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Cultural Landscapes

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Author Solivagant
#1 | Posted: 3 Sep 2008 05:47 | Edited by: Solivagant 
We have had problems in the past identifying all those sites which count as Cultural Landscapes (CL). Els currently has 48 in the "Category" section

I came across this
It shows that there could be as many as 56. In which case of course there are some not in our current list. Such a one is Quebrada de Humahuaca which Els intends visiting later this year (the inscription documents confirm that it is a CL). I also noted with surprise that Nisa is also shown as a Cultural Landscape - but there is NO mention of this that I can see in its documentatation and i can't really see the justification!

The Aranjuez documents also show yet another "spin off" organisation of WHS. So we have at least the "Organisation of World Heritage Cities" and a "Cultural Landscape Alliance"

Doe anyone know of others?. I could imagine a "Vinyard Sites Alliance" where they could annully taste each others wines or a "Organisation of Railway sites" where they could spot each others trains or even a "Not belonging to any other group group" - the possibilities are endless! How come these sites are missing out on the chance of yet more opportunities for going on annual overseas "jollies"!

Author Solivagant
#2 | Posted: 3 May 2012 05:17 
I think it could be worth continuing the discussion about Cultural Landscapes (CLs) which was started under "Causses and Cevennes and other Agrarian Landscapes "
( )
here in its own right. There is quite a lot worth discussing on the matter!

Even if we add the 2011 inscriptions to the 66 on the UNESCO Web site we won't get to the 79 which Els has identified. There are some real problems in identifying CLs!

Chapter 11 of Fowler's book is entitled "Reviewing the Achievement. World Heritage Cultural Landscapes 1992-2003" covers some of the issues.

He says "No CLs existed in 1992 - on July 3 2003 there were officially (my italics) 36. There are however many other WHS which are CLs"

(If) "we break away from the limitations of the 36 official WH CLs and briefly explore the proposition that there are in fact about 100 CLs on the WH list . They have simply not hitherto been recognised as such"

"26 of the 36 formal CLs were nominated as CLs; 10 were not" (whilst some WH were "officially" changed e.g St Kilda and Tongariro, I am not sure that all the additional 10 went through such a process!)

"We note the existence of T Lists of possible forthcoming nominations and ....... predict that from about 100 CLs on the WH List in 2002 the total will have risen to 200 or more before 2020"

He also carries out a categorisation of the 36 by "CL category" (ie "Designed", Organic - Continuing", "Organic - Relict", and "Associative") as well as the use of particular Criteria. He concludes that "No standard use of the 6 Cultural Criteria characterises the 36 officially inscribed CLs".

We only have connections for Organic Relict (6) and Associative (12). The Fowler 36 List identifies 5 for "Desigened", 4 for "Relict", 18 for "Continuing" and 9 for "Associative". It would appear that we need to do more to fully understand both how many CLs there are and of what category!!

Author Solivagant
#3 | Posted: 4 May 2012 12:36 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I have started working my way through a number of Sites which have been categorised as "Cultural Landscapes" on the "Activities page" on the UNESCO Web site identified by Hubert.
Already a few discrepancies and idiosynchrasies have emerged!

The clearest confirmation of a site being "offically recognised" as a cultural landscape is to be found in the AB evaluation section "Category". The normal phrase runs along the lines of
"ln terms of the categories of property set out in Article 1 of the 1972 world Heritage convention, XXXXX is a site. lt is also nominated by the state Party as a cultural landscape of the type proposed in paragraph 39(i) of the opoerational Guidelines for the implementation of tne World Heritage Convention"
But not all sites in the "66 list" are so identified. And very few of those which are make it clear exactly which category of Cultural Landscape they are (as in "39i" above which is a "designed landscape").

One might have thought that the name of a site would be a good indicator -and often it is e.g "Wachau Cultural Landscape". But not always. I have looked into the site titled
"Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes"
This site is one of the 66 but it seemed a bit strange for a Railway to be a "Cultural Landscape"!
In the AB evaluation it becomes clear that the site doesn't include the "Cultural Landscape" aspect at all hence the phrase "IN (my bold italics) the Albula/Bernina Landscapes".
It appears that Switzerland nominated the site under the title "Rhaetian railway in the Albula/Bernina Cultural Landscape". However following the evaluation and the resulting changes made by Switzerland to the nomination Icomos recommended a change to the title as follows
"It would be desirable to change the name of the nominated property, in view of the choice finally made by the States Parties to remove the cultural landscapes from the nominated property itself and instead include them in the buffer zone. A more appropriate name would be Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina Landscapes."

So the Rhaetian Railway site is NOT a Cultural Landscape - it only passes through such landscapes and has them in its buffer zone!!

Author hubert
#4 | Posted: 4 May 2012 13:16 | Edited by: hubert 
Indeed, the case of the Rhaetian Railway is a strange example. Moreover, because the similar site of the Semmering Railway in Austria is not among the 66 on the Unesco list. In the AB evaluation of the Semmering Railway I found the following sentence (chapter Category of property): "It may also be considered as a linear cultural landscape". Does anybody know what a 'linear landscape' could be?

Author Solivagant
#5 | Posted: 4 May 2012 16:09 | Edited by: Solivagant 
The Parthian Fortresses of Nisa is another rather strange site to be included in the "UNESCO 66" list of Cultural Landscapes!

The AB evaluation merely states in its Category section
"In terms of the categories of cultural property set out in Article 1 of the 1972 World Heritage Convention, this is a serial nomination of two sites."
No mention of "lt is also nominated by the state Party as a cultural landscape " and not even a "It may also be considered as a .... cultural landscape"!

So where could the idea/justification have come from? Well the Nomination file contains this sentence within its proposed Statement of Universal Value
"In addition, the two impressive historical hills enclosed by defensive ramparts are still visible independently, and the antique cultural landscape marked by the massive piedmont of the Kopet-dag has not changed fundamentally since the Parthian period."

It is repeated word for word within the AB evaluation - which does not however accept parts of the nominated criteria. It has been slightly altered by the time it appears within the UNESCO pages about the site
"The integrity and authenticity of the property, and also of the surrounding landscape, in terms of the size of the two tells and the siting of the capital at the foot of the Kopet-Dag mountains, are unquestionable".

And the introduction of the word "surrounding" in relation to the "Landscape" is significant. The nominated and inscribed site consists SOLELY of the 2 fortified Tells of Old and New Nisa. It doesn't even consist of the whole of the Nisa State Historical Park and the 2 elements are separated by a large buffer zone which contains "mausolea" and "graveyards".

It would seem to stretch the concept of a "Cultural Landscape" beyond breaking point for it to consist solely of the remains of 2 fortified Tells - and indeed this is nowhere claimed. This seems to be another example of a much wider area than the inscribed site being a "Cultural Landscape" and this attribute being claimed for the inscribed site itself. If this logic were to be followed then every cultural WHS could be claimed to be part of some "Cultural Landscape"!!

There needs to be a distinction between sites inscribed
a. For their OUV AS Cultural Landscapes
b. As part of wider Cultural Landscapes which presumably do not contain adequate OUV, Authenticity, Management etc to be inscribed as such - or else presumably they would have been!

Some of the second type seem to be "claiming" to BE Cultural Landscapes when they, as inscribed, are not.

Author Solivagant
#6 | Posted: 5 May 2012 03:30 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Does anybody know what a 'linear landscape' could be?

A "linear landscape" is not one of the "official" 4 "categories" of Cultural Landscape established back in 1992 (Designed/ Organic - Relict/ Organic - Continuing/ Associative) but it is a phrase which has had long term currency.

It appeared in the Operational Guidelines (OGs) once the concept of CLs had been accepted as a paragraph after the description of the categories as follows
"The extent of a cultural landscape for inclusion on the World Heritage List is relative to its functionality and intelligibility. In any case, the sample selected must be substantial enough to adequately represent the totality of the cultural landscape that it illustrates. The possibility of designating long linear areas which represent culturally significant transport and communication networks should not be excluded." - my "bold" (from the Feb 1994 OGs Para 40)

It, and the "categorisation", have been removed from the latest OGs (which address CLs briefly in Para 47) and relegated to Annex 3 titled "Guidelines on the Inscription of specific types of properties on the World Heritage List" as para 11. In addition this expanded description of types of properties contains an entire section on Canals (!!) and states "The canal may be a monumental work, the defining feature of a linear cultural landscape, or an integral component of a complex cultural landscape.".

The above paragraph on "extent" of CLs seems relevant to the Nisa issue above as well as to the Rhaetian and Semmering Railway examples in that "the sample selected must be substantial enough to adequately represent the totality of the cultural landscape that it illustrates". In the case of the Rhaeitan Railway ICOMOS didn't seem to think it did, in the case of the Semmering Railway the issue is obfuscated by the phrase "it may also be considered a linear CL" and in the case of Nisa no one has actually claimed that it did!

However the paragraph on "canal" example of a "Linear CL" would seem to open the possibility of just the railway track and its associated structures running alongside being defined as a "linear CL" on the basis that it was "the defining feature of a linear cultural landscape". Our "Connection" for "Linear Inscriptions" ( ) identifies a fair number of these (though there might be some argument about a few of them - I wouldn't include Papahanaumokuakea for instance!). But relatively few are CLs - "Incense Route of the Negev" is one and of course the various "River routes" are also there (Danube, Rhine, Loire etc) . The comment there on the Canal du Midi copied from the AB eval is of interest viz - "It should also be considered to be a cultural landscape of the type Proposed in paragraph 39 of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, although it was not nominated as such by the State Party". Similar issues could be raised about a number of the other "linear sites" e.g Camino Real and Defence Line of Amsterdam.

Author Solivagant
#7 | Posted: 6 May 2012 04:05 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Villages with Fortified Churches
I am not quite sure how this WHS got onto our list of "Cultural Landscapes" (CLs)
It is not included in the
a. "UNESCO 66" list
b. "Fowler 36" list of CL WHS as of 2003 included in his book "Landscapes for the World" - despite this covering the period in which the site was extended from just the Chruch of Biertan to 7 churches AND their villages.

I have looked through the AB reviews from the orginal inscription in 1993 and the 1999 extension
a. Although the original inscription came after the introduction of "CLs" in 1992 it was only in 1993 that the first CL was inscribed via the extension of Tongariro to incude Cultural Criteria. The Biertan nomination (which consits solely of the church and doesn't include the village) was based on a 1991 proposal which had been deferred in 1991. The AB revaluation doesn't mention the phrase "CL"
b. The extension includes significant parts of each of the villages (including that of Biertan) together with their Fortified churches. However no agricultual or "natural" lands outside the villages were included in the core zone. In its ONLY use of the phrase "CL" the AB evaluation states "There are clearly defined and adequate conservation areas for the village sites, and also adequate buffer zones including parts of the typical Transylvanian cultural landscape around all the nominated properties."

It would appear therefore that this is another example of a WHS which is "set" in a recognisable "CL" but which does not include it other than as part of its buffer zone. It should not be given the category of CL

Author Solivagant
#8 | Posted: 7 May 2012 02:40 
Another "problematic" possible Cultural Landscape (CL) is Butrint.

a. It is currently included in the list of 79 Cls on this Web site
b. It is NOT included in the "UNESCO 66" list
c. It is NOT included in the "Fowler 36" list of CLs inscribed up to 2003

So why is it included in this Web site's list of CLs?

Well the site was originally inscribed in 1992 having been deferred in 1991. Then, in 1997 it was placed on the "In Danger" list having been looted during the civil unrest in Albania's early post-communist days. Despite this it was extended in 1999. The original inscription had covered solely the major archaeological monuments from the Greek period to the Middle Ages within the fortified walls – e.g a theatre, a paleo-christian baptistery and a mediaeval basilica. The extension however consisted of "a range of hills to the north, the Butrint plain, Lake Bufit, and part of Lake Butrint". This area also included a large number of other monuments – Paleolithic, Bronze Age, Roman, through to Venetian and late 18C Ottoman.

All this was the justification for the AB evaluation describing the extended site thus "In terms of the categories of cultural property set out in Article 1 of the 1972 World Heritage Convention, this is a site. It is also a cultural landscape as defined in paragraph 39 of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (1999)."
Indeed ICOMOS went so far as to say "Butrint and its hinterland constitute an exceptional cultural landscape, which has developed organically over many centuries and has escaped aggressive development of the type that has reduced the heritage value of most historic landscapes in the Mediterranean region. It constitutes a very rare combination of archaeology and nature." (my bold)

No problem then – that AB evaluation was the source for including it in the list of CLs on this Web site! But why isn't in the UNESCO and "Fowler" lists? I can find no clear answer!

The extension was accepted subject to Albania agreeing to add a further area to it which ICOMOS was concerned could otherwise become developed. It appears that this was done in a rather strange further official WHC-authorised "extension" in 2007 which related to the extension of the buffer zone rather than to the site itself. The original caveat stated that the area of concern should be included within the "inscribed site" but later documents indicate that this was watered down such that it had to be included within the "protected area" which was presumably regarded as including the buffer zone! In the mean time there was continuing concern about the site which was subject to several missions which eventually led to the site's removal from the "In danger" list in 2005.

The various reports across this period make no mention either way of the site's "CL status". The first mention appears in the report of the April 2007 "Joint UNESCO-ICOMOS-ICCROM Mission to Butrint". This reviews events regarding the site since its initial inscription and contains the following
a. In October 2003 the National authorities were urged "to take appropriate measures for the effective protection of the site's cultural landscape, including the development of hydrological studies and sustainable agricultural methods". It is ambiguous as to whether this refers to the "CL" in general terms or specifically as inscribed!
b. In a review of progress (or otherwise) on earlier recommendations, an Action C3 from 2001 is described which required Albania to "develop a statement of significance" for the Management Plan for the extended site. In 2005 the status for this action is described thus "The Park Staff and BNP Board consider requesting a change to the WH site category of "Cultural Landscape." and "The "Cultural Landscape" category is recommended for the site".

Very strange!! From these last 2 sentences it certainly appears that, for some reason, no one considered in 2005 that the site was a CL even though the 1999 AB evaluation seems clearly to indicate that it was!! It is true that the "inscription decision" for the extension as minuted makes no mention that the extension on Criteria iii also converted the site to a CL – but a trawl of minutes recording the inscription of other CLs shows that most of them do include such comments either.

Author Solivagant
#9 | Posted: 23 Nov 2021 11:59 
A recent Article (June 2021) from the "International Journal of Heritage Studies" on Cultural Landscapes -
"Introducing the category in 1992 significantly broadened the types of acceptable sites, but European countries continued to dominate just like for other cultural heritage, filling the World Heritage List with vineyard landscapes rather than the sacred mountains that were first inscribed. European states also eagerly used extra nomination slots for cultural landscapes while non-European List leaders prioritised natural heritage and the conventional cultural heritage they had not yet exhausted instead. Moreover, non-European cultural landscapes have struggled to gain expert approval, as is demonstrated for African nominations"

Author elsslots
#10 | Posted: 23 Nov 2021 12:12 | Edited by: elsslots 
Good find! Haven't seen much of this kind of WHS research based on statistical data before.

Quoting some more:
Even pastoralism – whose most elaborate cultural manifestations anthropologists would seek in the arid parts of Africa and Asia – has been good for five European inscriptions, with the rest of the world barely keeping pace.

The large share of European cultural landscape listings is therefore a consequence of European countries nominating so many of them.

Author Solivagant
#11 | Posted: 25 Nov 2021 06:48 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Whilst trying to categorise the T List sites there seemed to me to be rather a lot of Mixed sites aiming to claim Cultural Landscape (CL) status as well. My impression has always been that it has proven difficult to persuade IUCN to accept a site which has been significantly enough altered by the "hand of man" to justify being a "CL" yet maintains enough "Natural" value (other than sites which are culturally only "associative"). Indeed we have a "Connection" titled "Cultural sites rejected for Natural criteria" with 19 sites where the State Party's nomination for mixed criteria was rejected because the "Natural" aspect didn't satisfy IUCN.

So how many have succeeded in gaining the duel Natural/CL inscription? A UNESCO search on CL identifies 10 which are mixed sites – as follows (I have taken the "type" of CL from this Web site – UNESCO does NOT officially "type" CLs)
Uluru – Assoc/Eroded
Paraty – Contin/Forest
Pimachiowin – Contin/Forest
Ennedi – Contin/Desert
Pyr Mt Perdu (Fr) – Contin/Mountain
Lope – Relict/Flora/Fauna
Pyr Mt Perdu (Sp) – Contin/Mountain
St Kilda – Relict/Insular
Papahanau – Assoc/Marine & Coast
Trang An – Contin/Karst

So 6 Continuous, 2 Associative and 2 Relict – all with enough "Natural" value for IUCN to accept them!! As mentioned above, one might have expected a higher percentage of "Associative" (which implies "nature" with few structures) but all seem to be "reasonable" in terms of being primarily "Natural" sites with a relatively small human impact. Perhaps Paraty/Isla Grande is the most surprising as it contains a significant built element in the form of the town. However this is limited to 2 concentrated adjacent sites adding up to a mere 59ha out of 173k ha –whilst the forest area is completely separated from these and is pristine condition with only minor indigenous habitation. I guess IUCN didn't feel the need to worry if ICOMOS thought that justified a CL for Cultural reasons! .

Having just gone through many of the T List sites slated for both "mixed" and "CL" my impression is that many of them are "the wrong way round" with the Cultural element constituting the major justification with a "nice" bit of scenery or nature which the State Party hopes will justify a Natural criterion as well!! Looking through the 19 "failed" mixed/CL nominations one certainly gets the impression either that the Cultural aspect is dominant or that the natural element isn't that "special". So, I fear that a lot of the T List mixed CL/Natural suggestions won't survive the nomination process!

2 arising points
a. "Mixed CL" could justify its own Connection as the converse of the one already identified for those failing to gain such inscription? It seems a significant and rare enough "state" to justify being highlighted?
b. There are some inconsistencies in our (and UNESCO's!!) "count" of CLs. See below

a. The UNESCO advanced search identifies 119 CLs.
b. We don't have a "Connection" for CLs in total but do Categorise them separately by type of CL. These 4 CL Categories total 123 - Associative 32, Clearly defined 15, Continuing 48, Relict 28. For some reason there are only 27 WHS in the Relict list despite the total shown.
c. UNESCO lists 6 WHS which we do not - Colonies of Benevolence, Rosa Montana, Braga, Burle Marx, Piedmont and Dutch Water Lines. I have checked these and all except Dutch Water lines are correct and we should Categorise them as such. I cannot discover why UNESCO has typed the "Dutch Water Lines" as a CL. Nothing in the description or nomination papers justifies it. But there is no doubt that it has been assigned to the CL "Activity" on the UNESCO Web site! I guess that we shouldn't "follow".
d. We have 4 sites categorised as CLs which UNESCO does not – KromerΓ­z, Grand PrΓ©,
Kladruby nad Labem and Hedeby & Danevirke. The UNESCO documentation indicates that the first 3 were described and evaluated as CLs with no indication that they were not also inscribed as such (Indeed the offical decision for the 2nd states that it is a CL. But such statements are not consistently made for all CLs). Hedeby WAS nominated as a CL, However its evaluation states "ICOMOS considers that Hedeby & Danevirke is not a CL". As such we should remove our CL categorisation of it – we already "double" categorise it as Arch site Viking. Regarding the other 3 – we shouldn't replicate UNESCO's errors by removing them from our list - but could have a "Connection" such as "inscribed as CL but not identified as such by UNESCO"?
e. Leaving the above inconsistencies aside, the difference between our figure and that of UNESCO is also created by the fact that we have categorised some CLs as being of more than 1 type of CL. These are Kuk (Contin & Relict), Nord Pas (Contin & Assoc) , Suleyman Too (Relict & Assoc), Persian Garden (Assoc & Clearly Def) , Thingvellir (Assoc & Relict) and Grand Pre (Contin & Assoc). Unfortunately the Evaluation and inscription process doesn't consistently "type" CLs to act as a guide for us – I suppose there is no reason why a WHS couldn't be a bit of 2 or more CLs but it seems a bit excessive especially as many sites also have a "normal" categorization as well. Views??

Author elsslots
#12 | Posted: 25 Nov 2021 07:30 
Relict 28. For some reason there are only 27 WHS in the Relict list despite the total shown.

Fixed it, accidentally a TWHS was included here.

Will have a look at your other findings, there can be one or two additional connections in there.

Author elsslots
#13 | Posted: 25 Nov 2021 07:47 | Edited by: elsslots 
These are Kuk (Contin & Relict), Nord Pas (Contin & Assoc) , Suleyman Too (Relict & Assoc), Persian Garden (Assoc & Clearly Def) , Thingvellir (Assoc & Relict) and Grand Pre (Contin & Assoc).

Kuk is labelled as a Relict CL in the AB ev, will remove the continuous one.

Nord Pas de Calais is labelled as a Continuing CL, will remove the associative

Persian Garden is Clearly Defined

Thingvellir is Relict

Grand Pre is "living" (thus continuing).

The only one where both could be applicable is Sulaiman-Too.

Author Solivagant
#14 | Posted: 25 Nov 2021 08:44 
"Most of the nominated property is a relict landscape little used, although the first peak with some caves, and the lower parts of the southern slopes of the second and third peaks, are ritual sites frequented by pilgrims and tourists."
From the AB.. It would seem to me that the true "CL aspect" Is relict.. Whether it also justified a religious category?? Well more than there might have been in Soviet days. . But it is really more A tourist place nowadays. . You have been there more recently than we have.

Author elsslots
#15 | Posted: 25 Nov 2021 08:58 
Whether it also justified a religious category??

No, not really. I've limited it to Relict now, though its "sacredness" still is a reason for people visiting. I was actually quite surprised about the behaviour of the 2 women that I described in my review. It was a bit like lighting a candle in a church.

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