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, 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 2011

In conformity with Decision 34 COM 7B.82 following the report of the reactive monitoring mission on the Historic Centre of Prague in January 2010, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property on 4 February 2011. 

a) The Blanka Tunnel and traffic proposals

The World Heritage Committee urged the implementation of the mission’s recommendations, particularly those relating to the Blanka Tunnel. The recommendations concerned ensuring the downgrading of the Eastern Highway, halting the proposed tunnel behind the National Museum, and removing sections of the Eastern Highway from the eastern edge of the property.

The State Party’s report is very extensive, but it reports little practical achievement in relation to these recommendations. It attempts to reassess the grade of the Eastern Highway, but only once ‘the missing parts of the main communications network are completed’ (for which no target time is given), traffic is reduced in the city centre and on the north-south highway (so-called), and the north-south highway is converted into an urban boulevard. With regards to the tunnel ‘currently no action [is] taking place’, but the proposal still stands in place. There is no specific plan to remove sections of the Eastern highway from the edge of the property.

b) Heights controls

The World Heritage Committee also requested the completion of a ‘high-rise limitations plan’. The State Party responded on different levels. It explains that there are existing high-rise limitations, which are controlled through land use planning regulations in conformity with ‘monument care targets’ in the Historic Centre and buffer zone. A new draft Land use plan is currently under preparation. Public feedback “from public proceedings related to the draft of the new Land use plan” is currently under evaluation. Yet to be established is a final draft and yet to obtained are comments and an approval from ‘the respective bodies of the City of Prague’. A timeframe for achieving this cannot yet be specified.

To short-circuit this process, a proposal for high-rise limitation has been proposed as an amendment to the existing Land use plan, and was publicly exhibited from September to November of 2010. The aim is to have legally binding controls in operation during 2011.

c) Clarification of regulations

The World Heritage Centre further sought clarification of the regulations currently applied to infill, reconstruction, rehabilitation and conservation works. It appears that these matters are controlled by the current Land use plan. Some explanatory materials have been issued for public use, and two new handbooks have been proposed. However, the information supplied by the State Party is insufficient and therefore these issues still remain unclarified.

d) Historic Railway stations

The World Heritage Committee also had requested that the World Heritage Centre be kept informed on major development proposals, especially at Visegrad and Zitkov stations. The State Party provides a general description of ongoing proposals for these two sites, yet this description is not sufficient for assessing their adequacy.

e) Charles Bridge

The World Heritage Committee, after regretting the improper restoration of the Charles Bridge, had requested that future works be based upon detailed assessment and documentation, and be executed by skilled craftspeople and conservators. The State Party’s proposals are substantially in accordance with these requirements.

f) Průhonice Park

The World Heritage Committee also had urged for the protection of Průhonice Park. The State Party reports that the park is now subject to the highest possible protection, and that documentation regarding conservation and promotion measures is in preparation.

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

On the basis of the information provided, the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies consider that satisfactory measures have been taken or are in progress with regards to the Charles Bridge and Průhonice Park. However, a number of the remaining recommendations from the January 2010 reactive monitoring mission have not been satisfactorily addressed, including but not limited to the height controls, development proposals around the railway stations, the Blanka Tunnel and the Eastern Highway. 

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.89

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 34 COM 7B.82, adopted at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010),

3. Commends the conservation measures which have been taken in relation to the Charles Bridge as well as improvement regarding the legislative protection of Průhonice Park;

4. Expresses its concern that the recommendations from the January 2010 World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission have not all been satisfactorily addressed, particularly those applying to limitations on high-rise development, measures affecting the Blanka Tunnel and the Eastern Highway, development proposals for Visegrad and Zitkov stations as well as regulations currently applying to infill, reconstruction, rehabilitation and conservation remain unclear, and urges the State Party to address these issues;

5. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a progress report on the abovementioned regulations and measures, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.