Decision : 43 COM 8B.27
Landscape for Breeding and Training of Ceremonial Carriage Horses at Kladruby nad Labem (Czechia)
The World Heritage Committee,
- Having examined Documents WHC/19/43.COM/8B and WHC/19/43.COM/INF.8B1,
- Inscribes the Landscape for Breeding and Training of Ceremonial Carriage Horses at Kladruby nad Labem, Czechia, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (iv) and (v);
- Takes note of the provisional Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:
The Landscape is situated in the Střední Polabí area, in the Polabská nížina (Elbe Lowland) geological and economic region. The geological and morphological features of the area facilitated horse breeding and helped in creating a unique landscape composition designed with the intention of breeding and training of ceremonial horses.
People first settled in this region in medieval times. After 1491, Kladruby nad Labem had been managed by the Pernstein family who founded a deer park there. In 1560 the Pardubice estate including the deer park was acquired on behalf of the then ruler by the Czech Royal Chamber (an administrative body of the Bohemian Kingdom). In 1563 the Emperor Maxmillian II of Habsburg founded a stud farm there and on 6 March 1579 his successor, Emperor Rudolph II of Habsburg granted it a charter as the Imperial Court Stud Farm. Since the early 17th century the stud farm, in close interaction with the surrounding landscape, has specialised in breeding ceremonial carriage horses of the gala carrossier type solely to satisfy the demand of the Imperial Court. To date, the historic farmsteads located on the site have been in operation and they represent functional centre points of the unique landscape.
The property is a rare synthesis of two categories of landscape: on the one hand it is a continuing landscape that has developed organically to date and still performs its main function; but it is also a landscape designed and created intentionally by man and a unique example of a highly specialised ornamented farm – ferme ornée – dedicated to the breeding and training of ceremonial carriage horses. This synthesis stems from the fact that the living and evolving landscape with a clearly defined breeding function consists of two parts. Each of them is based on its inherent conditions, and even though these two parts contrast with each other, they are also closely intertwined. The formal arrangement of the pasture landscape (applying the principles of Classicist French gardens with unobtrusive and modest architecture of farmsteads, unobtrusive structure of settlements and sculptures accentuating important places) is complemented with the romantic picturesque landscape park, where the principles of manupilative painting perspective are used to evoke a scenic painting, enriched by a wide range of ornamental tree species grown there.
The Landscape is living evidence of transforming influences in the design of the landscape for breeding and training of carriage horses. There are clearly visible functional components within the landscape layout (axes, roads, avenues, watercourses, symmetrical buildings, and links between these components) that are an excellent example of an inventive application of André Le Nôtre’s composition principles (French Formal Garden) in creating a landscape designed for such a specific purpose. The Property is also unique because at the time when it was arranged (according to the principles of French Formal Garden design), such principles were already abandoned elsewhere in the world. This late application of André Le Nôtre’s principles in the Landscape documents their viability and is also testament to the conservative taste of the key client, the Habsburg Court, which commissioned these landscape modifications. The landscape also reflects the level of acceptable cultural norms in those times.
The principles of English picturesque landscaping were adopted in an extraordinarily inventive manner in the design of the Mošnice Landscaped Park, with the aim of creating a landscaped scenery consisting of native as well as introduced ornamental woody plant species and applying the compositional principles of manipulative painting perspective based on a wide range of colours of the trees and shrubs selected to create a pictorial spatial illusion and effects. The splendid scenery is reflected in oxbow lakes, the last remains of the Elbe river meanders. The tree clumps distributed on pastures originally defined by the Classicist composition is yet further evidence that English landscaping imprinted its influence in the Landscape.
This creative fusion of the French and English landscaping principles, their merger within the landscaped park on a site primarily serving an economic function, gave birth to such a remarkable composition. These above factors make the Landscape for Breeding Carriage Horses at Kladruby nad Labem very unique.
The unique approach to the functional use of the landscape is expressed by means of landscape composition itself. The starting point of the spatial main composition axes in the Classicist part of the landscape is situated at the arched passageway leading to the main stables of the Kladruby nad Labem farmstead and not in front of the Manor House as is common for designed landscapes at other comparable studs. The utilitarian function of the landscape is also expressed in the structural substance and lay-out of the buildings at the Kladruby nad Labem farmstead, where the architectural form of the Manor House that hosted the Imperial Family when visiting, is suppressed not only in visual terms (being screened off by a line of trees) but also in absolute terms – it is lower than the stables main entrance wing. Neither does the nave of Saint Wenceslas and Leopold Church exceed the height of the farmstead stable buildings. This accentuation of the landscape’s pure economic function by architectural and landscaping means is quite unusual, particularly if there is a stately home of a member of the social elite.
The Landscape undoubtedly bears all the significant attributes of its continuing single purpose– the breeding and training of carriage horses, and it had gradually evolved into the highest aesthetic form, reflecting its imperial importance and function that has resulted in a unique type of an ornamented farm (ferme ornée). Due to its function the Landscape was closely associated with the top echelons of the social hierarchy for four centuries in the history of European civilisation. In global perspective it represents a unique and comprehensive example of equestrian culture development in Europe, particularly with focus on breeding and training of ceremonial carriage horses.
Criterion (iv): The property is an outstanding world example of a landscape that during its development over several centuries, has been meticulously cultivated by means of intended landscape composition in which the principles of French Classicist garden and English landscaping joined together to create a perfect environment satisfying the needs of breeding and training of carriage horses. The landscape illustrates an important era in modern European history, when the social elites supported and admired this unique horse breeding activities. In the case of the Nominated Landscape this elite was represented by the Imperial House of Habsburg. Therefore in the history of European civilisation the Landscape was over four centuries very closely associated with the top echelons of the social hierarchy. From the world perspective it represents a unique and comprehensive example of equestrian culture development in Europe spanning over four centuries, with a specific focus on breeding and training of ceremonial carriage horses.
Criterion (v): The property is an excellent example of a traditional use of the landscape, the last of its kind in the world, for breeding and training of carriage horses of the gala carrossier type. It represents the historic period starting with Baroque, when the landscape was deliberately structured and used to cater for the needs of the social elites that demonstrated their privileged position in pompous ceremonies for which gala carrossier horses were used. For centuries, breeding and training of these horses at the property has been carried out in close interactions with the natural environment: favourable climate, hydrology, soil and vegetation on the site have been the key factors for the economic self-sufficiency of the landscape so indispensible for breeding and training of carriage horses from their birth until completion of their training. Breeding and training of carriage horses and maintaining the associated Landscape have been a rational way of living for the local people.
To date, the Landscape has been preserved, and it is proposed for nomination, within its historical borders and area that in the past corresponded to the size of the herd needed to supply the required number of trained ceremonial carriage horses set by the Imperial Court. The utilitarian character of the landscape is still fully manifested in the preserved functional integrity of its composition main components that consist of: pastures of adequate size for the herd; grassland for hay production; arable land for production of grain fodder; forests for timber production used as building material and fuel; sufficient water supply; roads and drives necessary for training carriage horses in hand; functionally diversified sets of buildings etc.
As in the past, the Landscape still provides all the resources necessary for successful breeding of these horses and provides the environment for their training. Horse breeding is carried out in functionally diversified historic stables and other complementary structures. The sets of buildings at all farmsteads reflect the requirements for carriage horse stabling that have been developed over many years starting from the early 19th century. These ensembles of buildings have neither been demolished nor significantly modified (only complemented in a sensitive manner) and in 2014–2015 they all were successfully restored.
The integrity of the formal composition of the Classicist part of the Landscape has been fully preserved because all its components have been preserved – roads lined with trees, watercourses, the grid of pasture units etc. The integrity of the landscape composition of the romantic picturesque park at Mošnice has also been preserved – the carriage bridle way from which fan-like vistas open at a rich assortment of solitary trees and group plantings arranged according to the compositional principles of perspective, the former river meanders oxbow lakes and naturally regenerating alluvial vegetation in the relict of the flood plain forest. The integrity of the productive forests in the northern part of the property including the network of straight clear-cut strips and forest avenues used for horse training
The functional authenticity of the property has been preserved; the Landscape is still used for breeding and training of carriage horses of the gala carrossier type, specifically the Kladruber breed. The unique composition of the Landscape based on the combination of French (patte d’oie, etoile, and cabinet de verdure) and English (clumps, country parks) principles of the garden design has been well preserved. Linear planting (tree-lined walkways, avenues, windbreaks, and planting along watercourses) dividing the landscape composition have also been preserved in the form of native species and overall pattern. The complexes of stables and other complementary structures at the stud farm have been carefully restored in compliance with the original Classicist design and therefore they are authentic. In the restoration some good quality modifications from the subsequent periods were also considered to provide evidence of building and style layers documenting the gradual development of the Property.
The network of watercourses, which is important for both the function and composition of the landscape, has been preserved in the same structure as it was in 1876 and therefore, it is authentic. Traditional materials are used for its maintenance. A similar approach is used for the maintenance of pasture fencing. The historic urban structure of settlements has not been compromised by the industrial development of modern times, and the original links with countryside have been preserved.
Protection and management requirements
To safeguard the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and guarantee its sustainable development, the following principles are required: use the national monitoring system regularly every year as a preventive tool and a vehicle for early recommendations to the national heritage bodies and the Site Manager; make necessary legal arrangements in order to bring the property under single management by transferring all the assets owned by the Czech state in the Landscape to a single Site Manager, i.e. the National Stud Farm at Kladruby nad Labem s.p.o.; implement the principles, as defined and agreed by the relevant ministries, in the restoration of historic vegetation stands in order to preserve the composition of the Landscape and its functional design for breeding carriage horses; continue implementation of the valid Management Plan, review the progress and update the plan in a timely manner; engage the Steering Group, members of which are senior representatives of relevant ministries, national heritage regional bodies, professional organisations active in management of heritage assets, ICOMOS National Committee, Site Manager, other co-operating external experts and representatives of self-governing local bodies.
- Requests that the State Party, working with the Steering Group established to coordinate management of the property, finalize by 1 December 2019, the expansion of the buffer zone to the south by including further land across the River Elbe in the stretch where the boundaries are too tight or coinciding with those of the property, in order to guarantee that it is equipped in its entirety with the necessary layer of additional protection;
- Recommends that the State Party give consideration to the following:
- Finalising the revision of the management plan, whilst retaining the still-valid structure and approach of the 2012 document,
- Developing a robust visitor strategy that extends to the territory beyond the buffer zone and discouraging individual vehicular access to the property,
- Improving risk management by carrying out a study on possible threats and effects that may be associated with climate change and prioritising the response to the most likely threats,
- Considering the integration of a Heritage Impact Assessment approach into the management system,
- Monitoring the potential interferences between the general plans for the Danube-Elbe, and the construction of new canals with the landscape,
- Assessing the potential impact of the plans for touristic river transportation on the general historic hydraulic system and also considering possible impacts on the Natura 2000 community site,
- Removing the high-voltage power lines crossing the landscape and implementing measures to minimise the visual impact of the Chvaletice power station,
- Carefully assessing the opportunity, pace and modalities of replanting the lines of trees of the avenues as well as hedges, taking into account species, distance, and size of the trees,
- Ensuring the correct interpretation of the site as a cultural landscape, where the horses, landscape features, buildings, and natural elements have produced long-lasting impacts on the environment and on the people,
- Establishing an archive and a digital register of primary source documents and setting up a central register of data at the National Stud Farm;
- Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2019 a revised map showing the extended buffer zone;
- Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2020, a report on the implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 44th session in 2020.