1.         Historic Centre of Prague (Czechia) (C 616bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1992

Criteria  (ii)(iv)(vi)

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/616/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 2003-2003)
Total amount approved: USD 40,000
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/616/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

March 2008 and January 2010: World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS reactive monitoring missions

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Development of high rise constructions on the Pankrác plain;

b) Lack of effectiveness of existing planning, management and conservation measures for the property;

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/616/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2012

On 31 January 2012, a report on the state of conservation of the Historic Centre of Prague was submitted by the State Party in response to the World Heritage Committee’s Decision 35 COM 7B.89. This report addresses all items requested by the Committee and contains additional information in response to all recommendations of the 2010 reactive monitoring mission, on current conservation issues identified by the national authorities as well as a description of all major restoration, conservation or construction works that took place since the last report in 2011, including information on works planned in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines. The State Party also submitted a request for a minor modification to the buffer zone, which will be examined by the World Heritage Committee under Item 8 of the Agenda (Document WHC-12/36.COM/8B.Add).

a) Limitations on high-rise developments

The State Party reported that while a new land-use plan is under development, an intermediate amendment to the existing land-use plan had been finalized and is awaiting approval of the Prague City Assembly expected in the first quarter of 2012. The amendment defines buildings of excessive height in three categories: (1) buildings above 40 meters, (2) buildings of significant mass or volume not complying with the standard city proportions, and (3) buildings, which may impact panoramic views. Once the Decree is approved, the area in which buildings of excessive height are banned will have been enlarged and 3D skyline models will determine criteria and benchmarks for exceptional approval of excessive heights outside the prohibition zone.

The Pankrác Plain will be included in the zone in which excessive height buildings are entirely banned. The State Party also reports that the construction permissions of the Epoque skyscrapers, issued before the World Heritage Committee recommendation on height limits in its Decision 32 COM 7B.86, were successfully revoked in August 2011. The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS consider the land-use plan amendment, once passed, an important achievement in the protection of the historic centre of Prague and welcome the information that the construction permission of the Epoque towers was finally revoked.

b) Physical downgrading of the Eastern Highway

Following the recommendation of the 2010 reactive monitoring mission the State Party is committed to physically downgrade the North-South Trunk Road (Eastern Highway) as soon as the Blanca tunnel provides an alternative route, which is expected for 2014. At present, a new concept for the transformation of the North-South Trunk Road is under preparation and shall be based on principles of converting the road to an urban boulevard by reducing its width to two lanes and introducing pedestrian and bicycle paths.

c) Vyšehrad and Žižkov Stations

The rehabilitation of Vyšehrad Station according to the State Party will involve restoration and repairs to the historic structure and construction of two new buildings in its vicinity, which will not exceed the standard height and proportions of surrounding buildings. The rehabilitation has not yet been approved by the respective building permission authority. For Žižkov Station visualization studies of the different proposals had been prepared. However, since in the meantime the Ministry of Culture requested to declare the group of buildings a cultural monument, all plans will need to be revised, since none of these plans was in accordance with the regulations and restrictions imposed for cultural monuments. The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS welcome the information on a request for declaration of the Žižkov Station as a cultural monument and would like to be kept informed about emerging new proposals.

d) Regulations applying to infill, rehabilitation and conservation

In 2009, the City Council adopted the “Concept for a more efficient care for the heritage in the City of Prague” prepared by the Culture, Monument Care and Tourism Department. It includes methodological guidelines for urban interior solutions specifically for the area of the property as well as a methodology for assessing new structures and annexes. Following a resolution of the City Council on 30 August 2011, these methods will be further developed and specified on the basis of a comprehensive four-phase architectural and urban analysis of the property.

e) Management Plan

In 2009 the State Party had submitted a draft Management Plan for the property. The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS encourage the State Party to finalize this Management Plan, taking into account the comments provided by ICOMOS in May 2009 and the recommendations of the World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission in 2010, and submit the finalized Management Plan for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies.

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

The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS welcome the information received and acknowledge the progress made. They recommend that the World Heritage Committee request the State Party to notify the World Heritage Centre once the amendment to the land-use plan has been officially adopted by the City Assembly, and to pursue the development of proposals for the physical downgrading of the North-South Trunk Road and the finalization of the Management Plan. They further recommend encouraging the State Party to continue informing the World Heritage Centre, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, about any envisaged developments before making decisions that may be difficult 

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 7B.73

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7B,

2.   Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.89, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.   Welcomes the information that the building permissions for the Epoque Towers on the Pankrác Plain have been revoked and acknowledges the progress towards a land-use plan amendment extending the height restriction zone on the basis of a ban on buildings of excessive height and detailed regulations for the authorisation of high buildings outside the prohibition zone;

4.   Requests the State Party to notify the World Heritage Centre when the amendment to the land-use plan has been passed by the Prague City Assembly;

5.   Also requests the State Party to provide the finalized Management Plan to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2013;

6.   Encourages the State Party to continue informing the World Heritage Centre, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, about any envisaged developments, major restorations or rehabilitations;

7.   Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, including the progress towards a design for downgrading the North-South Trunk Road and the rehabilitation plans for Vyšehrad and Žižkov Stations. 

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 8B.59

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Documents WHC-12/36.COM/8B.Add and WHC-12/36.COM/INF.8B1.Add,

2.   Approves the proposed buffer zones for the Historic Centre of Prague, Czech Republic.

Decision Adopted: 36 COM 8D

The World Heritage Committee,

1.   Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/8D,

2.   Recalling Decision 35 COM 8D adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.   Acknowledges the excellent work accomplished by States Parties in the clarification of the delimitation of their World Heritage properties and thanks them for their efforts to improve the credibility of the World Heritage List;

4.   Recalls that the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies will not be able to examine proposals for minor or significant modifications to boundaries of World Heritage properties whenever the delimitation of such properties as inscribed is unclear;

5.   Takes note of the clarifications of property boundaries and areas provided by the following States Parties in response to the Retrospective Inventory, as presented in the Annex of Document WHC-12/36.COM/8D:

6.   Requests the States Parties which have not yet answered the questions raised in the framework of the Retrospective Inventory to provide all clarifications and documentation as soon as possible and by 1 December 2012 at the latest.