The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was born on this day, i.e, November 16, in 1945.
This year, UNESCO marks the 75th birthday and 48th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention and it will continue to “protect the world’s most outstanding places” around the globe.
According to the official website, the UN body’s mission is to contribute to the building of a culture of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, sciences, culture, communication and information.
The idea of creating an international movement for protecting heritage had emerged after World War 1. The UN agency works to create the condition for dialogue among civilisations, cultures and people, based upon respect for commonly shared values. UNESCO believes that through this dialogue that the world can achieve global visions of sustainable development encompassing observance of human rights, mutual respect and the allegation of poverty, all of which are at the heart of its mission and activities.
UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites in the Czech Republic
The first sites on the territory of the present Czech Republic were inscribed at the 16th Session of the World Heritage Committee, held in Santa Fe, United States in 1992. At that session, three sites were added: Historic Centre of Prague, Historic Centre of Český Krumlov and “Historic Centre of Telč”.
1. The Pilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora
The abbot of the Žďár monastery had this pilgrimage church built in the 18th century to celebrate the memory of the Czech martyr and saint, John of Nepomuk.
In 1777, this town, located in Central Moravia at the foot of the Chřiby hills, became the seat of the bishops of Olomouc. The splendid Kroměříž chateau and its beautiful garden are considered an especially attractive and well-preserved example of Baroque palatial and garden design.
3. Kutná Hora
During the middle ages, profits from the Kutná Hora silver mines brought fame to the lands of the Czech Crown, and Kutná Hora was one of the richest and most powerful towns in the Czech lands. At the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries, Kutná Hora became the seat of King Václav IV.
4. The Lednice-Valtice area
An extensive Baroque complex built for the Liechtenstein family by renowned architects like C.Tencalla, D.Martinelli, J.B.Fischer von Erlach, and J.Ospel. The area is spread between the little towns of Lednice and Valtice southeast of Brno, and covers 250 square kilometers.
5. Český Krumlov
This picturesque town lies in a deep, meandering valley of the Vltava river in the very South of Bohemia. Its golden age came about during the rule of the Lords of Rožmberk (1302-1602), who made their residence there. At that time, Krumlov was a point of contact between the Czech interior, the Austrian/German Danube region, and Northern Italy.
This South-Bohemian village from the 13th century is considered a true pearl of the rustic Baroque style. Its 22 farmhouses with painted Baroque gables in the front and gardens in the rear are situated around a central pond. The pond was used for breeding freshwater fish; the entire area is still known for its fish industry.
In the small town of Litomyšl, the aristocratic family of Pernštejn had a mediaeval castle remodeled into a Renaissance chateau the second half of the 16th century. The chateau is an exceptional example of an original Italian arcaded structure which was adapted for the Czech environment.
The capital’s historical center, more than ten centuries old, enchants its residents and visitors alike through its unique symbiosis of all architectural styles – from Romanesque rotundas, Gothic towers, and Renaissance burghers’ houses and palaces to the Jewish synagogues, Baroque churches, convents and monasteries.
9. The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc
The Baroque column came into existence between 1716 and 1754 and is a testament to the onetime religious fervor of this bishopric town. The column unites the motif of ecclesiastic triumphalism and faith with its architectural and artistic expression.
Originally a royal water keep founded in the 13th century on the crossroads of several busy trade routes. It obtained its current appearance in the 16th century, when the chateau as well as the town center were rebuilt. This development was in part the work of the Jesuit order, which then had a significant presence in the town.
11. The Villa Tugendhat
The Villa Tugendhat in Brno – Černá Pole is the very first monument of modern architecture in the Czech Republic and only the fourth worldwide which has received the prestigious UNESCO designation. The building is named after Fritz Tugendhat, owner of a Brno textile factory, who had this jewel of interwar functionalist architecture built for his family.
12. Třebíč – Basilica of St. Procope and Jewish Town
Třebíč is the town of uncommon religious sights, the most famous of which is the Romanesque-Gothic Basilica of St. Procope. The abbot cathedral was originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary, but after being damaged during the wars, it had been used for secular purposes for more than two centuries. After its renovation the Church has been using it again.
13. Landscape for horse breeding in Kladruby
The cultural landscape includes not only the stud farm, but the surrounding pastures, including artificially built water canals and tree-lined alleys lined. The landscape is an excellent combination of the work of nature and man in preserved pre-industrial form and represents a significant phenomenon of human civilization, which for centuries has been a specialised breeding of ceremonial, representative horses. For centuries the stud farm used to breed so-called Old Kladruby roan, which is a globally unique form of Baroque horse, which does not exist in any other stud farm.
14. Mining region Erzgebirge / Ore Mountains
Thanks to more than 800 years of almost continuous mining and processing of ores, a unique mining landscape was created in the Ore Mountains with unique montane monuments both above and below ground and with a dense network of mining towns. On the Czech side, these are the mining landscapes of Jáchymov, Abertamy – Boží Dar – Horní Blatná, Krupka, Mědník and the Red Tower of Death.