Master Plan (ULUMP);
- Also welcomes the progress made by State Party in establishing a Temporary Working Group for Urban Planning and Steering Committee;
- Takes note of the tripartite agreement signed between the State Party and UNESCO, and the World Bank (Georgia/UNESCO Agreement,) to provide technical assistance in the elaboration of the Urban Master Plan of the City of Mtskheta;
- Encourages the State Party to develop a detailed operational workplan and procedures for the revision and finalisation of the ULUMP and development of the Master Plan, as well as ensuring stakeholder involvement and proceed with the finalisation and implementation of the ULUMP and Master Plan, as a matter of priority;
- Encourages the State Party to implement the recommendations and advice of the technical assistance reports provided in the framework of the Georgia/UNESCO Agreement;
- Requests the State Party to ensure that, in line with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, any projects which may be proposed in the future in the immediate and wider setting of the World Heritage property be submitted to the World Heritage Centre as soon as possible, before any tender is launched or decision taken to implement projects;
- Recommends that the State Party reviews the projects, such as the Western Route Export Pipeline (WREP) sectional replacement, the rehabilitation of the fragment of the Western Wall of the Defense Wall at Svetitskhoveli Church and the Mtskheta Archaeological Museum collection conservation and new building finalisation, according to the recommendations provided;
- Takes note with satisfaction that the State Party has submitted the proposal for a minor boundary modification of the unified buffer zone;
- Also takes note that the joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission has been invited by the State Party and also requests that it be undertaken before 31 December 2017;
- Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 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 42nd session in 2018.
Decision Adopted: 41 COM 8B.44
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Documents WHC/17/41.COM/8B.Add and WHC/17/41.COM/INF.8B1.Add,
- Approves the proposed buffer zone for Historical Monuments of Mtskheta, Georgia;
- Recommends that the State Party give consideration to the following:
- Elaborating the Mtskheta Urban Land Use Master Plan through specific provisions to address the management of different areas,
- Reviewing the range of protective instruments and mechanisms to ensure integrated and comprehensive protection;
- Also recommends, if a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission is organised, it also assesses the effectiveness of management of the modified buffer zone;
- Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2018, as part of the requested report on the state of conservation of the property (Decision 41 COM 7B.44), a progress report on the implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session in 2018.