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Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications (Sri Lanka) (C 451)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 1988

Criteria (vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger N/A

Previous Committee Decisions 29 COM 7B.56; 32 COM 7B.77; 33 COM 7B.82

International Assistance N/A

UNESCO extra-budgetary funds N/A

Previous monitoring missions 2002: World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission; November 2007: UNESCO expert advisory mission; April/May 2008: UNESCO New Delhi Office advisory mission; World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission February 2010;

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

  • a)

    Need for development and management plan;

  • b)

    Intrusive and illegal constructions within the Galle cricket ground impacting on the integrity of the property;

  • c)

    Potential impacts of a proposed port construction on the integrity of the property.

Illustrative material http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/451

Current conservation issues

The State Party did not submit a state of conservation report, as requested by the World Heritage Committee. However, a mission was invited and took place from 14 to 20 February 2010. Its report, which can be accessed at http://whc.unesco.org/en/sessions/34COM, provides the basis of this report. The report notes that the mission team was unable to adequately address all issues because documentation including plans showing the revised boundaries of the property and buffer zone, a final comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan and a detailed report on current intentions with regard to the International Cricket Stadium and proposed new port, was not available. However, the mission was able to report as follows:


Proposed port development

The proposed scale of the port development has been reduced but details of the proposal are not available. Its impact on the World Heritage site cannot yet be properly assessed. The mission was told that a major new commercial port is being constructed at Hambantota (121 km from Galle – just over two hours by road). Consequently the Galle harbour development will now include a yacht marina, and a single berth for cruise ships in the non-monsoon tourist season (October to March), which will accommodate commercial shipping at other


The mission notes that as well as a possible adverse visual impact on the World Heritage property when viewed from the east, the new port may impact adversely on the important marine archaeology in the bay, which is still to be fully identified.

State of conservation of World Heritage properties inscribed on the World Heritage List

WHC-10/34.COM/7B.Add, p. 126

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