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Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn

Estonia
Factors affecting the property in 2008*
  • Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure
  • Housing
  • Major visitor accommodation and associated infrastructure
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Impact of the transportation of hazardous materials to the Old Town

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Lack of an integrated management plan;

b) Extension to Viru Hotel;

c) Development of the Skoone Bastion;

d) Construction of new buildings adjacent to the Town Wall between Suurtüki and Rannamäe Streets;

e) Impact of the transportation of hazardous materials to the Old Town;

f) Framework for high-rise buildings.

UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2008

Total amount provided to the property: Italian Funds-In-Trust USD 4,279 for an expert mission in December 2005.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2008
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2008**

December 2005: upon the request of Estonian National authorities, UNESCO expert mission to Tallinn .

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2008

The State Party submitted a report on 25 January 2008, which responds to the requests made by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007).

a) Comprehensive management plan

The World Heritage Committee had requested preparation of a “comprehensive management plan for the property and its buffer zone” in both 2006 and 2007. However, the State Party report notes that the Tallinn City Government is preparing a “development plan” for Tallinn Old Town for 2008-2013. The State Party presents the “development plan” without explaining the relationship of this plan to the requested “comprehensive management plan”. The aim of the “development plan” is described as being “to find appropriate financing mechanisms and spatial and functional solutions” which are in harmony with the historic fabric of Tallinn Old Town. The “development plan” is said to describe a “vision of safeguarding and sustainable development of Tallinn Old Town as an authentic and holistic city space, strategic objectives and the action plan needed to achieve these objectives”. The items described in the development plan include “open space, security, heritage, culture, cultural industry, tourism, housing, living in old town, infrastructure, traffic and parking”. The Plan is said to be ready for approval on 30 March 2008.

The Tallinn “development plan” seems to share some – but not all of the characteristics of a management plan. In essence, the Tallinn development plan seems to be a kind of strategic master plan focused on physical and functional improvements rather than a fully developed contemporary heritage management plan, although it is difficult to fully judge the nature and utility of the development plan until it is submitted for review.

The report refers to two thematic plans, one on the “Location of high-rise buildings in Tallinn” (reviewed by ICOMOS), and a second on “Regulation of Tallinn Central City Milieu Protection Areas, Boundaries, Protection and Usage Conditions”. A copy of the latter should be submitted for review in the context of links to the development plan, the earlier thematic plan on high rise buildings and the proposal for minor modification of boundaries.

The State Party has submitted a request for minor modification of the boundaries of the core and buffer zones which will be examined by the World Heritage Committee under Item 8 of the Agenda (Document WHC-08/32.COM/8B.Add). Clearly any comprehensive management plan would need to address the wider areas that the State Party now considers need protecting.

b) New buildings on the section of the town wall between Suurtuki and Ranamae streets

The State Party reports that, following decisions by Estonia’s State Court, no possibilities exist at national level to stop construction of 2 of the 3 houses originally proposed by Restor Company to be built next to the town wall, and that the only further recourse would be to appeal to the European Court. It further reports that the Tallinn City Government has accepted a compromise to build 2 of the 3 originally proposed houses, and sees little basis on which to appeal to the European Court. While the State Party expresses its appreciation to the World Heritage Committee for its encouragement during its 31st session to analyze international law for applicable precedents, it does not report on any commitments to challenge the State Court decision, as requested by the Committee, on the basis that obligations incurred through the ratification of the World Heritage Convention override local considerations.

c) Halting new construction projects and modification of municipal planning mechanisms to ensure that planning proposals which may threaten outstanding universal value are rejected.

The State Party reports positively on recent efforts to improve coordination of the planning approvals process between concerned municipal and federal departments, and to explore further improvements through a round table in the first half of 2008. These are designed to overcome the problems apparent in the recent approval of a 17 story hotel extension in the Viru Square detailed plan (since withdrawn), and other projects based on approvals obtained in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

d) Thematic Study on high-rise buildings

ICOMOS reviewed this study in October 2007 and noted that neither a Thematic Plan for high rise buildings, nor a Strategic Plan for the City, should be adopted until a management plan has been agreed which will set the context for these other plans, through relating outstanding universal value to the spatial patterns of the city and thus to what needs protection.

The Thematic Study for tall buildings cannot be said to address concerns over the impact of tall buildings on the skyline of the World Heritage site, as the Plan only considers buildings over 45 meters and buildings of a much lower height could impact adversely on outstanding universal value. Any such revised Thematic Study would need to refer to additional constraints necessary to protect the visual integrity of the World Heritage site. The 2008 Report does not mention this proposed thematic framework on high-rise buildings.

The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS remain concerned that in spite of repeated requests by the Committee, to prepare a comprehensive management plan for the property and its buffer zone, as a framework for addressing development and other threats, no progress has been made. The Master Plan which is now being prepared should be submitted for review.

Although some progress has been made in the co-ordination of planning approvals between federal and municipal levels, these mechanisms need to be seen as a critical part of the management plan.

The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS are extremely concerned that the State Court’s judgment does not seem to respect World Heritage Convention obligations, and considers that the State Party should challenge this result formally. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2008
32 COM 7B.87
Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn (Estonia) (C 822)

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7B.95, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Notes the State Party's efforts to address the issues raised by the World Heritage Committee during its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007), including improved coordination of planning approvals between concerned municipal and federal departments;

4. Regrets that no progress has been made with a comprehensive management plan for the property and its buffer zone, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 30th and 31st sessions;

5. Also notes that a Development Plan for the property is in progress and requests the State Party to provide three copies of this plan to the World Heritage Centre as well as a progress report on the comprehensive management plan and also requests the State Party to ensure the conformity between the two plans;

6. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2009, a progress report on the above requests and on the status of the proposed Framework for high-rise buildings, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009, with a view to considering, in the absence of substantial progress, the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

32 COM 8B.58
Examination of nominations and minor modifications to the boundaries of naturel, mixed and cultural properties to the World Heritage List - Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn (ESTONIA)

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Documents WHC-08/32.COM/8B.Add and WHC-08/32.COM/INF.8B1.Add,

2. Approves the minor modification to the boundaries of the property and buffer zone of the Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn, Estonia;

3. Urges the State Party to develop a comprehensive Management Plan for the enlarged area and its buffer zone as a framework for other strategic plans for the city;

4. Recommends that development in the wider setting beyond the buffer zone be examined for its impact on the values of the property.

32 COM 8D
Clarifications of property boundaries and sizes by States Parties in response to the restrospective inventory

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:

  • Armenia: Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin;
  • Austria: Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg; Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn; Hallstatt-Dachstein-Salzkammergut Cultural Landscape;
  • Belgium: Flemish Béguinages;
  • Bulgaria: Boyana Church; Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak; Rila Monastery; Ancient City of Nessebar;
  • Croatia: Old City of Dubrovnik; Historical Complex of Split with the Palace of Diocletian; Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica in the Historic Centre of Poreč;
  • Czech Republic: Historic Centre of Telč; Pilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora; Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape; Gardens and Castle at Kroměříž;
  • Denmark: Jelling Mounds, Runic Stones and Church; Roskilde Cathedral;
  • Egypt: Memphis and its Necropolis - the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur; Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis; Nubian Monuments from Abu Simbel to Philae; Historic Cairo; Abu Mena; Saint Catherine Area;
  • Estonia: Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn;
  • Germany: Würzburg Residence with the Court Gardens and Residence Square; Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust at Brühl; Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin; Town of Bamberg;
  • Greece: Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae; Mount Athos; Medieval City of Rhodes; Archaeological Site of Mystras; Delos;
  • Hungary: Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue; Old Village of Hollókö and its Surroundings; Millenary Benedictine Abbey of Pannonhalma and its Natural Environment; Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst (presented jointly with Slovakia);
  • Ireland: Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne; Skellig Michael;
  • Italy: Historic Centre of San Gimignano; City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto; Historic Centre of Siena; Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta; The trulli of Alberobello; Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna; Historic Centre of the City of Pienza; Residences of the Royal House of Savoy; Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico), Padua; Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto); Costiera Amalfitana; Archaeological area of Agrigento; Su Nuraxi di Barumini; Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia;
  • Latvia: Historic Centre of Riga;
  • Luxembourg: City of Luxembourg: its Old Quarters and Fortifications;
  • Morocco: Medina of Marrakesh; Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou; Archaeological Site of Volubilis;
  • Poland: Cracow's Historic Centre; Historic Centre of Warsaw; Old City of Zamość; Medieval Town of Torún; Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork;
  • Portugal: Monastery of Batalha; Cultural Landscape of Sintra; Prehistoric Rock-Art Sites in the Côa Valley;
  • Romania: Danube Delta;
  • Slovakia: Historic Town of Banská Štiavnica and the Technical Monuments in its Vicinity; Spišský Hrad and its Associated Cultural Monuments; Vlkolínec; Caves of Aggtelek Karst and Slovak Karst (presented jointly with Hungary);
  • Spain: Garajonay National Park;
  • Tunisia: Ichkeul National Park;
  • Ukraine: Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra;
  • United Kingdom: Durham Castle and Cathedral; Ironbridge Gorge; Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites; Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd; Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and Saint Margaret's Church; Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine's Abbey and St Martin's Church; Maritime Greenwich;

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.

Draft Decision: 32 COM 7B.87

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 31 COM 7B.95, adopted at its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007),

3. Notes the State Party’s efforts to address the issues raised by the World Heritage Committee during its 31st session (Christchurch, 2007), including improved coordination of planning approvals between concerned municipal and federal departments;

4. Regrets that no progress has been made with a comprehensive management plan for the property and its buffer zone, as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 30th and 31st sessions;

5. Also notes that a Development Plan for the property is in progress and requests the State Party to provide three copies of this plan to the World Heritage Centre as well as a progress report on the comprehensive management plan and also requests the State Party to ensure the conformity between the two plans;

6. Reiterates its request to the State Party to challenge the State Court’s decision to allow construction of new buildings on the section of the town wall between Suurtüki and Rannamäe Streets, on the basis of the obligations incurred through ratification of the World Heritage Convention;

7. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2009, a progress report on the above requests and on the status of the proposed Framework for high-rise buildings, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009, with a view to considering, in the absence of substantial progress, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.  

Report year: 2008
Estonia
Date of Inscription: 1997
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 32COM (2008)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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