Press conference following the 12th session
Ms. Ljiljna Ševo, Commission Chairperson, informed journalists of the Commission conclusions.
Twenty decisions were adopted to designate the following properties as national monuments:
· The archaeological site of the late antique dual basilica and necropolis of stećak tombstones in Žitomislići near Mostar, Mostar-Jug municipality, FBiH
· The archaeological site of the late antique basilica in Cim, Mostar-Jugozapad municipality, FBiH
· The historic site of the necropolis with stećak tombstones of Dugo polje on Blidinje, Jablanica municipality, FBiH
· The archaeological site of the late antique basilica in Oborci, Donji Vakuf municipality, FBiH
· The site of the historic monument of the Musafirhana in Jajce, FBiH
· The site and remains of the historic building of the old Krslak house in Jajce, FBiH
· The architectural ensemble of the Vozuća Monastery in Vozuća, Zavidovići municipality, FBiH
· The architectural ensemble of the Koski Mehmed-paša mosque and madrasa in Mostar, municipality Mostar -Stari Grad, FBiH
· The historic site of the ramparts and bastions of the Old Town of Jajce, FBiH
· The historic site of the Old Town of Prusac, Donji Vakuf municipality, FBiH
· The historic site of the necropolis with stećak tombstones at the cemetery under Duba in Ubosko (Ubosko I), Ljubinje municipality, RS
· The historic site of the necropolis with stećak tombstones Ubosko II, Ljubinje municipality, RS
· The site and remains of the historic monument of the Burić house in Jajce, FBiH
· The historic building of the Šarenica – Sarač house in Jajce, FBiH
· The burial ground of the Hrast Roman Catholic cemetery in Jajce, FBiH
· The site and remains of the church of the Most Holy Mother of God in Jajce, FBiH
· The architectural ensemble of the Franciscan monastery and church of St John the Baptist in Kraljeva Sutjeska, Kakanj municipality, FBiH
· The architectural ensemble of the Careva mosque or Sultan Sulejman mosque in Blagaj, Mostar-Jugoistok municipality, FBiH
· The site and remains of the historic monument of the Orthodox Cathedral – the Holy Trinity in Mostar, Mostar - Stari Grad municipality, FBiH
· The site and remains of the architectural ensemble of the Kolaković house in Blagaj, Mostar-Jugoistok municipality, FBiH
The Commission concluded that the list of endangered monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina should include debris of the construction whole of Mehmed-pasha Kukavica mosque in Srbinje (Foča), the old town of Prusac, City Administration building n Banja Luka, Ćejvan-Ćejhajin hamam in Mostar, and Finances building in Jajce. As restoration works have already started on the Handanija mosque in Prusac, the Commission concluded to exclude the monument from the List of endangered monuments. The City Administration building in Banja Luka is placed on the Provisional List of and has treatment of a monument with highest protection level. Despite a very clear position of the competent protection service and the competent Ministry for Spatial Planning of Republika Srpska, the City Administration illegally up-bulit the object, thus endangering the national monument. The Commission fully supports efforts of the competent Ministry for Spatial Planning and competent heritage protection services in addressing the problem legally.
Ms. Zeynep Ahunbay informed journalists of endanger of Ćejvan-Ćehajin hamam in msotar. Zhe Ottoman haham project in Mostar was designed under auspices of UNESCO. Usually, UNNESCO engages qualified experts and commits itself for proper restoration works. In this case, the project was not designed fully in accordance with the international criteria enshrined in the Venetian Charter. The main aim of conservation is preserving authenticity and wholeness of cultural heritage. Conservation should discover cultural values of a monument by improvement of readability of its static wholeness, its previous condition and project within its historic evidence. There is only one hamam form the 16th century in Mostar, and it was proved that the restoration project should carefully process remains of the original object. Unfortunately, evidences are rather shocking and it is necessary to undertake urgent measures to prevent further damages.
The Commission adopted Report on Work and Operations for year 2003 and will, pursuant to its Book of Rules, present it to B-H Presidency and Council of Ministers in order to inform them of its work and problems it meets.
In period between the 11th and 12th session, members of the Annual editorial board (Ms. Amra Hadžimuhamedović, Mr. Dubravko Lovrenović, Ms. Ljiljana Ševo, Mr. Mensur Šehagić, and Mr. Gavrilo Grahovac) defined the Annual structure, consulted some authors and applied for funds to support publication.
The exhibition of endangered heritage will be organised in Sarajevo, around February 18, 2004, most probably in Bezistan premises, while a round table discussion is planned to take place on “National Monuments in Bosnia and Herzegovina and endangered heritage” is planned to take place around on March 5, 2004, with the aim at informing the public of the issues of heritage protection and initiating the education aspect of activities, which the Commission insists upon. An exhibition of information plates of endangered heritage of B-H on the occasion of Commission anniversary, with appropriate video presentation, is planned to be organised in Konak premises, in May 2004. In cooperation with the International Peace Centre, this exhibition should be expanded by on assets declared national monuments and assets included into the List of endangered heritage of B-H, so that about 50 new plates will be prepared.
At the last session Commission concluded that the list of endangered monuments should include the Vozuća Monastery, and at its 12th session it decided to declare this asset a national monument. During the decision preparation, the Commission found out that the construction is in a very poor condition; it has been roofless for 6-7 years now, so due to weather conditions and damages during the war there is a danger of run-down of some parts of the construction, primarily narthex. Therefore, the Commission applied with the Federal Government for an urgent rehabilitation of this extremely important construction from the 16th century.
Ms. Amra Hadžihumamedović informed journalists on damages to the Mehmed-pasha Kukavica mosque in Srbinje (Foča). This mosque is the only Islamic religious building in the Drina River area that survived the last war. It is one among 17 mosques of Srbinje (Foča) that were registered as construction heritage before the war. Debris of mekteb?, medres?? And other objects form the complex, which was more immediately connected to the Foča town (watch tower and stores). The mosque debris after razing (destructed roof) were not removed form the site, so this mosque represent an unique example of an object where restoration, reconstruction and rehabilitation measures are possible to be undertaken, in accordance with Annex 8. The Commission added this asset to the list of endangered monuments, and sent a communication to B-H Presidency, Republika Srpska Government and competent Ministries, alerting of the importance and obligation of Repbulika Srpska Government to take measures at protection of further ruining and measures at preparation and implementation of documentation in the sense of the asset rehabilitation. As the Repbulika Srpska Government budgeted for 2004 KM a sum of 500,000 for Annex 8 implementation and construction heritage protection, the Commission expects this asset to be found among Republika Srpska Governement priorities and that a part of funds will be spent for this asset (other than the Šaranović House in Banja Luka, Mehmed-pasha Sokolović bridge in Višegrad and other objects from the List of endangered monuments).
As a part of its 12th session, the Commission held a meeting with NGOs dealing with heritage protection at local level. Ngo representatives resented to the Commission the problems they face, and Commission representatives explained the process and legal obligations concerning the declaring of national monuments. NGOs were concluded to find, in cooperation with the Commission, possibilities for work with all level of authorities, starting from local through Entity to State level, and establish funds to provide for resources for heritage protection registration, recording and interventions. NGOs work is invaluable in the process of education of the public on heritage, as well in media representations and raise of awareness on importance of the cultural heritage. Also, among very important activities there is an emphasised NGOs’ role in the heritage revitalisation process for the purposes of tourism.
Mr. Dubravko Lovrenović informed that information plates will be prepared for the fortress in Jajce, fortress in Stolac and Mehmed-pasha Sokolović brige in Višegrad. The Commission initiated an international campaign for funds rising for protection of mentioned endangered assets, and information plates, that will contain basic data and be placed in appropriate locations, are under the process of preparation, this should highlight the importance of the monuments, warn of their significance and improve process of their protection and rehabilitation.
The Commission concluded that the location of Mila in Visoko is not appropriate for placing the plate for marking the 800th anniversary of Kulin Ban rule in Visoko. The church in Mila is the crown and grave church of Stjepan II Kotromanić and later of Tvrtko I Kotromanić, as first Bosnian king. That is why the Commission proposed that the plate is placed in Biskupići, several km away from Mila, which is the location traditionally connected with Kulin Ban.
The Commission visited the Municipalities of Berkovići, Jablanica nad Konjic, and other than meetings with municipalities representatives, it visited some sites and inspected the conditions of some objects. The Municipality of Konjic is to be mentioned as the municipality administration that has the heritage protection department and budget funds allocated for these purposes. Municipal structures initiated the funds rising action with the German and Turkish Embassies in Sarajevo, and received commitments form same of providing financial support. Preparatory works are done and it is necessary that the Federal Government secure funds for the project in its budget.
Ms. Amra Hadžimuhamedović stressed that he regional program for rehabilitation of construction and archaeological heritage in SEE represents one of the most important Council of Europe regional programmes. From the very beginning of the Programme implementation, Bosnia and Herzegovina assumed an active role through its representatives to the Council of Europe Cultural Heritage Managing Committee, and appointment of the Programme coordinator. The implementation of the Programme B Line, concerning the rehabilitation of construction and archaeological heritage and setting priority list of actions on protection of endangered heritage, was the first step. Within this Project line, Bosnia and Herzegovina was visited by Mr. Daniel Drocourt, Project Leader, and the Project first phase is completed. The commission had a very active and important role in project defining, and within the Council of Europe level activities the priorities were in a way objectified, primarily Mehmed-pasha Sokolović bridge in Višegrad, Fortress in Stolac and Fortress in Jajce. These three priorities will represent in a way an invitation to EU, which has a very active attitude towards SEE heritage, as an instrument of EU integration by SEE, in terms of financial investments and concrete project implementation for these and other objects form the Commission list. Other Project line is the strengthening of institutions and their heritage protection capacities. B-H joined the Programme with a request to establish cooperation with Council of Europe experts for changes in the process of development of Law on Heritage Protection at State Level. The commission undertook a leading role in development of the law, for which the expert team was set-up comprised of competent Entity ministries representatives and led by Commission legal expert, and the law should be effective by end 2004. Within the Project, Council of Europe expert Mr. Robert Pickard is to visit Sarajevo, on February 16, 2004, and start the project implementation.
The commission welcomed the information that Brčko District adopted the Budget reserving KM 500,000 for Annex 8 implementation. Funds will be disbursed as per Commission-set priorities. Republika Srpska as well, for the first time since the Dayton Agreement was signed, budgeted Km 500,000 for heritage protection and Annex 8 implementation. Republika Sprska Minister of Spatial Planning, Construction and Ecology, MR. Mensur Šehagić, expressed readiness of Republika Srpska to implement funds according to the Commission priorities. As for its budget for 2004, the Commission projected funds for interventions in case of endangered objects of particular importance of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Commission budget to be approved by Bosnia and Herzegovina State Parliament is expected to be as least minimally sufficient for the Commission role of, inter alia, implementor of a part of peace agreement. The Commission is especially concerned with the budget cut-off for Annex 8 implementation by the Federal Government. She also mentioned that last year, the Federation of B-H earmarked KM 2,000,000, implemented through Federal Ministry of Culture and Sports for 20 endangered national monuments, in addition to implemented KM 1,000,000 for permanent protection of the town of Počitelj historic urban centre. Based on international representatives suggestions, there is a possibility of reduction of budget of Federal Ministry of Culture and Sports to KM 1,000,000. Funds allocated to date are very limited resources in respect to the condition of heritage and a need of returnee communities to establish in the places they return to means of identification. These funds pledged also aimed at contribution to political activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to be directed towards the increase of funds for Annex 8 implementation, as one of key factors of the entire peace implementation. The Commission expects funds for this year’s cultural heritage protection to be higher than last year’s amount, and will do its best to alert those concerned with the peace implementation of the importance of Annex 8 implementation. Ways of implementation, work strategy and operation of the Commission in Annex 8 implementation meet permanent support from all authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as from numerous international institutions and agencies (WB, Council of Europe, UNESCO, ICCROM, and others), so the Commission expects its position regarding the necessity of funds provision to be taken with due consideration.
Commission representatives answered to questions concerning the reconstructed monuments (completed construction rehabilitation and rehabilitation of fresco painting in the Zavale monastery church by the cultural Heritage without Borders funds; rehabilitated a number of objects in Počitelj by Federal Governemnt funds; rehabilitation of Dizdar mosque and three buildings in Jajce by Cultural Heritage without Borders funds; rehabilitation of Monastery Žitomislić church and konak (lodge) by Federal Government funds and Serb Orthodox Church private investments; St. Ivo church in Podmilačje in Jajce by Republic of Croatia Government funds; rehabilitation of Old Bridge and tower in Mostar by numerous investors; reconstruction of devastated mosque in Donja Mahala as an important project led by Ms. Zeynep Ahunbay; reconstruction of damaged Nezir-aga mosque in Mostar, reconstruction and restoration of the Curved Bridge in Mostar by UNESCO funds; reconstruction of Tabak mosque in Mostar by UNSECO funds; reconstruction of town centre mosque in Stolac, by returnees funds and Federal Government funds; reconstruction of church in Polje in Stolac by the Serb Orthodox Church funds; rehabilitation of two houses in Vareš by Republic of Croatia funds; reconstruction of Havre in Stolac, by Federal Government funds; reconstruction of Handanija mosque in Prusac; reconstruction of Osman-pasha mosque in Trebinje; rehabilitation of Ferhadija mosque in Banja Luka: decision declaring the site and debris a national monument, rehabilitation project developed, Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and Ecology issued permission, works expected to start ).