The Kathmandu Valley is the most developed and populated place in Nepal. The majority of offices and headquarters are located in the valley, making it the economic hub of Nepal. At the same time, Kathmandu Valley is also known for its monuments and pilgrimage sites for Hindus and Buddhists. It is estimated that the valley has at least 130 important monuments and seven World Heritage Sites. It is popular with tourists for its unique architecture, and rich culture that includes the highest number of jatras(street festivals) in Nepal. However, UNESCO considers Kathmandu Valley as a heritage site which is in danger. Do you know why?
In 2015 April, Kathmandu Valley was hit by a devastating earthquake which caused thousands of deaths and destruction of many infrastructures across the Kathmandu Valley, which included the towns of Lalitpur, Kirtipur, Madhyapur Thimi, Bhaktapur. One of the casualties of this calamity was the heritage monuments of this valley.
The detailed results of the Reactive Monitoring missions of October 2015 and March 2017 clearly highlighted that the property is facing serious deterioration of its architectural and town-planning coherence. Deterioration has arisen not only from the immediate impact of the earthquakes, but worryingly also from most of the work undertaken during the subsequent recovery process, which is adding to the erosion of the property’s integrity and authenticity. One of the reports on the subject describes in clear details the scale and scope of damage to all the monument zones two years after the earthquake, the lack of any support or protection for many damaged areas, the demolition of ancillary structures, and the degradation of housing areas and commercial properties. “The slow pace of recovery and the damaging restoration work carried out on some of the monuments appears to reflect the current management weaknesses across the property, the lack of adequate planning or coordination, and the overall lack of capacity to undertake the necessary documentation, research and analyses that should underpin all of the work,” says UNESCO statement.
Kathmandu Valley is one of the heritage sites which will be taken up for examination at the annual meeting in Bahrain for inclusion in the List of World Heritage in Danger.