In total, twelve Czech villages, towns or cities are on the UNESCO list, as well as three intangibles – Slovácko Verbuňk, Lent and Falconry. The Czech Tourism agency and the UNESCO Czech Heritage Association are doing a project commemorating this fact. The project is called: 2012 – 20 Years, 12 Monuments, 1 Country.

“We want to further promote and popularize those places that have a UNESCO monument in their territory. The truth is that  nowadays almost no one can name them all. The project includes the introduction of cultural events and festivals, professional seminars, exhibitions and other projects. We are planning the creation of special brochures, guides and educational programmes for schools,” said Michaela Severová, Director of the UNESCO Czech Heritage Association.

What does an entry on the UNESCO list mean?

A number of towns, cities and regions strive for an entry on the UNESCO list, as it brings more tourists to the area. The increased interest of tourists was not so noticeable, however, the fact is that despite some fluctuation the interest in the city is still on the increase. Such interest is much more noticeable in smaller towns and villages. We saw it in Telč and Český Krumlov, which are one of the most visited places in the CR. It was even more visible in the case of the little village of Holašovice in the south of Bohemia. There the inhabitants seized the opportunity, so there will be a theatre performance and what is more, one of the local businessman had a copy of Stonehenge built there, which also attracts tourists.

 Disconcertion over protection

The biggest disconcertion over the UNESCO protection is in Český Krumlov and concerns the revolving auditorium. The auditorium itself is unique in the world and has an ever increasing historical value. UNESCO, through some of its representatives, calls for the removal of the auditorium from the baroque park. This would, however, mean that the number of visitors coming to Český Krumlov would fall by thousands. Prague has also seen similar situations, the last one concerned Pankrác Plain. Yet, far worse than that are the efforts of some developers to make brutal interventions in the heart of the city, even at Charles Bridge, to build various insensitively placed buildings of no architectural value. Most of such buildings were built in the 1990’s.

Being on the UNESCO world heritage list is not enough.

Although being on the UNESCO world heritage list is a significant factor, affecting tourism, this fact itself is not enough for such big cities as Prague. Experts on tourism claim that such a city has to live in the streets and not only show off its architectural attractions from the past centuries. Although many Praguers think that there is enough entertainment in Prague, the truth is that tourists need to have a reason to come back. They need to have the feeling that they haven’t seen it all.