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Committee Decisions

32 COM 8B.37

Examination of nomination of natural, mixed and cultural proprerties to the World Heritage List - Wooden Churches of the Slovak part of the Carpathian Mountain Area (SLOVAKIA)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Documents WHC-08/32.COM/8B and WHC-08/32.COM/INF.8B1,

2. Inscribes the Wooden Churches of the Slovak part of the Carpathian Mountain Area, Slovakia, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (iii) and (iv);

3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

The wooden churches of the Slovak part of Carpathian Mountain Area, illustrate the coexistence of different religious faiths within a small territory of central Europe. The series of eight properties includes Roman Catholic, Protestant and Greek Orthodox churches that were built between the 16th and 18th centuries, most of them in quite isolated villages, using wood as the main material and traditional construction techniques. Within the framework of their common features, the churches exhibit some typological variations, in accordance with the correspondent faith, expressed in their plans, interior spaces and external appearance. The churches also bear testimony to the development of major architectural and artistic trends during the period of construction and its interpretation and adaptation to a specific geographical and cultural context. Interiors are decorated with wall and ceiling paintings and works of art that enrich the cultural significance of the properties.

Criterion (iii): The wooden churches offer an outstanding testimony to the traditional religious architecture of the north-western Carpathians region and to the inter-ethnic and inter-cultural character of a relatively small territory where Latin and Byzantine cultures have met and overlapped. The Lutheran churches serve as an exceptional example of religious tolerance in Upper Hungary during the period of bloody anti-Habsburgs rebellions and uprisings over the 17th century.

Criterion (iv): The wooden churches represent one of the best examples of European wooden religious architecture from the late Middle Ages to the end of 18th century. Their characteristic appearance, construction and at times rather naïve decoration derive from earlier local traditions, partially influenced by professional architectural concepts of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles. Western (Latin) and eastern (Orthodox) building concepts are reflected in these wooden structures, creating specific religious architecture with diversified design, technical solutions and unique decorative expressions.

The buildings themselves, in their current settings, present a state of completeness that ensures the condition of integrity. In the framework of the particular characteristics of their construction materials and techniques, the buildings are well preserved and the authenticity of design and form, materials and techniques, uses and functions is ensured.

Legal protection is satisfactory since the properties enjoy maximum national and local levels of protection. The management structure and instruments are adequate, and the creation of a Management Group ensures the participation of all stakeholders.

4. Recommends that the State Party give consideration to the following:

  • a) in order to ensure the optimisation of the current management system and the common management of the properties, the Management Group should define and implement a common integrated management plan that includes risk preparedness measures and provisions regarding a potential increase of tourism. The Plan should in particular consider risk preparedness measures against fire, taking into account the increased risk of forest fires due to global climate change;
  • b) approve and implement the proposed monitoring system;
  • c) repaint the visitors' centre in Hervartov using lime or cement paint and natural earth pigments
  • d) remove or relocate the wooden sculptures located in front of the churchyard in Trvdosin to a discreet corner away from the main view;
  • e) improve the connection between the church and the bell tower in Hronsek.