05.07.2019 - UNESCO Office in Tashkent

The World Heritage Committee examined the state of conservation report of Samarkand-crossroads of cultures

The World Heritage Committee examined the state of conservation report of Samarkand-crossroads of cultures

The World Heritage Committee, meeting in Baku since June 30, reviewed the report submitted by Uzbekistan on the conservation of the World Heritage site "Samarkand - crossroads of cultures".

With regard to Samarkand, the Committee welcomes the measures taken over the past two years to enhance the legal framework for the protection of all World Heritage properties in Uzbekistan, the human and financial resources for the management of the property, the start of an inventory for the city of Samarkand, and the initiation of a process to develop a new Master Plan and update of the Management Plan.

The Committee also welcomes the development of a new draft Traffic  Scheme within the framework of the proposed Master Plan, which will focus on new roads outside the historic centre and encourage the further pedestrianization of  the centre,  and notes  with satisfaction  that it would replace  the 2004 traffic plan.

Nevertheless the Committee expresses its concern that, before these planning tools are completed and adopted, major development projects that could  potentially have an adverse impact on the property’ s historic urban landscape are being planned or implemented.

In particular, this includes infrastructure development  that are to be completed  ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation International Summit in 2022, along with the multi-functional project “Samarkand City Tourist Zone”, which may involve the demolition and re-development of a number of areas within the property, its buffer zones  setting, including the demolition of residential areas.

The Committee therefore urges Uzbekistan to immediately halt these projects until the potential impacts are fully assessed and suitable measures to safeguard the OUV of the property are in place.

In accordance with the decision of the World Heritage Committee (43 COM 7B.77), the Committee requests Uzbekistan to submit to the World Heritage Centre, for consideration by its Advisory Bodies, detailed information of the proposed  development projects mentioned in the state of conservation  report or otherwise planned in the next three years , any necessary Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) following ICOMOS Guidelines, reports on the social and other measures taken  relating to demolition of  houses and residential areas, the Master Plan and updated Management Plan that are integrated following the HUL approach.

An updated report on the state of conservation of the “Samarkand - Crossroads of Cultures” site will be considered by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020.

The 43rd session of the Committee will last until 10 July. Broadcast available online.

Background:

The historical part of Samarkand was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001. The historic town of Samarkand is a crossroad and melting pot of the world's cultures. Founded in the 7th century B.C. as ancient Afrasiab, Samarkand had its most significant development in the Timurid period from the 14th to the 15th centuries. The major monuments include the Registan Mosque and madrasas, Bibi-Khanum Mosque, the Shakhi-Zinda compound and the Gur-Emir ensemble, as well as Ulugh-Beg's Observatory.




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