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Historical Monuments of Mtskheta

Georgia
Factors affecting the property in 2021*
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Land conversion
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Lack of a management mechanism (issue resolved)
  • Lack of definition of the unified buffer zone (issue resolved)
  • 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 (issue resolved)
Threats for which the property was inscribed 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
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
Corrective Measures for the property
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2021

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

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2021
Requests approved: 4 (from 1997-2010)
Total amount approved : 96,160 USD
Missions to the property until 2021**

1993: World Heritage Centre mission; May 1994: ICOMOS Advisory mission; 1999: World Heritage Centre mission; May 2001: Heritage and Tourism Master Plan mission; 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 missions; July – September 2017: World Heritage Centre on-site technical assistance; December 2018: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission; February 2020: ICOMOS Advisory Mission

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 29 November 2019, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, the summary of which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/documents/. It provides information on measures implemented by the State Party in response to the Decision adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018) as follows: 

  • Adoption of the new “Code of Georgia on Planning of Space, Architectural and Construction Activities“ (entered in to the force on 3 June 2019);
  • Establishment of the Special Steering Committee (SC) and the Inter-institutional Professional Committee to support, supervise and monitor the elaboration of the Urban Planning Documentation;
  • Adoption of the decision to extend until July 2020, the Decree on Urban Development and Land Privatization in the Cultural Heritage Protection Zones of Mtskheta (known as the Moratorium).

Other conservation issues identified by the State Party in the report include further information on the implementation of a conservation project of the Minor Church of Jvari monastery (2015-2018), rehabilitation works for the Samtavro Valley archaeological site, stone conservation works of the Western Gate and rehabilitation works of the fragment of the western defence wall of Svetitskhoveli Cathedral Complex, and adaptation works of the new Mtskheta archaeological museum.

In 2018-2021, the State Party has submitted 36 project proposals, located within the boundaries, in the buffer zone and in the wider setting of the property, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, to the World Heritage Centre and for review by the Advisory Bodies.

Following a high-level meeting between the Assistant Director-General for Culture, the Vice-Prime Minister, the Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia and the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia held at UNESCO on 4 February 2020, constructive dialogue was enhanced between the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and national authorities in order to provide additional advisory assistance to the state institutions to finalise “Management Documentation for Spatial Territorial Development of Mtskheta”.

The State Party continued to send additional information to the World Heritage Centre in 2020 and 2021:

  • On 10 March 2020, information was provided in particular on the Mtskheta City Master Plan Concept, including all sectorial plans, projects and programmes related to the area, information on a Governmental Action Plan for Sustainable Development of “Great Mtskheta”, as well as the 2019-2020 Advisory assistance report;
  • On 23 December 2020, the State Party informed the Secretariat about the extension of the Moratorium beyond 1 January 2021, until uncertain date. Updates were provided on the Mtskheta City Master Plan, as following difficulties with the company contracted to advance the development, the State Party plans online consultation meetings with experts to progress with the document;
  • On 17 April 2021, documentation was received from the State Party on the planned Tbilisi Wind Power Plant to be implemented within the wide setting and outside the buffer zone of the property, followed by third party concerns on 23 April 2021;
  • On 17 May 2021, the State Party informed the World Heritage Centre that the development of the Management Documentation for Spatial-Territorial Development of Mtskheta (ULUMP) and of detailed guidance specifying conditions and construction limits is still slowing down due to COVID-19. Therefore, the Moratorium has been extended until the General Plan, Development Plans and Detailed Development Plans of Mtskheta are approved by the municipality.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2021

The State Party has achieved considerable progress in addressing the factors affecting the property. The development of the “Management Documentation for Spatial Territorial Development of Mtskheta”, including Mtskheta Urban Land Use Master Plan (ULUMP) is underway and this will deliver 1) General plan of Mtskheta; 2) Development Plans and Detailed Development Plans of Mtskheta; and 3) Mtskheta Spatial Planning and Urban Planning Information System.

In December 2018, at the request of the Georgian authorities, and in the context of the 2019-2020 Advisory assistance, a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission was invited to the property, and undertook the following:

  • Review of the progress with ULUMP, in particular the Mtskheta City Master Plan Concept - Stage II - a very important database that encompasses all the buildings and plots of the town and the surroundings in 3D representations, complemented by their basic data. This database will be a key tool in subsequent phases of the Master Plan, as well as for future monitoring of its implementation;
  • Review of the updated Terms of Reference for the elaboration of the Mtskheta Spatial Planning and Urban Planning Information System, based on a shared strategic spatial planning vision, integrating heritage and landscape as an essential component of the city;
  • Recommendation on the use of the 2011 Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach as a main tool to develop and introduce a long-term vision for the integrated protection of cultural heritage and sustainable development;
  • Review of a draft amendment to Decree N411 of Georgian Government on “Enactment of Special Regime of Regulation of Urban Development in Cultural Heritage Protection Zones of Mtskheta Municipality” (the Moratorium).

The extension of the Moratorium until further notice or until the approval of the General Plan, the Development Plans and Detailed Development Plans of Mtskheta by the municipality, is welcome. The Moratorium will include amendments introducing a softening of the regime in some parts of Mtskheta and detailed guidance specifying conditions and construction limits, and with a condition that the Moratorium will be removed only after the approval of the Spatial Urban Planning Information System and Territorial Documentation.

In line with these mission recommendations, the State Party, with the assistance of an independent international urban planner, has reinforced the process of elaboration of the Urban Planning Documentation.

It is recommended that the Committee endorse the recommendations of the 2018 Advisory mission, as well as support the 2019-2020 Advisory assistance process. The State Party should be requested to submit for review the remaining completed components of the ULUMP, including the Spatial Urban Planning Information System for the city of Mtskheta before approval.

It is noted that the State Party has submitted documentation on the planned Tbilisi Wind Power Plant to be implemented within the wide setting and outside the buffer zone of the property, and the proposal will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies.

The State Party should also be requested to continue to submit to the World Heritage Centre, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, all projects presented in the Mtskheta City Master Plan Concept, in particular those concerning “Tourism Gateways of Great Mtskheta“, “National Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage” and the “Museum of Spreading of Christianity”, including Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs) to be carried out already at the strategic level, for review by the Advisory Bodies before any irreversible action is taken.

The property is listed as a “Cultural Property Under Enhanced Protection”, a mechanism established by the 1999 Second Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention. In this regard, the highest-level protection measures, including risk and emergency preparedness, will need to be integrated in the Urban Planning Documentation.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2021
44 COM 7B.48
Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) (C 708)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7B.24, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Acknowledges the considerable progress made by the State Party to implement the Committee’s recommendations;
  4. Welcomes the development of the Mtskheta City Master Plan Concept database that encompasses all the buildings and plots of the town and the surroundings in 3D representations, complemented by basic data, a key tool in subsequent phases of the Master Plan, as well as for future monitoring of its implementation and strongly suggests the timely completion of the Mtskheta City Master Plan;
  5. Encourages the State Party to continue on-going work on the development of the “Management Documentation for Spatial Territorial Development of Mtskheta”, including Mtskheta Urban Land Use Master Plan (ULUMP), and to submit drafts of the main components of this plan to the World Heritage Centre for review by ICOMOS International by at the latest 1 February 2022;
  6. Also acknowledges the State Party’s decision to maintain the “Enactment of Special Regime of Regulation of Urban Development and Land Privatization in the Cultural Heritage Protection Zones of Mtskheta Municipality” (the Moratorium) until the “Management Documentation for Spatial Territorial Development of Mtskheta” has been adopted, and control and monitoring is fully in place; and also welcomes the decision by the State Party to extend the Moratorium until further notice, or until all the necessary systems and approvals are in place;
  7. Supports the on-going 2019-2020 Advisory assistance and endorses the recommendations of the 2018 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission and invites the State Party to implement these recommendations that relate to:
    1. The development of the ULUMP,
    2. The need to address existing urgent conservation issues that if left unresolved could have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property,
    3. The need for the development of a long-term vision for the historic urban landscape of Mtskheta, to guide the management of change resulting from increased commercial tourism with an approach that integrates cultural heritage with sustainable development;
  8. Requests the State Party to continue submitting, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, detailed information on any proposed development projects within the property, its buffer zone and setting, for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies prior to any decisions being taken that could be difficult to reverse;
  9. Reiterates its request to the State Party to undertake a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) for developments within the property and its buffer zone as a timely and appropriate method of assessing the multiple and cumulative impacts of current and planned developments, taking into account potential impacts on the OUV of the property, in conformity with the ICOMOS Guidelines on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage properties, prior to allowing any developments to take place and prior to the finalization and implementation of the ULUMP;
  10. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, 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 46th session.
Draft Decision: 44 COM 7B.48

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 42 COM 7B.24, adopted at its 42nd session (Manama, 2018),
  3. Acknowledges the considerable progress made by the State Party to implement the Committee’s recommendations;
  4. Welcomes the development of the Mtskheta City Master Plan Concept database that encompasses all the buildings and plots of the town and the surroundings in 3D representations, complemented by basic data, a key tool in subsequent phases of the Master Plan, as well as for future monitoring of its implementation and strongly suggests the timely completion of the Mtskheta City Master Plan;
  5. Encourages the State Party to continue on-going work on the development of the “Management Documentation for Spatial Territorial Development of Mtskheta”, including Mtskheta Urban Land Use Master Plan (ULUMP), and to submit drafts of the main components of this plan to the World Heritage Centre for review by ICOMOS International by at the latest 1 February 2022;
  6. Also acknowledges the State Party’s decision to maintain the “Enactment of Special Regime of Regulation of Urban Development and Land Privatization in the Cultural Heritage Protection Zones of Mtskheta Municipality” (the Moratorium) until the “Management Documentation for Spatial Territorial Development of Mtskheta” has been adopted, and control and monitoring is fully in place; and also welcomes the decision by the State Party to extend the Moratorium until further notice, or until all the necessary systems and approvals are in place;
  7. Supports the on-going 2019-2020 Advisory assistance and endorses the recommendations of the 2018 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission and invites the State Party to implement these recommendations that relate to:
    1. The development of the ULUMP,
    2. The need to address existing urgent conservation issues that if left unresolved could have a negative impact on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property,
    3. The need for the development of a long-term vision for the historic urban landscape of Mtskheta, to guide the management of change resulting from increased commercial tourism with an approach that integrates cultural heritage with sustainable development;
  8. Requests the State Party to continue submitting, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, detailed information on any proposed development projects within the property, its buffer zone and setting, for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies prior to any decisions being taken that could be difficult to reverse;
  9. Reiterates its request to the State Party to undertake a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) for developments within the property and its buffer zone as a timely and appropriate method of assessing the multiple and cumulative impacts of current and planned developments, taking into account potential impacts on the OUV of the property, in conformity with the ICOMOS Guidelines on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage properties, prior to allowing any developments to take place and prior to the finalization and implementation of the ULUMP;
  10. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, 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 46th session in 2023.
Report year: 2021
Georgia
Date of Inscription: 1994
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Danger List (dates): 2009-2016
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2019) .pdf
Initialy proposed for examination in 2020
arrow_circle_right 44COM (2021)
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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