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 2003-2014)
Total amount approved: USD 115,000
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

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

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2018

Since the last Decision 36 COM 7B.73 (Saint-Petersburg, 2012), ICOMOS reviewed numerous documents submitted by the State Party (e.g. 2014 state of conservation report, 2015 draft Management Plan, restoration works Puhonice Park, restoration project of the Castle Alpine Garden, newly planned development project White Water Park, high-rise development on the Pankrác Plain) and provided extensive comments to the Czech authorities.

In 2016 and 2017, the World Heritage Centre requested the State Party to provide clarifications on a number of high-rise developments, as well as regarding planned extensive building within the property. On 21 February 2017, ICOMOS reviewed the report submitted by the Czech authorities on 23 September 2016. In the light of the above and after receiving information from the civil society, the World Heritage Centre requested the State Party on 10 August 2017 to provide further information regarding developments at the "Rezidence Park Kavcí Hory", as well as a detailed progress report, as a basis for the submission of a state of conservation report to the World Heritage Committee.

On 15 March 2018, the State Party submitted clarifications regarding the “Rezidence Park Kavcí Hory” project on Pankrác Plain, and, more generally, the construction of high-rise buildings on Pankrác Plain in the buffer zone surrounding the property. These submissions make reference to height limits suggested by the Committee, as part of Decision 32 COM 7B.86, noting that there are different interpretations regarding the extent of the Pankrác Plain and therefore where height limits should apply.

On 28 March 2018, the State Party also submitted a detailed state of conservation report, with an extensive number of annexes. The report is available on http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/616/documents/, and provides information:

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

The State Party’s efforts in developing strategic documents, as well as revising the draft Management Plan following ICOMOS recommendations, as well as restoration and maintenance works are noted. The Committee should welcome these efforts and encourage the approval of all relevant legal documents and amendments, such as an “Amendment of State Heritage Care Act” to reinforce heritage protection and management, as well as inviting the State Party to strengthen the authority of the national institution in charge of the implementation of the Convention to enable it to focus major decisions on the retention of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. 

It is noted that the North-South Trunk Road is no longer being planned by routing the road through tunnels, but the plan is for a system of surface modifications.

The State Party concerns regarding the high-raise developments are noted. In 2017, ICOMOS concluded that the “Rezidence Park Kavčí Hory” project would add substantially to the harm caused by the existing tall buildings cluster. Nevertheless, in its decision, the Prague City Council’s Department of Heritage Management concluded that this project was not in conflict with the heritage preservation regulations for the given area. It is noted with concern that in several locations the newly-developed draft Metropolitan Plan proposes filling in the composition of existing dominant structures with new high-rise buildings.  

The Committee should express great concern at the lack of specific regulations available for high-rise developments, which may substantially impact on the OUV of the property, noting that, as a result there is a corresponding lack of stakeholder consensus. There have been unfortunate interpretations of part of Committee Decision 32 COM 7B.86 to confine the extent of height limits suggested in the Pankrác Plain area, thereby allowing taller buildings which are affecting the OUV of the property. The Committee should therefore request that the State Party intervene to cease such arbitrary interpretation of its previous decision regarding the height controls.  The completion of the high rise limitations plan should remove the possibility of future misinterpretation of Decision 32 COM 7B.86. Meanwhile, it is also appropriate for the Committee to request the State Party to introduce a moratorium on major projects within the property, its buffer zone and its wider setting, which may substantially impact on the OUV of the property, until appropriate regulations are developed and implemented.

Details and Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) of any proposed project, together with a cumulative HIA of the projects within the property, its buffer zone and its wider setting, focusing on potential impact on the OUV of the property, should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, for review by the Advisory Bodies.

The Committee should strongly encourage the State Party to finalize the Management Plan and to implement all relevant measures and plans, defining appropriate degrees of intervention for each element of the property, its buffer zone and its wider setting, to prevent threats to its OUV.

Given the current situation, a Reactive Monitoring mission is needed to assess the overall state of conservation of the property, review all ongoing studies and proposals and assist with the identification of options regarding possible developments that are consistent with the OUV of the property, as well as to evaluate whether the property is faced with threats, which could have deleterious effects on its inherent characteristics, such that it meets the criteria for its inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in line with Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines.

Decision Adopted: 42 COM 7B.21

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.73, adopted at its 36th session (Saint- Petersburg, 2012),
  3. Notes the information provided and progress made by the State Party in restoration works, on the North-South Trunk Road project modifications, as well as revision of the draft Management Plan following ICOMOS recommendations;
  4. Urges the State Party to finalize the Management Plan of the property, including details of the protective measures and reference to decision making framework in regulatory regimes as well as to implement all relevant measures and plans, defining appropriate degrees of intervention for each element of the property, its buffer zone and its wider setting, to prevent any threats to its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  5. Encourages the State Party to approve all relevant legal documents and amendments, such as an “Amendment of State Heritage Care Act”, to reinforce heritage protection and management, and invites the State Party to strengthen the authority of the national institution in charge of the implementation of the World Heritage Convention to enable it to focus major decisions on the retention of the OUV of the property;
  6. Expresses its great concern about the number of large-scale development projects proposed within buffer zone of the property and its wider setting, as well as the lack of specific regulations on high-rise developments, which may substantially impact on the OUV of the property;
  7. Requests the State Party to prevent further misinterpretation of its previous decisions (particularly Decision 32 COM 7B.86) on height limits and the extent of the area previously named as ‘Pankrác Plain’; and also invites the State Party to introduce a moratorium on major projects within the property, its buffer zone and its wider setting, which may substantially impact on the OUV of the property, until appropriate regulations are developed and implemented, including the high-rise limitations plan, with specific regulations to prevent exacerbating the damage already caused by the cluster of high-rise buildings;
  8. Reminds the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, details and Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) of any proposed project which may affect the OUV of the property, together with a cumulative HIA of the projects within the property, its buffer zone and its wider setting focusing on their potential impact on the OUV of the property, for review by the Advisory Bodies;
  9. Also requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission to the property to assess its state of conservation, review all ongoing studies and proposals and assist with the identification of options regarding possible developments that are consistent with the OUV of the property, as well as to review whether the property is faced with threats, which could have deleterious effects on its inherent characteristics, such that the property meets the criteria for its inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger, in line with Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines;
  10. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020.