Conservation of the properties

The positive practices show that the preservation of the outstanding universal value, the authenticity and the integrity of a property is a constant obligation of the public authorities, the latter creating the necessary conditions for their execution:

  • Providing efficient legislative protection of each property: statute, boundaries of protected territories and a system of recommendations for conservation, taking into account the needs of the local population for achieving modern quality of life in the historical environment.

  • Executing a complex of activities for conservation: archaeological research, identification, documentation, registration, conservation, restoration, adaptation, exhibit, maintenance, systematic scientific monitoring of the property, etc. The aim is to permanently preserve the authenticity and integrity of the properties, as a key requirement for the World Heritage sites; according to the Guidelines (§ 86) ‘the reconstruction of archaeological remains … is acceptable only on the basis of complete and detailed documentation and to no extent on conjecture’.

  • Applying the principles and methods of integrated conservation, where the conservation of the cultural heritage is an integral part of the policy for social and economic development and of the urban and regional planning on all levels – especially when the property is a living historic town, where functions, interests and conservation and development guidelines are interwoven in complex relations. According to the Recommendation of UNESCO the urban conservation is in the heart of the urban planning development and is closely related to the planning instruments on different levels. On this basis is achieved and maintained the balance between the public interest and the private interests of the concerned parties with special attention to the needs of the local population.

For reaching these conditions there must be applied the modern instruments, including a broad range of strategic, programme, and planning documents and management systems. In its decisions the World Heritage Committee draws attention to the role of the strategic management plan (exactly what the MP is) and to the operational instruments: spatial plans and a conservation plan. The latter is not yet present in Bulgarian legislation, although the good international practices prove its benefits. According to the Valletta Principles the conservation plan ‘must identify and protect the elements contributing to the values and character of the town’ and determine ‘which buildings – and spaces – must be preserved, which should be preserved under certain circumstances and which, “under quite exceptional circumstances, might be expendable’.1 The conservation plan is a basis for the preparation of a concrete programme for the specialised interventions for the conservation of a certain property.

1 For example, the characteristics of the French version of the conservation plan – Plan de sauvegarde et de mise en valeur (P.S.M.V.) – are quite similar.