English Français
Cette page n'est pas intégralement disponible en français, vous pouvez la consulter en anglais.

Identification and Promotion of Muslim Heritage in Central Europe

The Muslim heritage of Central Europe is very rich. It is a synthesis of Eastern and European cultural elements, embodied in the values of tangible and intangible culture. This are primarily mosques and mizars (cemeteries), as well as the book heritage, multilingual literary works, as well as so-called “memorial congresses” («zjazdy»).

This heritage is a testimony of the richness of intercultural exchanges and peaceful coexistence between communities. This project will offer a platform for dialogue and exchange of experiences among all relevant stakeholders, including the representatives of the various religious communities of Central Europe.

This project aims to strengthen identification, protection, management and sustainable use of the Muslim tangible cultural heritage in Central Europe. It will assist the authorities of the Republic of Belarus and other involved States Parties to inventory, study and promote this heritage within the framework of the World Heritage Convention.

As previously highlighted at the 40th session of the World Heritage Committee (Document WHC/16/40.COM/5D, Istanbul, 2016), the properties of religious interest are no longer considered only as cultural, religious, sacred or holy sites, but also as “educational places” for enhancing mutual respect, knowledge and dialogue between religious communities.

Within the United Nations system, UNESCO’s leading role is to support this intercultural and interreligious dialogue and to ensure the conditions for development of a universal vision for the protection of heritage of religious interest and to coordinate the implementation of activities world-wide .

Fund this project
Budget Proposed
US$ 150 000

24 months

States Parties

Global Strategy

Download project description

This project is part of the Marketplace.

Contact us


In December 2019, the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Belarus informed UNESCO that an international conference on “The Muslim Heritage of Central Europe” is being planned and requested UNESCO to provide its advisory assistance.

To date, the State List of Historical and Cultural Values of the Republic of Belarus includes 3 movable objects of the Muslim heritage. This is mainly the heritage of Tatars - an ethnic religious group that developed on the territory of the former medieval state - the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 14-16 centuries and has retained its originality until now, continuing to exist on the territory of modern countries - Belarus, Lithuania and Poland. In addition, more than 200 monuments of Tatar book culture are registered in the collections of libraries and museums in Belarus.

All these properties are under the state protection, stipulated by the legislation of the Republic of Belarus. Many of the monuments, such as mosques, mizars, have retained their previous functions, are in good condition and continue to be used by local communities. However, an inventory of Muslim heritage in Belarus is far from complete. A great number of monuments are still waiting for their study as well as many aspects of the European Muslim history and culture also need in more deep research. Unfortunately, the history and culture of small groups for a long time did not attract enough attention of researchers and related support.

Given the historical, cultural and typological commonality of the Muslim heritage of Belarus, Lithuania and Poland, it is necessary to combine efforts for researching and inventorying it, at least in the territory of these states, involving representatives of Muslim communities themselves, as well as, if possible, researchers from other interested countries. A preliminary discussion of this topic has already been held by the Republic of Belarus in the frameworks of a series of bilateral meetings with Poland and Lithuania.

Bringing together on the international, regional and national levels for studying the Muslims' cultural heritage potential of Central Europe will help respond to take concrete measures for its preservation and effective use with a view to the sustainable development of Muslim communities and their integration into the common European space.

UNESCO is deeply committed to assisting States Parties in their efforts to protect heritage in all its forms. This proposal is fully in line with UNESCO’s mandate, as well as relevant Decisions adopted by the World Heritage Committee. The activity will be implemented within the framework of the UNESCO Initiative on Heritage of Religious Interest and in line with the Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List, aiming to ensure that the List reflects the world's cultural and natural diversity of outstanding universal value.


The overarching goal is the identification and promotion of the Muslim cultural heritage of Central Europe.  More specifically, guidance and advisory assistance will be provided by the World Heritage Centre to the relevant national authorities

  1. to conduct, by the relevant institutions of the Republic of Belarus and the States Parties concerned, study and inventory campaign to identify Muslim tangible heritage in Central Europe.

  2. to organise a side-event during the World Heritage Committee session;

  3. to organise an International Conference “Muslim cultural heritage of Central Europe”, including an itinerant exhibition;

  4. to prepare an upstream process.


An estimated extra-budgetary funding of USD 150 000 is foreseen for the implementation of this activity. These funds will cover human resources, high quality consultation expertise, methodological guidance, quality control and onsite training and implementation of all activities.  The financial support could be provided in three phases:

USD 50 000 => Identification and Inventory activities

USD 50 000 => Advisory and Capacity-building activities
USD 50 000 => Conference


The outcomes of the project will mainly benefit scientific researchers, as well as directly to religious communities. In addition, the results of the study will be actively used to strengthen inter-religious dialogue, both in the Central European region and throughout the world.

  1. Studying the cultural heritage of the Muslim communities of Central Europe which contributes to its identification, documentation and preservation;

  2. Preservation and popularization of the cultural heritage of the Muslim communities of Central Europe, which have gone their development from the 14th century to the present;

  3. Reinforced capacity building on cultural heritage identification, preservation and promotion, including “upstream process” within the World Heritage Convention.

Donor's visibility

A communication & visibility plan will be developed in consultation with the donor(s) and will include (but not limited to) the options below:

Visibility Material




Target audience

Dedicated webpage on the WH website

World Heritage Centre website

● Public

Statistics for 2018:
  • 14,340 000 visits
  • 9,835 000 unique visitors
  • 4, 1650 00 pages viewed

Promotional and communication campaign on social media

UNESCO networks:

Facebook Instagram

● Public and subscribers to UNESCO social media

  • 1,300 000 social media subscribers 
  • 5.800.000 impressions per month
Statistics 2018 (+13%) :

 63,841 subscribers : 1,271 453 subscribers
Instagram:1,032 067 followers

News and event article(s) in focus on UNESCO and World Heritage Centre website

World Heritage Centre's website Site:

● Public interested in world heritage issues  

Statistics for 2016:
  • 13,340 000 visits
  • 9,735 000 unique visitors
  • 4, 1650 00 pages viewed
  • 111, 343 members

UNESCO website :

● Public interested in UNESCO mandate

Statistics for June 2016 to June 2017
  • 38, 379 764 visits
  • 26, 763 513 pages viewed

Side-events at the World Heritage Committee

World Heritage Committee - Official Launch and promotion campaign

● Committee members
 State Parties
● Observers
Site Managers
World media present

  • Around 2,000 participants from 193 countries
  •  5963 media coverage recorded during the 41COM
  • More than 2000 live connections on YouTube

Article on the Site Managers network in paper review

The World Heritage Review and/or World Heritage Paper Series 

● Public

  • More than 20 000 subscribers


Anna Sidorenko (Ms)
Responsible of the UNESCO Initiative
Heritage of Religious Interest
UNESCO World Heritage Centre

Objectifs stratégiques
  • Communautés
  • Conservation
Durée : 24 months