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European Heritage Award 2010 Celebrating Excellence awarded to The Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Regional Cultural and Natural Heritage Programme for South Eastern Europe

Integrated Rehabilitation Project Plan/Assessment of Architectural and Archaeological Heritage (IRPP/SAAH)


            During its tenth session, on 10 October 2003, the members of the Commission visited Sarajevo Canton and held a meeting with representatives of the Cantonal authorities and institutions, after which they visited monuments in Sarajevo.

           The meeting was held in the Sarajevo Canton headquarters on 10.10.2003 at 10.00.  In addition to Commission members and staff, the meeting was attended by Said Jamaković, acting director of the Development Planning Institute of Sarajevo Canton; Ismet Seferčehajić, assistant director of the Building Institute of Sarajevo Canton; Valida Čelić-Ćemerlić, director of the Cantonal Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Sarajevo; Munib Buljina, executive director of the Cantonal Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Sarajevo; Mevlida Serdarević, acting director of the Museum of Sarajevo; Farida Musa, officer for culture of Sarajevo City; Jovo Andrić, secretary to the Ministry of Regional Planning of Canton Sarajevo; Safet Vejo, assistant to the M Mayor for regional planning, Centar Municipality; Esma Topalović, deputy mayor of Hadžići Municipality; Vahid Muharemović, advisor to the Mayor of Ilidža; Aziz Fazlić, acting assistant Mayor of Ilijaš Municipality; Zuhdija Mahmutović, deputy Mayor of Novi grad Municipality; Kruno Raspudić, Mayor of Novo Sarajevo Municipality; Fehim Škaljić, Mayor of Stari Grad Municipality; Zijad Kadrić, assistant to the Mayor of Vogošća Municipality.

              The Commission Chair Ljiljana Ševo explained to those present the nature of the authority, modus operandi and rules of procedure of the Commission, the way in which proposals to designate properties as national monuments are submitted and the implementation of decisions.  She laid particular emphasis on the need to observe the provisions of the law whereby all monuments on the Provisional List of National Monuments of BiH enjoy the highest level of protection and whereby the Entity ministries are responsible for issuing permits for their rehabilitation.  Those present were also told of the activities of the Commission in regard to national monuments at risk from illegal construction, inexpert reconstruction, lack of maintenance or other forms of destruction or dilapidation, and were informed that pursuant to the Criminal Code, such actions or omissions may be the subject of criminal charges.  They were also informedabout the principle of transparency which guides the work of the Commission, and about the way the decisions and other acts of the Commission are published.

The method and forms of cooperation were set out in detail.  Municipal representatives confirmed that they would cooperate with the Commission members and Secretariat as required by the law.  It was confirmed that the Commission Secretariat qualified staff members would be able, when preparing the documentation required to adopt a decision to designate properties as national monuments, to acquire all the necessary information from the municipal cadastral records, land registry, archives and regional planning documentation.  The municipal authorities will also provide Commission staff members and associates with assistance when inspecting the sites of monuments, and when identifying possible additional sources of information on the properties in question.

All decisions adopted by the Commission will be forwarded to the municipal courts, which will check the land registry for charges against the plots relating to the Commission's decisions, after which the municipal courts will forward the necessary data to the municipal cadastral office so that information on the protection regime may be entered on the cadastral plan for each individual cadastral plot.  Regulation plans and other regional planning documentation are inapplicable to the extent that they contravene the provisions of the Commission's decisions, which are final and binding.

It was made clear that the Commission adopts its decisions to designate properties pursuant to its jurisdiction, and that it has no funds available for the reconstruction of national monuments, but that it may approach the relevant state and entity institutions with a recommendation that funds be allocated for the protection of the monuments at greatest risk, and may also approach foreign donors.

Amra Hadžimuhamedović told those present that the Commission had so far received 34 petitions relating to Sarajevo Canton, and that 66 buildings/sites were on the Provisional list of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Dubravko Lovrenović underlined the need for the Cantonal and municipal budgets to allocate funds for the protection of the cultural heritage, and cited the encouraging example of the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had earmarked significant funds for this purpose.

Fehim Škaljić drew attention to the many demands for the protection of heritage properties arising from war damage and neglect.  He suggested that an effective method would be to protect heritage properties by commercializing their use, given that it was difficult to provide sufficient budget funds for their protection.  The properties would be used for commercial purposes, which would ensure that they were accessible to the public and secure funds for their reconstruction and maintenance. He suggested that the Commission submit instructions for a specific form of concession for the use of the national heritage for commercial purposes.   To this end, the terms and conditions of protection to apply when restoring a building to use and the terms of its use should be stipulated in detail.

Vahid Muharemović drew attention to the large number of properties in Ilidža Municipality requiring protection. He suggested that the Commission provide instructions by drawing up a list of priority buildings (based on their value and present condition) for which the Municipality could set aside funds for protection.

Valida Čelić-Ćemerlić said that since the war Sarajevo, which had suffered major damage to its monuments during the war, had been restoring cultural and natural heritage monuments and sites from its own resources, or from the Cantonal budget. The web site of the Cantonal Institute for the Protection of Monuments gives a detailed list of the recorded heritage, with an assessment of the state of destruction or dilapidation in 1996 and an updated assessment for 2002.  She referred to the examples of Stari Grad and Ilidža Municipalities, both of which have an outstandingly valuable architectural and natural heritage. The municipalities must not be permitted to engage in any illegal construction, but this also has the effect of depriving them of the revenue they need to survive. If they are to be able to use the heritage for potential development purposes, on-going and long-term investment will be required without any financial return. She concluded by saying that help is needed at the Federation and State level to preserve the heritage in Sarajevo, since the municipalities are not in a position to set aside the required funds.

Safet Vejo underlined the need to adopt appropriate regulations in the field of protection, in order to define the rights and obligations of the owners and users of cultural buildings and facilities and the degree of protection to be extended to them in the municipalities, City and Canton.  An analysis of existing executive planning documents should be conducted, and lists of endangered monuments, obligations and priorities should be drawn up.

Farida Musa noted that the City Authority was pro-actively working closely with the municipalities on the protection of the cultural heritage, but that it was constrained in the territorial sense by the fact that the City consists of four municipalities.  She concurred that the Commission should provide a list of priorities for Sarajevo City.

Mevlida Serdarević said that the Museum of Sarajevo owned several buildings that should be national monuments: the Jewish Museum, Svrzo's House, the Despić House and the Brusa bezistan. The Museum was in a very difficult position, with no means of acquiring revenue or of taking on additional staff, which had a very adverse impact on the quality of its work and volume of activities, as a result of which the Museum had never submitted a petition for its individual collections or its holdings as a whole.

Jovo Andrić pointed out that since the war Sarajevo Canton had passed a law on the protection of the cultural heritage and that the Canton had an institution responsible for heritage protection (the Cantonal Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Sarajevo).  Budget funds were approved on the basis of programmes submitted by the Cantonal Institute.  Sarajevo Canton was the first to adopt proper regulations on environmental protection and the protection of the natural heritage, had designated the entire Bijambara region as a protected landscape, adopted a decision to designate Skakavac as a hydrological monument, and provided funds for protection.  A specific problem was damage to the cultural heritage caused by illicit construction and failure to comply with the provisions of regional planning documentation.

Tina Wik said that the cultural heritage was a symbol of the citizens of BiH and that it required financial support. She underlined the importance of the municipalities providing part of the funds for the protection of cultural properties so as to ensure aid from the international community. The regional planning authorities were very important for the protection of properties in Sarajevo, as was good cooperation between the Commission and the Cantonal Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Sarajevo, the municipalities, and the City regional planning authorities.

Amra Hadžimuhamedović emphasized the crucial role of the institutions represented at the meeting in the protection and use of the heritage in Sarajevo (the Cantonal Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Sarajevo, the Sarajevo Museum, the Development Planning Institute of Sarajevo Canton, the Building Institute of Sarajevo Canton and other associated bodies, authorities and institutions).  Support from these institutions was of major importance for the adoption of decisions by the Commission.  She drew particular attention to the importance of integrating the heritage into development plans, the drafting of which is headed by the Development Planning Institute of Sarajevo Canton.

              Said Jamaković pointed out that the Planning Institute is directly involved in the drafting of all plans. He said that the part of
Sarajevo most at risk is residential buildings in the old part of town, which are built of less resistant materials and are constantly at risk of dilapidation. The buildings on the Provisional List and those designated by the Commission as national monuments should be noted as such on the cadastral and land registry records to ensure their administrative protection. The Institute had an important part to play in the protection of townscapes as a whole, mahalas in the old part of the City, agglomerations, and natural landscapes. There was a problem in the protection of mahalas in regard to traffic and the Law on Traffic and Transport.

It was resolved to step up cooperation at all levels between the Commission and government authorities and institutions in order to integrate the heritage into the trajectories of reconstruction and development in Sarajevo Canton. The Commission's work would help to raise awareness of the need to adopt a clear strategic stance in regard to heritage protection, thereby encouraging all forms of budget allocation by the municipalities and canton as well as other forms of support.

Following the meeting, a visit was made to the Latin bridge, Bijela tabija, Alija Đerzelez house, Čekrekči-Muslihudin mosque, Museum of Sarajevo (Despić House), Brusa bezistan and the old Synagogue.


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