Twelve more Czech sites striving to make UNESCO list

Cesky Krumlov, photo: CzechTourism

The Czech Republic boasts numerous cultural heritage sites. Twelve of them, including the historic centre of Prague, the Villa Tugendhat in Brno, and the town of Cesky Krumlov in southern Bohemia, are already on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites. Now, as Dita Asiedu reports, the Cultural Ministry is hoping to add twelve more:

Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord on Jiriho z Podebrad square
I'm standing on Jiriho z Podebrad square facing one of Prague's most unusual looking churches. Built by Slovene architect Josip Plecnik in 1932, it is mostly constructed of brick and is one of the more modern churches in Prague. But the Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Our Lord, together with many other jewels hidden away in various corners of the country, gets very little attention.

The Cultural Ministry is hoping to change that. It is working on a proposal to add twelve more sites and landscapes on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites. If monuments like the church on Jiriho z Podebrad square were on the UNESCO list, they would be featured within the first few pages of Czech travel guides. The ministry's Vera Kucova explains the benefits of making the UNESCO list:

Karlstejn,  photo: CzechTourism
"In fact, it is only prestige. It is huge prestige and the city or region connected with the site is usually lucky to experience an enormous rise in cultural tourism. So, the benefit is an economic one. And it is of course more controlled by the National Institute of Property Conservation and Protection, which has a bigger chance of getting money from the state. So, I think the benefits are obvious."

Among the sites the cultural ministry hopes to add to the UNSCO list are also the popular medieval Karlstejn Castle, which has been trying to get on the list for the last sixteen years, and Prague's early twentieth century functionalist Muller Villa by architect Adolf Loos. But as Mrs Kucova tells us there will also be some unusual nominations:

"For example the historic paper mill in the village of Velke Losiny and there is also the complex of buildings relating to the spa function of the town of Luhacovice in South Moravia. We will also prepare the nomination of a very interesting complex of rock sculptures called Bethlehem, near the village of Kux. A nomination that is a little complicated but hopefully very interesting is called the industrial complexes in Ostrava. It includes previous coal mines and production buildings of iron and steel and the chemical industry."

But the Czech Republic is already among those countries boasting the most sites on the UNESCO list. With some countries having no sites listed at all, it will be difficult to push another Czech site through.