The Southern Gate (venue of the welcoming ceremony), Xi'an
The Terracotta Warriors, Hanyangling
Exhibition on drum culture at the Drum Tower, Xi'an
The Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an
ON THE CONSERVATION OF THE SETTING
OF HERITAGE STRUCTURES, SITES
Adopted in Xi'an, China,
by the 15th General Assembly of ICOMOS
on 21 October 2005
Final version - 22.10.2005
[Xi'an Declaration in PDF ]
in the ancient city of Xi’an (China) on 17-21st October 2005, at the invitation
of ICOMOS China on the occasion of 15th General Assembly of ICOMOS and the celebrations
marking the 40th anniversary of its longstanding endeavour to ensure the safeguard
and conservation of the World’s cultural heritage as part of its sustainable
and human development;
from the broad range of cases and reflections shared during the General Assembly’s
International Symposium on Monuments and Sites in their Settings – Conserving
Cultural Heritage in Changing Townscapes and Landscapes and learning from a
broad range of experiences from China and world-wide authorities, institutions
and specialists in providing adequate care and management of heritage structures,
sites and areas such as historic cities, landscapes, seascapes, cultural routes
and archaeological sites in the context of accelerated change and development;
of the international and professional interest for the conservation of the settings
of monuments and sites as expressed in the International
Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites –
the Venice Charter (1964) – and in the many texts it has inspired,
particularly through ICOMOS National and International Committees, as well as
Document on Authenticity (1994) and conclusions and recommendations of international
meetings like the Hoi An Declaration
on the Conservation of Historic Districts in Asia (2003), the Declaration
on the Recovery of Bam’s Cultural Heritage (2004), and the Seoul
Declaration on Tourism in Asia’s Historic Towns and Areas (2005);
references to the concept of setting in UNESCO conventions and recommendations
like the Recommendation
concerning the Safeguarding of Beauty and Character of Landscapes and Sites
(1962), the Recommendation
concerning the Preservation of Cultural Property Endangered by Public or Private
Works (1968), the Recommendation
concerning the Safeguarding and Contemporary Role of Historic Areas (1976),
for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, (2003) and more
specifically the World
Heritage Convention (1972) and its Operational
Guidelines, where setting is listed as an attribute of authenticity and
as needing protection through the establishment of buffer zones, and the ongoing
opportunity this brings for international and interdisciplinary co-operation
between ICOMOS, UNESCO and other partners and for developments on topics like
authenticity or the conservation of historic urban landscapes expressed in the
Stressing the need to address adequately the rapid or incremental transformation
of cities, landscapes and heritage routes which result from changes in lifestyles,
agriculture, development, tourism or large-scale disasters of natural or human
origin, and to recognise, protect and sustain adequately the meaningful presence
of heritage structures, sites and areas in their settings as a way to reduce
the threat these transformation processes constitute against the cultural heritage
in the full richness of its authenticity, meaning, values, integrity and diversity,
of the 15th General Assembly of ICOMOS adopt the following Declaration of principles
and recommendations, addressing it to intergovernmental and non-governmental
organisations, national and local authorities and all institutions and specialists
able to contribute through legislation, policies, planning processes and management
to better protect and conserve the world’s heritage structures, sites
and areas in their settings.
THE CONTRIBUTION OF SETTING TO THE SIGNIFICANCE OF HERITAGE MONUMENTS, SITES
The setting of a heritage structure, site or area is defined as the immediate
and extended environment that is part of, or contributes to, its significance
and distinctive character.
the physical and visual aspects, the setting includes interaction with the natural
environment; past or present social or spiritual practices, customs, traditional
knowledge, use or activities and other forms of intangible cultural heritage
aspects that created and form the space as well as the current and dynamic cultural,
social and economic context.
Heritage structures, sites or areas of various scales, including individual
buildings or designed spaces, historic cities or urban landscapes, landscapes,
seascapes, cultural routes and archaeological sites, derive their significance
and distinctive character from their perceived social and spiritual, historic,
artistic, aesthetic, natural, scientific, or other cultural values. They also
derive their significance and distinctive character from their meaningful relationships
with their physical, visual, spiritual and other cultural context and settings.
can be the result of a conscious and planned creative act, spiritual belief,
historical events, use or a cumulative and organic process over time through
DOCUMENT AND INTERPRET THE SITTINGS IN DIVERSE CONTEXTS
Understanding, documenting and interpreting the setting is essential to defining
and appreciating the heritage significance of any structure, site or area.
of setting requires an understanding of the history, evolution and character
of the surrounds of the heritage resource. Defining the setting is a process
of considering multiple factors to include the character of the arrival experience
and the heritage resource itself.
Understanding the setting in an inclusive way requires a multi-disciplinary
approach and the use of diverse information sources.
include formal records and archives, artistic and scientific descriptions, oral
history and traditional knowledge, the perspectives of local and associated
communities as well as the analysis of views and vistas.
Cultural traditions, rituals, spiritual practices and concepts as well as history,
topography, natural environment values, use and other factors contribute to
create the full range of a setting’s tangible and intangible values and
dimensions. The definition of settings should carefully articulate the character
and values of the setting and its relationship to the heritage resource.
DEVELOP PLANNING TOOLS AND PRACTICES TO CONSERVE AND
The implementation of effective planning and legislative tools, policies, strategies
and practices to sustainably manage settings requires consistency and continuity
in application, whilst reflecting the local or cultural contexts in which they
manage settings include specific legislative measures, professional training,
development of comprehensive conservation and management plans or systems, and
use of adequate heritage impact assessment methods.
Legislation, regulation and guidelines for the protection, conservation and
management of heritage structures, sites and areas should provide for the establishment
of a protection or buffer zone around them that reflects and conserves the significance
and distinctive character of their setting.
Planning instruments should include provisions to effectively control the impact
of incremental or rapid change on settings.
skylines, sight lines and adequate distance between any new public or private
development and heritage structures, sites and areas are key aspects to assess
in the prevention of inappropriate visual and spatial encroachments or land
use in significant settings.
Heritage impact assessments should be required for all new development impacting
on the significance of heritage structures, sites and areas and on their settings.
within the setting of heritage structures, sites and areas should positively
interpret and contribute to its significance and distinctive character.
AND MANAGE CHANGE AFFECTING SETTINGS
The rate of change and the individual and cumulative impacts of change and transformation
on the settings of heritage structures, sites and areas is an ongoing process
which must be monitored and managed.
as well as rapid transformation of the urban or rural landscapes, the ways of
life, the economies or the natural environment can substantially or irretrievably
affect the authentic contribution that the setting makes to the significance
of a heritage structure, site or area.
Change to the setting of heritage structures, sites and areas should be managed
to retain cultural significance and distinctive character.
change to the setting of heritage structures, sites and areas need not necessarily
prevent or obstruct change.
11. Monitoring should define approaches and actions to appreciate and
measure as well as prevent or remedy decay, loss of significance or trivialisation
and propose improvement in conservation, management and interpretation practices.
and quantifiable indicators should be developed to assess the contribution of
the setting to the significance of a heritage structure, site or area.
for monitoring should cover physical aspects such as intrusion on views, skylines
or open spaces, air pollution, sound pollution, as well as economic, social
and cultural dimensions.
WORK WITH LOCAL, INTERDISCIPLINARY AND INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNITIES FOR CO-OPERATION AND AWARENESS IN CONSERVING AND MANAGING SETTINGS
Co-operation and engagement with associated and local communities is essential
as part of developing sustainable strategies for the conservation and management
engagement should be encouraged as standard practice in conserving and managing
settings. Relevant cultural heritage fields include architecture, urban and
regional planning, landscape planning, engineering, anthropology, history, archaeology,
ethnology, curation and archives.
with institutions and specialists in the field of natural heritage should also
be encouraged as an integral part of good practice for the identification, protection,
presentation and interpretation of heritage structures, sites or areas in their
Professional training, interpretation, community education and public awareness
should be encouraged to support such co-operation and sharing of knowledge as
well as to promote conservation goals, improve the efficiency of the protection
tools, management plans and other instruments.
knowledge and tools developed through the conservation of individual heritage
structures, sites and areas should be extended to complement the management
of their setting.
resources should be allocated to the research, assessment and strategic planning
of the conservation and management of setting of heritage structures, sites
of the significance of the setting in its various dimensions is the shared responsibility
of professionals, institutions, associated and local communities, who should
take into account the tangible and intangible dimensions of settings when making
in Xi’an (China) on the 21st October, 2005.
Updated on December 8th 2005