Historical Monuments of Mtskheta

Georgia
Factors affecting the property in 2018*
  • Erosion and siltation/ deposition
  • Land conversion
  • Management activities
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Lack of a management mechanism (issue resolved)
  • Lack of definition of the unified buffer zone (issue resolved)
  • Lack of Urban Master Plan of the City of Mtskheta
  • Insufficient coordination between the Georgian Church and the national authorities
  • Privatization of surrounding land
  • Natural erosion of stone
  • Loss of authenticity during previous works carried out by the Church
  • Inappropriate urban development within a sensitive historical environment (issue resolved)
Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Lack of a management mechanism
  • Privatisation of surrounding land
  •  Loss of authenticity of some components due to restoration works conducted using unacceptable methods
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
Corrective Measures for the property
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2018

Total amount provided: Funds-in-Trust. Georgia-UNESCO Agreement: Cultural heritage advisory service to the NACHP (National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia) to be implemented under the Third Regional Development Project (RDP III). Total budget: USD 250 000

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2018
Requests approved: 4 (from 1997-2010)
Total amount approved : 96,160 USD
Missions to the property until 2018**

1993: World Heritage Centre mission; May 1994: ICOMOS Advisory mission; 1999: World Heritage Centre mission; May 2001: Heritage and Tourism Master Plan mission; November 2003, June 2008, March 2010, and April 2012: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring missions; November 2014: Joint World Heritage Centre/World Bank Advisory mission and Joint ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission; November 2015, February and December 2016: World Heritage Centre technical assistance missions; July – September 2017: World Heritage Centre on-site technical assistance

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

On 12 October 2017, the final Activity Report, including detailed recommendations of the UNESCO technical assistance to Georgia, was transmitted by the World Heritage Centre to the State Party within the framework of the UNESCO/Georgia Agreement.  On 30 January 2018, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation providing progress made with the implementation of the recommendations adopted by the Committee at its 41st session. The joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS/ICCROM Reactive Monitoring mission was carried out in February 2018.  The three reports are available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/708/documents/

  • The Terms of Reference (ToR) for the Urban Land-Use Master Plan (ULUMP) have been prepared including the Historical Cultural Base Plan and building regulations. The Technical Committee composed of all relevant governmental stakeholders has been established and the administrative process for validation of the ToR is progressing;
  • Institutional and technical capacity of local and national authorities has been enhanced, cross-institutional collaboration improved and management mechanisms have been reinforced through the UNESCO/Georgia agreement. The Mtskheta self-governing town has been merged with the Mtskheta municipality resolving the management issue of the World Heritage property and its buffer zone. The Cultural Heritage and Tourism Development Center has been created as an independent public entity under local administration;
  • Owing to the complexity of the development of the ULUMP, necessitating further coordination among stakeholders as well as financial and human resources, the moratorium on Urban Development and Land Privatization in the Cultural Heritage Protection Zones of Mtskheta has been prolonged until 31 December 2018, with the condition that a full set of town planning documentation including the ULUMP and Historical-Cultural Base Plan be elaborated;
  • Technical reviews and recommendations for projects proposals for the new bridge on the river Mtkvari and the Samtavro Monatsery Garden have been received and the decision to implement the projects has accordingly been taken;
  • As a result of the methodological recommendations provided by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies along the development of the Western Route Export Pipeline (WREP) and Mtskheta New Archaeological Museum projects proposals, these two projects have now been revised and consented to. The project proposal for the rehabilitation of western wall of Svetitskhoveli Cathedral was discussed during the mission.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2018

While the State Party has achieved remarkable progress in addressing the factors affecting the property, devoting all its efforts to implementing the recommendations provided over the past years, it is noted that basic conservation issues of the property remain crucial. The historic urban landscape of Mtskheta is currently undergoing step-by-step changes with increased commercial tourism development, rehabilitation of public spaces and changes in the overall historic urban landscape, as well as environmental degradation due to lack of waste and water/sewage management. It should be noted with concern that these threats, if not addressed in time with appropriate and immediate measures, may impact in the medium term on the attributes which contribute to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, including its conditions of authenticity and integrity.

The Decree of the Moratorium has had a positive impact, successfully tackling uncontrolled land privatization and development within the Mtskheta Protection Zone. To improve the protective instruments, the State Party adopted in June 2017 the Unified Visual Protection Area by the Decree of the Minister of Culture and Monuments Protection of Georgia under the Law of Georgia on Cultural Heritage (2007). The elaboration of a comprehensive set of mapping and planning documentation for the preparation of the ULUMP has been achieved. On the basis of updated databases and site surveys by the Technical Assistance project, the borders of built-up regulation zone areas, archaeological zones and the historical landscape protection zone were corrected. The 2018 mission recommended that the Moratorium be maintained until the urban planning documentation has been adopted, and control and monitoring is fully in place. Also, as there is confusion among the citizens about the contents and implementation of the Moratorium, information is needed about the steps required for the lifting of the regulation and about the monitoring and management of the historical core of the town, after the expiration of the Moratorium.

The mission concluded that while the State Party has made significant progress in establishing a clear institutional coordination and mechanism, it is not fully implemented and operational in daily practice. Neither the Steering Committee, nor the municipality and civil society are involved in the development of the ULUMP concept yet. There is lack of a functioning participatory process and communication within all levels of planning and management. The mission highlighted the importance of a coordinated inter-ministerial and institutional decision-making process regarding the protection of the property. A continuous dialog and transparency between all stakeholders of the Master Plan should be the guiding principle for all actors, especially at the conceptual stage of new proposals. The priority need is to reinforce the role of the municipality in all training and capacity building programmes for the planning and management of Mtskheta. The mission highlighted the crucial need to raise awareness on the World Heritage benefits and commitments among the local authority and all the citizens and stakeholders.

A number of development projects were reviewed by the mission and recommendations provided within the mission report. However, noting in particular the “Second Jerusalem” project in the Historical Landscape protection zone and the Buffer Zone of the property, including interventions such as a new pedestrian bridge over the river Aragvi and universal baptistery in the Mtkvari-Aragvi riverside area of Mtskheta. It also includes related infrastructure with new walkways, connecting roads and look-outs at the historically important area at the banks of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers and by the Jvari Church. It is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, all detailed documents, including Heritage Impact Assessments (HIAs) to be carried out already at the strategic level, for review by the Advisory Bodies.

It is also recommended that the Committee endorse all recommendations of the 2018 mission, and in particular on the integrated planning process of elaboration of the Urban Planning Documentation, that the responsibility of the Steering Committee should be in practice, and that no project, independently of its contents and potential positive or negative impacts, should be realized without the active support of all relevant stakeholders, including the Local Authorities, and without the approval of a HIA in accordance with the 2011 ICOMOS Guidance on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage properties.

It is finally recommended that the Committee invite the State Party to implement all recommendations of the UNESCO Advisory service to Georgia implemented within the framework of the agreement signed between the State Party and UNESCO, and financially supported by the World Bank (UNESCO/Georgia Agreement).  

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2018
42 COM 7B.24
Historical Monuments of Mtskheta (Georgia) (C 708bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.44, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Acknowledges the efforts made by the State Party to implement the recommendations made with regard to the Mtskheta Urban Land Use Master Plan (ULUMP), and encourages the State Party to further enhance the participatory process and involvement of the municipality and civil society in the development of the ULUMP, and to improve coordinated inter-ministerial and institutional decision-making processes regarding the protection of the World Heritage property;
  4. Endorses the recommendations of the final Activity Report of the UNESCO Advisory service to Georgia developed within the framework of the agreement signed between the State Party and UNESCO, and financially supported by the World Bank (UNESCO/Georgia Agreement), as well as the recommendations of the 2018 Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, and invites the State Party to implement these recommendations, and in particular concerning the Svetichkhoveli Cathedral, the Javary Monastery, Samtavro Nunnery and Samtavro Valley;
  5. Requests the State Party to maintain the moratorium on Urban Development and Land Privatization in the Cultural Heritage Protection Zones of Mtskheta until the urban planning documentation has been adopted, and control and monitoring is fully in place;
  6. Recalls its request to the State Party to submit, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, detailed information on any proposed development projects within the property, its buffer zone and setting for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies prior to any decisions being taken that could be difficult to reverse;
  7. Strongly urges the State Party to undertake a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) for developments within the property and its buffer zone as a timely and appropriate method of assessing the multiple and cumulative impacts of current and planned developments, taking into account potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, in conformity with the ICOMOS Guidelines on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage properties, prior to allowing any developments to take place and prior to the finalization and implementation of the ULUMP;
  8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019, 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 44th session in 2020.
Draft Decision: 42 COM 7B.24

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 41 COM 7B.44, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
  3. Acknowledges the efforts made by the State Party to implement the recommendations made with regard to the Mtskheta Urban Land Use Master Plan (ULUMP), and encourages the State Party to further enhance the participatory process and involvement of the municipality and civil society in the development of the ULUMP, and to improve coordinated inter-ministerial and institutional decision-making processes regarding the protection of the World Heritage property;
  4. Endorses the recommendations of the final Activity Report of the UNESCO Advisory service to Georgia developed within the framework of the agreement signed between the State Party and UNESCO, and financially supported by the World Bank (UNESCO/Georgia Agreement), as well as the recommendations of the 2018 Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, and invites the State Party to implement these recommendations, and in particular concerning the Svetichkhoveli Cathedral, the Javary Monastery, Samtavro Nunnery and Samtavro Valley;
  5. Requests the State Party to maintain the moratorium on Urban Development and Land Privatization in the Cultural Heritage Protection Zones of Mtskheta until the urban planning documentation has been adopted, and control and monitoring is fully in place;
  6. Recalls its request to the State Party to submit, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, detailed information on any proposed development projects within the property, its buffer zone and setting for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies prior to any decisions being taken that could be difficult to reverse;
  7. Strongly urges the State Party to undertake a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) for developments within the property and its buffer zone as a timely and appropriate method of assessing the multiple and cumulative impacts of current and planned developments, taking into account potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, in conformity with the ICOMOS Guidelines on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage properties, prior to allowing any developments to take place and prior to the finalization and implementation of the ULUMP;
  8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019, 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 44th session in 2020.
Report year: 2018
Georgia
Date of Inscription: 1994
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Danger List (dates): 2009-2016
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2018) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 42COM (2018)
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.