Prague, Czech Republic – The historical center of Prague could soon be added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage in Danger, the Czech News Agency (CTK) reported this week.
A team of UNESCO experts visited Prague during the spring and expressed serious reservations and concerns regarding possible future developments in the city’s historical center, which has been a World Heritage site since 1992.
They were particularly worried about the new building act and the planned high-rise buildings, and consider local authorities have failed to protect the values for which the historical center of Prague was added on the World Heritage list nearly thirty years ago.
The team of UNESCO experts was however positive regarding the number of new developments in Prague, including the reconstruction of previously neglected buildings, like the National Museum which recently reopened after many years, and innovative urban initiatives, like the Smichov City project.
Commenting on the visit, Czech Culture Minister Lubomír Zaorálek (CSSD) said it was premature to worry about Prague joining the list of World Heritage in danger, as corrective measures will be taken and negotiations with the UNESCO teams are still ongoing.
The World Heritage in Danger list is compiled by UNESCO to “inform the international community of conditions which threaten the very characteristics for which a property was inscribed on the World Heritage List, and to encourage corrective action” from local authorities and policymakers.
More than 50 sites around the world are currently under threat and on the World Heritage in Danger list, mostly in African or Middle-Eastern countries. Only three of them are located in Europe: Vienna’s city center, medieval monuments in Kosovo and the Maritime-Mercantile city in Liverpool.
Two Czech sites were added this year to the World Heritage List, bringing the Czech Republic’s UNESCO cultural landmarks to a grand total of 14.