Press conference following the 19th session
Press conference following the 19th session was held on 18th March 2005. Amra Hadžimuhamedović notified journalists of the resolutions passed by the Commission.
Fifteen Decisions were issued on proclamation of the following properties national monuments:
The architectural ensemble of the old Vratnik Fort
The architectural ensemble of the Cazin mosque in the fortress in Cazin
The architectural ensemble of the Old Dobor fort
The movable property of the Stojan Čelić Legacy
The architectural ensemble of the Gorica Franciscan monastery
The historic monument of the Magribija mosque
The architectural ensemble of the Hajji-Alibey mosque and Clock tower
The historic building of the Despića house
The architectural ensemble of the – Isa-bey zawijah
The architectural ensemble of the Bijela (White) mosque
The architectural ensemble of the Handanija mosque (Handan-bey, Hajdar Ćehaja's or Čaršija mosque) in Prusac
The architectural ensemble of the Kuršumlija (Hajji Bali Bey’s) Mosque
The architectural ensemble of the Turali-bey’s mosque with a graveyard and turbe
The landscape ensemble of the Hajji Sinan tekke and Sarač Alija mosque with burial ground
The historic building of the bridge in Plandište (“Roman” bridge; bridge over Bosna river in Plandište)
Seventeen decisions were issued to reject the petition to designate the following properties as national monuments:
The mosque Donja Orahovica-Bajići in Gračanica
The mosque Gornja Orahova II in Gračanica
The mosque Mustafići in Gračanica
The mosque in Podorašje – new one in Srebrenik
The mosque in Srebrenik
The mosque Lisovići in Srebrenik
The mosque El – Rihab in Tuzla
The mosque beside Behram-bey’s medresa in Tuzla
The mosque Miladije in Tuzla
The mosque Dobrnja – new one in Tuzla
The mosque Milješići in Tuzla
The mosque Čaklovići in Tuzla
The mosque Moluhe in Tuzla
The new mosque Sepetari in Tuzla
The mosque Solina in Tuzla
The mosque Ševar – new one in Tuzla
The mosque Šiće in Tuzla
She pointed out that the Commission deemed informing of the public, raising of level of consciousness regarding the importance of the cultural and historical heritage, and at the same time transparent and obvious activities of all institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of the key instruments to provide for meeting all requirements on our way towards stabilization of Bosnia and Herzegovina, establishing of framework for sustainable development and for the European integration processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
She put emphasis on the meeting of the members of the Commission with all resident ambassadors in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the representatives of the embassies and local and international implementing organizations, with the purposes of gathering ideas, knowledge and spreading of the news on importance of the heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its endangerment, as well as the inclusion of the heritage into the strategies of the countries, which are represented in Bosnia and Herzegovina by their embassies. The meeting was exceptionally successful, and it was the occasion for the all the ambassadors in Bosnia and Herzegovina to bestow the words of support to strengthening of the state-level institution, which is responsible for protection of the cultural and historical heritage at the time, and to its empowering to implement the adopted decisions, in order to achieve harmonization of the legal framework in the field of protection of the heritage, with the European standards. At the meeting with the ambassadors, the Commission introduced three categories of projects within its priorities group. The first category is related to strengthening of the institutions and the expert staff in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the second one to physical protection of 38 endangered monuments, and the third category is related to the notion of the cultural and historical heritage as a development resource of integration of the heritage into the development processes, especially into the cultural tourism and other aspects of economy. The projects, which were presented yesterday at the meeting, were displayed in the form of a booklet, to be widely available, and the Commission expects this type of cooperation to have extra results. Immediately prior to the meeting, the Commission took several steps in cooperation with the embassies, the most important of which is the cooperation with the US Embassy in BaH regarding the Ambassador’s funds. She expressed the gratitude to the British Council for their support to institutional strengthening of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The British Council donated the funds for the Commission’s library, which becomes the library with respectable number and diversity of volumes in the field of protection of the heritage. She specially acknowledged to the Government of the Republic of Turkey, the Government of Japan and the Government of Sweden for their contribution by means of elaborated strategy in the field of protection of the heritage in the previous period. She informed the present that the Commission adopted 15 decisions to designate the property as national monuments at the 19th session. Projekti prezentirani na sastanku su prezentirani u vidu brošure koja će biti dostupna i Komisija očekuje da će takav vid suradnje polučiti dodatne rezultateThe decisions were detailed and voluminous: the decision to designate the Franciscan monastery Gorica in Livno includes complete museum and gallery collection of the monastery, and all the objects and structures within the ensemble, resulting in the number of 245 of adopted decisions by now, to include a total of approximately 1000 individual immovable properties designated as national monuments, and far more individual movable properties.
The Commission proceeded with discussion on the petitions, submitted by the Centre for Islamic Architecture, to designate new buildings, even the mosques under construction, as national monuments, and adopted 17 decisions to reject the designation, providing that the nominated buildings met no requirements to be designated as national monuments.
The Commission entered the mosque in Vitina to the List of endangered monuments, which was endangered by unknown-cause devastation. The roof, walls and the interior of the mosque were damaged, and it was completely neglected. This is a very valuable building, which needs to be rehabilitated.
At the 19th session, the duty of the Chairperson of the Commission was handed over, so that after the 19th session the duties of the Chairperson would be exercised by Ljiljana Ševo.
She further notified that within its international activities and the campaign for protection of the cultural heritage, the Commission nominated the Jewish burial ground in Sarajevo for the Jewish Heritage Grant Program, and in the first half of the year, the Commission expected the answer whether the protection of endangered Jewish burial ground in Sarajevo, an exceptionally valuable architectural ensemble, would be financed from the proceeds of this fund.
She pointed out that, in the period between the 18th and 19th sessions, a several articles were published in daily and weekly press, related to the Commission’s activities. These articles made a pressure to the Commission, which was intended to procrastinate or call in question the effort made by the Commission to strengthen and extend the responsibility of the state in the field of protection of the heritage. Among the published articles, she drew attention to the text signed by the Centre for Research Journalism, containing a number of straightforward irregularities (dates, numbers, names, even falsified statements). Since the Commission from the very start of its activities attached great importance to transparency of its work, and presentation of correct and right information on its work, it is recommended to the journalists to check each and every time the information stated in the text at the Commission’s web site and in the Official Gazettes, namely to use the information from the correct sources. Since the very beginning of its activities, the Commission development a good cooperation with the press, but this was obviously the case of irregularly conducted research project. The articles of different category, signed by the architects and archaeologists, also contain a lot of improper and incorrect information, so that although the Commission should focus its work to denial of those articles, but due to the fact that the heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina is in a poor condition, and that the Commission has a great responsibility to save the heritage, the Commission resolved to focus its energy in that direction. The Commission thereby called the public and the press to account regarding interpretation and understanding of the information in question. The members of the Commission are always available to give the information on the Commission’s work and its results, which are also available on the Commission’s web site and in all publications issued by now. The Commission would answer to the attack it was exposed to by intensified proceeding with its activities.
Ljiljana Ševo informed on the results of the Commission’s activities in the field of protection of the most endangered monuments from the List of endangered monuments. Last year, the church of the Vozuća monastery in the Municipality of Zavidovići, due to heavy snow was considerably damaged. This building was damaged during the 1992-1995 war, subsequently the roofing was removed and the building soaked, resulting in great damaging of the walls, ceilings, and the dome. Due to heavy snow, last year the vault above the parvis was completely destroyed, after which this property was entered to the List of the most endangered properties, and the campaign for its protection was launched. The funds were asked both from the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Government of the Republic of Srpska, considering the urgency of the case. One of the obstacles was the fact that there is an unexploded device in the dome of the church of the monastery, so that, prior to execution of any kind of works, even if it is the technical surveying of the existing condition, the demining experts should be called. She pointed out that the Federation of BaH Ministry of Culture and Sports earmarked 48.000 KM and transferred them to the Institute for Protection of Monuments, within the Federation of BaH Ministry of Culture and Sports. The Institute appointed the chief designer, Robert Stergar, and in the spring, it is expected that urgent protection measures would commence firstly, after which they would start with production of the design documentation and the constructive rehabilitation of this extremely important monument to the building construction of the 16th century. The most probably is that the US Embassy in BaH would donate certain funds within the scope of their humanitarian funds for demining of the regions, whereas the Norwegian organization for support to Bosnia and Herzegovina promised engagement of their demining experts.
Unfortunately, the heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina could be considered endangered as a whole, and considering the fact that the US Embassy in BaH, the Ambassador, has a fund intended for the cultural heritage, which was in the previous years also allocated for the heritage of extreme cultural and historical value in Bosnia and Herzegovina, this year the US Embassy contacted the Commission, being an institution for protection of the heritage at the state level, in order to consult the Commission regarding urgent and important properties to be supported by means from this fund. The Commission proposed five draft projects for the properties from the List of endangered monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1. provision of funds for illumination and air-conditioning elements in the library of the Franciscan monastery in Fojnica; 2. provision of funds for restoration and conservation of extremely important collection of icons in the Orthodox church in Livno – the church is greatly endangered by moist, damaging the icons stored in premises with adverse conditions every day; 3. provision of funds for protection of the fragments at the site of the Mehmed-pasha Kukavica mosque in Fojnica – cleaning of fragments, sorting, construction of the canopy for storing and safe-keeping of the fragments at the site; 4. reconnoitring, sorting and protection of the fragments of the Aladža mosque in Foča; 5. the bridge in Plandište – it is necessary to perform cleaning, minor conservation actions, illumination, and display). The Commission expects the answer by the summer this year, and looks forward to at least one of these projects being supported.
Zeynep Ahunbay informed on the visit to the Old Town of Vratnik. This the archaeological site that dominates over Sarajevo. What is important for the archaeological sites is that they are being visited and appreciated. The surroundings of this interesting site could be enjoyed alike, and in the summer it can be used as a spot for music and theatre shows, in case that these aspects of usage do not erase the cultural memory of the site. It is very important to perform minor interventions at the structure, and even the rehabilitation of partly collapsed buildings might be permitted, but no elements which could jeopardize the remains and the appearance of the ensemble should be introduced. The construction of the amphitheatre or a similar building in the Bijela Tabija complex might be permitted only as a temporary structures which are not, and must not, be the monumental structures by themselves. The history of the structure and the surroundings must be respected.
Dubravko Lovrenović informed on progress of drawing up of the draft text of the Law on Cultural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The drawing process of the draft text of the Law, which is the liability of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a member of the Council of Europe, is close to its end. The Commission is open to all substantiated, well-intentioned and quality suggestions, which could contribute to improvement of the existing text. After it has been completed, the Commission shall forward the draft text of the Law to the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which would draw up a proposal for the parliamentary procedure. In cooperation with the working group, the Commission put maximal efforts in order that, in accordance with the European standards and the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina is the only country in the region without the Law of this kind at the level of the state, the existing Law in no way call in question the existence and functioning of existing entity and cantonal institutions for protection of the heritage, but the idea of the whole procedure is that the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina gains the state Law and associated institutions and mechanisms, which should contribute to making the process of protection of the cultural heritage more effective, and that the cultural heritage becomes one of important economical resources of this country.
Amra Hadžimuhamedović pointed out that, following the nomination of the historical city centre of Mostar to enter the World Heritage List, the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the City Administration of Mostar, started very important activities of presenting the nomination to all the authorized to decide on its outcome. Within these activities, a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina by all ambassadors of the UNESCO was planned, especially by those who are the members of the Committee for the World Heritage, and who will decide on nomination of Mostar in Cape Town in July this year. The visit of the ambassadors of the UNESCO was directly caused by nomination of Mostar, and indirectly by the efforts of Bosnia and Herzegovina to nominate as large number of natural and cultural and historical properties to enter the World Heritage List as possible. Bosnia and Herzegovina among the countries without any property in the World Heritage List entered by now, which is inappropriate and unjustified. The Commission, together with the institutions which have been working in the field of protection of the heritage for 50 years, shall take its part of the responsibility for no quality nomination documentation prepared, this probably being the only reason why no property was entered to the World Heritage List by now. The ambassadors would meet the representatives of the Canton and the City of Sarajevo, and ensuing a short, very focused sightseeing of the Sarajevo city core, followed by the reception in the Konak, where the Commission would prepare a multimedia presentation «Cultural memory – a vanishing treasure» with excerpt of the exhibition and a video presentation of the heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The following day it is scheduled a visit to the Nature Park of Sutjeska, the Vjetrenica cave, which is in the Waiting List to enter the World Heritage List, and the Zavala monastery in Ravno with mediaeval churches, then Mostar, Blagaj, Počitelj, and Hutovo Blato. This would make a great opportunity for the representatives of all countries – members of the UNESCO to have an immediate insight into the real treasure of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and at the same time, an insight in the present condition of the treasure, practically, the disappearing condition. The Commission would take the opportunity to point out once again the importance of understanding that the heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the heritage of the world, and that, pursuant to this, the responsibility for its preservation is not only of impoverished Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the cultural communities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but of all civilized countries of the world, who, by means of sharing the heritage with Bosnia and Herzegovina, share at the same time the responsibility for that. This visit, being organized by the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and being initiated from Sarajevo, shows clearly elaborated strategy of Bosnia and Herzegovina to present its heritage as one of the important facts to legitimize this country as a member of world organizations, and the country ready to enter all integration processes.
Tina Wik informed on significance of Swedish support to protection of the heritage in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She pointed out that at the time, Sweden is one of the most significant donators to the sector of culture in Bosnia and Herzegovina, bur according to new guidelines, in the forthcoming 3 to 5 years, Sweden would completely withdraw from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the field of protection of the cultural heritage, the role of which would be taken over by the European Community. In the scope of its withdrawal, Sweden would like to support state institutions for protection of heritage, and the only state institution in the field of protection of the heritage in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, thanks to which the Commission would be strongly supported by Sweden in this period. The support will not be of a financial nature, but institutional training and education. This support would also emphasize introduction of knowledge, training and institutional capacities into the new Law on Protection of the Cultural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina, needed for establishment of maintenance programmes, which are essential for preservation of the monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina for the future generations. Details would be discussed and negotiated between the Government of Sweden and the Commission, and there is a possibility that the training be performed in Sweden.