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WHS boundaries

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Author Euloroo
#16 | Posted: 2 Jan 2010 23:09 
I'm planning a trip to the Wet Tropics of Queensland. Overview maps are available on their official site ( but can't find on the whc site. For the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia detailed maps are available at

Author Assif
#17 | Posted: 9 Jan 2010 09:20 
I would like to go back to Solivagant's posting regarding the Olive Mountain in Jerusalem. What the Jordanian text opposes is the Israeli proposal to extend the boundaries to include Mount Zion (Mount David) and City of David (Silouan). Both are objected by Unesco and the Palestinians for the following reasons:
Mount Zion-David is located in Western Jerusalem and was in Israeli control during the time of separation (1948-1967). Even current negociation with PLO suggests under international consensus that is stays under Israeli sovereignity. Its addition to the WHS will hence blur the bounderies with the disputed Old Town and impede the division of Jerusalem.
City of David is an excavation site run by a settlers organization called Elad. Its excavation incuded the displacement of Palesitnian refugee families who lived on that ground. In its framework some houses were built for Elad members to live in this area which is not recognized as being part of Israel by the international community.

The Olive Mountain (same as some other nearby sites) is another issue though as it belongs to East Jerusalem and is under the same international status as the rest of the Old City (occupied Palestinian territory).
I do think it is a part of the nomination. The official Unesco site clearly shows a photo of the Kidron Tombs which are outside the city walls and on the slopes of the Olive Mountain.

Author Solivagant
#18 | Posted: 9 Jan 2010 13:38 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Hi Assif,
This is an interesting and "worthwhile" issue which i think is worth pursuing to a "proper" conclusion!
a.You mention that the unesco site "clearly shows a photo of the Kidron tombs which are outside the city walls". I presume that is the bottom right photo in the gallery section of the UNESCO site page on Jerusalem (with the tomb of Zekhariah on the right)? Of course UNESCO "has form" when it comes to showing incorrect photos on its web site!! Not least the recent issue of an incorrect photo of an Iranian site - or it could even be of course that Israel supplied the photo without the World Heritage Centre being fully aware of the significance? (I have absolutely no political "axe to grind" on this matter -just the desire to establish the "facts" as to what has and has not been inscribed!). I don't think I would regard the existence of a photo on the UNESCO web site as "conclusive" evidence one way or another!

b. The official title of the inscribed site is clearly "The Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls" - unless there is good evidence that ANY area OUTSIDE those walls was inscribed it seems difficult to believe that they have been - especially given the political sensitivities of the inscription

c. The highly politicised statement of the "Royal Committee for Jerusalem affairs" is certainly concerned with any attempts to extend the boundaries beyond those already inscribed but, in so doing it also provides statements on which areas the Committee considers are already inscribed. I fully accept that the concerns about Mt Zion/Silouan definitely relate to possible intentions by Israel to extend but the entire thrust of the statement is that NO areas outside the walls have been inscribed and that the Mount of Olives is as much outside as the the nearby "City of David" and the slightly further away Mt Zion - "THe Jewish goal is to include the Jewish cemeteries on the Mount of Olives and annex them to the "United Jerusalem under Israeli Sovereignty"

d. What about any clues which can be discerned from the documents available regarding the original inscription?
First the AB evaluation.
ICOMOS clearly wants areas outside the walls included and points out the arbitrary exclusion of many first rate sites in so doing. It concludes "While reserving its opinion as to the exact determination of the desirable limits of the zone to be protected, ICOMOS urgently recommends that none of these sites or monuments be excluded from the complementary proposals included in the inscription form." As we don't have the "nomination form" it is difficult to work out what might be meant by this OTHER THAN that they were in some way "complementary" rather than "integral".
Next the minutes of the "Extraordinary session" in Sept 1981 which agreed to the inscription 14 to 1 with 5 abstentions. Leaving aside the statements by the various states Annex III is particularly interesting "concerning the list of buildings which ICOMOS has recommended adding" ( ). This rather strangely refers to those buildings INSIDE the medina which have been identified totalling 220 AS IF the inscription ONLY refers to such IDENTIFIED buildings?? It then lists 6 monuments recommended for addition by ICOMOS. Your knowledge of Jerusalem's topography will be far superior to mine Assif, but none of these seem to relate to any buildings outside the walls let alone on the Mount of Olives?

So I still can't find any satisfactory documentary evidence that any sites outisde the walls of Jerusalem were inscribed! Perhaps, with your local knowledge, you could find some authoritative contact in Jerusalem who might be able to resolve this matter conclusively in a way which can be demonstrated to be totally "free" of any political bias or posturing (and just to be clear, I am not suggesting any such bias, in your case either!), Assif?

Author Assif
#19 | Posted: 9 Jan 2010 18:30 
Thanks for your analysis Solivagant. As you say, I'm not biased politically in this matter. However, whoever I may contact in this matter will be! (regardless whether Israeli or Palestinian).
I will try to research the matter nonetheless!

Author Solivagant
#20 | Posted: 10 Jan 2010 03:10 | Edited by: Solivagant 
There are reasonably up to date (April 09) contacts with email addresses etc for ICOMOS Israel and the Forum UNESCO for Israel here which might prove a good "starting point"

I could contact them but your discussion would be more knowledgeable/local (and "personal") than mine - and hence better able to get to the facts/documentation and judge if political points were being made or not! With your interests in and knowledge of matters WHS you might even establish some useful and interesting "long term" contacts too!

PS This link provides a good history of UNESCO's dealings with Jerusalem and Israel's adoption of the WH Convention together with an examination of the complexities surrounding the politicisation of every activity relating to the site - much to the exasperation of both UNESCO and conservation professionals! But, as far as I can see, still doesn't give any indication that any areas outside the walls were inscribed - leaving the ever more definite impression that they were not! The article also makes reference to the description within Israel's T List entry for "Jerusalem". I find that this also supports the view that ONLY areas within the walls were inscribed. Viz
a. "The Old City and Ramparts of Jerusalem is an inscribed site on the World Heritage List. The Ramparts represent the Ottoman boundaries of the 16th century and enclose within it the built sites of the Temple Mount/Haram el-Sharif and the Christian shrines of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Via Dolorosa."
b. "The geo-historic context of the Old City includes the Kidron Valley/the Valley of Jehoshafat and the Hinom Valley encompassed by the surrounding hills - Mount Scopus, Mount of Olives, the Hill of Evil Counsel, and Mount Zion." i.e Israel wishes to extend the site to include sites which are part of this "geo-historic context" including the Mt of Olives!

Author Assif
#21 | Posted: 12 Jan 2010 05:34 
Confirmed - indeed only within the walls.

Author Assif
#22 | Posted: 12 Jan 2010 15:29 | Edited by: Assif 
What was the last verdict on Aquincum/Budapest? Is it in (as in the nomination dosier) or out (as in the maps on the official website)?

Author Durian
#23 | Posted: 14 Jan 2010 20:30 
a.You mention that the unesco site "clearly shows a photo of the Kidron tombs which are outside the city walls". I presume that is the bottom right photo in the gallery section of the UNESCO site page on Jerusalem (with the tomb of Zekhariah on the right)? Of course UNESCO "has form" when it comes to showing incorrect photos on its web site!! Not least the recent issue of an incorrect photo of an Iranian site - or it could even be of course that Israel supplied the photo without the World Heritage Centre being fully aware of the significance? (I have absolutely no political "axe to grind" on this matter -just the desire to establish the "facts" as to what has and has not been inscribed!). I don't think I would regard the existence of a photo on the UNESCO web site as "conclusive" evidence one way or another!

I totally agreed with Solivagant on this issue, the photo in Unesco Gallery website is not a conclusive evidence that such site is World Heritage Site; for example,
Kyoto - a photo of Enmusubi Shrine, near Kiyomizu Temple, but not part of WHS!
Ayutthaya - Wat Chaiwattanaram, maybe the most famous temple, but also not part of WHS!
Vienna - a photo of Karl Marx Hof, famous building, but again not part of WHS!
Belem - Discoveries Monument, part of protective zone but definitely not a WHS.

Author Solivagant
#24 | Posted: 15 Jan 2010 06:00 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Assif has raised a very interesting subject re Budapest and Aquincum – I don't remember it having been discussed here before or did I miss it?
From my own investigations there seems no doubt that
a. No parts of Aquincum per se have been inscribed BUT the ruins of the Roman Camp "Contra Aquincum" (almost) certainly have been
b. The UNESCO documentation demonstrates a series of (IL!)logical) steps which upgrade "Aquincum" itself from a mere mention within statements about the historic context of Budapest, to actually citing it in one of the criteria justifying the original inscription, and then finally, in the introductory statement within the Nomination file for the entire site of Budapest raising it to a prime element of the site!! Viz " This site has the remains of monuments such as the Roman city of Aquincum and the Gothic castle of Buda, which have had a considerable influence on the architecture of various periods" . This statement in turn has been carried forward into the UNESCO Web site - NB in particular the use of the words "Roman city"!!

First – where exactly is Aquincum within Budapest? This link ( ) contains a number of photos, together with maps showing where the locations are situated. These photos identify 3 places containing Roman Ruins
a. The main site of Aquincum itself
b. The Amphitheatre to the south of "a."
c. An area of columns etc at Flórián tér

All of these are located on the Buda side of the Danube in the Obuda district, well north of the Margaret Bridge and Island with Aquincum itself the furthest away to the north.

None of the detailed nomination and evaluation documents – culminating in the very comprehensive map of 2007 - show any area north of the Margaret Bridge itself as being inscribed!!

So how did "Aquincum" get "included" within the descriptions of the inscribed site?
a. The original nomination document dated 1986 is in fact only part of the larger set put together presumably when the Andrassey Av area was added in 2002 (that extension was in no way concerned with Aquincum or any Roman remains). It exists ONLY in French and is in fact a very comprehensive document for an inscription as early as 1987 containing a map (which shows the nominated area to stop in the north at the Margaret Bridge) and a very full inventory of all significant buildings within the site. The ONLY mentions of Aquincum which I can find are
i. A statement of Budapest's various historic names -"Noms precedents de Budapest. Nom Romain –Aquincum....."
ii. As part of a description of the whole "Panorama" of Budapest the Amphitheatre is mentioned but, as stated above, this is clearly situated to the north of the inscribed site
iii. "La territoire actuelle de Budapest fut au 1 -11 ieme siecles une colonie Romaine .....De l'autre cote du passage de Danube sur la rive gauche se trouve la Campe militaire Contra Aquincum don't les restes mis a jour son visibles a proximite de la tete du Pont Elizabeth a Pest" The Pont Elizabeth represents the southern boundary of the inscribed site The Hungarian Wiki places the ruins as being in the 15 March Sq "not far from Elizabeth bridge" but I can't absolutely categorically place these ruins on the map. There is a photo of them at l_Pest%2C_Contra-Aquincum%2C_langs_Donau_die_grens_was.jpg
iv. The very detailed inventory of the site includes for Pest the phrase "Ambiance Historique. Eglise Paroissiale de la cite, Contra Aquincum, Aire des Ruines". So it appears that the ruins of the Fort/Camp of Contra Aquincum (but not the city of "Aquincum" itself which is some kms north of the fort on the other side of the Danube) ARE included within the inscribed site - the Parish Church does indeed seem to be visible on the UNESCO map on the Pest side of the river near the Elizabeth bridge and inside the inscribed area.
b. But this got transformed in the ICOMOS evaluation of 1987 as follows – Budapest "dates back to the foundation of Aquincum by the Romans ... in 2nd century AD.... Important remains of Aquincum and of the camp Contra Aquincum... can be seen today together with the aqueduct which supplied the Roman colony but the present city did not really develop on the ruins of the ancient city..". ICOMOS has then gone on to recommend that "Criteria II .. can be invoked on several scores. Aquincum played an essential role in the diffusion of Roman architectural forms in Pannonia.."!!
c. The Introductory statement for the entire "Nomination Dossier" (which will presumably have been "constructed" by the WH Centre from all the other documents) then converts these statements into its unequivocal inclusion of the CITY of Aquincum itself as a major element!

So ICOMOS made this leap to include the city of Aquincum purely on the basis of the existence of some parts of the ruins of the fort of "Contra Aquincum" near the foundations of the Elizabeth Bridge being mentioned en passant within Hungary's Nomination file.

As we have already identified on a number of occasions, and as Durian's comment on incorrect photos above further indicates, the UNESCO files contain a fair number of errors. I have had reason to detect a lot of these in going through the recent Harper Collins book on WHS on their behalf. To be fair to Harper Collins they have only "seeded" in a percentage of them - many others come from the Evaluating Body (apparently more often by ICOMOS than by IUCN - though whether that is a function of them or my "knowledge" I don't know!) which has misinterpreted the Nomination File or just made a typing or translation error – the WH Centre doesn't appear to have the knowledge or skills "in house" to pick these up! Yet more come from the determination of States Parties to "talk up" their nominated sites in a most shameful way! The nomination files are full of unjustified superlatives and statements which appear sometimes deliberately to be obfuscating the true nature ("ordinariness"???) of the site. So, in the case of Budapest – if ICOMOS/UNESCO wrongly picks up that the CITY of Aquincum was included by Hungary within the boundaries and actually seem to regard this as "good" to the extent of using it as part of the justification and "official" documentation then Hungary is hardly going to put its hand up and say "Oh, by the way, the ruins of Aquincum aren't actually included you know - just those of the fort of Contra Aquincum!!"
Thus do errors get created, confirmed and become "fact"!

Author Assif
#25 | Posted: 15 Jan 2010 08:51 
Should we then erase the connections of Budapest's Aquincum??

Author Solivagant
#26 | Posted: 15 Jan 2010 11:04 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Connected to "Ancient Roman Colonies"?
Well I guess it's still just about OK if it is made clear that the Connection relates to the Fort of Contra Aquincum which is inside the inscribed area of Budapest but which served the Roman Colony at the nearby city of Aquincum which was situated outside!

Author Assif
#27 | Posted: 15 Jan 2010 16:01 
Since the amphitheatre is out - the sporting locations connection for Budapest should be too.

Author Solivagant
#28 | Posted: 25 Feb 2010 05:47 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Kremlin + Red Square Boundaries
I have just had reason to try to find out the boundaries of the Kremlin and Red Square inscribed site - in particular to check whether the reconstructed "Resurrection (or Iberian) Gate" and the Iviron Chapel on the far side of the gate from the Square were included. (They are situated up a street, and hence strictly outside the "square", alongside the State Historical Museum/Moscow City Hall to the North west of Red Square from which all those ICBMs and tanks used to emerge in Soviet times)
Surprisingly it appears that no-one knows exactly what the inscribed boundaries are (no "official" map exists on the WHS Web site)!! The background and "facts" (such as they are!) might be of interest.

a 2006 "State of Conservation Report" for the property states
"Boundaries and Buffer Zone
• Status of boundaries of the site: adequate
• Buffer zone: adequate
• No change to buffer zone has been proposed by State Party
Status of Authenticity/Integrity
• World Heritage site values have not been maintained. The Kazan Cathedral and Iberian Gate with the Chapel have been rebuilt"

So that seems OK then!! It also seems to answer my question about whether the gate and its (external) chapel are included - they are, even though UNESCO wasn't very happy about the undiscussed redevelopment which it doesn't suggest was outside the inscribed area!

In late 2007 however a joint UNESCO/ICOMOS/ICCROM "Reactive Monitoring Mission" took place - led by Bandarin himself! It was presumably stimulated by a recognition of the lack of boundaries, concern about the uncontrolled redevelopment of Moscow which had been taking place - and Russia's reluctance to answer any requests for information! Its report contains the following
"In 2005, the World Heritage Centre requested the State Party to submit, within the framework of the Retrospective Inventory project, a larger scale topographic or cadastral map which clearly shows the boundaries of the inscribed property. No documents were provided to the experts. The boundaries of the property and its eventual buffer zone are still unclear. "
How on earth UNESCO could have made the statements about boundaries ("adequate") it did in 2006 (having already asked for a map of the boundaries) and then say the above just 1 year later is a mystery - but we don't expect "logic" from the WHC!

It goes on to state
"The buffer zone was not established at the time of the inscription of the property on the World Heritage List. However, one of the maps in the nomination file shows the boundaries of protected area which include, as a component of the property the "Middle Trade Rows".
At the time of the accelerated urban development around the World Heritage property, it is urgent to clarify its boundaries and to delineate its buffer zone, including the effective protective regulations, aiming to insure the protection of the World Heritage property and its surroundings.
The inventory of the nomination files indicates that the boundary of the World Heritage site of the Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow is represented by the following maps, submitted with the nomination in 1989."

That map is included in the report of the Mission and shows (page 11 ) a map of Moscow with a dark brown line surrounding much of the centre of the city - way beyond the Kremlin/Red Square and a smaller red line whose exact limits around Red Square are difficult to discern and, at first site could even exclude the Resurrection Gate. The map is described as "Moscow map with project of Kremlin and Red Square preservation/conservation areas. ".
The Mission was particularly concerned about the demolition and redevelopment of the "Middle Trading Rows" (see here for the project by Norman Foster .) This is the "Zaryadye" district = "The place behind the rows" i.e behind those rows directly adjacent to Red Square. The section of the report relating to this concern( in French) states - "Les plans figurant les limites de l'inscription en 1989 sont contradictoires ; sur l'un d'eux (plan n°2), la limite englobe l'ilot." (Ilot = the block being discussed which is well outside Red Square itself). Of course the concern about the suitability of the ongoing development applies whether the development is within the inscribed or the buffer zone area - but there is no indication that the mission was clear whether it was in one or the other (or even neither) of them! The red line on the map however would definitely seem to exclude the "Middle Rows" - so why the uncertainty about the "ilot"?

Thus, among the recommendations of the report, was that "The mission urges the State Party to clarify the World Heritage property's boundaries and to delineate an appropriate buffer zone," Despite repeated requests at the 2008 and 09 WHCs it doesn't appear that this has yet been done and as a result there remains some uncertainty about those boundaries. With the whole issue of development in Central Moscow looming large it would seem unlikely that Russia would put forward anything other than absolute minimum boundaries for both site and buffer zone

Author david
#29 | Posted: 26 Feb 2010 17:15 
Someone knows something about the boundaries of the Saint Petersburg WHS, in particular about the main core zone? It could be an interesting issue..

Author Solivagant
#30 | Posted: 27 Feb 2010 02:00 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Yes, St Petersburg boundaries??

You will of course have looked at the map which is included within the ICOMOS evaluation. It zooms quite well up to 500% BUT, when you look at the "Legend" to discover what the very significant shaded areas actually mean it becomes less clear. They are merely described as "Objects of Protect and Restoration" (sic). There a lots of different dotted lines representing different categories of zoning e.g "City Building Regulation", "First Category Regulation" and "Reconstruction and New Building Zone" - but notably not one of them states "Inscribed Zone"!!!!

The implication however is that the shaded area constitutes the inscribed area (particularly as the map contains other such shaded areas around the St Petersburg area which appear, although I haven't checked them all, to coinicide, as least approximately, with the other inscribed areas such as e.g Kronstadt). I recently had reason to study it in some detail against a more readable street map of St Petersburg when trying to establish whether anywhere in the inscribed area qualified for the "Lenin" and "Strike" connections I was working up. Particularly whether the Finland Station (with its Lenin statue) and the Putilov Metal Works (where the strike which precipitated the February Revolution started) were included. Using the shaded area as the definition I concluded they were not!

But everything in the ICOMOS evaluation implies that the majority of the planned city from the time of Peter the Great is included and this is indeed a very large proportion of modern downtown St Petersburg. This impression is carried forward to the 2006 "Periodic Reporting" document. See
This document does however state
"Boundaries and Buffer Zone
• Status of boundaries of the site: inadequate. State Party launched the project of the revision of boundaries
• Buffer zone: adequate
• No change to buffer zone proposed by State Party"

Leaving aside the logical issue as to how the buffer zone boundaries can be "adequate" when the inscribed area boundaries are not, it would appear that neither the St Petersburg authorities nor ICOMOS (and hence UNESCO), regard the shaded areas on the earlier map as properly representing the inscribed area and that work, better to define that area, is "in progress".

Whether any decisions made in so doing would have much specific impact on the ongoing Okhta Tower issue seems unlikely. That building may or may not be within the "shaded area" referred to above. It is situated to the east of the city on the far side of the Neva and there is possibly one "block" on that side of the river which is inside the said shaded area - the tower itself may or may not be in that block!! But, even if it were outside the inscribed area, or even any buffer zone, ICOMOS/UNESCO will claim that it impacts the visual environment of the city and hence its OUV! (They will also claim that it demonstrates that St Petersburg has inadequately implemented building control regulations for a WHS!).

Another possible source of information about the size/boundaries of the inscribed site, viz its area in hectares, doesn't yield any clues either. This information isn't provided for any of the site's many (c80) elements and the section for element 540-001 - "The Historic Centre", is notably "empty"!

Going back to the Moscow boundary issue I raised above. Has anyone had a look at the map which may/may not show the Kremlin/Red Square boundary? It does not zoom very well - but my judgement would be that the boundary of Red Square excludes the GUM department store (which we have included in at least 1 "connection") - but it could I guess include its facade which faces the square?

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