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Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastra

Albania
Factors affecting the property in 2019*
  • 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
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • 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 2019

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 Gjirokastra – Albania”

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2019
Requests approved: 4 (from 2002-2018)
Total amount approved : 80,416 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019

On 28 November 2018, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/569/documents and presents progress in a number of conservation issues addressed by the Committee at its previous sessions, as follows:

  • The new Law “On Cultural Heritage and Museums” was adopted in May 2018. New General Urban Plans (GUP) have been approved for both municipalities, following which the moratorium on new constructions within the property and buffer zones was lifted;
  • Site managers started to use the monitoring indicators developed in the framework of International Assistance, as a tool to control and monitor development;
  • The State Party‘s International Assistance request “Development of Integrated Management Plan of Gjirokastra and Berat” was approved in July 2018. Its implementation is planned for 2019;
  • The State Party did not proceed with conducting a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) for the rehabilitation project at Berat Castle, as there is currently no funding for the now outdated project;
  • The State Party, in addition to other funding sources, has made a number of investments in maintenance and restoration works in 2017 and 2018;
  • In the framework of International Assistance, a regional workshop was held in Gjirokastra in July 2018 on Emergency Response to Cultural Heritage at Risk, training experts from South-East Europe (SEE) countries;
  • The State Party reported on a number of ongoing and planned development projects in the property, in compliance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines:
    • Reconstruction of the ex Bar-Restaurant “Fantazia” in Gjirokastra: ICOMOS comments on the revised October 2018 project have been shared with the State Party,
    • Project for Integrated Urban and Tourism Development (PIUTD) and Berat Development Vision and Integrated Urban Development Concept (IUDC): comments provided by ICOMOS are currently being reflected in the respective final versions by the Albanian Development Fund (ADF),
    • Rehabilitation of infrastructure and restoration of cobblestone streets in the Bazaar of Gjirokastra: works are currently being implemented in the framework of the PIUTD project,
    • Castle of Gjirokastra: the terms of reference for a detailed study of the castle slope stabilization after damage due to heavy rain falls are currently being finalized,
    • Rehabilitation of the “Mihal Kommeno” street in Berat: infrastructure works have been completed,
    • Restoration of religious buildings in Berat and Gjirokastra: restoration works on four religious buildings in both cities will be completed by the end of 2019;
  • The State Party did not address the Gjirokastra Bypass Road project in its report. Additional information was requested on 18 December 2018 by the World Heritage Centre. A response was received on 26 March, which included the notification that this project has been suspended but did not include further details.

In response to third party information submitted outlining a continual loss of built heritage in the property, further additional information was requested from the State Party. No response had been received at the time of drafting this document.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2019

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 2017 and 2018, are noted. The approval of the Law “On Cultural Heritage and Museums” and the General Urban Plans (GUP) for both municipalities is welcomed. The active use by site managers of the monitoring indicators related to the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), developed during the workshop held in April 2016, is welcomed. Authorities and stakeholders are encouraged to continue monitoring and controlling development at the property.

The development of an overarching Integrated Management Plan (IMP) is planned for 2019. It is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to indeed develop this IMP as a matter of priority, including a risk management component with threat mitigation measures. In addition, it will be necessary to prepare an integrated urban conservation and development tool, which is to be an integral part of the overarching IMP, based on a detailed survey and documentation of all buildings and environmental features that are located in the urban settlement and within its context, applying the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (2011). It is noted that the moratorium on new constructions within the property and buffer zones in place since 2013, was lifted following the approval of the GUPs of the respective municipalities. However, it is recommended that the State Party reinstate and maintain the moratorium until approval and full implementation of the above-mentioned tools for protection and management of Berat and Gjirokastra.

The revised project for the reconstruction of the ex Bar-Restaurant “Fantazia” in Gjirokastra has been reviewed by ICOMOS and is deemed to be an improvement over the original design. Some minor recommendations have been provided to the State Party. The proposed Terms of Reference of the PlUTD could be accepted as a good basis for the final project. The State Party should, however, take into consideration the remarks of the ICOMOS technical review, in particular with regards to linking it to the Management Plan of the World Heritage property. ICOMOS considers the draft final report of the Berat Development Vision and IUDC a well-elaborated, valuable document. However, it is recommended that it be complemented by strategic proposals and practical solutions related to the phenomenon of illegal building activities. It is recommended that the State Party be encouraged to consider carefully the ICOMOS technical reviews submitted in 2017 and 2018, and keep the World Heritage Centre informed of ways through which these comments are being taken into account. Additionally, it is recommended that the State Party submit the Terms of Reference of the stabilization study and project for the Castle of Gjirokastra to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies, as well as any other development proposals before their approval or implementation.

The state of conservation of the property, loss of important heritage fabric and inappropriate new developments in the property and its buffer zone remain of great concern.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2019
43 COM 7B.79
Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastra (Albania) (C 569bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.40, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  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 2017 and 2018, and welcomes the adoption of the draft Law “On Cultural Heritage and Museums” and the General Urban Plans for both municipalities and requests their urgent implementation;
  4. Also notes that the Gjirokastra Bypass project has been suspended and also requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed on such projects;
  5. Also welcomes the progress made with the implementation of monitoring indicators related to the protection of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), and encourages the State Party and stakeholders to continue monitoring and controlling development in order to safeguard the OUV of the property;
  6. Recalls 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, and noting the approved International Assistance request to develop such a plan, further request the State Party to:
    1. Develop, as a matter of priority and implement after review by the Advisory Bodies an overarching IMP, including a risk management component with threat mitigation measures,
    2. Develop and implement, after review by the Advisory Bodies, 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 applying the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (2011), and ensure strong inter-institutional cooperation in particular with those entities responsible for urban planning,
    3. Reinstate the moratorium on new constructions within the property and buffer zones, and maintain it until approval of the above-mentioned tools for protection and management of Berat and Gjirokastra,
    4. Develop mechanisms and programmes to advance the restoration and conservation of the built fabric of the property;
  7. Requests furthermore the State Party to take into consideration the review and recommendations provided by the Advisory Bodies concerning the Project of Integrated Urban and Tourism Development (PlUTD) and Berat Development Vision and Integrated Urban Development Concept (IUDC), and keep the World Heritage Centre informed of ways through which these comments are being taken into account;
  8. Also encourages the State Party to continue providing 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. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2020, 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 45th session in 2021.
Draft Decision: 43 COM 7B.79

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.40, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  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 2017 and 2018, and welcomes the adoption of the draft Law “On Cultural Heritage and Museums” and the General Urban Plans for both municipalities and requests their urgent implementation;
  4. Also notes that the Gjirokastra Bypass project has been suspended and also requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed on such projects;
  5. Also welcomes the progress made with the implementation of monitoring indicators related to the protection of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), and encourages the State Party and stakeholders to continue monitoring and controlling development in order to safeguard the OUV of the property;
  6. Recalls 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, and noting the approved International Assistance request to develop such a plan, further request the State Party to:
    1. Develop, as a matter of priority and implement after review by the Advisory Bodies an overarching IMP, including a risk management component with threat mitigation measures,
    2. Develop and implement, after review by the Advisory Bodies, 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 applying the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (2011), and ensure strong inter-institutional cooperation in particular with those entities responsible for urban planning,
    3. Reinstate the moratorium on new constructions within the property and buffer zones, and maintain it until approval of the above-mentioned tools for protection and management of Berat and Gjirokastra,
    4. Develop mechanisms and programmes to advance the restoration and conservation of the built fabric of the property;
  7. Requests furthermore the State Party to take into consideration the review and recommendations provided by the Advisory Bodies concerning the Project of Integrated Urban and Tourism Development (PlUTD) and Berat Development Vision and Integrated Urban Development Concept (IUDC), and keep the World Heritage Centre informed of ways through which these comments are being taken into account;
  8. Also encourages the State Party to continue providing 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. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2020, 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 45th session in 2021.
Report year: 2019
Albania
Date of Inscription: 2005
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2018) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 43COM (2019)
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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