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ICOMOS recommends UNESCO listing of Plečnik's Ljubljana works

Paris, 5 June - The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) has positively assessed Slovenia's bid to get selected works of architect Jože Plečnik (1872-1957) in Ljubljana listed in UNESCO's World Heritage List. It has recommended to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee of to enter them in the list as it holds a session in July.

Ljubljana
A living Jože Plečnik statue.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Ljubljana
A living Jože Plečnik statue.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Ljubljana
A living Jože Plečnik statue.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Announcing the decision, the Ministry of Culture noted that Slovenia had submitted in January 2020 the bid that had been prepared by an expert working group comprising representatives of museums, state institutions and other stakeholders.

Slovenia formally submitted the bid after an earlier joint bid with the Czech Republic was abandoned. All of Plečnik's major works in Ljubljana have been nominated for the world heritage list, except for the dilapidated Bežigrad Stadium.

The application, titled Ljubljana: The Timeless, Human Capital Designed by Jože Plečnik, covers the works by Slovenia's geatest architect had completed during both world wars.

These are the Ljubljanica embankment, Vegova Street, the National and University Library, Congress Square and the surrounding park, the archaeological park around the remains of the Roman defence wall, Žale Cemetery and two churches, St. Michael's south of Ljubljana and St Francis Assisi in the Šiška borough.

The ministry said that ICOMOS has recognised Plečnik's works in Ljubljana as an exceptional example of urban space design in accordance with the architect's deeply human vision that transformed a former provincial town into a symbolic national capital,

"In the opinion of the ICOMOS, Plečnik's approach is based on the reformist architectural movements of the early 20th century that is currently under-represented in the World Heritage List," the ministry said.

The Paris-based institution has thus recommended the World Heritage Committee to enter the nominated works by Plečnik in UNESCO's World Heritage List. The committee comprising 21 member states will hold an online session in the second half of June.

While being independent in its decisions, it usually follows expert recommendations from the advisory bodies that, in addition to the ICOMOS, include the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM).

Slovenia so far has four entries in the World Heritage List - heritage of mercury in Idrija and prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps in the cultural heritage category, and ancient and primeval beech forests and the Škocjan Caves.

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© STA, 2021