1.         Vilnius Historic Centre (Lithuania) (C 541bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1994

Criteria  (ii)(iv)

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/541/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1995-2000)
Total amount approved: USD 138,180
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/541/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

Total amount provided to the property: Within the framework of the Revitalization Strategy for Vilnius, UNDP – SPPD provided USD 64,000; World Heritage Fund: USD 23,245.66 for the organization of training workshops by ICCROM.

Previous monitoring missions

1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000: World Heritage Centre project missions; May 2005: World Heritage Centre site visit; December 2006: on-site regional seminar 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/541/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2008

At its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006), the World Heritage Committee urged the State Party to develop a fully integrated management plan, through a participatory consultation process, which would coordinate all decisions affecting development in the old town. In a report dated 2 February 2008, the State Party indicated progress made on the protection of the property.

Management plan

In regard to the management plan, the State Party indicated that a new Master/General Plan for the City of Vilnius was approved by City Council of Vilnius on 14 February 2007. The State Party considers that this Master/General Plan, as the main strategic planning document for urban planning and development, should be considered as the management plan for the World Heritage property.

The State Party also noted that the Regulation on the Protection of the Vilnius Old Town, passed in 2003, was currently being updated to take into account the 2005 Law on Heritage Protection. It is expected that the updated regulation will be approved during 2008.

It is not clear, however, exactly how the Master/General Plan relates to the other planning instruments, protection initiatives, and decision-making systems in the Vilnius Old Town at the State and local levels. In general, master plans are concerned more with physical and territorial development, and are not necessarily adequate to incorporate all of the concerns related to the integrated management and protection of a World Heritage property.

It is the view of the Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre, that such an integrated plan, carried out in a participatory manner as already requested by the Committee, is still needed, to adequately address the integrated management and protection of the World Heritage property.

Buffer Zone

In regard to the buffer zone, the World Heritage Committee requested “the redefinition of the buffer zone surrounding the historic core, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 32nd session in 2008” as part of the overall preparation of the management plan.

The State Party reports that an exercise was carried out by the competent authorities to make minor modifications to the buffer zone of the property. These modifications will be examined by the World Heritage Committee under Item 8 of the Agenda (Document WHC-08/32.COM/8B.Add).

The State Party also noted that the Conceptual Plan of the Protection (Buffer) Zone of the World Heritage site – The Vilnius Old Town was prepared and approved by the Vilnius City Council in 2006.

Other Issues

The State Party also reports that it is in the process of adopting a new special law on the protection of World Heritage Properties, Concept Law of the Republic of Lithuania on Protection of the Objects of Lithuania Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List which is expected to be completed in 2008.

In regard to the issue of high-rise buildings, a regional seminar was held in Vilnius in December 2006, sponsored by the World Heritage Fund and coordinated by the Vilnius Old Town Renewal Agency (OTRA) and ICCROM, on “High-Rise Buildings and the Historic City Centre”. The meeting was attended by representatives of the three Baltic countries as well as participants from the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies and the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee. The situation in Vilnius was presented, in particular the Scheme on the Restriction of High-rise Construction approved in 2004.  

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


Decision Adopted: 32 COM 7B.99

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Recalling Decision 30 COM 7B.86, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),

3. Notes the continued efforts made by the Ministry of Culture and the Municipality of Vilnius related to the legal and planning framework for the conservation of the property, and in particular the development of a Master/General Plan for the City of Vilnius;

4. Notes with concern that an integrated management plan for the property has not been produced as a means of ensuring adequate management and protection;

5. Strongly urges the State Party to initiate, as requested during its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006) development of the fully integrated management plan, to govern and co-ordinate all decisions affecting the Old Town development and conservation, through participatory consultation processes.

6. Requests the State Party to ensure an adequate coordination mechanism for the implementation of the integrated management plan at both the local and national levels;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre the new Regulation on the Protection of the Vilnius Old Town, as well as the Master/General Plan and updated documentation on the development of high-rise buildings in the buffer zone for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;

8. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2009, a detailed report on the development of an integrated management plan for Vilnius Old Town as described in the recommendations above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 33rd session in 2009.

Decision Adopted: 32 COM 8B.62

The World Heritage Committee,

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

2. Notes the progress made towards defining and providing protection for a buffer zone for the Vilnius Historic Centre, Lithuania;

3. Requests the State Party to submit the buffer zone as a minor modification to the boundaries, once the Special Protection Plan has been approved which gives it legal protection.