Colonial City of Santo Domingo

Dominican Republic
Factors affecting the property in 2014*
  • Earthquake
  • Housing
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Interpretative and visitation facilities
  • Land conversion
  • Legal framework
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Storms
  • Underground transport infrastructure
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Undefined and unregulated buffer zone leading to urban development pressure and inadequate control of land use;
  • Pressures derived from tourism;
  • Inadequate and inefficient management and conservation arrangements (including legislation, regulatory measures, technical capacity for conservation and service infrastructure);
  • Lack of interpretation and presentation of the property;
  • Natural vulnerability to earthquakes and hurricanes;
  • Deterioration of historic structures derived from natural and social factors (including environmental pollution and lack of sensitisation of local residents);
  • SANSOUCI Urban development project.
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2014
Requests approved: 3 (from 1990-2000)
Total amount approved : 82,207 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

An ICOMOS advisory mission visited the property in January 2014. Subsequently, the State Party submitted a State of conservation report on 6 February 2014, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/526/documents/

Progress in the implementation of recommendations of the World Heritage Committee is reported as follows:

  • The Municipality of East Santo Domingo has committed to the approval and establishment of regulations for the buffer zone in its jurisdiction. Approval is expected through a Municipal Ordinance although no timeframe for adoption has been considered.
  • Interagency meetings were held on 2013 with a view to begin operations of the Steering Committee for the management of the property and new Ministries were included in its composition. No timeframe for full functioning was provided.
  • Final stage of the approval process of the new Law for the Protection, Safeguarding and Development of Cultural Heritage, which will be reviewed by the new authorities of the Ministry of Culture. No timeframe for official adoption has been provided. Regulations for archaeological investigations have been developed and are already being implemented.
  • New view shed studies were performed, concluding that the proposed Sansouci development is minimally perceived from the Colonial City and that the Santo Domingo Fortress is the only monument affected. The project was submitted to a local expert Committee, but no information was provided concerning its composition and the resulting recommendations.
  • Alternative designs of the Sansouci development have been proposed, reducing the height of the towers, and increasing occupation density.
  • The project proposal for the subway line continues to be developed and will be submitted for review by local authorities.

Even though the State Party Report does not refer to the approval of the Strategic Plan for the Integral Revitalization of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo, it informs about some progress made regarding its implementation:

  • Elaboration of special regulations for building facades, in the framework of the Integral Recovery Project for Prioritized Streets of the Colonial City;
  • Progress in the redesign project on Colón Street and Plaza Fuerte del Ángulo, and also the reopening of the Callejón de la Piedra, soon to be subjected to public bid.
  • Emergency works performed at the Santa Bárbara neighbourhood to repair the damage generated by the interruption of the project that depended on external funding.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2014

Conservation and management efforts have been made by the State Party, in particular by the National Directorate of Monumental Heritage and the Municipality of the National District, to ensure the protection of the property. Some neighbours' associations and business groups promote and take actions contributing to improve the conditions of the Colonial City. The importance of finalising the approval process for the buffer zone at Santo Domingo East and its corresponding regulatory measures, to ensure the protection of the property and the adequate management of large-scale development, should be stressed.

There are however some concerns related to the property are in a process of control and reorientation such as the Sansouci Project, Subway Number 6 and Programme for the Promotion of Tourism at the Colonial City. As underscored by the mission, the Sansouci Project has been modified according to the recommendations made and revised designs have been produced. However, work is required for the definition of clear design parameters to be determinate by a working group of local architects, international experts, ICOMOS and Sansouci architects. The resulting final design would need to be submitted for review prior to making any commitments to its implementation and should take into account the attributes of the property and ensure that potential negative impact are mitigated, so the Sansouci Project does not become a threat to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. These include the control in terms of the high quality of urban and architectural design, achieving the best views of the river and providing the City with large public and attractive cultural/commercial activities. In addition, it is recommended to lower land occupation density and to eliminate the boutique hotel located on the corner close to Punta Torrecillas so as to provide more public space. The revised proposals submitted in the additional information received in March 2014 do not seem to indicate the occupational density has been reduced and this essential recommendation needs to be taken into account prior to granting the approval for the development. ICOMOS would reiterate that at this stage a blanket approval for the overall development is being sought and that architectural projects and development for each of the building components will need to be closely monitored to ensure high quality design that does not compromise the qualities of the property.

In relation to Subway Number 6, even feasibility studies have been undertaken; the Advisory Mission noted that excavations and other works under the Colonial City might be risky, especially considering the high vulnerability of old structures like the Cathedral. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to perform Heritage Impact Assessments and analyse other alternatives, e.g.: creating a light transportation system to circulate within the historic core of the city. Regarding the Programme for the Promotion of Tourism in the Colonial City, financed by the Inter-American Development Bank, work is on track and, while some coordination exists between heritage and tourism entities, it is important to ensure that the Ministry of Culture, through the National Directorate of Monumental Heritage, be fully involved in the implementation of the project Furthermore, very large cruise ships are often anchored by the property, which obstructs views. Studies regarding these issues and potential alternatives for solutions need to be undertaken.

It is considered that although measures have been implemented, there are gaps that need to be addressed in relation to technical capacities, secured resources for interventions at heritage buildings, adoption of legislative frameworks and addressing overlapping mandates and duplication of functions in institutions related to the property. Finally, the risk preparedness preparation and management needs to be prioritized and a plan is needed on this matter.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2014
38 COM 7B.42
Colonial City of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) (C 526)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.95, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Acknowledges the efforts made by the State Party to fund and organise the advisory mission conducted in January 2014 and encourages it to implement the recommendations contained in the mission report;
  4. Recognizes the efforts made by national and municipal authorities in implementing recommendations to control concerns for the property such as Subway Number 6, the Programme for the Promotion of Tourism financed by an Inter-American Development Bank project at the Colonial City and the Sansouci Project; as well as the work of neighbours’ associations and private investment groups to promote and take actions contributing to improve the conditions of the Colonial City;
  5. Considers that all projects or actions affecting the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and undertaken by any international, governmental, non-governmental or private entity, including the Inter-American Development Bank project, must involve and be approved by the institution responsible for the protection of the property;
  6. Requests the State Party to implement the following and ensure specific and realistic timeframes are applied:
    1. Finalize the process for approval of the buffer zone in East Santo Domingo and its corresponding regulatory measures,
    2. Finalize the approval process for the new Law for the Protection, Safeguarding and Development of Cultural Heritage and ensure that its provisions are integrated into planning tools for the property,
    3. Improve management capacities and secure adequate resources for sustained implementation of conservation, protection and management actions, specially concerning the full functioning of the Steering Committee and the Strategic Plan for the Integral Revitalization of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo,
    4. Identify alternatives to address transportation issues and develop Heritage Impact Assessments for the Subway project and submit them to the World Heritage Centre for review prior to making any commitments for implementation,
    5. Review the occupation-open space ratio of the Sansouci development project and define parameters for the further design of specific projects to ensure that potential negative impacts to the visual qualities of the setting of the property are mitigated,
    6. Ensure that design parameters for architectural projects consider the attributes that convey OUV and the conditions of integrity and authenticity of the property and that, in accordance to Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines , the revised development project and specific building designs be submitted for review prior to commencing implementation;
  7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2015, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.
38 COM 8E
Adoption of Retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/8E,
  2. Congratulates the States Parties for the excellent work accomplished in the elaboration of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in their territories;
  3. Adopts the retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC-14/38.COM/8E, for the following World Heritage properties:
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC:
  • China: Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area;
  • Japan: Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu; Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara; Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama; The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome);
  • Sri Lanka: Sinharaja Forest;
  • Vietnam: Hoi An Ancient Town; Complex of Hué Monuments;

    EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA:

    • Albania: Butrint;
    • Armenia: Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley;
    • Austria: Semmering Railway; Wachau Cultural Landscape;
    • Azerbaijan: Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower;
    • Belarus / Estonia / Finland / Latvia / Lithuania / Moldova / Norway / Russian Federation / Sweden / Ukraine: Struve Geodetic Arc;
    • Belgium: Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (Brussels); Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes (Mons); Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai; Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex;
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Old Bridge Area of the Old City of Mostar;
    • Cyprus: Paphos;
    • Denmark: Ilulissat Icefjord;
    • Finland: Bronze Age Burial Site of Sammallahdenmäki; Fortress of Suomenlinna; Old Rauma; Petäjävesi Old Church; Verla Groundwood and Board Mill;
    • Georgia: Historical Monuments of Mtskheta; Upper Svaneti;
    • Germany / Poland: Muskauer Park / Park Mużakowski;
    • Germany: Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch; Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau; Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust at Brühl; Collegiate Church, Castle and Old Town of Quedlinburg; Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz; Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg; Monastic Island of Reichenau; Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin; Pilgrimage Church of Wies; St Mary's Cathedral and St Michael's Church at Hildesheim; Völklingen Ironworks; Wartburg Castle; Würzburg Residence with the Court Gardens and Residence Square; Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen;
    • Holy See / Italy: Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura;
    • Holy See: Vatican City;
    • Iceland: Þingvellir National Park;
    • Italy: Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico), Padua; Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta; Historic Centre of Florence; Historic Centre of Naples;
    • Lithuania / Russian Federation: Curonian Spit;
    • Lithuania: Kernavė Archaeological Site (Cultural Reserve of Kernavė);
    • Malta: City of Valletta; Hal Saflieni Hypogeum; Megalithic Temples of Malta;
    • Mongolia / Russian Federation: Uvs Nuur Basin;
    • Montenegro: Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor;
    • Netherlands: Historic Area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour, Curaçao;
    • Norway: Vegaøyan -- The Vega Archipelago; West Norwegian Fjords – Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord;
    • Poland: Centennial Hall in Wrocław; Historic Centre of Warsaw;
    • Portugal: Historic Centre of Évora; Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture; Monastery of Alcobaça; Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon;
    • Russian Federation: Church of the Ascension, Kolomenskoye; Historical Centre of the City of Yaroslavl; Kizhi Pogost;
    • Slovakia: Bardejov Town Conservation Reserve; Vlkolínec;
    • Slovenia: Škocjan Caves;
    • Spain: Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida; Burgos Cathedral; Historic Centre of Cordoba; Monastery and Site of the Escurial, Madrid; Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias; Mudejar Architecture of Aragon; Old City of Salamanca; Old Town of Ávila with its Extra-Muros Churches; Old Town of Cáceres; Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct; Poblet Monastery; Route of Santiago de Compostela; Royal Monastery of Santa María de Guadalupe; San Cristóbal de La Laguna; Santiago de Compostela (Old Town); Works of Antoni Gaudí;
    • Turkey: Archaeological Site of Troy; City of Safranbolu; Hattusha: the Hittite Capital; Xanthos-Letoon;
    • Ukraine: Kiev: Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra;
    • United Kingdom: Gough and Inaccessible Islands; Henderson Island; Historic Town of St George and Related Fortifications, Bermuda;
    • United States of America: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site; Chaco Culture; Independence Hall; Mesa Verde National Park; Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville; Statue of Liberty;

    LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARRIBBEANS:

    • Argentina: Ischigualasto / Talampaya Natural Parks; Los Glaciares; Península Valdés;
    • Belize: Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System;
    • Bolivia: City of Potosí;
    • Brazil: Brasilia; Historic Centre of Salvador de Bahia; Historic Centre of São Luís; Historic Centre of the Town of Diamantina; Historic Centre of the Town of Goiás; Historic Centre of the Town of Olinda; Historic Town of Ouro Preto; Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas;
    • Colombia: Los Katíos National Park;
    • Costa Rica / Panama: Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves / La Amistad National Park;
    • Cuba: Archaeological Landscape of the First Coffee Plantations in the South-East of Cuba; San Pedro de la Roca Castle, Santiago de Cuba; Urban Historic Centre of Cienfuegos; Viñales Valley;
    • Dominican Republic: Colonial City of Santo Domingo;
    • Guatemala: Tikal National Park;
    • Panama: Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection; Fortifications on the Caribbean Side, Portobelo and San Lorenzo;
    • Suriname: Central Suriname Nature Reserve; Historic Inner City of Paramaribo;

    4.  Decides that retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value for World Heritage properties in Danger will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies in priority;
    5.  Further decides that, considering the high number of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value to be examined, the order in which they will be reviewed by the Advisory Bodies will follow the Second Cycle of Periodic Reporting, namely:

    • World Heritage properties in the Arab States;
    • World Heritage properties in Africa;
    • World Heritage properties in Asia and the Pacific;
    • World Heritage properties in Latin America and the Caribbean;
    • World Heritage properties in Europe and North America;

    6.  Takes note that the World Heritage Centre is in the process of harmonising all sub-headings in the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value and, as appropriate, reflects name changes of World Heritage properties throughout the text of the Statements as requested by the Committee at its 37th session, and requests the World Heritage Centre to also update the size of the property and/or its buffer zone, as appropriate, following subsequent Decisions of the World Heritage Committee concerning Minor Boundary Modifications.
    7.  Requests the States Parties to provide support to the World Heritage Centre for translation of the adopted Statements of Outstanding Universal Value into English or French respectively, and finally requests the Centre to upload the two language versions on its website.

    Draft Decision:    38 COM 7B.42

    The World Heritage Committee,

    1.  Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B,

    2.  Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.95, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),

    3.  Acknowledges the efforts made by the State Party to fund and organise the advisory mission conducted in January 2014 and encourages it to implement the recommendations contained in the mission report;

    4.  Recognizes the efforts made by national and municipal authorities in implementing recommendations to control concerns for the property such as Subway Number 6, the Programme for the Promotion of Tourism financed by an Inter-American Development Bank project at the Colonial City and the Sansouci Project;

    5.  Considers that all projects or actions affecting the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and undertaken by any international, governmental, non-governmental or private entity, including the Inter-American Development Bank project, must involve and be approved by the institution responsible for the protection of the property;

    6.  Requests the State Party to implement the following:

    a)  Finalize the process for approval of the buffer zone in East Santo Domingo and its corresponding regulatory measures,

    b)  Finalize the approval process for the new Law for the Protection, Safeguarding and Development of Cultural Heritage and ensure that its provisions are integrated into planning tools for the property,

    c)  Improve management capacities and secure adequate resources for sustained implementation of conservation, protection and management actions, specially concerning the full functioning of the Steering Committee and the Strategic Plan for the Integral Revitalization of the Colonial City of Santo Domingo,

    d)  Identify alternatives to address transportation issues and develop Heritage Impact Assessments for the Subway project and submit them to the World Heritage Centre for review prior to making any commitments for implementation,

    e)  Review the occupation-open space ratio of the Sansouci development project and define parameters for the further design of specific projects to ensure that potential negative impacts to the visual qualities of the setting of the property are mitigated,

    f)  Ensure that design parameters for architectural projects consider the attributes that convey OUV and the conditions of integrity and authenticity of the property and that, in accordance to Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, the revised development project and specific building designs be submitted for review prior to commencing implementation;

    7.  Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2016, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 40th session in 2016.

    Report year: 2014
    Dominican Republic
    Date of Inscription: 1990
    Category: Cultural
    Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
    Documents examined by the Committee
    SOC Report by the State Party
    Report (2014) .pdf
    arrow_circle_right 38COM (2014)
    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.