1.         Mount Athos (Greece) (C/N 454)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1988

Criteria  (i)(ii)(iv)(v)(vi)(vii)

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/454/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/454/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

January/February 2006: joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS / IUCN mission

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/454/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2010

The World Heritage Committee decision taken at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008) while noting with satisfaction the continuous efforts between the national authorities and the leadership of the monastic community to collaborate effectively, also noted that the submitted State Party reports did not address the need to prepare an overall management framework for the property, as recommended by the joint mission of 2006 and endorsed by the World Heritage Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006). The Committee therefore urged the State Party and competent authorities to continue to implement all recommendations of the joint mission.

The State Party submitted a report on 1 February 2010, which includes a report prepared by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture on the “Conservation Works of the 10th Ephorate of Byzantine and post-Byzantine Antiquities during the period 2008-2009” and also a “Supplementary Memorandum from the Holy Community of Mount Athos on the state of conservation of Mt. Athos”, dated December 2009. 

The State Party report describes conservation, restoration and excavation works undertaken at seven Mount Athos monasteries during 2008-2009 by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism with European financial support, and on successfully mounting an exposition “Mount Athos and the Byzantine Empire, Treasures from the Holy Mountain” which took place in Paris from April to July 2009. This report does not refer to the requests of the Committee formulated at its 32nd session.

The Holy Community report provides a comprehensive overview of actions taken during 2008-2009 to improve conservation of the World Heritage property including development of a “Mount Athos Digital Ark” with the objective of digitization and systematic electronic documentation of the cultural resources of all of the monasteries, projects concerning buildings and infrastructure (including those concerned with improving safety in the monasteries), projects improving environmental conditions and management (including projects for renewable energy source development, waste management, anti erosion, floodwater management, forest fire management, forest coppice management, natural disaster management for the peninsula), and a framework for comprehensive management of the property’s natural and cultural values. 

With reference to the management framework, the Holy Community has made a formal undertaking to prepare a broad management study for Mt. Athos, the first phase of which involves launching a consultant-led, multi-disciplinary preliminary study to help shape the desired management framework. It is expected that the study will address goals of the larger study terms of reference, organisation, methodology, costs and funding. The preliminary study is described as addressing as the main points recommended in the 2006 mission, and seven of these are listed in the Holy Community report, touching key issues important from both cultural and natural heritage perspectives. The report concludes by noting the importance of conservation activity being carried out in the context of preserving traditional “institutional forms” of Mount Athos and “integrated and systematic response’ in collaboration with the national authorities. 

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies commend the Holy Community and the national authorities for the progress made since the 32nd session of the World Heritage Committee in developing modes of co-operation that respect their respective realities and working parameters, while collaboratively seeking the preservation of the outstanding universal value of the World Heritage property, in ways which maintain and strengthen the spiritual role played by Mt. Athos in the contemporary world.

They welcome the initial steps taken by the Holy Community to develop a management framework for Mt. Athos which will bring cultural and natural heritage together, pursues the objectives established by the 2006 mission, and notes the importance of involving the Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre in the early stages of this work to ensure understanding of the Outstanding Universal Value is a key factor in articulating the management framework. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies


Decision Adopted: 34 COM 7B.40

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-10/34.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.43, adopted at its 32nd (Quebec City, 2008) session,

3. Notes with satisfaction the efforts of the national authorities and the Holy Community of Mount Athos to strengthen collaboration for the long-term conservation of the World Heritage property;

4. Also notes with appreciation the report of the Holy Community transmitted through the national authorities concerning efforts to implement all recommendations of the 2006 joint reactive monitoring mission, in particular the development of an overall management framework for the property covering both natural and cultural values, as endorsed by the World Heritage Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006);

5. Urges the State Party and the Holy Community to consider possibilities to support a multi-disciplinary workshop of key stakeholders to shape the approach to development of the management framework;

6. Requests the State Party, in collaboration with the Holy Community, to provide to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2012 a report on progress made in developing an integrated management framework and in implementing the recommendations of the joint 2006 World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN reactive monitoring mission, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.