National History Park – Citadel, Sans Souci, Ramiers

Factors affecting the property in 1991*
  • Earthquake
  • Flooding
  • Storms
  • Water (rain/water table)
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1991
Requests approved: 3 (from 1982-1987)
Total amount approved : 102,200 USD
Missions to the property until 1991**
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1991

Inscribed in 1982 on the World Heritage List under criteria (iv) and (vi), the site was subject to a restoration and improvement programme from 1979 to 1990 under UNESCO's and UNDP's technical and financial assistance.


A.   The National History Park very diversified combines imposing monuments, Citadel, Sans Souci, Ramiers, in a rural mountain environment. The National History Park was created to preserve this natural background from King Christopher's achievements. The intricacy of the problems, the concern about being in a position to conduct an efficient action and to prevent dispersion led to limiting the area to 25 sq. m. In 1978, at the request of the Haitian government, preparatory missions sent by UNESCO elaborated with the national authorities the restoration and implementation programme for these monuments and their environment. The Institut de Sauvegarde du Patrimoine national (ISPAN), established in 1979, was responsible for the protection policy of the national heritage and the study and execution of safeguarding projects, and the implementation of specific representative elements of the heritage. In 1979, ISPAN presented the ISPAN/UNDP/UNESCO project which comprises the conservation plan of the Citadel, of the site of Sans Souci, and of the fortified site of the Ramiers, and the development of monuments and sites for cultural purposes. The setting up of workshops for which a training programme was proposed fitted in with this project. Begun in 1979 the joint work ISPAN/UNDP/UNESCO officially ended on 21 July 1990. When the project started, archives and documents were almost non-existent so that it was necessary to conduct a careful interpretation of the buildings and pinpoint them in detail. Investigations enabled the delimiting of the different stages of construction, as well as of the techniques utilized. One of the objectives of any development programme or of any international campaign for the safeguarding of monuments and sites being the reinforcement of the national capacity to ensure the preservation and the improvement of its heritage, an intensive training programme was set up. Between 1980 and 1987, the most active period of restoration work, twenty-two technicians received a theoretical and practical training: architects, engineers, draughtsmen and heads of building sites.

In order to enlarge possibilities for technical assistance thanks to the project, an international campaign for the safeguarding of the Citadel, Sans Souci and les Ramiers was launched in 1980. An American committee, the United States Committee for Restoration of the Citadel (USCRC), responsible for the organization of the American campaign and the promotion of the project in the United States was created in December 1987. The purpose of this non-profit-making committee was to make known the project of preservation of the monuments and to collect the necessary funds to pursue the restoration work. The World Monuments Fund also supported actively the project by identifying new financing sources within private American foundations. Finally, as from 1981, other financial contributions were granted for selective operations under bilateral assistance, following the steps undertaken in Haiti with diplomatic representatives of Member States. Over the years, the project developed rapidly in a way that could not be predicted at its conception, partly due to the socioeconomic development of the area because of the creation of employment and the ever increasing interest of the national and international community for the project. Despite budgetary restrictions and changes which have taken place in the country since 1986 and which delayed the works, the project's objectives were achieved. The Haitian government contributed 2,373,273 dollars for the restoration of this complex, UNDP and UNESCO, 2,688,863 dollars.


B.  Analysis of the state of the Citadel quickly indicated the need to stop rainwater infiltration which threatened the structures, some of which were already seriously damaged by the 1842 earthquake. If the work carried out twice, in 1930/1933 and 1950/1955, saved the Citadel from ruin, twenty years later it was no less urgent to reconsider saving it from flooding. This has been the main objective of the project implemented after two years study. The work allowed the detection of the different phases as well as the building techniques used. Among the many solutions considered to save the Coidavid Battery from flooding, there was chosen the laying of a covering made of very long aluminium trays onto the framework reconstructing the original floor by using one joist out of two. The traces of the original state of the Royal Battery were sufficiently large to enable a historically exact reconstruction. This restoration work allows the protection of some 1,200 sq. m of buildings from flooding. As for the terraces, research was directed towards waterproofing. The techniques selected are based essentially on the imposition of a waterproof layer in the form of a concrete slope, covered with waterproof bituminous mortar; a thick paving ensures finish and protection.


C.  As is the case for the Citadel, all the buidings of Sans Souci are in rubble work. The Palace roof is covered with slates. This group of monuments was serviced by an outstanding hydraulic system; in 1979, reservoirs and piping were still buried underground. Torrential rain beating down on the unprotected masonry increased fissures and contributed to the collapse of walls and the detaching of the remaining plaster. The major objective was to clean up the site. Above all it was necessary to carry out soundings and excavations in order, on the one hand, to bring to light the original piping, and to better understand the constructions, on the other hand. The preservation method selected turned on strengthening and improving the remaining elements, every restoration, even partial, being excluded where original documents were lacking.


D.  In 1972 the fortified site of Ramiers was cleared of the luxuriant vegetation that covered it. The same materials as those of the other monuments are used. The redoubts are in a better state of conservation than the residential complex, but are not easily accessible since the drawbridges which gave access to it have disappeared. The preservation method selected was the strengthening of existing elements and the enhancement of the architectural monuments as a group.


Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1991
Monitoring of the State of Conservation of the World Heritage Cultural and Related Technical Problems

18. The monitoring report presented by the Secretariat dealt with the following sites: Xanthos-Letoon (Turkey), the City of Valletta (Malta), Shibam (Yemen), National Historical Park - Citadel, Sans Souci, Ramiers (Haiti), Kathmandu Valley (Nepal), Moenjodaro (Pakistan), and the Madara Rider (Bulgaria). Monitoring visits had been made to seventeen sites by an expert who was in charge of co­ordinating action for the preservation of 115 Mediterranean sites within the framework of the UNEP - Barcelona Convention. These visits had yielded a wealth of information and documentation which needed analysis and the establishment of a dialogue with the national authorities before a report could be presented to the Committee. A summary of the findings of this expert concerning two sites was included in the Working Document SC-91/CONF.002/3. Reports on the state of conservation of the other fifteen sites will be presented to the Bureau in June 1992. In addition, the expert who was present at this session was ready to explain to the Committee his approach and to respond to specific questions. An additional monitoring report had been prepared by the Co-ordinator of the UNDP/UNESCO Regional Project on Cultural Heritage and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, who was also present at this session.

19. The Committee was also informed of the type of continuous monitoring which the Secretariat pursued with regard to projects which were the subject of international campaigns or supported by UNDP. A recently published brochure on the work carried out in Sana'a, as well as the report on the mission to Bulgaria which was annexed to the Document SC-91/CONF.002/3, showed that the most efficient monitoring could be done through technical assistance missions. Unfortunately, the financial and personnel resources of the Secretariat were far too small compared with the many World Heritage sites to be monitored.

20. In the opinion of the Secretariat, a monitoring action should be carried out in the form of a continuous dialogue with the State Party which should begin even before the inscription of the site, in order to inform local competent authorities (politicians and technicians) about the values to be maintained and the principles and methods of conservation to be applied. In particular, the implementation of the management plan requested at the time of the proposal for inscription should be verified by means of a monitoring exercise.

21. The representative of ICOMOS brought to the attention of the Committee alarming news about the deterioration of certain parts of monuments of Khizi Pogost (USSR). He stressed the fact that his organization was interested in sending a mission on the spot to evaluate the state of conservation of the site. With reference to the cultural centre in the process of being built between the Tower of Belem and the Monastery of the Hieronymites (Portugal), he underlined that the work was almost completed and that a comprehensive file submitted by the government showed that the rules of the competition had taken account of the fact that the site was classified as a World Heritage property. Part of the existing building replaced industrial constructions and this represented an improvement. This case proved that it was necessary to determine a future strategy to guide architects in charge of the development of sites inscribed on the World Heritage List. The Portuguese observer remarked that the project of integrating this cultural centre was part of a plan for safeguarding of the zone with a view to reasserting the value of the site. The Committee took note of the report of ICOMOS and, in the light of this example, emphasized that States Parties should attach the greatest attention to maintaining the values of World Heritage properties, when elaborating development projects, new constructions or major restorations. They should equally inform the Committee, through UNESCO's Secretariat, of their intention to undertake or to authorize projects in an area protected under the Convention before any irreversible decisions were taken. The need for close collaboration between the Secretariat and the local competent authorities was stressed during the debate. The Committee took note that ICOMOS, in co-operation with ICCROM, was preparing a guide on the management of sites for authorities responsible for World Heritage.

22. The Co-ordinator of the UNDP/UNESCO Regional Project on Cultural Heritage and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean introduced the method which had been used in the detailed analysis of six sites in the region. The documents presented only reflect work already achieved within the framework of a wider project concerning sixteen sites in all, the evaluation of which will be carried out up until 1993 and will cost the World Heritage Fund US$40,000.

23. The Committee took note of this report. While considering that the method was interesting, it judged that it would not be necessarily applicable to all regions.

24. The Co-ordinator of a network set up by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for the protection of Mediterranean sites under the Barcelona Convention introduced in his turn his working method on monitoring. During visits to seventeen sites around the Mediterranean, he evaluated,, in collaboration with local experts, the different problems raised by the conservation of the sites concerned. Following his visits he kept in touch with the competent authorities with a view to assisting them in their task with technical advice and documentation.

25. Regarding the management of sites, a member of the Committee questioned the limits to the possibility of intervention by the Committee and the Secretariat. The Secretariat explained that national authorities, whose collaboration was obviously indispensable, were always informed.

26. The possibility of intervention by the private sector in activities of safeguarding and development of World Heritage was raised. A delegate considered that progress in this field remained far below desirable levels. For instance, various difficulties encountered by a high visiting capacity of the sites could be solved through co­operation with, private associations.

No draft Decision

Report year: 1991
Date of Inscription: 1982
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iv)(vi)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 15COM (1991)

* : 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.