Culture

 

Radical plan for crumbling Czech monuments draws criticism

 
photo:  (radio.cz)
 

The sorry state of hundreds of Czech historical buildings and other registered landmarks has prompted a radical proposal. Deputy Czech ombudsman Stanislav Křeček has suggested that regardless of who owns a monument the authorities should pay for its renovation – and then demand that the owner foots the bill. In the most severe cases, the state should be able to confiscate the properties.

 
 

The north-eastern Czech city of Ostrava has been for years trying to save the complex of Ostravica-Textilia, a former department store built in the 1930s. The protected building has changed hands several times but none of its owners has been able to secure the tens of millions of crowns needed for the renovation.

There are roughly 40,000 registered historical landmarks in the Czech Republic. However, the very existence of some 740 of them, including the Ostravica-Textilia complex, is threatened by severe disrepair.

The case of the Ostrava department store has recently been reviewed by the office of the ombudsman. But deputy ombudsman Stanislav Křeček concluded that although the complex faces demolition, no one can be held legally responsible.

In response Mr Křeček has come up with a radical proposal to make the protection of registered monuments more effective.

“As in cases of risk to public safety, the state should be take care of the object’s renovation if the owners fail to do so themselves. The state should then demand the costs from the owners, and possibly confiscate the building. That would be an effective way of protecting our cultural heritage.”

The National Heritage Institute, which manages over 100 state-owned castles, chateaus, churches and other sites, has rejected the suggestion that they should be put in charge of confiscated properties.

For their part, the Czech Ministry of Culture said they preferred “positive incentives” for monument owners. This is the right approach, says Aleš Kozák, the head of Institute for Monuments and Culture, an NGO that provides consultations to monument owners.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea, as there is no budget for it or organization that would be in charge. Financial support provided by the state to owners of historical buildings has been continuously decreasing, and I think the priority of the state should be to increase these funds for those who really want to save the monuments.”

Deputy ombudsman Stanislav Křeček however hopes that his proposals will be taken into account when new legislation on the protection of national heritage is being finalized.

 
Author: Český rozhlas Radio Praha
 
Added: 22.08.2014
 
 
 

Related articles

 
Culture
 
 

Flašinet žije! Or why barrel organs...

Barrel organ players and street artists from the Czech Republic and beyond gathered in Prague earlier...

 
 
Culture
 
 

Prague Castle opens special...

This Friday marks the 600 year anniversary since the death of King Wenceslas IV, who was simultaneously...

 
 
Culture
 
 

‘Eternal Hope’ festival celebrates...

A unique festival dedicated to Gustav Mahler and later Jewish composers interned by Nazi Germany in a...

 
 
Culture
 
 

Skywalk over the Vltava to open...

The annual Letní Letná festival returns to Prague next week with some of the world’s best contemporary...

 
Most favourite

History of Czech fine art

What happened in the realm of fine art at the very beginning of the Czech…

Climate

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country located in moderate geographical…

The most significant current discoveries

During the last decade, Czech science has made many revolutionary discoveries…

Czech language

The Czech language belongs to the group of West Slavic languages. From another…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…

Traditional Czech products

Czech industrial production has a long tradition, and many products are known…