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

30 January – 4 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 2008

As requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006), two reports were submitted by the State Party. The first report on the state of conservation of the site, transmitted on 8 February 2008, provides details on the conservation works carried out in 16 Monasteries and in the Church of the Protaton, by the 10th Ephorate of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Antiquities of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture during the period of 2004-2007 and in the framework of a ongoing 10 million Euros project. The work covers the conservation of wall painted immovable properties, movable antiquities as well as excavation and restoration in the monasteries. Concerning the Chilandar Monastery, damaged by the fire of March 2004, the works include the supervision of the collection of the debris from the Transepts, preventive conservation and consolidation at the three wall-painted chapels and the northern conch of the refectory. The report also provides information on the methodology used for the above works.

In a letter dated 14 February 2008, the Permanent Delegate of Greece to UNESCO recognises that the abovementioned report does not refer to all the recommendations of the World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/IUCN 2006 mission and highlighted the traditional strong element of self-governance by the 20 monasteries in the area.

Furthermore, on 3 March 2008 the Delegation transmitted an additional report on the state of conservation of Mount Athos provided by the Centre for the Preservation of the Holy Mount (Mount Athos) Heritage (KEDAK), the competent authority, since 1975, exercising on behalf of the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works and the Ministry of Agriculture in the region of Mount Athos. The report provides substantial information on the activities carried out both by KEDAK, the Holy Community and the Monasteries of Mont Athos and in particular mentions that:

- The concentration of different competencies in one institution (KEDAK), offers the possibility for timely action and application of integrated conservation principles at a property which benefits from traditional administrative privileges;

- KEDAK, with a 52 person highly qualified staff, decides on the content and approval of specialised studies necessary for the execution of rehabilitation works. Each study concerning a specific monastery is only approved if it ensures the scientific and technical integrity of the property. Particular attention is paid to the obligatory research phase and to the protection of the constructions against fire and seismic risks. KEDAK accomplishes all works requiring high scientific standards in applying best practice restoration and in taking into consideration the particularity of each case, its current state of conservation, historical, architectural, religious values, as well as the needs of the monasteries. KEDAK also supervises the execution of works to be accomplished by the monasteries;

- In addition to rehabilitations, KEDAK carried out important infrastructural works for the protection of the monuments in case of landslide, earthquakes or fires.

The rehabilitation processes of Chilandar Monastery (damaged by the fire of March 2004), according to an established list of priorities, are also described in the report. A “principle framework” has been established for the rehabilitation of the damaged zones of this monastery. However no clear indication is given on the timeframe of the executed and future works.

The report concludes by pointing out that works conducted in Mont Athos comply with the international standards in conservation as well as with the rules concerning the administrative autonomy of the region, and that the common action between KEDAK and the Monastic community may lead to the elaboration of a framework in the future, responding to the particular needs of Mount Athos and its heritage.


IUCN would welcome additional information on the Environmental and Forest Board of the Holy Mountain activities and strategy of this board and would be happy to provide any technical assistance as needed.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies take note of the special status of Mount Athos and its traditional self-governance and commend the authorities for their sensitive handling of these issues. Respecting this sensitivity, there is a need for a management framework which promotes greater integration between the agencies and the Monastic communities. This would be the most effective way to address the World Heritage Committee’s request for an overall management plan for the property covering both the natural and cultural values, as recommended by the joint mission and endorsed by the World Heritage Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006). IUCN notes that a woodland conservation project, jointly funded by the EU LIFE programme and the Greek Ministry of Development and Food. This project would be better conducted under the umbrella of a management framework. Joint reporting from the State Party and the self-governing community of Mount Athos on its various activities and landscape management practices would be welcome.

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


Decision Adopted: 32 COM 7B.43

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 30 COM 7B.34, adopted at its 30th (Vilnius, 2006) session,

3. Notes with satisfaction the continuous efforts between national authorities responsible for heritage conservation and the leadership of the monastic community, the Holy Community of Mount Athos, to collaborate fruitfully and effectively to ensure the long term conservation of the property;

4. Also notes that the submitted reports do not address the key issue concerning the development of an overall management framework for the property covering both the natural and cultural values, as recommended by the joint mission and endorsed by the World Heritage Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006);

5. Urges the State Party and competent authorities to continue to implement all recommendations of the 2006 joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS / IUCN mission;

6. Requests the State Party, in collaboration with the Monastic communities, to provide to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2010 a report on progress made with the management framework and in implementing the recommendations of the joint 2006 World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS / IUCN mission, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 34th session in 2010.

Decision Adopted: 32 COM 8D

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-08/32.COM/8D,

2. Recalling Decisions 30 COM 11A.2 and 31 COM 11A.2, adopted at its 30th (Vilnius, 2006) and 31st (Christchurch, 2007) sessions respectively,

3. Recalls that, as decided at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007) by Decision 31 COM 11A.2, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies will not be able to examine proposals for minor or significant modifications to boundaries of World Heritage properties whenever the delimitation of such properties as inscribed is unclear;

4. Congratulates States Parties in the European Region and the States Parties of Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia on the excellent work accomplished in the clarification of the delimitation of their World Heritage properties and thanks them for their efforts to improve the credibility of the World Heritage List,

5. Takes note of the clarifications of property boundaries and sizes provided by the following States Parties in the European and Arab Regions in response to the Retrospective Inventory, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC-08/32.COM/8D:

6. Requests the European and Arab States Parties which have not yet answered the questions raised in 2005, 2006 and 2007 within the framework of the Retrospective Inventory to provide all requested clarifications and documentation as soon as possible and by 1 December 2008 at the latest.