1.         Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg (Austria) (C 784)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1996

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/784/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/784/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions

January 2009: joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Urban development pressure, high-rise projects;

b) Train station project outside the buffer zone. 

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/784/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2009

The World Heritage Committee, at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008), regretted that the State Party had not provided the requested report on the state of conservation of the property, and expressed its concern about the lack of information on major on-going development projects, and the lack of progress in completing a management plan meant to ensure the protection of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.

In compliance with the World Heritage Committee’s request, the State Party submitted a detailed report on the urban development projects on 31 October 2008, and the management plan and a report on the state of conservation of the property on 29 January 2009.

The State Party’s report including the management plan (which is described by the State Party as an outline document, not yet complete), was submitted to the mission during its visit and passed to the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS for review at that time. The report also provided an overview of the state of conservation of the property and complemented the report submitted on 31 October 2008 on current urban development projects.

The State Party report presents a number of projects currently being planned and reviewed which may have long-term impacts on the property. Among these are infrastructure projects such as the possible construction of a small hydroelectric power plant outside the buffer zone and which would necessitate a dam on the Salzach river, the Kapuzinerberg tunnel project long discussed and now the object of a feasibility study to conclude in 2010, as well as a possible underground parking project in Makart Square in the World Heritage property. The report also describes restoration and rehabilitation projects, including the renewal project for the “Alte Diakonie”,, the planned refurbishment of the Old Town Hall as well as the completed work at Max Reinhardt Square involving the enlargement of the Furtwangler Garden.

The State Party report also reviews a number of recent and planned projects within and beyond the buffer zone of the World Heritage property. These include the University Campus Nonntal (implementation delayed), the railway bridge, the railway station, the railway station square, the Stern Brewery (begun in 2008 and to be completed in 2010), and the Uzilinga project.


a) Results of the joint UNESCO World Heritage Centre/ ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission

A joint UNESCO World Heritage Centre/ ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to the World Heritage property took place from 27 to 29 January 2009 to assess the potential impact on the Outstanding Universal Value that could result from the implementation of the urban development projects mentioned above.

The mission report stated that “The traditional city structure of the Old Town of Salzburg, its architectural ensembles, the roofscape as well as to the individual buildings, town houses, castles and churches are well preserved. Moreover, there is a vital practice of continuing Salzburg’s tradition as a centre of performing arts, in particular those linked to its prominent resident genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.”

However, the mission report noted that in a number of recent projects, the loss or relocation of valuable built fabric were problematic. The mission report also noted that the rehabilitation and use of the open spaces and squares in the historic centre was “not always in line with appropriate safeguarding principles and measures”, and that single new constructions were designed without regard for the historically evolved urban structures of the city, or the city’s traditionally important views.

While the report describes several projects as exemplary (the restoration of the Residence Fountain, the contemporary building of the “Alte Diakonie”, the Makart bridge), it also notes shortcomings in other projects in terms of respect for existing urban scale and historic patterns (design of the Max Reinhardt Square, design ofthe concert hall of the new Mozarteumwhoseunbalanced proportions and material negatively impact the Mirabell Gardens and the ensemble of Mirabell Castle, and the exceeding height of new constructions in the Sternbrewery complex), loss of in situ historic fabric (the relocation of walls of a Roman house in the new Museum Carolino Augusteum), the demolition of the frontage of the Small Festival Hall (Kleines Festspielhaus).

Finally, the report also emphasizes the need to be vigilant when implementing current and possible future projects, such as the installation of a new lift in the Old Town Hall, the access road to the Museum of Contemporary Art on the historic Mönchsberg fortifications, and possible tunnelling through the Kapuzinerberg to facilitate access to the historic centre.

Based on its review of the main projects, the mission report points out a number of instances where the Republic of Austria, the Federal State of Salzburg and the City of Salzburg lack clear mechanisms of coordinated decision-making due to unclear and “adverse overlapping of responsibilities” among the national authorities, e.g. Federal State Office for Protection of Monuments (Bundesdenkmalamt), Austrian National Railways, the Regional authorities and the Municipality. The mission report provides several examples of the questionable results which follow from this uncoordinated approach – for example, the decision by the Architectural Advisory Board (Gestaltungsbeirat) to accept the University Campus on formerly open sports grounds (buffer-zone), or the planned dismantling of the Marble Hall in the train station and its “historical iron construction” (outside the buffer zone).

The mission report highlights concern about the potential impact on the World Heritage property of the hydroelectric power station (Wasserkraftwerk Salzburg-Lehen), which would need to be assessed through an Environmental Impact Assessment, taking in to account potential impacts of the works foreseen upstream on the left bank of the river Salzach.

Other recommendations of the mission include the following:

· Harmonizing those built-up areas of the “Protection Zone I” currently outside the World Heritage property, in order to link all protection zones to the responsible bodies;

· Assuring the post of World Heritage site manager, and a facilitation role to improve communications as noted above;

· Strengthening the legal protection of squares and other open spaces in the World Heritage property;

· Improving communication with local groups of citizens and stakeholders.

· Establishing clear guidelines and terms of reference for all architectural competitions, new structures and other larger-scale interventions planned in the World Heritage property and its buffer zone;

· Strengthening the interdisciplinary composition of the relevant advisory boards - the Expert Commission for the Preservation of the Old Town (Sachverständigenkommission) and more importantly the Architectural Advisory Board (Gestaltungsbeirat).


b) management plan

Having reviewed the outline of the management plan submitted by the State Party, ICOMOS considers, while appreciating the historical overview of protection efforts provided and the commitment to protection, that this document does not represent a process-oriented planning instrument meant to ensure co-ordination and integration of decisions at all levels and in all sectors with respect to safeguarding the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage property.


This argument is supported by many of the recommendations of the mission report which call for improved co-ordination and integration of decision-making, including:

· Strengthening the coherence of the Federal laws at national level so as to give priority to World Heritage conservation and enhance coordination of activities carried out in the World Heritage property by different national authorities in World Heritage sites;

· Providing a consultation mechanism, which would allow regular information flows and dialogue among all relevant national, regional and local authorities;

· Defining clear responsibilities of the Republic of Austria, the Federal State of Salzburg and the City of Salzburg in relation to the World Heritage property, and improving communication between the various institutions concerned within and beyond established legal frameworks.


The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS note the mission’s assessment of the overall state of conservation as being good, but nevertheless consider that the concerns identified by the mission should be addressed in due course and dealt with through improved coordination and decision-making developed through the implementation of the management plan. A need for regular compliance with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines has been identified as well as the need for thorough Environmental and cultural Impact Assessments of major projects.

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


Decision Adopted: 33 COM 7B.88

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.81, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Notes the State Party's timely submission of the draft management plan requested by the World Heritage Committee;

4. Also notes the recommendations made by the January 2009 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission;

5. Calls upon the State Party to ensure that Environmental Impact Assessments are carried out for all large-scale development projects even if located outside the buffer zone, with particular reference to the potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

6. Also calls upon the State Party to carry out an Environmental and Cultural Impact Assessment for the hydroelectric power station to be submitted to the World Heritage Centre;

7. Requests the State Party to take steps towards implementing the mission's recommendations, particularly by ensuring clear mechanisms for a co-ordinated and integrated approach among all decision-making entities;

8. Also requests the State Party to revise the draft management plan taking into account the recommendations of the joint mission and elaborating on enhanced coordination mechanisms;

9. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2011, a report on the state of conservation of the property, and its efforts to strengthen and re-orient the management plan, for review by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011.