27 June, 2013
Bagrati cathedral will be removed from the UNESCO cultural heritage list: the decision was made at the 37th session of the Committee of the UNESCO in Cambodia. The issue was already discussed and the resolution was passed. Right now Georgian side is working to retain its place on the UNSECO cultural heritage list for Gelati Monastery, which made up a compound together with Bagrati Cathedral.
Manina Mizandari, deputy minister of culture of Georgia: “The subject of Bagrati Cathedral was already
discussed and the decision was made, which stipulates that it will be removed from the list of the UNESCO cultural heritage list. The 37th session of UNESCO in Cambodia already passed the resolution. I have to emphasize that this text was ready for the last year committee and it was adopted without a discussion unanimously on the 37th session of the committee. The process was hastened and the Ministry of Culture of Georgia was regretfully informed that the process took place without participation of Georgian side. It wouldn’t change the process anyway but we wanted to make a statement about the new approach of the new government to the cultural heritage. Consequently, right now the Bagrati Cathedral is still on the list of UNESCO cultural heritage though it will be removed from it, according to the resolution and the decision that has been reached. It is the expression of goodwill regarding the Gelati Monastery because these monuments are composite parts of same nomination and Gelati may share the fate of Bagrati as well. This is a chance for the Georgian side to keep the place on the UNESCO list for Gelati monastery.”
The UNESCO expressed concerns about the reconstruction carried out at the Bagrati cathedral: “The Committee expressed its serious concern about irreversible interventions carried out on the site as part of a major reconstruction project. The Committee believes this project will undermine the integrity and authenticity of the site and should be immediately halted.”
Marina Mizandari: “Bagrati cathedral and Gelati Monastery were two components of the nomination on the UNESCO cultural her itage list; therefore, there remains the topic of removing Gelati from the UNESCO list too. In January, me and Mr. Guram Odisharia visited the UNESCO and the ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) head offices in Paris to discuss the issue of Bargati and Gelati. We were told that the issue of Bagrati was decided; factually, the resolution says that the authentic character of the monument was damaged and it is impossible to restore it. But the UNESCO showed its goodwill and offered to include the Gelati Monastery in the nomination of cultural heritage but at the meeting with the UNESCO representatives on 37th session, they expressed doubts about the separate nomination of Gelati Monastery. But we hope, it is still possible that Gelati may get the said status separately.”
The Minister of Culture Guram Odisharia made comment on the Bagrati Cathedral and informed the 37th session of the committee of the UNESCO in Cambodia. He stated: “the process of restoration of Bagrati cathedral was hastened. The result is that the monument lost its initial spirit. There were recommendations from the UNESCO during the process of restoration that were to be taken into account, though many things have been done in haste. The main issue is that we have to avoid contradiction regarding the Bagrati issue in our society. There are many monuments in France and Italy that are in danger; they are in ruins though no one thinks to roof these monuments or build a wall. The monument is interesting in the state as it reached us. Exactly this spirit was lost at the Bagrati cathedral. It is a prestige for a country when its several historic monuments are on the UNESCO cultural heritage list”.
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