Hundreds of historic buildings, churches, technical monuments and other landmarks across the Czech Republic that are not usually open to the public will welcome visitors free of charge during European Heritage Days. In Prague, people have a chance to visit several churches and historic houses in central Prague, the vault and safes of the former Czechoslovak state bank, and other sites. Next weekend will mainly focus on technical monuments and spa architecture. The event, which begins on Saturday, runs until September 14.
Deputy Ombudsman Stanislav Křeček has criticized the state for failing to adequately protect the country’s cultural heritage. In connection with a highly-publicized case of a protected building in Ostrava which was allowed to go to ruin without anyone being held responsible, Křeček has urged a tightening of the law which would hold the state responsible for the repair and maintenance of cultural monuments which their owners cannot afford to undertake, and seek financial compensation at a later stage. According to official statistics over 700 of the country’s 40 thousand cultural monuments are in urgent need of repair.
One of the Czech Republic’s iconic landmarks will be handed back to the Roman Catholic Church following a decision by the country’s custodian of historic buildings and sites, the National Heritage Institute. The decision forms part of the settlement with religious institutions following the confiscation of most of their property by the former Communist regime. Decisions about other significant sites are also pending.
The National Heritage Institute which is responsible for the protection and preservation of the country’s historical monuments has over 100 palaces, castles and manor houses in its care. Over the past 20 years it has worked hard to restore many of those long-neglected buildings to their former glory and today they represent the best part of the country’s national heritage. Regrettably, many of those outside Prague remain undiscovered by foreign tourists. Tomáš Brabec of the National Heritage Institute says this is something that the institute is
The Czech Republic boasts hundreds of castles, chateaux, and churches which annually attract millions of visitors. Regular maintenance is a must – a task that requires not just a considerable amount of money but an army of professionals highly skilled in the reconstruction of precious historical sites. The Czech National Heritage Institute has just launched a pilot project aimed at educating new specialists in the field.
Prague’s dominant St. Vitus’ cathedral celebrated the 85th anniversary of its final completion and consecration on Monday with a celebratory mass. Although the cathedral was started in 1344 under the reign of Jan of Luxembourg, it was only completed at a very slow pace with funds frequently running out. A final push to complete the cathedral was made to mark the thousandth anniversary of the death of Saint Wenceslas in 1929. In spite of the slow completion, the cathedral is praised for its consistent gothic style.
The government on Monday named a new committee to monitor and oversee church property restitution. Instead of the previously expected five members, the commission will have six, including Justice Minister Helena Válková. The committee is to report to the government every three months, the prime minister confirmed. Other members of the team will include the finance and interior ministers. Representatives from institutions affected by property restitution, such as the National Gallery or the state-owned forestry firm Lesy ČR, will also regularly attend committee meetings.
Some of the thousands of statues, fountains, murals and other artefacts erected in the Czech Republic in the 1970s and 80s are set to receive better care and protection. The Czech National Heritage Institute says these works of art are among the most endangered in the country; to save the most valuable of them, the state-run institute is now planning to identify and preserve them.
The Czech National Heritage Institute says it added 46 new buildings and monuments to its list of endangered sites that should be saved in 2013. The additions include castles, stately homes, vineyards, a bridge, and abbey complex. Being added to the list is both a warning to owners that they need to take urgent conservation action and a means of helping them find funds for the work. In spite of the new additions, the overall number of endangered sites on the list fell by six to total 885 in 2013 after repairs were carried out at some sites.