1.         Ensemble of the Ferapontov Monastery (Russian Federation) (C 982)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2000

Criteria  (i)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/982/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/982/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

December 2010: joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Lack of an overall management system 

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/982/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

The State Party provided a comprehensive state of conservation report on 1 February 2011. It informed the World Heritage Centre that a Federal Law on the transfer of State or Municipal properties of religious origin to religious organizations had been approved by the President of the Russian Federation in 2010. While the state of conservation report describes in detail approaches to conservation work for each component of the ensemble, the State Party emphasizes the importance of numerous proposals for tourism development (new hotels and ethnographic houses, removal of windmills, rebuilding existing structures on a larger scale, such as the 19th century Tea House and the reconstructed Dionysos’ School in Ferrapontovo). The report also proposes reconstruction of certain spaces within the monastery to be used for visitors and museum facilities. The reconstructions proposed are justified in terms of completing former historic layouts to meet service needs, in spite of a lack of detailed documentation to support these proposals. The report further describes the desire of the State Party to expand the boundaries of the World Heritage property.

A joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission was carried out at the property from 5 to 12 December 2010. Further to the adoption of the abovementioned Federal Law, the presence of a representative of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate during the mission was a clear sign of the importance given by the religious authorities to the implementation of the World Heritage Convention. The mission report is available online at the following web address: https://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/35COM/.

The principle recommendations of the mission are the following:

a) Management structure

The existing structure does not guarantee appropriate coordination between stakeholders. Different actors are involved, without sufficient coordination, in the management of different components of the property. Insufficient coordination and inadequate control represent potential threats for the property. The involvement of the Russian Orthodox Church is still unclear, although under the new Federal Law, it should play a key role in the future management of the property.

The State Party needs to establish a special board, including all stakeholders concerned, as well as representatives of the Patriarchate of Moscow and All-Russia, as previously requested by the World Heritage Committee, in order to develop and implement appropriate legal measures and rules for conservation, restoration and use, a joint management system for the religious World Heritage properties in the Russian Federation, and specific measures appropriate for each religious property.

b) State of conservation

The mission highlights the professionalism of the conservation work of the mural paintings in the church of Nativity of the Virgin. The layers of frescoes have been consolidated and cleaned using a specific methodology. This includes a consolidation under each shell layer of paint, instead of a full consolidation of the entire surface of the fresco. To ensure the absolute authenticity of all frescoes, alterations and improvisations have been banned. The missing fragments are left in neutral white. However, the mission noted a certain disproportion in the overall conservation approach. Over the past ten years, interventions have focused almost exclusively in the Church of Nativity of the Virgin, while all other components have been relatively abandoned (Martynian churches, Epiphany and Ferrapont). There is a significant delay in the maintenance of the property, and this has led to physical damage to the architectural structures. The mission also observed an inappropriate use of certain parts of the monastery. The mission recommended that the State Party should put in place permanent monitoring of the property to halt and prevent any structural degradation of its components.

c) Management, protection and boundary issues

The draft management plan submitted by the State Party was considered inadequate by the mission. In addition to the property, it includes two other sites (the Kirilo-Belozersky monastery and Tzipinski Pogost) with a clear intention of presenting arguments for a possible new serial nomination. The plan proposes a very superficial analysis of real problems related to the property, lacks proposals on the main instruments of a master plan, legal protection, limitations, development plans and the management system. It appears that the obvious aim of this plan is to prove the need for new constructions. The proposed Action Plan is limited and not sufficiently argued. The mission noted a lack of information on planned financial resources for the implementation of programmes and measures of protection, preservation and management of the property. Currently resources are not allocated according to clear and detailed short and long term programs, but only for occasional events: anniversaries, celebrations, official visits, etc.

The mission also reviewed new construction projects within the property and considers that the State Party should not permit any reconstruction and/or development projects within the inscribed property. The State Party should provide information on any projects and activities, such as the Touristic Complex or the School of Dionysos, which may impact the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines. All illegal and inappropriate structures and constructions within the property and its buffer zone should be removed.

The State Party should elaborate four integrated plans to ensure efficient management and protection of the property:

- A detailed urban plan, which would establish construction regulations in the buffer zone in accordance with existing detailed protection regimes;

- A detailed development plan of the property and its landscape, including specifications for land use, house facilities, urban equipment, lighting, planting trees and advertising;  

- A conservation master plan which would allow for regular planning of all conservation activities on the property;

- A management plan that would co-ordinate the impacts of all management instruments, including legal protection and all development plans, and result in a realistic and comprehensive action plan with resources and responsibilities established.

Following an analysis of the current situation, the mission recommended that the State Party should consider submitting an official request for possible modification of the boundaries of the inscribed property and its buffer zone in order to ensure a proper protection of the property and to conform to the boundaries actually in use for the property management. The State Party should develop and adopt a detailed protection regime for the buffer zone of the property, including specific regulations for constructions and land use, and strengthen the system of development control within it.

e) Tourism

The mission did not receive any information on this issue. The land located in the vicinity of the property is designated in the Master Plan for the construction of a tourist complex "The School of Dionysus" but no detailed information on this project was provided. The project appears to represent a potential threat to the traditional panorama dominated by the monastery Ferrapontov and its construction should be suspended until a thorough assessment is carried out concerning its impact on the Outstanding Universal Value.

All potential tourist facilities and services should not negatively affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and should be developed in the buffer zone by using already existing buildings. Altogether, the State Party should develop a comprehensive tourism strategy and program of tourist visits. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies stress the importance of strengthening the overall co-ordination among all key property stakeholders, including religious authorities, museum operators and tourism developers and site manager. This can be supported by establishing a Special Board, including all stakeholders concerned, as previously requested by the World Heritage Committee, and by putting in place a series of new planning mechanisms (including urban and development plans, a conservation master plan and a management plan).

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies also stress the need to ensure permanent monitoring of the property in order to halt and prevent any structural degradation of property components.  

They note that the boundaries of the property and buffer zone do not correspond to the operational boundaries used by the property’s managers, and suggest that the State Party address this contradiction urgently. They also consider that protection mechanisms need to be introduced for the buffer zone to allow for the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies are also concerned about potential negative impact of planned tourism development facilities, such as ‘The School of Dionysus’ project, and also those in place, and suggest that all tourism development be evaluated to ensure that they will not negatively impact on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value and that inappropriate structures are removed. 

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.106

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.97, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Requests the State Party to implement all the recommendations of the 2010 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission, including:

a) Establish a series of integrated planning such as urban and development plans, a conservation master plan and a management plan, including tourism strategy,

b) Ensure a permanent monitoring of the property with a view of halting and preventing any structural degradation of its components,

c) Establish a protection regime for the buffer zone of the property and strengthen the system of development control within it,

d) Ensure that all tourism development plans be subservient to the overall master plan, 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,

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

4. Reiterates its request to the State Party to establish a special board, including all stakeholders concerned, as well as representatives of the Patriarchate of Moscow and All-Russia, in order to develop appropriate legal measures and rules for specific conservation, restoration and use, as well as a joint management system for the religious World Heritage properties in the Russian Federation;

5. Also reiterates its request to the State Party to inform the World Heritage Centre of any construction, reconstruction, restoration projects and activities which may threaten the Outstanding Universal Value of a property inscribed on the World Heritage List in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;

6. Also requests the State Party to halt work on the "The School of Dionysus" tourism complex until a cultural heritage impact assessment on the Outstanding Universal Value is carried out, in line with the ICOMOS Guidance on Heritage Impact Assessments for Cultural World Heritage properties, and submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies;

7. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, a progress report on the state of conservation of the property, including the management structure, legal and institutional mechanisms and information or studies related to ongoing developments at the property, as well as the revised draft management plan of the property and a progress report on the implementation of the abovementioned requests and mission's recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session in 2013.