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UNESCO may remove Vienna from endangered heritage list by 2022

UNESCO may remove Vienna from endangered heritage list by 2022

The city has worked hard to get off the list and preserve its heritage for the future

The Draft Decision about the Historic Centre of Vienna was published today by UNESCO and it makes it clear that there is a good chance the Austrian capital will be removed from the Red List of World Heritage in Danger in 2022. The city centre was placed there back in 2017, but after careful cooperation with the World Heritage Centre and a diligent course correction, there is a strong likelihood the decision will be reverted.

On 16 July 2021, the 44th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee will take place in Fuzhou (China) and the final decision will be made there.

Getting on the “Red List”

On 6 July 2017, in Krakow, Poland, the World Heritage Committee placed Vienna’s city centre on the “Red List” because of the Vienna Ice-Skating Club—Intercontinental Hotel development project.

The project failed to comply with previous committee decisions on what constitutes the exact heritage of Vienna. The most notable issue was the height of the building, which would have had a tremendous impact on the area.

Getting off the “Red List”

The way forward has been drafted in close collaboration with the World Heritage Centre and The International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). The project for the urban development of the area at the Heumarkt-Eislaufverein(The Ice Skating Ring) has been revised so that it no longer threatens the heritage site. 

“Mitigation and compromise” were the words of the day, suggested in the report of the Advisory Mission from UNESCO and ICOMOS. 

Erns Woller, president of the Landtag (state parliament) wrote in a press release for the city of Vienna: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been intensively involved in this process for years.”

The draft resolution clearly shows that the efforts of the City of Vienna to protect its heritage and preserve it for future generations are in line with the World Heritage Convention. I hope that Vienna’s historic city centre will be part of the regular World Heritage List again from 2022, ” added Woller.

Vienna developed from early Celtic and Roman settlements into a thriving city during the Medieval and Baroque periods. It became the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and played a very important role as the 'mecca' of the European Classical music scene up to the 20th century.

The historic centre of Vienna is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, as well as the late-19th century Ringstrasse.

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