UNESCO warns Czechs of skyscrapers in Prague

2.7.2007 - Czech News Agency

Experts from the World Heritage Committee say construction plans should respect the skyline of historical Prague.

The Czech Republic should reconsider the projects to build high-rise buildings in Prague, taking into account their impact on its heritage listed in UNESCO, Lada Pekarkova from the Prague town hall heritage department told CTK Saturday.

The plans should respect the skyline of the historical core of Prague, experts from the World Heritage Committee said.

Developers are preparing the construction of new high-rise buildings at Prague's Pankrac neighbourhood. Local civic groups are protesting against the investor's idea.

The plan is also rejected by the International Council on Monuments and Sites, an advisory body of the UNESCO committee.

On the other hand, the Prague town hall conservationists and the Prague branch of the National Heritage Institute have issued positive opinions.

Pekarova said the final conclusion of the UNESCO committee would only be formulated at the end of its session. Then it would be sent through diplomatic channels to the Czech Republic, she added.

The committee has also demanded that the situation be assessed by a group of experts who should be officially invited to Prague, Pekarkova said.

At the opening of the discussion on Prague, a report was unveiled that was drawn up on the basis of documents sent from Prague, Pekarkova said.

"Members of the committee who contributed to the discussion mostly knew personally Prague, its historical core and the environment, including its geography and heritage," Pekarkova said.

According to the investor, the firm ECM, the existing three high-rise building are be complemented with another two. One, a V-shaped apartment building, is to have 31 floors, while a cylinder-shaped hotel is to have 21 floors.

The Culture Minister has discontinued the proceedings about the permit to the construction, waiting for the expert report of UNESCO whose session ends on July 3.

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