Prague, Jan 4 (CTK) – The Czech Republic along with Slovenia may apply for the UNESCO-listing of a church designed by Slovenian architect Josip (Joze) Plecnik (1872-1957) in Prague and his buildings in Ljubljana next year, Dita Limova, head of the Culture Ministry’s UNESCO section, has told CTK.
The world will commemorate the 60th death anniversary of Plecnik, whose work combines inspiration by ancient architecture with modernity, on January 7.
In the Czech Republic, Plecnik has set his original stamp mainly on Prague Castle, the presidential seat, which he reconstructed in the 1920s and 1930s under the first Czechoslovak president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk (1918-35).
The Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord, one of the most remarkable sacral heritage sights in Prague that was built in its Vinohrady district in 1929-1932, is supposed to be reconstructed within three years, Limova said.
The reconstruction of Plecnik’s church, which was declared national culture heritage seven years ago, is another step in the effort to achieve its listing among the UNESCO world heritage. It includes repairs of the towers, the floor as well as the church clock, the largest in the Czech Republic.
The local parish will cover a major part of the six-million-crown reconstruction costs, but the state and the Prague 3 district have also contributed to the funding.
A total of 12 Czech monuments have entered the UNESCO list of world heritage so far, the last one in 2003. The Prague historical centre became a UNESCO sight in 1992.
In the number of the UNESCO entries, the Czech Republic is among the first 30 countries, Limova said.
Despite that, Prague would like to nominate almost 20 other sights.
At first, a solo nomination of Plecnik’s church in Prague was taken into consideration. However, at present, only a joint bid with Slovenia entitled “The Timeless Humanistic Architecture of Joze Plecnik in Ljubljana and Prague” is being prepared, including Plecnik’s buildings in his native land and the Prague church.
Slovenia is the main coordinator of the reparations. The latest meeting of the preparatory group took place last autumn, Limova said.
The nomination process is very long. It lasts several years and it is even more complex in the case of multinational nominations.
The Czech Republic has also prepared some other international nominations. The UNESCO committee has preferred them to purely national nominations of late.
The entry in the UNESCO heritage list is very prestigious for the owners of the sights since it attracts more tourists from the whole world to them. In the Czech Republic, the owners of both UNESCO-listed and nominated sights can seek state support for their reconstruction and maintenance.
The Czech monuments that have entered the UNESCO list of world heritage are situated in nine of the country’s 14 regions.
The first ones were the historical centres of Prague, Cesky Krumlov, south Bohemia, and Telc, south Moravia, all listed in 1992, followed by the Renaissance chateau in Litomysl, east Bohemia, the south Bohemian village of Holasovice, the chateau and gardens in Kromeriz, south Moravia, the centre of Kutna Hora together with St Barbara Cathedral, central Bohemia, the pilgrim church of St John Nepomucen at Zelena hora at Zdar nad Sazavou, south Moravia, the chateau and garden complex of Lednice and Valtice, south Moravia, the Trinity baroque column in Olomouc, north Moravia, the villa Tugendhat in Brno, south Moravia, listed in 2001 and the Jewish Town and St Prokopius Basilica in Trebic, south Moravia.
Apart from real estate, some Czech items have entered the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, such as verbunk, a folk dance from south Moravia dating back to the 18th century, the Ride of the Kings annual folklore festival in south-east Moravia, the Shrovetide masks and traditions from the Hlinsko area, east Bohemia, and the Czech and Slovak puppetry.
The Czech Republic has also five items in the UNESCO’ Memory of the World Register that was established to save the most valuable documents and make them accessible to the public.