1.         Historic Centre of Bukhara (Uzbekistan) (C 602bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1993

Criteria  (ii)(iv)(vi)

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/602/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1995-2021)
Total amount approved: USD 130,960
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/602/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided: 2016: USD 30,670 from the UNESCO/Netherlands Funds-in-Trust project for the Application of the UNESCO Recommendation on Historic Urban landscape (HUL, 2011) at the World Heritage properties ‘Historic Centre of Bukhara’ and ‘Samarkand – Crossroads of Cultures’; 2019: USD 43,115 UNESCO/Netherlands Funds-in-Trust project “Building capacity in managing World Heritage properties, interconnection of development and heritage preservation in Uzbekistan and Central Asia”

Previous monitoring missions

1998: ICOMOS Reactive Assessment mission; October 2010: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; March 2016: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; April 2018: ICOMOS Advisory Mission; January 2020: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/602/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2023

On 24 November 2022, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/602/documents/. Progress in a number of conservation issues addressed by the Committee at its previous sessions is presented in this report, as follows:

The State Party would welcome a visit to Bukhara by experts from the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and the IAC.

In February 2023, the World Heritage Centre received a third-party petition relating to the reported construction work approved by the local authorities and requested the verification of the State Party on 1 March.

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

The State Party and its agencies continue to address previously identified threats to the OUV of the property through regulatory change, capacity building, preparation of additional guidance documents, proposed conservation works and other initiatives. This progress should be supported through the newly established IAC for World Heritage properties in Uzbekistan, which organized its first technical session in July 2022. The Committee may wish to welcome the establishment of the of the ACH, the local Public Scientific Advisory Council and the IAC for World Heritage properties in Uzbekistan, noting that the IAC’s role is to advise the national authorities on the conservation of cultural heritage properties and the implementation of Committee decisions and previous mission recommendations, without superseding the capacity of the World Heritage Committee.

The continuation of current moratorium on development and new work and its extension to include the buffer zone of the property, pending the finalization of key management documents and other conservation/design guidelines is welcome. Additional work remains necessary to integrate the approach of the UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (2011) and to ensure the adequate recognition of the property’s World Heritage status within the Master Plan for the City and a better process for Heritage Impact Assessments (HIA), in accordance with Decisions 42 COM 7A.4 and 44 COM 7B.38. The moratorium should remain in place until the Master Plan for the City and the Management Plan for the property have been finalized, following submission to the World Heritage Centre and positive review by ICOMOS. It is also welcome that guidelines for conservation, renovation, infrastructure installation, and the location, scale and form of new developments, alterations and additions have been prepared and distributed in local language to local communities.

Previous technical reviews of conservation projects proposed at Shakhristan Bazaar, Kalon Mosque, Abdulazzizkhan Madrassah, Amir Alimkhan Madrassah, Mir Arab Madrassah, within the Ark Citadel and for Khoja Kalon Hauz, identified the need for changes. The revised documentation for these projects should also be subject to Technical Review. Stabilisation of the Abdulazzizkhan Madrassah is an urgent priority, to be followed by long-term conservation and the State Party should be invited to provide a further update on this project. The State Party is also requested to provide the final report on the International Assistance funding that has been provided to Abdullakhan Madrasa.

For major projects, HIAs should be prepared and should follow the Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessment in a World Heritage Context, and detailed project documentation should continue to be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review. This approach should be adopted for the proposed installation of 15 vertical drainage wells, which are intended to address salinity and groundwater issues.

As reported to previous sessions of the Committee, vernacular architectures, which are highly important yet insufficiently protected elements of the property remain under threat. The 2016 and 2020 Reactive Monitoring missions noted that there was insufficient control over development in mahallas, especially for traditional houses with no national protection. There is a continuing need for stronger legal protection and planning codes for cultural heritage and appropriate incentives for building owners. In light of the regular advices from local inhabitants, the State Party is also requested to continue assisting the regional authorities in undertaking appropriate dialogue with local stakeholders, including developers, investors and populations, notably on the rules and policies about the conservation, demolition and construction towards the local authorities and inhabitants on the obligations, procedures, roles of each stakeholder in the implementation of the World Heritage Convention at national and local level.

Decision Adopted: 45 COM 7B.174

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/23/45.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 44 COM 7B.38 adopted at its extended 44th session (Fuzhou/online, 2021),
  3. Welcomes the progress made to address previously identified threats to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property through regulatory change, capacity building, preparation of additional guidance documents, and proposed conservation works;
  4. Also welcomes the establishment of the of the Agency for Cultural Heritage (ACH), the local Public Scientific Advisory Council and the International Advisory Committee (IAC) for World Heritage properties in Uzbekistan and emphasizes that the IAC with the support of its experts should advise the national authorities on the conservation of the cultural heritage properties and implementation of Committee decisions and previous mission recommendations;
  5. Notes that substantial revisions are necessary to incorporate the outcomes of the 2020 Reactive Monitoring mission into the Management Plan and integrate the principles of the Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (2011) within the Master Plan, and further welcomes advice from the State Party that the moratorium on development and new work has been extended to include the buffer zone of the property and will remain in place until the integrated Master Plan and Management Plan are finalised, submitted to the World Heritage Centre and positively reviewed;
  6. Reiterates its previous request that the State Party implement fully the recommendations of the 2020 mission;
  7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies, and in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, revised detailed project documentation for proposed works to Shakhristan Bazaar, Kalon Mosque, Amir Alimkhan Madrassah, Mir Arab Madrassah, within the Ark Citadel and Khoja Kalon Hauz, and further requests the State Party to provide a report on urgent conservation works to Abdulazzizkhan Madrassah, as well as on the implementation of the project for Abdulakhan Madrassa, which have been supported through International Assistance;
  8. Encourages the State Party to continue to prepare Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs) for all major conservation or development projects, and to adopt the methodology of the Guidance and Toolkit for Impact Assessments in a World Heritage Context, and to continue to submit detailed project documentation to the World Heritage Centre for review, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, including for the proposed installation of 15 vertical drainage wells, which are intended to address salinity and groundwater issues;
  9. Also encourages the State Party to ensure that stronger legal protection, planning codes and owner incentives are provided to control development in mahallas, including protection for individual traditional houses, which are not listed under national protection, as these are attributes supporting the OUV of the property, as well as the continued efforts to deepen the understanding of all stakeholders on the rules, regulations and role of each stakeholder relating to the World Heritage properties, especially the local authorities and inhabitants;
  10. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2024, 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 47th session.