New Report Questions UNESCO Status of Prague’s Historic City Centre

Prague’s world-famous historic city centre has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1992, but a new report by UNESCO and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) has raised concerns about the listing, due to the number of proposed developments in the capital’s heritage area. Photo credit: ZM / Brno Daily.

Prague, Oct 29 (BD) – Prague’s historic city centre was added to the UNESCO World Heritage register in 1992 along with Cesky Krumlov and Telc, together the first sites in the Czech Republic to gain this status. However, substantial changes to the city since then have raised alarm among the organisation’s monitors that city authorities are not doing enough to protect the city’s world-famous landscape.

A recent report by UNESCO and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) states that there has been insufficient response by the Czech government to advice given and concerns raised by monitors in 2010 regarding large new developments in and around the centre, and recommends a limit on future high-rise projects. The monitors also criticised the city’s Metropolitan Plan and highlighted some necessary changes.

Vaclav Girsa, head of the Czech National Committee of ICOMOS, described the inaction by Czech authorities as “a serious breach of the conditions that the Czech Republic pledged to meet with World Heritage listing of Prague.” Czech Culture Minister Lubomir Zaoralek stressed that the government is anxious to work with UNESCO to respond to the concerns raised, and that the government would respond to the criticism in due course. The World Heritage Committee is due to hold its 44th Session in China next summer, where the response of the Czech government to this report will be discussed further.

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