14 December 2012
Report on the 9th Conference of the Central and Eastern European Member Cities of the Organization of World Heritage Cities
Banská Štiavnica, 17-20 September, 2012
The 9th conference of the Central and Eastern European Region was held in Banská Štiavnica which was once part of the venues of the Budapest-Banská Štiavnica conference in 2004.
The participants of the conference (20 people from 15 cities) met first at the traditional welcome dinner on the evening of the 17th of September.
Next day the conference started with the ceremonial opening of the permanent exhibition of the international children’s drawing contest “World Heritage – a Youthful Vision”. Nadežda Babiaková, Mayor of Banská Štiavnica opened the exhibition which was the opening of the conference, as well.
The participants were also greeted by Denis Ricard, Secretary General of the Organization of World Heritage Cities on behalf of the General Secretariat, by Ákos Capdebo, Coordinator of the Central and Eastern European Region on behalf of the Regional Secretariat and by Miron Breznoščák responsible for foreign relations and international cooperation in Banská Štiavnica, main organizer of the conference.
The singing of the “Permoník” children´s ensemble and the “Štiavničan” miners´ choir made the ceremony even more memorable.
After the ceremonial opening the conference continued in the historical Town Hall of Banská Štiavnica. At the beginning of the first session of the conference Denis Ricard, OWHC Secretary General described the work and programme of the OWHC.
The first topic of the conference – “School youth education to UNESCO world heritage” – was introduced by the keynote speakers, Nadežda Babiaková, Mayor of Banská Štiavnica and Dr. Katalin Kiss, former regional coordinator, adviser for the conference. The presentations to the topic by a representative of each participating city displayed how children can be involved in the promotion of the cultural and built heritage (e. g . drawing and other competitions, festivals, visits of historical venues, exchange programme between schools). At the end of the first session Ákos Capdebo summarized the topic.
The afternoon session began with the report of Ákos Capdebo, Regional Coordinator on the regional activities of the last period.
The 2nd topic of the conference was “Our use of the UNESCO world heritage benchmark”. After the keynote speeches delivered by Ákos Capdebo from Budapest and by Miroslawa Romaniszyn from Toruń the presentations of the city representatives described what the world heritage benchmark meant to them and how they can use it (e.g. attraction of tourists, renovation projects co-financed by the European Union or other partners, legal background of the preservation, regeneration programmes for home owners, contribution of outstanding historical personalities’work to the world heritage title).
In the evening the participants of the conference took part in a sight-seeing walk through the historic part of Banská Štiavnica.
On 19th September a guided tour was organized to the most important sights of Banská Štiavnica including the Glanzenberg Gallery, the Slovak Mining Museum in the Kammerhof building, the Botanical gardens with the former Mining Academy, the State Central Mining Archives and the Nativity.
In the afternoon the participants visited the technical world heritage sites around Banská Štiavnica like the artificial pond-system created in the XVIII. century used for mining. In the evening a generous farewell dinner was given at “Veronika” shepherd´s hut by the Počúvadlianske lake in honour of the guests.
On the morning of 20th September the closing session of the conference took place in the Knights´ Hall of the Old Castle where the delegates of the member cities ceremonially signed the Banská Štiavnica Document.
After the summaries of Denis Ricard, Secretary General and of Ákos Capdebo, Regional Coordinator, Miron Breznoščák closed the conference on behalf of the host city. The farewell lunch was the last common programme after which the participants departed for home.
P A R T I C I P A N T S
Nadežda Babiaková, Mayor
Miron Breznoščák, Foreign Relations& International Cooperation
Veronika Engedyné Juhász, Head of Sub-department for the Protection of Settlement Heritage
Ákos Capdebo, Regional Coordinator
Jitka Zigmundová, Deputy Mayor
Jerzy Zbiegień, Conservator of Monuments
Ondřej Seifert, Head of the Department for Monuments Protection
Tomáš Alušík, Architect – Preservationist
Marie Fischerová, lawyer
Denis Ricard, Secretary General, OWHC
Lee Minaidis, Deputy Secretary General of the OWHC
Inguss Vircavs, Construction Board Head
Miroslawa Romaniszyn, Conservator of Historic Monuments
Pavel Heřman, Mayor
Lucie Floriánová, Tourism
Vjenceslav Pejša, Expert Assistant
Jolita Noreikiené, Chief Officer, Cultural Heritage Protection
Urszula Zielińska-Meissner, Chief Officer, Heritage Protection Department
Anna Zasadzińska, Officer, Heritage Protection Department
Tomasz Kossowski, Vice President