The nomination dossier "Orheiul Vechi Archaeological Landscape" for the UNESCO World Heritage List was submitted for examination to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre

On the 23rd of January, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Moldova, with the help of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration and of the Moldovan Embassy in Paris, sent for examination the updated and revised dossier "Orheiul Vechi Archaeological Landscape" to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre for nomination to the World Heritage List.


The concept of "Orheiul Vechi Archaeological Landscape" in the proposed format is based on a new vision of analysis and presentation of the archaeological heritage from the central part of the Orheiul Vechi cultural-natural Reserve, which is also part of the Orhei National Park.


"The Orheiul Vechi Archaeological Landscape" is proposed for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List under criteria (V) of UNESCO, namely Orheiul Vechi is an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change


For nomination to UNESCO World Heritage List are proposed the following archaeological sites: "Peştera" (Orheiul Vechi), "Butuceni" and "Maşcăuţi" which include archaeological vestiges of 23 ancient settlements dated from the Upper Paleolithic Era (about 30 to 20 thousand years B.C.) until the Modern Era.


The nomination dossier “Orheiul Vechi Archaeological Landscape” has been developed over the last two years by prof., Dr. Gheorghe Postică, Deputy Minister of Culture and assoc. Prof. Dr. Valeriu Cavruc, General Director of the National Museum of Eastern Carpathians, Romania. International scientific advice during the preparation of the nomination dossier was provided by prof. Dr. Douglas Comer, Co-President and Expert Member, ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Archaeological Heritage, and with the financial support of the US Embassy in Moldova.


"The Orheiul Vechi Archaeological Landscape" dossier is a fundamental-applicative scientific research, with an appendix documentary referring to the heritage field, elaborated in accordance with criteria established by UNESCO Operational Guidelines.


The dossier contains 575 pages, including 203 graphics and photo plates. It is divided into six main chapters, 2 secondary chapters, 12 appendices and copies of documents.


According to the UNESCO procedure, an international expertise of the "Orheiul Vechi Archaeological Landscape" dossier will be done in 2015, along with an on-site obligatory inspection of a UNESCO mission who will examine  the actual state of preservation and protection of the nominated heritage object,  as well as of the Orheiul Vechi cultural-natural Reserve management. UNESCO mission’s assessment will be the document under which the decision will be taken on the object nominalized by the Republic of Moldova.


The UNESCO World Heritage List includes at the moment 1007 natural and cultural heritage objects. So far, Moldova does not have its own cultural or natural heritage objects in the UNESCO World Heritage List, with the notable exception of "Struve Geodetic Arc" situated next to Rudi, Donduseni district, which represents a European scientific and technical achievement of the nineteenth century, that was included in the nominated list as part of a transnational project that includes similar items in 10 European countries.


On the other hand, in recent years our country has achieved important successes in promoting cultural heritage elements in the Representative List of Intangible Heritage of Humanity. In December 2013, the Republic of Moldova in partnership with Romania was able to put the item of cultural heritage - "Colindatul de ceată bărbătească " in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In 2014, Moldova was nominated for the same custom list with the dossier "Cultural practices associated with day 1 March", and at this stage Moldova is about to nominate the custom "Tehnici tradiţionale de realizare a scoarţei ".


A final decision regarding the acceptance / non-acceptance of the “Orheiul Vechi Archaeological Landscape" in the UNESCO World Heritage List will be taken in June 2016 at the 40th Session of the World Heritage Committee, which will include representatives from 21 countries from all continents.


Until then and especially during 2015, Moldova has to elaborate a comprehensive plan of improving the management of Orheiul Vechi Archaeological Landscape and of the cultural-natural Reservation Orheiul Vechi, and of its global promotion in the UNESCO member states and especially in the member states of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

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