1.         Historic Centre of Český Krumlov (Czechia) (C 617)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1992

Criteria  (iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/617/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2003-2003)
Total amount approved: USD 10,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/617/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission, January 2005.

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Inappropriate placement of a revolving theatre in the 17th century garden in front of the rococo summerhouse “Bellaria”;

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/617/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

In the 1950s, a revolving theatre with 80 seats was installed inside the 17th century garden in front of the Bellaria in order to use this historic setting as a backdrop for the theatre. The theatre expanded in the 1960s, and in 1998 became a permanent construction with a present seating capacity of 650 visitors. At the invitation of the Czech Ministry of Culture, an ICOMOS monitoring mission was carried out from 20 to 24 January 2005 to assess the impact of the revolving theatre situated in the castle garden on the values recognized by inscription, and to discuss the proposed new location for the theatre.

The construction of the revolving theatre includes a 6m deep foundation and is linked to a number of under- and above- ground infrastructural components, heavily impacting the visual integrity and the archaeology of the site. The mission observed that all elements of the former garden design around the current location of the theatre had disappeared, and heavy use of the place resulted in extensive trampling and affected the area beyond the immediate surroundings of the theatre. While the theatre only operates in the summer, the facilities block the vistas along the baroque axis and the central part of the garden. A feasibility study was carried out regarding the possible relocation of the revolving theatre to a new location currently occupied by a derelict tree nursery in the buffer zone of the property. The study concluded that relocation of the theatre would be beneficial to all aspects of the theatrical events, but called for an architectural competition to design the new revolving theatre and its surroundings to lessen any negative visual impacts. The mission also recommended that removal of the theatre should be accompanied by archaeological excavation, and that efforts should focus on conserving and restoring the Bellaria summerhouse.

The removal of the revolving theatre from the current location is strongly supported by the Ministry of Culture, the National Institute for Preservation, ICOMOS Czech Republic and the town of České Budějovice. However, there is also some opposition in the area, which considers the revolving theatre part of the traditional theatrical life in Český Krumlov.

The mission concluded that:

a) the revolving theatre is severely impairing the integrity of the castle garden;

b) the current placement of the revolving theatre is far from ideal from the theatrical point of view, and

c) the revolving theatre should therefore be removed and relocated as soon as possible and the international community should support the efforts of the Czech national authorities in this action.

Furthermore, the mission drew the attention of the authorities to Article 19 of the Florence Charter for Historic Gardens (1982), which states “by reason of its nature and purpose, a historic garden is a peaceful place conducive to human contacts, silence and awareness of nature. This conception of its everyday use must contrast with its role on those rare occasions when it accommodates a festivity”.

The State Party wrote to the Centre on 27 January 2006. The letter does not specifically endorse the conclusions of the 2005 mission and appears to move away from the commitment to remove the theatre. The letter appears to propose “replacement of the existing stage by a structure on the same site that would be less robust in terms of material used and aesthetic expression, yet functional and removable outside the summer theatre season”.

The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS are disturbed by this change of perspective. The permanent construction of theatrical elements in this garden is a late 20th century phenomenon. Furthermore, its presence in the garden has resulted in the destruction of the garden’s elements and patterns as well as blocking the vistas along the baroque axis and the central part of the garden. The State Party should be urged to maintain its earlier commitments. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

N/A

Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7B.83

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7B.101, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Notes with great concern the State Party's letter of 27 January 2006, which appears to ignore the recommendations of the 2005 mission and the Committee's Decision;

4. Requests the State Party to re-affirm its commitment to the removal of the theatre from the Summerhouse Garden and its replacement in the adjacent buffer zone site, and also to establish a firm schedule for the associated activities;

5. Further requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with an updated report by 1 February 2007 on the progress of its undertakings in this area, and on the state of conservation of the property, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session in 2007.