St. Petersburg strategy of cultural heritage preservation


to the Decree of the
St. Petersburg Government
dated 01.11.2005 No. 1681

St. Petersburg strategy of cultural heritage preservation

This strategy shall determine main priorities, criteria and trends of protection of the St. Petersburg cultural heritage. It elucidates the problems of protection, restoration and use of landmarks, ensembles and city environment as well as reconstruction and new construction in St. Petersburg historical areas. The strategy calls upon to provide notional, legal and procedural aspects of transformation and improvement of the city landscape, which essence is determined by the following formula: “preservation through development, development through preservation”.

Chapter 1. Cultural heritage in the epoch of globalisation

Cultural heritage is a spiritual, cultural, economic and social capital of irrecoverable value. Along with natural wealth, it is the main basis for national self-respect and recognition by the world community.

Post-industrial civilisation has realised the highest cultural heritage potential, the necessity of its saving and effective use as one of the most important resources of the world economy. Losses of cultural values are irreplaceable and irreversible. Any heritage losses will inevitably be reflected on all life areas of the current and future generations, will lead to spiritual scarcity, historical memory breaks, impoverishment of the society on the whole. They cannot be compensated either by the modern cultural development or by creation of new meaningful works. The accumulation and preservation of cultural values is the basis of civilisation development.

Chapter 2. St. Petersburg cultural heritage. The value is in the authenticity

Among world megalopolises, St. Petersburg is a landmark being unique by scale that has conserved the immense historical centre and a necklace of suburban ensembles in their main features. The city image is created not only by architectural masterpieces but also by the integral architectural and spatial environment. A high degree of preservation and authenticity of historical territories has been the basis for inscription of the St. Petersburg historic centre along with suburban groups of monument on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The majority of historical capitals have been formed during centuries changing their structure. St. Petersburg was being established dynamically, with a broadest scope on a vast space of natural amphitheatre of the old sea. The birth of a new capital in the Baltic area has become a unique town planning experiment based on the synthesis of general European cultural traditions, creative development of styles, planning solutions and building types being new for Russia. New architectural principles have organically been combined with natural conditions and Neva mouth peculiarities. In doing so, St. Petersburg being also called “the second Amsterdam, Northern Venice, New Rome and Versailles” has acquired traits of inimitable originality. The following structural parts have been formed on its territories: Peterburgskaya side – the original core with pre-regular planning elements, Vasilievsky island – a strict rectangular system, Admiralteyskaya side – a multipath structure with radial and arc directions as well as large villages at Moskovskaya side and Vyborgskaya side connected with the city core by perspective mainlines.

The rational geometrically regular planning has been combined with free outlines of waterways and included a system of dominants generating visual panoramas and perspectives. High-water Neva initially served as the central city space predetermining the majestic scale and width of city squares and ensembles. Suburban residences and the town-fortress Kronshtadt that have generated a single agglomeration are inseparably linked with construction.

The town planning framework has been developed in the epoch of classicism when its biggest ensembles were created. Baroque and classicism has been a “gold century” of St. Petersburg art of architecture. The original town planning structure has retained its logic in spite of a fast change of styles. The value of this environment has been enriched by the fact that it is the true St. Petersburg belonging to Pushkin and Dostoevsky, the “Silver century” of Russian culture.

From the Petrine time, the construction process has been regulated by a stiff system of legislative acts. Everything has been regulated, namely: street width, block laying out, module and character of development including typical building designs. Since the second half of the 18th century, a “single facade” street development principle has been fixed, a firewall system has been developed inside blocks. The following elevation limitations have been determined in the middle of the 19th century: not more than the street width, not higher than 11 sazhens (23.5 m) being equal to the Winter Palace eaves level. The parameters established have determined the space volumetric wholeness of the city.

The unique degree of preservation of the St. Petersburg historical development has been caused by the fact that new construction during the Soviet period has been carried out outside the historical city core. Only local transformations have been performed in central areas whereas the constructivism architecture has been developed in new areas, with the latter style becoming the main Russian contribution into the world architecture of the 20th century. Today the Soviet neoclassicism (“Stalin’s empire style”) has also been recognised. The industrial city belt constitutes an organic powerful layer of cultural heritage. All standards of European landscape art have been represented in garden and park complexes – from chamber “suspended” gardens to public parks. Outstanding country’s people were buried in necropolises. The archaeological heritage forms invaluable annals of the “concealed” city and preceding settlements.

The exclusive value of St. Petersburg is in its authenticity, versatility and universal significance of cultural property.

Chapter 3. Cultural heritage as a factor of stable development of St. Petersburg

The present-day life of St. Petersburg and prospects of its development are inconceivable without cultural heritage. The heritage in many respects forms a special mentality of St. Petersburgians, approves the succession of humanitarian values, underlines an unofficial status of the Russian cultural capital and creates a world image of St. Petersburg.

For St. Petersburg, the heritage has the same significance as natural resources, oil and diamond deposits have for other regions. The heritage has been included into many social processes and is a source of spiritual enrichment. The structure of historical ensembles contributes to a harmonic equilibrium in the community, development of a broad range of activity.

The mobilisation of the economic resource of cultural heritage is the basis of city regeneration. In the end, it is just high aesthetic qualities and the degree of preservation of the historical environment that provide a special investment attractiveness of St. Petersburg and its real commercial value, serve as a pledge for people’s welfare. It shall be expressed not only in the immediate economic efficiency and the growth of population employment in various areas of activity but also in a broad range of indirect benefits, which will become a property of the whole city community (revenues from the heritage management, restoration, tourism and its infrastructure).

Chapter 4. State policy in the field of cultural heritage preservation

The basic principle is to provide integrated heritage preservation, according to which this activity is effective only within the framework of the policy of economic and social development of St. Petersburg as a part of projects for prospective planning and town construction. The preservation of cultural heritage properties should become the key element of the city upgrading strategy.

The integrated preservation principle includes the initiating, controlling and coordinating function of state management agencies in the development of partner relationships with the public and with the non-governmental sector. One should stimulate an interdisciplinary, interdepartmental approach to the cultural heritage preservation using all accessible resources. The problem of cultural heritage preservation should be solved not only by landmark protection agencies but also by those structures, which are engaged in solving matters of town planning and architecture, economics and industrial development, ecology, transportation, territory improvement, property complex, housing and communal complex, legal services, etc.

Chapter 5. Various concepts of cultural heritage preservation

The traditional “protection from +” based on measures of prohibitory nature can also be valid in the present-day conditions. If there are many economic objects, the landmark protection requirements generate conflict situations in the course of social, cultural and economic development of city territories. In this case, the cultural heritage preservation is alienated from the local community, the city dwellers get deprived of participation in such activity.

The other concept is “protection for +”. With such a management policy, it is advantageous for population. Some inconveniencies of residence on a special territory connected with protective limitations are compensated by certain privileges. The integrity of cultural and natural environment becomes a quality that can provide development of the city community (through revenues from tourism, restoration and reconstruction works, enhancement of social status, etc.).

The new strategy is constructed on the basis of balanced and harmonic relations between community requirements, economic activity and protection of historical environment. It should lead to the recognition of the general responsibility for heritage preservation.

Chapter 6. Protection practices.

Composition and subjects of cultural heritage

During a long period of time individual landmarks have been protected, with no account of their surroundings. The specifics of St. Petersburg cultural heritage dictates a combination of by-object, environmental and town planning practices. The subjects of cultural heritage protection are key elements, parameters and characteristics of the environment, which are the carriers of historical, architectural, artistic value. Along with individual cultural heritage properties, the main town planning principles are also protected. The highest value have the space volumetric framework, configuration of central water areas, general city silhouette, river panoramas, main square ensembles, perspectives of main streets. The open spaces being architecturally organised and visual channels of perception of dominants, ensembles and environmental development are important for St. Petersburg with its broad lands. The subjects of cultural heritage protection consist of the environment character including the block and section planning module, scale, elevation and compartmentation of the development. Suburbs and areas being distant from the central part of St. Petersburg have another development scale and a special landscape significance. The town planning protection provides the archaeological survey regime for the earliest and most valuable cultural layer sections as well as prospecting and monitoring measures.

Such notions as “combined protection zones”, “subjects of protection” in the theory and practice of protection activity have first appeared in St. Petersburg.

Protection zones form a protection territory where the regime of town planning and economic activity is established providing the physical safekeeping of a cultural heritage property and its historical surroundings. A peculiarity of protection zoning in St. Petersburg consists of combined protection zones in the historical centre. Apart from them, there are functioning protection zones relating to historical and cultural landmarks of Petrodvortsovy, Pushkinsky, Krasnoselsky districts of St. Petersburg, Kronshtadt and villages of Kurortny district of St. Petersburg.

In order to identify St. Petersburg as a World Heritage site, territories have been marked out, which are the most significant by their historical and cultural value, their object composition and use regimes.

The St. Petersburg territory protection subjects as a World Heritage site are as follows:

  • historical development, panoramas and views being perceived from the Bolshaya Neva embankments, visual points, from which the most valuable ensembles are open in the best way;
  • ratio of the background development and the dominant system (city silhouette);
  • compositional axes and dominant perception directions. The main directions, from which the architectural elevation dominants are perceived, shall be protected from development.

The following shall be established on these territories:

  • prohibition of a new construction (with the exception of measures aimed at regenerating the historical environment and adapting the cultural heritage properties for modern use);
  • prohibition of change of the historical planning structure of streets and front lines of blocks;
  • limitations on the reconstruction of objects being of historical and cultural value (buildings, front facades, gardens, etc.).

Differential limitation regimes are established on the remaining part of combined protection zones, which allow the reconstruction without changing the planning structure (driveway network, block laying out of blocks), main environmental characteristics, individual cultural heritage properties, including archaeology, providing preservation of the historical development. The protection regimes should be included into the Regulations for development and land management in St. Petersburg as the basis of town planning and design documentation.

At the present moment, 7783 cultural heritage properties (In other words, almost 10 percent of landmarks being protected by the state on the territory of the Russian Federation) are under state protection in St. Petersburg. They are architectural ensembles, buildings and engineering facilities, gardens and parks, ponds and canals, monumental and garden and park sculpture, historical burials and archaeological sites. The lists of landmarks reflect the periods of development of the architecture up to the middle of the 20th century.

The protection subjects of cultural heritage properties reflect valuable peculiarities of the architectural look of facades, configuration and overall dimensions of buildings, historical interiors, constructions, valuable and stable planning structure elements and city territory zoning. The protection subjects can apply to the building structure, including the interiors, or be limited by a facade. So measures of permissible transformations are determined at the object level the same as at the town planning level.

Chapter 7. Threats and risks of physical loss (destruction) of the St. Petersburg architectural heritage

The threats of physical loss (destruction) of heritage properties are connected with natural ageing processes, which accelerate the following:

  • unfavourable climatic conditions (high humidity, long snow and ice occurrence, up to 110 temperature transitions across 0° a year); natural disasters (floods, spring water, under flooding, landslides, hurricanes, winds, storms); geological and hydrogeological peculiarities of the Neva mouth (structurally unstable soils);
  • atmospheric pollution;
  • uncontrolled urbanisation and motor vehicle traffic;
  • irrelevant new construction in the historical environment;
  • improper building maintenance conditions;
  • fires;
  • vandalism and other aggressive actions.

There is also a danger for the preservation of cultural heritage properties in the intensive tourism leading to excessive load on the properties. “Total” restorations inflicting damage to the landmark authenticity are harmful.

The natural ageing processes are determined by the life cycle of buildings and construction materials, limits of safe operation of structures.

The lack of proper protection of buildings and facilities from atmospheric conditions, technogenic load on soils and constructions, increased gas content and acidic rain create a cumulative effect. The metal corrosion and plastering layer carbonisation processes are getting activated, “wild” loose patina corrode bronze and copper surfaces, abrasive impact destroy gilt, granite and marble are getting regenerated, ground water destroy foundations, biological defects apply to wood structures. Due to the influence of ecological and anthropogenic factors, 9 cultural heritage properties (Wooden buildings suffered from fires: a dwelling building (8 Yeleninskaya street), a primary school (2 Illykovskiy prospect), the main house of the Rat’kovs-Rozhnovs’ estate (3 Chernikova street, town of Lomonosov), a country house of the end of the 19th century (8 Primorskaya street, town of Peterhof), a house where V.I. Lenin hid himself from the Provisional Government (11 Yaroslavsky prospect) and a Yu.Yu. Benois’s country house (17 Tikhoretsky prospect); The following cultural heritage properties have been demolished autocratically: Salamandra Insurance Company’s country house (9 Vysokaya street, village of Lisiy Nos), N.V. Grave’s country house (11 Sofiyskaya street, Shuvalovo-Ozerki) and the main building (a part of it) of the Yelenin Women’s Cancer Hospital named after A.G. and E.I. Yeliseyev (32 Politekhnicheskaya street).

There are no methods for eternal preаervation. The main task is to suspend the natural ageing and wear processes and minimise the factors of their acceleration) have been lost during the last five years. 1317 landmarks are in the active destruction phase.

Chapter 8. Measures and methods for counteraction to destructive phenomena

The acceleration of physical destruction of cultural heritage properties by anthropogenic and natural factors is a threat of their “survival” and an opportunity to be transferred to future generations. The disproportion between dangers, which are to be prevented, and means being used for this purpose, is permanently growing.

The general measures for suspending the destruction processes are as follows:

  • reduction of the sources of pollution and vibration (motor vehicle branching, limitations of the number of parking lots, prohibition of vehicle traffic near especially valuable landmarks; moving out of industrial enterprises, recovery and renovation of industrial lands);
  • reduction of the vulnerability of historic buildings by means of proper operation and maintenance of structures, building protection against atmospheric conditions, elimination of defects weakening the structure and permitting the ingress and capillary motion of water and preventing from drainage;
  • effective use of historical buildings being appropriate for their value and not contradicting the preservation;
  • prohibition of the use of unsuitable and harmful materials during restoration, conservation and repair;
  • physical protection (reinforcement of doors, video surveillance, monitoring and control centres, etc.);
  • systematic fire safety measures.

The insufficiency of protective measures requires conducting interdisciplinary studies of the wear of historical buildings, impacts and interactions of physical, chemical and biological destructions on the basis of permanent monitoring and development forecast. For each type of danger and types of historical facilities, one should elaborate routine preventive measures with a complex of organising, administrative and technical measures on the prevention of threats, reduction of losses and damage. Apart from special plans just in case of an emergency situation, they should be formed on an interdepartmental basis with the employment of fire safety services, civil defence and emergency situation services, ecological supervision agencies, emergency rescue services and militia.

It is necessary to provide the mandatory insurance of the risks of loss (ruin), damage, theft of cultural heritage properties. The standards and rules for maintenance and operation of cultural heritage properties should be elaborated with the account of features of this type of real estate.

Chapter 9. Restoration, preservation, reconstruction of cultural heritage properties. Leningrad – St. Petersburg restoration school

The qualitative maintenance and proper operation are the most effective and the only sparing method for heritage preservation. Timely preventive and preservation works increase the dates of inter-restoration periods. In a certain sense, the preservation (various methods of protection for vulnerable structures, parts of facilities and decor) can be an alternative to the expensive restoration.

The restoration is a forced and emergency measure; it provides a deep interference into the true fabric of the landmark entails reconstruction elements and drifts away a particle of authenticity. The Venetian charter that has approved international restoration principles prefers preservation, and the restoration is carried out in exclusive cases when other conservation methods are helpless.

The methods of reconstruction and integrated scientific restoration have determined the specifics of the Leningrad restoration school. It was caused by destructions of the Great Patriotic War. During the postwar period, this unique construction and restoration activity has been performed with the use of conventional technologies, by a thorough investigation of true landmark fragments, iconographic and archive materials. The postwar restorations are called a deed of revival being exclusive by the scale and complexity, supreme mastery, depth of scientific research. Today works by outstanding restorers are of independent historical and cultural and artistic value.

The historical method of the present-day outlook established a fundamentally different requirement for restoration – maximal preservation of authenticity. For this reason, the renewal of a lost cultural heritage property can be justified in exclusive cases – as a means of town planning restoration or reconstruction of the ensemble integrity. In principle, it is not allowed to erect parts of buildings not performed at its time but being included into the author’s historical idea. The value of later historical features is recognised, the elements of styles from different epochs are not eliminated, the principle of reducing landmarks to the stylistic unity is negated (the so-called “stylistic” or “romantic” restoration as of the optimal date – for the period of landmark flourishing). In addition, the object under restoration should not be renovated up to a degree so that it should be perceived as a relic of past rebuilt from bottom up. The restoration practice in St. Petersburg is based on the principle of archaeological restoration (i.e. a thorough methodical studying in reality similar to studying of an archaeological site). In accordance with the Venice Charter, the scientific restoration shall end when fantasy begins.

In real conditions of today’s St. Petersburg where more than 7 thousand landmarks are in need of urgent restoration interference (with expenditure volumes being not less than 60 billion roubles), the integrated scientifically justified restoration remains the priority among other preservation methods.

The St. Petersburg restoration school has exclusively professional technologies and mastery. It has made its contribution into the international experience. The secrets of mastery, skills and knowledge secure its competitiveness.

After the crisis of 1990s, the restoration again becomes a considerable factor of St. Petersburg economic and social life. The restoration activity in St. Petersburg is carried out by 399 licensed organisations with the total number of employees over 12 thousand persons. In certain conditions, the restoration as an industry branch is capable to stimulate the economic growth and creation of workplaces. The specific nature of restoration fully justifies special measures of state support and stimulation (tax privileges, state orders). The restoration programs of non-profit organisations “St. Petersburg development fund”, “Restoration and development of Oranienbaum” fund, “St. Petersburg facades” program, Federal purposeful program “Russian culture (2001-2005)”, “Preservation and development of St. Petersburg historic centre” subprogram Federal purposeful program “Preservation and development of architecture of historical cities (2002-2010)" directly influence on the survival and the increase of the number of restoration firms. Restoration requires a special mastery and should be carried out by firms shown themselves well. However the monopoly for the given type of works should be excluded. The existence of small and medium firms having high-class specialists is the best guarantor of the architectural heritage preservation.

It is necessary to provide all kinds of help in order to revive firms being engaged in the production of traditional materials for restoration.

The urgent task is to establish a scientific and research centre (a restoration institute) for the development and implementation of modern restoration principles, standards and methods, new technologies meeting the specifics of St. Petersburg heritage, assessment of the quality of materials and works, certification and training of specialists. It is expedient to train specialists on the restoration and protection of heritage in the system of secondary special and higher education on the basis of city orders.

The other measures on providing the restoration activity are as follows:

  • thorough differentiation, establishment of standards and tariff rates for all kinds of restoration works;
  • provision and protection of author’s rights by means of establishing of quality signs, mastery certificates where possible;
  • propaganda of the quality of restoration works by means of exhibitions, competitions, craftsmen workshops in tourist zones;
  • stimulation of training, allocating of grants (subsidies, bounties, gratuitous loans);
  • establishment of master-classes stimulating both high-class specialists and talented youth wishing to acquire the mastery secrets;
  • broad informing of the community via mass media.

It should improve the profession dignity, the value of social and economic significance of restoration and crafts, and, consequently, open new prospects of employment and personal realisation.

Chapter 10. Modern architecture in the context of cultural heritage protection

None of the cities out of the number of those that are called museums under the open sky cannot be preserved. St. Petersburg is a developing megalopolis; therefore, the coordination of interests of the cultural heritage protection with the necessity of development and reconstruction of territories is one of the most important problems.

The solution of problems of reconstruction of territories and structure including new construction is possible only provided the elaboration and observance of a system of limitations and preferences providing the conservation of key elements of the historical environment. The reconstruction should be carried out on the basis of historical-cultural and historical-town-planning expert examinations determining the significance and degree of safekeeping of cultural heritage properties of all levels: the city on the whole as a historical settlement or a site, its big fragments (for example, blocks of postwar low-rise buildings), ensembles, individual buildings and facilities.

The integration of modern architecture into the historical development periodically arises in the theory and practice of the protection method. The new architecture in the historical environment context is one of the important components of the strategy of cultural heritage preservation. The development regulation zones determine possibilities of new construction on territories of the incomplete or degraded town planning environment, broken street fronts, intrablock sections and at the places of lost buildings. New construction should serve to the restoration of town planning fabric, reproduction of the lost city landscape elements, planning structure, scale, compartmentations, rhythm, silhouette, visual links, spatial ratios of development.

There are various techniques of the harmonic inclusion of modern architecture into groups of historical buildings: from complete “dissolving” of new architectural spaces, materials and colour in the environment to “counterpoint” methods, all kinds of stylisations and reconstructions by means of new construction, by new technologies and materials. Unlike reconstruction, which places a false equality sign between the original and the relic of past rebuilt from bottom up, the regeneration and renovation as more creative methods dictate new architecture the necessity of revealing internal regularities of the historical environment, architectonics of artistic images.

At the same time, new construction can threaten the physical state of neighbouring buildings. The construction and reconstruction on structurally unstable St. Petersburg soil in the environment of dense city development relate to the highest category of geotechnical complexity. The reconstruction and development in the historical centre should be carried out with the account of geological and hydrological features.

The striving of investors to build in the historical part of the city, near landmarks, evidences of the prestigious nature of the life activity in these areas and of a high commercial profitability, which directly depends upon the environmental surrounding. Views from windows have become a value parameter. Visual points, visual links, city panoramas should be catalogued as subjects of environmental and town planning protection.

Chapter 11. Open city spaces

The unique feature is given to the St. Petersburg historical centre environment by a symbiosis of open spaces (ensembles of squares and embankments, gardens and parks, boulevards and streets) and a dense intrablock development. Open spaces are a part of the architectural heritage. They play the main role in providing the recreation and entertainment needs of the city community and they are important in the social interaction. Open spaces express the collective life of the city and are a sort of public living room of St. Petersburg. They have a commercial value, help the economic revival not only through creation of workplaces but also through improvement of the city attractiveness for business investments and living.

The city rehabilitation programs of big and small spaces (yards) lead to a better understanding of the value and qualities of the environment. The improvement of open spaces, their saturation by museified archaeological sites and minor forms improve the quality of life of city dwellers on the whole.

In spite of the significance of open spaces, they are often violated, they are getting occupied by numerous vehicle parking lots, there is a pollution problem. Motorists remain main users of such spaces.

The most effective method for the preservation and popularization of the historical environment is to involve open spaces in the social turnover by developing footpath zones and their infrastructure. The establishment of a comfortable situation in the historical centre is contributed by its improvement, gardening, lighting and installation of minor architectural forms being compared by scale to the surrounding development and corresponding to the environment aesthetics. The lack of harmony, ignoring of the traditions, space overload can generate perception problems, loss of the sense of safety and comfort, make an open space unattractive and unfriendly. The visual degradation also arises as a result of conglomeration of technical advertising means (advertising boards, pylons, signs, etc.). Similar distortions of main squares and view panoramas are impermissible (the area from the Bolshaya Neva river to Liteyny Bridge, embankment of Moika river, Fontanka river, embankment of Griboyedov canal, Marsovo pole, Spit of Vasilievsky island, Dvortsovaya square, Ostrovskogo square, Kazanskaya square, Dekabristov square, Teatralnaya square, Truda square).

Green spaces (gardens, parks, boulevards, public gardens in the city centre, palace and park ensembles in suburbs) are an integral part of the historical landscape. Along with water arteries, they form a complex of ecologically stable territories of the historical environment and are an important characteristic of St. Petersburg as a World Heritage site. The preservation strategy should provide the inviolability of landscape architecture sites, systematic conduction of integrated restoration and preventive maintenance works, revival of the garden theatre culture, creation a garden art museum under the open sky.

In the practice of planning of the open space improvement, one should more flexibly use the public and private partnership. The direct involvement of city dwellers will give an effect of self-development, realisation of personal and collective responsibility, respect to the existing city structure.

Chapter 12. Legal norms on the preservation of cultural heritage

The basis of the cultural heritage preservation is the corresponding regulatory base. The legal framework of the landscape protection sphere is formulated in the following documents :

  • international regulatory acts: European conventions on the protection of archaeological heritage (London, 06.05.1969, for the USSR, it became effective on 14.02.1991), Convention on the protection of world cultural and natural heritage (Paris, 16.11.1972, for the USSR, it became effective on 12.01.1989), Convention on the protection of architectural heritage of Europe (Granada, 03.10.1985, for the USSR, it became effective on 01.03.1991);
  • Federal Law “On cultural heritage properties (historical and cultural landmarks) of peoples of the Russian Federation " (hereinafter referred to as the “Federal Law”);
  • Decree of the USSR Council of Ministers dated 16.09.1982 No. 865 “On approval of the Regulations for protection and use of historical and cultural landmarks”, as applied with regard to a part not contradicting the Federal Law;
  • Order of the USSR Ministry of Culture dated 13.05.1986 No. 203 “On approval of the Instruction on the order of accounting, provision of safekeeping, maintenance, use and restoration of immovable historical and cultural landmarks” and Order of the USSR Ministry of Culture dated 24.01.1986 No. 33 “On the arrangement of protection zones of USSR immovable historical and cultural landmarks”, as applied with regard to a part not contradicting the Federal Law.

Individual norms aimed at regulating legal relationships on the protection of cultural heritage are contained in Town planning code of the Russian Federation, Land code of the Russian Federation, Tax code of the Russian Federation, Federal Law “On architectural activity in the Russian Federation”, ”On privatisation of state and municipal property”, ”On licensing individual kinds of activity”, legislation regulating the budget relations.

The legal base requires improvement and development both at the federal level and at the regional level.

The federal law, the same as dated 15.12.1978 “On the protection and use of historical and cultural landmarks” (hereinafter referred to as the “RSFSR Law”), which was valid before, provides a subdivision of cultural heritage properties into categories of historical and cultural significance (federal, regional and local (municipal) value). Such a division of cultural heritage properties, as the practice of use of the RSFSR Law has shown, has no justified criteria, the system of state preservation measures does not depend upon categories of historical and cultural significance. In present-day conditions, the “category classification” creates undesirable barriers for the implementation of state protection, entails problems of the delimitation of state property relating to cultural heritage properties, their financing at the expense of various level budgets. A denial to divide cultural heritage properties into categories will allow to bring a heritage protection system into conformity to the norms of civil, land, budget and town planning legislation.

In order to preserve cultural heritage properties and develop the legal acts adopted, which regulate legal relationships in the sphere of state heritage protection:

1. Make the following proposals on amendments and addenda into the Federal Law:

  • exclude norms on the division of cultural heritage properties into various categories of historical and cultural significance;
  • provide, in respect of St. Petersburg as a city of federal significance, special norms establishing a possibility of introduction of combined cultural heritage protection zones in cases of concentrated location of landmarks;
  • provide a norm on a possibility of allocation budget subsidies to the cultural heritage property’s owner for financing of expenses on the preservation of the cultural heritage property if the regime of economic activity of this object established for the purpose of its preservation does not allow to provide a profitable use of the property;
  • provide mandatory insurance of the risks of loss and damage of cultural heritage properties at the conduction of repair and construction works as well as in case of а natural disaster with a condition that the insurance compensation payable if an insured event occurs shall be directed exclusively to the reconstruction of the cultural heritage property being lost or damaged;
  • include properties fixed with state museums, libraries, theatre and concert institutions, educational institutions into the list of cultural heritage properties.

2. Elaborate and approve restoration norms and rules at the federal level:

  • on preparation, coordination and approval of design and budget documentation for the execution of works on preservation of cultural heritage properties;
  • on the execution of each kind of repair and restoration works provided in the Federal Law.

3. Introduce amendments into Tax code of the Russian Federation:

  • into the list of off-sale expenses reducing the taxable base for the tax on profit of organisations, include the amounts directed as charitable activity to the repair and restoration of cultural heritage properties;
  • include the amounts directed as charitable activity to the repair and restoration of cultural heritage properties into the number of property tax deductions reducing the taxable base of the natural person’s income.

4. Introduce addenda into the Code of the Russian Federation on administrative legal relationships with regard to vesting of state authorities dealing with the protection of cultural heritage properties in Subjects of the Russian Federation with powers relating to drawing up of minutes and reviewing cases of administrative delinquencies in the sphere of cultural heritage protection.

5. Introduce into Law of St. Petersburg dated 26.11.2003 No. 684-96 “On the property tax of organisations” of the addition providing a tax exemption for organisations, which main kind of activity is the restoration of cultural heritage properties.

6. In adopting a St. Petersburg law on the land tax, provide, in the list of tax privileges, a possibility of tax exemption for organisations in respect of the plots of land belonging to them and relating to the category of lands of historical and cultural significance.

7. Pursuant to the norms of Town planning code of the Russian Federation:

  • elaborate the Regulations for land use and development in St. Petersburg including a St. Petersburg map of town planning zoning, on which the boundaries of territories of cultural heritage properties, zones with special conditions of the use of territory are specified (in particular, protection zones for cultural heritage properties) as well as town planning regulations of territorial zones containing the limiting dimensions of land plots and parameters of permitted construction and reconstruction of capital construction objects in these zones;
  • determine the order of elaboration of maps (diagrams) of the boundaries of territories of cultural heritage properties.

8. Establish the order of attribution of lands to the category of lands of historical and cultural purpose of regional significance.

Organisational and administrative measures

Inclusion of the integrated policy of active cultural heritage preservation as a component of all aspects of city planning. Decisions being made by St. Petersburg state authorities in the spheres of city economy, construction and territory improvement shall be taken with the account of necessity of preservation of the St. Petersburg cultural heritage.

Improvement of heritage management system in accordance with international agreements and legislation of the Russian Federation.

Retention of the performance of a part of powers of a federal state protection agency with the Committee for the state inspection and protection of historic monuments (hereinafter referred to as KGIOP), establishment of a special service within its structure for carrying out permanent monitoring of the cultural heritage.

Introduce into the KGIOP’s practice the preparation of annual reports to the Governor of St. Petersburg about the state of St. Petersburg cultural heritage properties. Establish that a draft annual report about preservation of cultural heritage properties should be brought forward to the review by the Council for cultural heritage preservation at the St. Petersburg Government (Established by Decree of the St. Petersburg Government dated 30.07.2004 No. 1371 in accordance with Article 13 of the St. Petersburg Law dated 30.10.2003 No. 642-87 “On the St. Petersburg Government” for the purpose of improvement of the activity of St. Petersburg state authority’s executive bodies. Active interaction with the Federal scientific and methodical council for cultural heritage preservation of the Ministry of Culture and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation as well as with the All-Russian society for preservation of historical and cultural landmarks, with creative and public organisations) and approved by the Governor of St. Petersburg.

Financial and economic security

The cost of assets of the St. Petersburg historic centre without account of especially valuable cultural heritage properties being unamenable to evaluation equals to 420 billion roubles. The restoration needs are about 60 billion roubles. In 2004, financing over all sources has amounted to 2.4 billion roubles, i.e. 4% of the needs.

The restoration of landmarks, rehabilitation of ramshackle buildings require investment being equal to or exceeding the cost of new construction.

One should elaborate a system of integrated financing of measures on securing the safekeeping of cultural heritage properties coordinating the budgets at all levels, extra-budgetary sources in order to use funds with maximum effectiveness.

The modern experience of cultural heritage preservation and development of historical cities refutes the obsolete notion on the expenditure nature of maintenance and reconstruction of landmarks. The analysis of economic advantages of the historical and cultural heritage preservation has revealed a positive influence on the economic growth in three areas of city development: construction and restoration cost of real estate and tourism. The world experience shows that the way of inclusion of the historical heritage into the city development plans is the most effective.

The universal principles of cultural heritage preservation are as follows:

1. Delimitation of powers between state agencies at all levels.

2. Variety of forms of ownership with a clear encumbrance on the use.

3. A principle of economic benefit during the use of a landmark with the cultural value priority.

4. A principle of payback of the investment in restoration at the expense of profitable investment projects, development of infrastructure and territory improvement.

5. Establishment of a favourable investment climate.

The program of economic stimulation for preservation of the St. Petersburg cultural heritage should provide the following:

  • growth of orders for restoration works from federal and city authorities;
  • all-round stimulation of restoration and reconstruction with the account of advantages, which they provide in the conditions of current conjuncture, namely: saving of space, infrastructures, raw materials and energy;
  • active search of new kinds of uses of old buildings as a part of the housing policy and public welfare improvement schemes, preservation of the social equilibrium in the zones of reconstruction of ramshackle dwelling premises, improvement of the habitat and living conditions for all strata of population;
  • repair and restoration at the expense of low-interest loans, grants, tax privileges and circulating funds; two kinds of subsidies: non-return subsidies for unprofitable works (restoration), return subsidies – for works, which give a considerable additional value to the building (renewal and reconstruction). Criteria: historical and cultural value of the property, its current value, its social role, accessibility for public, owner’s capability to be responsible for its obligations, revenues, which the owner can gain;
  • elaboration of flexible mechanisms for the support of private initiatives, sponsorship by natural persons and business organisations producing and selling oil, alcoholic drinks, those being engaged in the game business and other super-profitable companies;
  • provision of sponsor support by means of tax privileges;
  • establishment of funds with the participation of the city of St. Petersburg in order to reconstruct and restore cultural heritage properties on the St. Petersburg territory.

It is necessary to systematically explain to city dwellers the value of public and private investment in the cultural heritage so that the economic groups and the city community should realise the productivity and prestigious character of investment in the cultural and historical heritage. One should show the difference between the evident and actual values of preservation as well as between direct and indirect benefits resulting from such activity.

Right of ownership for cultural heritage properties

The absolute majority of architectural heritage properties belong to the state. With the presence of a variety of economic entities, various kinds of ownership in the sphere of real estate, the exclusion of historical real estate from the business turnover are void of common sense. The moratorium for the acquisition of cultural heritage properties has stopped the inflow of investment in historical real estate.

The state as a guarantor of the cultural heritage preservation and everybody’s constitutional rights for the access to cultural values is obliged to eliminate all legislative barriers for the development of this special kind of real estate. Nobody in the Russian Federation is entitled to do with historical real estate anything that he fancies. The owner shall be obliged to maintain, preserve, restore landmarks and provide the accessibility of its sightseeing.

Special cultural heritage properties, landmarks and ensembles included into the World Heritage List, historical and cultural preserves, archaeological heritage sites shall not be subject to alienation from the state ownership.

In St. Petersburg, there is a positive experience of investment project implementation. One should elaborate more effective mechanisms for mobilising investors, stimulating repeated investment and profit in new operations on the cultural heritage preservation, thus permitting the launch of restoration programs. The stimulus policy should be supported until the investment is insufficient and unproductive. The tax exemptions should depend upon the nature of property being restored:

  • landmarks having a low potential for gaining profits and being used for cultural purpose;
  • landmarks being used for cultural purpose but having a potential for gaining profits;
  • landmarks, which uses are mainly economic and which restoration can become a profitable operation.

Scientific and technical measures

The integrated research preceding measures on preservation of the St. Petersburg historical centre and its suburbs including the analysis of geological, hydrological, ecological, archaeological, historical, technical, sociological and economical data.

Determination of the town planning protection subjects being valuable and stable planning structure elements, city territory zoning. Measures on the completion of development of non-ordered city environment fragments.

The detection of protection subjects of cultural heritage properties reflecting the peculiarities of architectural look of facades, configuration and overall dimensions of buildings, historical interiors, constructions, elements being the carriers of memorial significance of the building.

Correction of the landmark register, continuation of their accounting and inventory control.

Permanent monitoring of all destruction processes, studying of methods for the suspension and reasons of the destruction process, reduction of the number of pollutants.

Forming of a single database on the historical and cultural heritage providing management and correction of the landmark register, their studying, accounting and inventory control. The database management from the informational point of view supports measures on detecting protection subjects, provides monitoring of the use and technical condition of cultural heritage properties, the history of their restoration with a photo fixation of the process.

Provision of links between the database on historical and cultural heritage and the database on geology, hydrology and ecology being supported by profiled city services as well as with the on-line map of St. Petersburg.

Chapter 13. Cultural tourism

St. Petersburg has a powerful potential for the development of tourism, which should become an important branch of its economy. Tourism contributes to the popularization of historical and cultural landmarks, strengthens a high authority of St. Petersburg in the country and abroad, can improve the quality of city dwellers’ life. The target allocation of a part of tourist revenues gives considerable resources for maintenance and preservation of the cultural heritage.

Tourism provides a broad access to the cultural heritage but one should avoid an excessive operation of tourist route objects. Visiting of sightseeing objects should not exceed the permissible norms established depending upon their peculiarities and degree of protectiveness.

It is necessary to elaborate a cultural tourism model being different from normal kinds of mass tourism in order to avoid any excessive pressure on cultural heritage properties. This model based on the use of cultural heritage advantages for the development of tourism should be directed to the revival of forgotten traditions and kinds of art, establishment of new centres of tourist interest, arrangement of special types of routes.

The tourist and excursion activity can use the whole potential of the St. Petersburg cultural heritage. A special task is to provide a uniform distribution of tourist flows as well as create comfortable conditions for living and travelling.

Chapter 14. Social and educational significance of the cultural heritage

The devotion to cultural heritage is a distinctive feature of the St. Petersburgians’ culture. It is being formed in the course of interpenetration between the new and the old, introduction of eternal values into the current cultural routine. Every generation seeks its interpretation of the past and retrieves new ideas from it.

The educational courses should use the historical, artistic and ethical values embodied in the cultural heritage in order to bring up worthy citizens of the modern society. The urgent current task is to cultivate in youth a respect for the variety of cultural traditions and a sense of tolerance, ability to withstand the manifestations of xenophobia and national exclusiveness. The quality and objectiveness of this educational idea are important both for preservation of the cultural heritage itself and for the support of public order in St. Petersburg.

It is necessary to elaborate the following effective forms of opposition to the manifestations of vandalism and unmotivated aggressiveness of some groups of population:

  • strengthening of the educational and elucidative activity in combination with a complex of law-enforcement measures (militia posts, patrol routes, video surveillance);
  • development of voluntary societies of friends of well-known landmarks, unification of youth around heritage preservation programs, establishment of youthful restoration groups;
  • conduction of jubilees of landmarks, ensembles and sites;
  • broad information of the public about dangers threatening the heritage as well as about measures being taken for its preservation.

An important condition of success in the field of cultural heritage preservation is the active and creative participation of all city dwellers, forming of the public consciousness in the spirit of understanding of the historical city space value. The use of modern mass media, audio and visual facilities and advertising techniques, stimulation of private and public projects should be aimed at active involving of business representatives, intelligentsia, youth and veterans in this activity. The effective cultural heritage preservation is impossible without public participation.

The access to knowledge, joy of communication with the cultural heritage should be stimulated as a factor being vitally necessary for the creative self-realisation of individual personalities and whole collectives. One should use all possibilities for combining the landmark preservation with the development of cultural traditions related thereto.

One should enlist the public support when taking protection measures for cultural heritage properties:

  • against demolition and unlawful alteration of buildings and destruction of the archaeological heritage;
  • against atmospheric pollution by industrial enterprises;
  • when considerable fines are imposed for a violation of the protection legislation in order to deprive violators of any benefit, which has arisen as a result of their unlawful actions;
  • when forcing the users and owners to maintain the historical real estate in the proper condition;
  • with limitations on the outdoor advertising and control over the sales design in protection zones;
  • with a prohibition of planning of new roads in the historical part or in the near vicinity of historical buildings;
  • with a prohibition of a new construction being incompatible with places being of the historical interest;
  • with motor vehicle branching and limitation of car parking, establishment of footpath zones, movement of surface communications in protection zones.

It is necessary to arouse the activity of city dwellers, professional community in the acquisition and transmission of information; support public initiatives on the registration of new cultural heritage properties, conduction of historical and cultural expert examinations. The integrated approach to the cultural heritage popularization included a broad spectrum of forms, i.e. publication of a list of landmarks fixing the current level of knowledge about them; various scientific, scientific-popular and reference-information publications; public hearings; articles in mass media; conduction of mass measures and actions related to the International Day of landmark protection and the City Day; arrangement of scientific and practical conferences at all levels; installation of memorial and protection boards, establishment of information stands on the history of cultural heritage properties in landmark buildings; arrangement of topical exhibitions; development of a network of small municipal, departmental and private museums.

Main tasks: forming of the code of city dwellers’ behaviour in the spirit of the “St. Petersburg idea”, education of a cultural mentality with the city community, control of domestic vandalism.

Chapter 15. International cooperation

The cultural heritage protection is a global problem of the modern time along with the ecological, energy, raw materials, demographical and other problems. In order to solve it, one needs to have the efforts of the entire world community on the whole. Being guided by the norms of Convention concerning the protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (UNESCO, 16.11.1972), one should activate the international cooperation.

Exchange of scientific and technical information and publications with international organisations functioning in the sphere of landmark protection.

Participation in international exhibitions, conferences and workshops.

Attraction of foreign experts for the participation in solving the most important matters of preservation of the St. Petersburg cultural heritage.

Establishment of a St. Petersburg division of the World Heritage Centre.

Establishment in St. Petersburg of divisions of the International council for landmarks and sightseeing places, Roman restoration centre.

For St. Petersburg, the international cooperation in the preservation of heritage is an especially important strategic resource. It should be realised in all directions – from the exchange of experience in the legislative sphere, in the theory and practice of protection and restoration to the involvement of the public and development of youth programs in the field of saving and popularization of the cultural heritage. St. Petersburg being a unique World Heritage site should also be supported in the future both by its own experience and by achievements of the world community in the preservation of historical cities, sightseeing places and improvement of the habitat.

to the St. Petersburg strategy
of cultural heritage preservation

Basic provisions of the “St. Petersburg facades” city restoration program

Building facades impart a special expressiveness to the St. Petersburg look. In this connection, an integrated program for their restoration has been elaborated for the first time.

St. Petersburg facades constitutes an encyclopaedia of architectural forms, finishing techniques and materials. Their architectural and plastic splendour create compositions of the order system, bay windows, towers, spikes and cupolas, various roofs, a sculpture modelled and metallic décor. The expressive Petrine baroque with a contrast painting of facades in two colours is followed by a polyphony of colour and sculpture of the Elizabethan baroque. The facades acquired their “strict, well-proportioned look” [view of stern and grace; stern Harmonious look] in the epoch of classicism and empire style. The decorative variety of forms have left retrospective neostyles (variations on the topics of Egypt and East, Gothic and Renaissance, baroque and neo-Greek), refined plastics - modern. The following materials have been used in the architectural finishing: lime-stones (putilovsky, gatchinskiy, pudostskiy, Polish and German), granites (from the Vyborg massif, from Valaam, Finnish rapakivi, etc.), marbles (tivdiysky, Italian, ruskolsky, etc.), cast, hammered patinised bronzes, ferrous metals, forged and cast iron, shpiatr, gilding – “through fire”, gluing and galvanoplastic; ceramics and mosaic.

In their majority, St. Petersburg facades are made by plastering. Plastering allowed to use any stylistic forms, apply various painting, the stone facing was simulated in it.

The true “splendid St. Petersburg” conceals the current poor condition of facades (pollution, numerous losses of the décor). With the exception of especially valuable objects, the facades have not been professionally restored. Old plastering layers were “re-beaten”, various methods of short-lived and harmful “renewals” were used (mortars with a high content of cement, painting coatings based on synthetic bonding materials destructed the plastering layers and the brickwork).

The goal of this restoration is to provide the longevity of the results. It is achieved by means of special technologies and materials (over facades: silicate and lime painting materials, plastering mortars based on lime, dyes on the mineral basis, seasonable character of works: at the temperature being not less than +8°С), which are not used in normal construction practice.

The average cost of a facade restoration is about 5 million roubles, the price of 1 sq.m is 3 thousand roubles and over. The observance of technology and subsequent literate maintenance of historical buildings (regular washing of facades – once in every 2-3 years, checks of the condition of networks, roofs, structures, décor fixations and immediate elimination of defects) will extend the post-restoration time up to 20-30 years.