The Xi’an Declaration on the Conservation of the Setting of Heritage Structures, Sites and Areas (2005)

The Declaration is adopted in Xi’an, China by the 15th General Assembly of ICOMOS on 21 October 2005 Final version - 22.10.2005

Preface:The Xi’an Declaration on the Conservation of the Setting of Heritage Structures, Sites and Areas (2005) was adopted by the 15th General Assembly of ICOMOS, Xi’an, China, 17-21 Oct.

Meeting in the ancient city of Xi’an (China) on 17-21st October 2005, at the invitation of ICOMOS China on the occasion of 15th General Assembly of ICOMOS and the celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of its longstanding endeavour to ensure the safeguard and conservation of the World’s cultural heritage as part of its sustainable and human development.

Acknowledge the contribution of setting to the significance of heritage monuments, sites and areas

  • The setting of a heritage structure, site or area is defined as the immediate and extended environment that is part of, or contributes to, its significance and distinctive character.
  • Heritage structures, sites or areas of various scales, including individual buildings or designed spaces, historic cities or urban landscapes, landscapes, seascapes, cultural routes and archaeological sites, derive their significance and distinctive character from their perceived social and spiritual, historic, artistic, aesthetic, natural, scientific, or other cultural values. They also derive their significance and distinctive character from their meaningful relationships with their physical, visual, spiritual and other cultural context and settings.

Understand, document and interpret the settings in diverse contexts

  • Understanding, documenting and interpreting the setting is essential to defining and appreciating the heritage significance of any structure, site or area.
  • Understanding the setting in an inclusive way requires a multi-disciplinary approach and the use of diverse information sources.

Develop planning tools and practices to conserve and manage settings

  • The implementation of effective planning and legislative tools, policies, strategies and practices to sustainably manage settings requires consistency and continuity in application, whilst reflecting the local or cultural contexts in which they function.
  • Legislation, regulation and guidelines for the protection, conservation and management of heritage structures, sites and areas should provide for the establishment of a protection or buffer zone around them that reflects and conserves the significance and distinctive character of their setting.
  • Planning instruments should include provisions to effectively control the impact of incremental or rapid change on settings.
  • Heritage impact assessments should be required for all new development impacting on the significance of heritage structures, sites and areas and on their settings.

Monitor and manage change affecting settings

  • The rate of change and the individual and cumulative impacts of change and transformation on the settings of heritage structures, sites and areas is an ongoing process which must be monitored and managed.
  • Change to the setting of heritage structures, sites and areas should be managed to retain cultural significance and distinctive character.
  • Monitoring should define approaches and actions to appreciate and measure as well as prevent or remedy decay, loss of significance or trivialisation and propose improvement in conservation, management and interpretation practices.

Work with local, interdisciplinary and international communities for co-operation and awareness in conserving and managing settings

  • Co-operation and engagement with associated and local communities is essential as part of developing sustainable strategies for the conservation and management of settings.
  • Professional training, interpretation, community education and public awareness should be encouraged to support such co-operation and sharing of knowledge as well as to promote conservation goals, improve the efficiency of the protection tools, management plans and other instruments.

Participants of the 15th General Assembly of ICOMOS adopt the following Declaration of principles and recommendations, addressing it to intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations, national and local authorities and all institutions and specialists able to contribute through legislation, policies, planning processes and management to better protect and conserve the world’s heritage structures, sites and areas in their settings.




The 15th General Assembly of ICOMOS, Xi’an, China, 17-21 Oct.


  • The declaration stresses the need to address adequately the rapid or incremental transformation of cities, landscapes and heritage routes which result from changes in lifestyles, agriculture, development, tourism or large-scale disasters of natural or human origin, and to recognize, protect and sustain adequately the meaningful presence of heritage structures, sites and areas in their settings as a way to reduce the threat these transformation processes constitute against the cultural heritage in the full richness of its authenticity, meaning, values, integrity and diversity.
  • Cultural traditions, rituals, spiritual practices and concepts as well as history, topography, natural environment values, use and other factors contribute to create the full range of a setting’s tangible and intangible values and dimensions.
  • To understand the setting in an inclusive way, it underlines the need to require a multi-disciplinary approach and the use of diverse information sources.




Intellectual Property


1 Comment

  1. I see your blog needs some fresh articles. Writing manually is time consuming, but there
    is solution for this. Just search for; Masquro’s strategies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.