A meeting in the Municipality of Bekovići was held on January 23, 2004 at 13.00 hrs. Other than commission members and associates, the meeting was attended by Mr. Ilija Šetka, Municipality Council Secretary, Mr. Mitar Kulušpić, Head of Land Registry Office, Mr. Momčilo Kundačina, Head of Urbanism Department, Mr. Vadim Kuznetsov, Deputy High Representative and OHR Senior Advisor. The Municipality Chief was absent form the meeting because of earlier arranged obligations.
Members of the Commission 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 informed about 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.
The Commission is also responsible for international cooperation in the field of cultural heritage protection, ranging from cooperation with Interpol for properties illicitly exported from the country to proposing monuments for inclusion on the World Heritage List or the WMF World Monuments Watch List of the 100 most endangered properties and drafting and implementing international conventions and treaties.
The chairperson informed that the St. Trinity church in Hatelji is placed to the Provisional list of most endangered monuments, but is registered as belonging to some other municipality (Bileća or Trebinje). Further, among the cultural heritage assets that can be found in the area of the Municipality of Berkovići, there are necropolis of stećak, caves and archaeological site in Hatelji.
The Commission received the petition for the Safer-aga Begović mosque in Dabrica, Municipality of Stolac, and decided to declare this asset a national monument, at its 10th session.
Mr. Dubravko Lovrenović emphasized the long way from declaration to the moment of launching complete works on rehabilitation, conservation, restoration and protection, and for that reason the role of local communities is extremely important. It is very important that at least minimum funds are provided for in municipal budgets for cultural heritage, because it would open possibilities for seeking international donations. He mentioned the example of the Municipality of Jajce where the Association for Protection of Cultural-Historic and Natural Values of Jajce contributed significantly to the protection of cultural heritage.
Mr. Ilija Šetka said the Municipality budget is KM 450,000 and that no funds are projected for protection of cultural heritage for 2004. He also said that the area saw no war destruction and that the monuments have not suffer war-caused damage. However, the St. Trinity church in Hatelji is in a very poor condition due to lack of maintenance. Among significant monuments, he mentioned the necropolis of stećak in Potkom and debris of the St Peter and Paul church near Dabrica, Saft-aga Begović mosque in Dabrica, old stone mills near highway towards Stolac, all of them also in very poor condition, and the Koštrum site.
Mr. Momčilo Kundačina emphasised that the Municipality of Berkovići was the first municipality in Republika Srpska to be declared the open municipality for refugees return, for which commendable results were made in reconstruction of residential objects.
After the meeting, the St. Trinity church in Gorica and Safet-aga Begović mosque in Dabrica were visited.
A meting in the Municipality of Jablanica was held on January 24th, 2004a t 10.00 hrs. The meeting was attended, other tan Commission associates, Mr. Mirad Babić, Assistant Chief for Geodetic Legal Affaris, Ms. Alma Pinjic, Assistant Chief for Spatial Planning, Urbanism, Construction and Housing and Utilities epartment, Mr. Omer Nezirić, Asistant Chief for General Administration, Mr. Omer Karić, PR Officer, Mr. Vadim Kuntesov, Dputy HR and OHR Senior Advisor.
The chairperson informed the meeting that in the area of the Municipality of Jablanica there are no monuments included into the Provisional list of Endangered Monuments. The Commission received five petitions form this Municipality for the following assets: City mosque, Ostrožac mosque, Sovići mosque, Doljani mosque and Dugo Polje necropolis with stećak, near Blidinje. The Dugo Polje necropolis with stećak was declared a national monument at the 12th session of the Commission. In the wider area covering three municipalities (Posušje, Prozor-Rama, Jablanica) there is a large number of necropolis with stećak (among them, Dugo Polje, nea Blidinje) which is a un unique wholeness with natural ambient, so the Commission will propose this area to be included into UNIESCO World Heritage List, as an unique cultural and natural asset. In the area of the Municipality of Jablanica there are no monuments included into the list of endangered monuments.
Ms. Tina Wik was hopeful that Municipality representatives would establish a asset cooperation with cultural heritage protection experts, as well as with NGOs, as it is very important that construction restoration is done properly.
Mr. Omer Karić mentioned that the Municipal budget for 2004 amounts to KM 450,000, and that no funds were projected for cultural heritage protection, Furthermore, no associations or societies dealing with heritage protection exist in the Municipality. In 1984, the Municipality ordered a study for protection of medieval monuments – stećak which are numerous in this area. Whole groups of monuments
Were destroyed due to urbanisation and carelessness, and a considerate number of monuments remained under the Jablanica lake, like the mosque in Sovići, mosque in Doljani, mosque in Ostrožac (old mosque under the lake, and new mosque was built in 1977), necropolis in Žulići, and necropolis in Ostrožac. “Stećak” from necropolises were transferred to Konjic and thus saved. The most interesting monument of Islamic architecture is Slatina bridge (bridge over the Radmilje river with the arch reminding of the old bridge in Mostar, which rehabilitation was done in 1902), sunk in 1954 and remains under the lake at 75 m depth. The old provincial church in Doljani, built in 1892 was razed and new one was built, while debris of the old one remained in the church yard. There is a very old mosque in Ždrijelnica, but was abandoned in 1926 after the new one was built. Assistance from the Archives is needed if something is to be done on monument reconstruction. He mentioned the importance of monument complex of the WWII Battle on Neretva River which used to be visited by 2,000,000 a year, so the Municipality is to fill petition for declaring the site a national monument. Also interesting are numerous necropolises with stećak in Risovac, and Diva Grabovčeva grave with a sacred place visited by numbers.
Mr. Dubravko Lovrenović stressed asset examples of federal municipalities with established associations for protection of cultural-historic heritage, operational for two-three years now, having established their own databases, The Municipality needs to contact these associations in order to facilitate formation of an association of its own, which would contribute to cooperation between the Municipality and Commission in monument rehabilitation.
The city mosque and Monument Complex on Neretva River were visited after the meting.
A meeting in the Municipality of Konjic was held on January 124, 2004 at 13.00 hrs. The meeting was attended by Mr. Emir Bubalo, Chief of Municipality, Mr. Senad Duran, Assistant for Geodetic and Property-Legal Relations, Mr. Esad Omerović, Assistant Chief for Urbanism, Spatial planning and Civil Cosntruction, Ms. Jasminka Džumhur, Coordinator for Protection of Cultiral-Historic Heritage, Ms. Mediha Balić, Deputy Municipal Prosecutor, and Mr. Vadim Kuznetsov, Deputy HR and OHR Senior Advisor, together with Commission associates.
The Chairperson informed that the Provisional List of National Monuments includes from the Municipality of Konjic the following assets: Franciscan monastery, two necropolises with “stećak in Visočica, St. John Baptiser church, Prkanj (Hajji Zulfikar) mosque and Repovac mosque. The Commission received 42 petitions for assets from this Municipality, and decided at its 9th session held on July 7, 2003, to declare the remains of the old stone bridge in Konjic a national monument.
Mr. Emir Bubalo expressed his dismay with the fact that the Old bridge in Konjic was not included into the Provisional list of national monuments of B-H, while the same contains some other less valuable assets. Other than Visoćica necropolises, there are also other valuable necropolises in the area of Konjic Municipality. Two and a half years ago, the Municipality initialled activities to reconstruct the old stone bridge in Konjic. The bridge dates back form the Osmanli rule, and was razed on March 2, 1945 during withdrawal of German troops from Konjic. The Municipality sent letters to German and Turkish Ambassadors asking for financial assistance for reconstruction of the bridge. The Turkish Minister for Construction visited the Municipality of Konjic and pledged a support, while Turkish Ambassador expressed readiness of Turkish Government to donate about KM 2,000,000 the reconstruction. The research phase is completed, and origins of old construction material were defined, but the problem appears with construction of provisional pedestrians bridge. The Municipality asked for support from the Federal Government, which promised to ensure funds for reconstruction in its 2004 Budget, it provided KM 100,00 itself, and intends to seek support also from the German Government. Works should start in April or May 2004. There is the bridge reconstruction design developed by the City Institute for Protection of Cultural-Historic and Natural Heritage of Mostar before the war.
Mr. Esad Omerović said the reconstruction design was in contravention with the Commission decision, because it missed the use of traditional material, and projected the use of reinforced concrete with the stone protective cover. The mentioned design included geometry of the complete bridge, so it was used for quantities list. A tender is currently under preparation for research works on the bridge, and research works is responsibility of the Municipality. In cooperation with the Institute for Project Research of Material and Construction of the Civil Engineering Faculty in Mostar, material samples are taken from the bridge as well as from the potential source sites, liquid materials used were identified (two kinds of stone were used: river stone, found in the area of Spiljani, which is protected by the Municipality form further exploitation, and limestone, for which location is not found yet, but all characteristics of this limestone are known). Before the war, a hydro power plant Konjic was planned to be constructed, and researches of a mine and Konjic vicinity were conducted, so that further information can be found in relevant elaborations.
Mr. Emir Bubalo emphasised the importance of and beauty of natural ambient of the Boračko Lake and Mountain of Prenj, where tourists used to go somewhat 30 years ago. The Prenj Hotel at the Boračko Lake is completely destroyed during the war, but as it is the property of the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Municipality itself cannot take measures to launch works without prior consent from the mentioned Ministry.
The regulatory plan from 1987 protected some of objects, like The Public Club, but valorisation of the cultural heritage in the Municipality of Konjic is yet to be made. So it happened that the secondary school centre was build in the very near of the old bridge, thus harming the old town ambient. The complete left bank of Neretva River was under protection of the state before the war, and any construction was forbidden. As this area contains mainly private residential buildings, several years ago their owners started reconstruction, and illegal building took place.
After the meeting, the St. John Baptiser church of the Franciscan monastery, Old stone bridge, mosque in Repovci, St. Vasill the Great Orthodox church, and church in Čelebić were visited.