Twelve Czech wonders of the world

By attributing the UNESCO symbol to a site, the entire world community is announcing: Yes, this is something that is exceptional and unique in the world. In 1991 we ratified the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and since then a total of 12 sites in our country have been inscribed in the World Heritage List. 

UNESCO heritage conservation in the Czech Republic is provided by the National Heritage Institute, which works on materials for the nomination of further monuments for list status, and draws up the documentation for the production of monitoring reports regarding historic buildings already on the World Heritage List, or for the provision of further information regarding their conservation and management. It helps the owners and managers of UNESCO monuments to meet the requirements that ensue from their international significance, monitors the situation and state of historic buildings, and draws up documentation for the Culture Ministry, or in some cases directly for the World Heritage Centre.

In addition to Czech legislation, monuments in the Czech Republic are governed by regulations and commitments ensuing from international agreements. One of the most important documents is the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, which combines the principle of the protection of cultural heritage with nature protection. It was approved in 1972 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). On the basis of the Convention a World Heritage List has been created, listing monuments with exceptionally universal values. Since the 1990s the list has included Czech monuments.

In the Czech Republic it is the task of the Culture Ministry to ensure the requirements of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage are met, in other words to ensure conservation of the cultural heritage in cooperation with UNESCO.

World Heritage List Nominations

A Tentative List is an inventory of those properties which each State Party intends to consider for nomination.

Czech nominations

The Criteria for Selection

To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria.

  1. to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius
  2. to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design
  3. to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared
  4. to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history
  5. to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change
  6. to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. (The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria)
  7. to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance
  8. to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features
  9. to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals
  10. o contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation

The protection, management, authenticity and integrity of properties are also important considerations. Since 1992 significant interactions between people and the natural environment have been recognized as cultural landscapes.