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Tangible Heritage?


A while back I mentioned that a Czech radio broadcasting tower might be added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites.

The nomination plan is going forward. "The broadcast tower with a hotel on [Mount] Ještěd," states a Czech Radio program, "may be added to the UNESCO list of monuments." The tower is a James-Bond-like location: a radio broadcaster that doubles as a hotel, built on the top of a mountain. It might also be something out of a science fiction movie. But is it really deserving of such august attention as a recognition on the UNESCO list of significant cultural monuments? I can only say that one Czech friend suggested I might go there for Easter. I had no response. I didn't go.

The reasons to place the tower on the list seem, not surprisingly, rather thin. The radio's report states: "It is a unique building that, through its construction and architecture, has gained attention not only at home but also abroad." Well, it is certainly interesting. But is this enough? Tomáš Sykora, a hotel spokesperson, says the "construcion was begun in 1965 and finished in 1973, after which it was opened and brought into service by degrees. The architect was Karel Hubáček who won the Perret prize for it." Okay, the UFO bridge in Bratislava has also been noted for its unique design and surely has been recognized by architects. Is it on the list? The tower's diameter averages 33 meters and its height is 90 meters. So it's big. Petra Ulbrichová of the Ministry of Culture declares the tower has "very real" chances of being added to the UNESCO list.

I am a bit baffled as to why the tower should be added. Yes, it's interesting. Yes, it was a feat of construction and has a certain something aesthetically. Yes, it's a tourist destination--visited by Czechs, Germans, Poles, and Netherlanders, they claim. (Oooh. I'm impressed. Another tourist destination? Never!) But has it played a major role in world (let alone local) culture and history? Has it shaped the course of Czech intellectual life? Did it support dissidents before 1989? Has it preserved significant examples of human expressive culture from the ninteenth, eighteenth, or earlier centuries? Not that I know of. Are there more deserving Czech locales that might be recognized? Yes. Ještěd is merely a unique and interesting building that happened to be designed and built by Czechs. (I imagine it was considered a great feat by the Communists if you consider the time it was built. It was, granted, one of the better examples of architecture from this era.)

Yet I am still baffled.

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Comments:

Blogger Matthias Ripp said . . .

Nice blog and nice report!
If you want to learn more about UNESCO World Heritage, take a look at my blog!    

7:39 PM, April 26, 2006


Blogger morskyjezek said . . .

Hi Matthias, thanks for stopping by and writing a comment. Lots of great UNESCO information at your site!    

10:25 PM, September 07, 2006


Blogger morskyjezek said . . .

Matthias's blog is now available at http://worldheritage-forum.net/en/    

10:33 PM, March 30, 2008


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