Introduction

The monument fund, whose historical, artistic, aesthetic/emotional, utilitarian and numerous other values are inherently irreplaceable, obviously constitutes one of the most important elements of the national cultural wealth/national cultural treasure of the Czech Republic. The quality of care for it corresponds to the culture and general level of learning and education in society and whether the protection of public interests is taken into account sufficiently.

It is a well-known fact that the conservation of the monument fund has great economic significance in the context of tourist trade development and the development of municipalities not only at present, but in particular for the future; it is demonstrably one of the elements of social life that may significantly support economic growth of the country without adverse impacts on the environment and landscape features.

The system of State monument care in the Czech Republic, as provided for in Act No. 20/1987 Coll., on State monument care, as amended by Acts No. 242/1992 Coll., No. 361/1999 Coll., No. 122/2000 Coll., No. 132/2000 Coll., No. 61/2001 Coll., No. 146/2001 Coll., No. 320/2002 Coll., No. 18/2004 Coll. and No. 186/2004 Coll., encompasses a sum of numerous mutually interlinked specialised methodological, organisational, economic and regulatory legal measures whose effectiveness depends to a certain degree on how successfully broader favourable preconditions are preventively created for the position of the sector in the existing conditions of overall social development and for understanding the meaning and goals of monument care by the public. This is one of the aspects where the Strategy of Improved Care for the Monument Fund in the Czech Republic until 2005, approved by virtue of Government Resolution No. 278 of 22 April 1998, should play a supporting role.

Substantive Competence of the Monument Care Department

The Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture is a central management workplace in the system of State monument care in the Czech Republic and it fulfils the prevalent part of the professional tasks set out by Act No. 20/1987 Coll. for the Ministry of Culture as the central governmental body for cultural monuments.

In particular, it declares assets and sets of assets as cultural monuments and nullifies the declaration of an asset as a cultural monument; draws up draft Government Regulations on the declaration of a cultural monument as a national cultural monument, Government Regulations on the declaration of an area as a monument reserve, decrees of the Ministry of Culture on the declaration of an area as a monument zone and, furthermore, proposals for granting prior consent of the Government to the export of a national cultural monument abroad; grants permission to carry out the restoration of cultural monuments that are works of art or arts and crafts, permission to perform archaeological surveys, as well as prior consent to the relocation of a real estate cultural monument and prior consent to the export of a cultural monument abroad; and provides financial contributions for the restoration of cultural monuments within specifically oriented programmes if there is special public interest in their preservation.

Furthermore, it provides support to rescue archaeological surveying; provides financial support and evaluation of projects in specific and institutionally oriented research and development in monument care; decides on regular and extraordinary remedies filed with respect to the decisions of the regional authorities and the Municipal Council of the Capital City of Prague where decisions in monument care matters are concerned; manages the National Memorial Institute – an organisation founded by the Ministry of Culture – draws up draft strategies of monument care development including draft follow-up implementation documents, as well as the relevant draft legal enactment, draft strategies for acts providing for the protection of cultural monuments and monument care or proposals for the approval of agreements on the transfer of cultural monuments in State ownership; and determines the organisational units of the State to which cultural monuments in State ownership shall be handed over.

Last but not least, the Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture methodologically manages lower-level administrative authorities, in particular regional authorities and the Municipal Authority of the Capital City of Prague, in the exercise of State monument care.

Organisational Structure

The Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture (Director: Mgr. Jiří Vajčner, Ph.D.) is divided into 3 divisions:

  • Division of Cultural Monument Protection (Head: Mgr. Petra Ulbrichová),
  • Division of Renewal of Cultural Monuments and Monument Areas (Head: Ing. arch. Hana Šnajdrová), and
  • Economic and Legal Division (Head and simultaneously Deputy Department Director: JUDr. Václav Karmazín).

Standing Advisory Units

The Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture relies in its activities on the professional assistance of standing advisory units – commissions comprising prominent experts from the sector. The Scientific Council for State Monument Care, founded pursuant to Section 28 (2) (e) of Act No. 20/1987 Coll., is the supreme advisory body of the Ministry of Culture in matters of monument care. Otherwise, where specialised professional and expert activities are concerned, the Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture uses, in particular, the professional assistance provided to it on a permanent basis by the professional organisation of State monument care and its individual regional sites within the fulfilment of its tasks.

On the Strategic Activities for the Development of State Monument Care

Certain special tasks of a strategic nature have been dealt with and fulfilled by the Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture in the period since 1997. Of these tasks, the following have been prepared and, where applicable, implemented or provided for, in particular:

in 1997:

  • draft underlying documents for Government Resolution No. 426 of 17 July 1997 on the Programme of Restoration of Movable Cultural Monuments,
  • Ministry of Culture Instruction Ref. No. 576/1997 of 5 February 1997, for the use and allocation of State financial support in the Programme of Care for Rural Monument Reserves, Rural Monument Zones and Landscape Monument Zones;

 

in 1998:

  • Government Resolution No. 171/1998 Coll., on the definition of certain national cultural monuments and amending and supplementing some legal regulations,
  • draft underlying documents for Government Resolution No. 278 of 22 April 1998 on the Strategy of Improved Care for the Monument Fund in the Czech Republic until 2005,
  • Ministry of Culture Instruction No. 3, Government Journal for district authorities and municipal bodies of 5 February 1998, providing for the procedure of district authorities, the Municipal Authority of the Capital City of Prague and the municipal councils of the Brno and Plzeň municipalities in the exercise of government in matters of monument care in the territories of monument reserves and monument zones with preserved sets of folk architecture,
  • draft underlying documents for Government Resolution No. 209 of 23 March 1998 on the proposal for the signature and ratification of the Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe, Council of Europe No. 121,
  • draft underlying documents for Government Resolution No. 625 of 23 September 1998 on the proposal for signature and ratification of the Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe (revised), Council of Europe No. 143,
  • Ministry of Culture Instruction Ref. No. 13691/1998 of 17 December 1998, for the use and allocation of state financial support in the Programme of Support to Rescue Archaeological Surveying,
  • new foundation deeds of regional (territorial) organisations of State monument care (the completion of a task commenced in 1997);

 

in 1999:

  • Act No. 361/1999 Coll., amending Act No. 20/1987 Coll., on State monument care, as amended by Act No. 242/1992 Coll.,
  • Government Regulation No. 147/1999 Coll. on the declaration and nullification of the declaration of certain cultural monuments as natural cultural monuments,
  • Ministry of Culture Decree No. 139/1999 Coll., amending Ministry of Culture Decree No. 66/1988 Coll., implementing Act No. 20/1987 Coll., on State monument care,
  • draft underlying documents for Government Resolution No. 1146 of 11 November 1999 on the draft strategy for the Act on the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Monument Care;

 

in 2000:

  • Part Thirty of Act No. 132/2000 Coll., amending and repealing certain laws associated with the Act on Regions, Act on Municipalities, Act on District Authorities and Act on the Capital City of Prague,
  • draft underlying documents for Government Resolution No. 322 of 29 March 2000 on the remains of the medieval Jewish cemetery in Prague's New Town, Prague 1,
  • draft underlying documents for Government Resolution No. 766 of 26 July 2000 on the project of a uniform and nation-wide designation of real estate cultural monuments in the territory of the Czech Republic protected by the State and on the measures associated with this,
  • new status of the central organisation of State monument care;

 

in 2001:

  • Act No. 61/2001 Coll., amending Act No. 361/1999 Coll., amending Act No. 20/1987 Coll., on State monument care, as amended by Act No. 242/1992 Coll., and Act No. 356/1999 Coll., amending Act No. 455/1991 Coll., on business in trade (the Trade Act) as amended, and some other laws,
  • Act No. 146/2001 Coll., amending Act No. 20/1987 Coll., on State monument care, as amended,
  • Government Regulation No. 132/2001 Coll., on the declaration of certain cultural monuments as national cultural monuments,
  • Ministry of Culture Guideline No. 1, Government Journal for the regional bodies, district authorities and municipal authorities of 13 February 2001, providing for the procedure of the district authorities, the Capital City of Prague and the Brno, Ostrava and Plzeň municipalities in the designation of real estate cultural monuments protected by the State,
  • draft underlying documents for Government Resolution No. 464 of 9 May 2001 on the Principles of Institutional Procurement of Care for the Set of Selected Cultural Monuments Owned by the Czech Republic within the Progress of the Public Administration Reform and the Measures Associated Therewith,
  • basic documents for drawing up the draft Act on the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Monument Care and on amendment to certain laws (the Monument Act);

 

in 2002:

  • Part Twenty-One of Act No. 320/2002 Coll., amending and repealing certain laws in connection with the termination of the work of district authorities
  • Government Regulation No. 336/2002 Coll., amending Government Regulation No. 262/1995 Coll., on the declaration and nullification of declaration of certain cultural monuments as national cultural monuments, as amended by Government Regulation No. 171/1998 Coll.,
  • Government Regulation No. 337/2002 Coll., on the declaration and nullification of the declaration of certain cultural monuments as national cultural monuments,
  • Ministry of Culture Decree No. 157/2002 Coll. on the declaration of the territories of selected parts of landscapes as monument zones,
  • Ministry of Culture Decree No. 538/2002 Coll., amending Guideline No. 66/1988 Coll., implementing Czech National Council Act No. 20/1987 Coll., on State monument care as amended by Decree No. 139/1999 Coll.,
  • Ministry of Culture Guideline No. 10, Government Journal for the regional bodies, district authorities and municipal bodies of 6 December 2002, amending the Ministry of Culture Instruction of 5 February 1998, providing for the procedure of the district authorities, the Municipal Council of the Capital City of Prague and the municipal councils of the Brno and Plzeň municipalities in the exercise of government in matters of monument care in the territories of monument reserves and monument zones with preserved sets of folk architecture, and Ministry of Culture Guideline of 13 February 2001, providing for the procedure of the district authorities, the Capital City of Prague and the Brno, Ostrava and Plzeň municipalities in the designation of real estate cultural monuments,
  • the Statute of the National Memorial Institute as a professional organisation of State monument care;

 

in 2003:

  • Ministry of Culture Decree No. 108/2003 Coll., on the declaration of territories with historic environments in selected towns and municipalities as monument zones and the determination of conditions for their protection;

in 2004:

  • Part Five of Act No. 18/2004 Coll., on the recognition of professional qualification and other competence of nationals of the Member States of the European Union and on amendment to certain other laws (Act on the Recognition of Professional Qualification),
  • Part Three of Act No. 186/2004 Coll., amending laws in connection with the adoption of the Act on Customs Administration of the Czech Republic,
  • Ministry of Culture Decree No. 413/2004 Coll., on the declaration of territories with historic environments in selected municipalities and their parts as monument zones and the determination of the conditions for their protection.

On Common Administrative and other Professional Activities

The Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture deals with an average of 13,500 files of various levels of complexity and, as a rule, of considerable importance for the effectiveness of the system of monument care in the Czech Republic as a whole within the common official (administrative) agenda.

As an example, several hundred decisions on proposals for the declaration of an asset or a set of assets as a cultural heritage are made every year (305 in 1999, 436 in 2000, 552 in 2001, 617 in 2003), decisions on regular and extraordinary remedies filed with respect to decisions of lower degree administrative authorities if issued in matters of monument care (326 in 1999, 274 in 2000, 214 in 2001, 116 in 2003), dozens of decisions on applications for permission to handle (restore) cultural monuments which are works of art or arts and crafts (108 in 1999, 71 in 2000, 46 in 2001, 43 in 2003), decisions on applications for granting prior consent to the relocation of a real estate cultural monument (36 in 2000, 22 in 2001, 38 in 2003), or e.g. decisions on applications for the nullification of the declaration of an asset as a cultural monument if special public reasons to do so exist (36 in 1999, 20 in 2000, 33 in 2001, 103 in 2003).

Very extensive specialised methodological, in particular legal, assistance is provided on a permanent basis by the Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture on its own initiative, for example as part of the training provided by the Department or at the request of administrative authorities, organisations of State monument care, owners of the individual elements of the monument fund and other parties, with the aim of providing for maximum faultless exercise of State monument care in the Czech Republic in accordance with Act No. 20/1987 Coll.

The Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture has long paid considerable attention to education in its activities. The so-called almanacs are published in a series on the Recovery Programme for Urban Monument Reserves and Urban Monument Zones, i.e. specifically oriented publications intended to present the results achieved in the contemporary care of urban areas subject to monument care in the Czech Republic. A special publication was released in 2001 with basic guidance and practical information for the owners of cultural monuments on how to care for cultural monuments, entitled The Handbook of a Cultural Monument Owner. Five TV documentaries on monument care have been produced. A prize for the best preparation and delivery of the Recovery Programme for Urban Monument Reserves and Urban Monument Zones was awarded every year in the relevant period on the occasion of the 18 April celebrations of the International Day for Monuments and Sites. A prize from the Ministry of Culture for monument care has been awarded to selected experts since 1999 as an appreciation of extraordinary work and creative acts achieved in the area of protection, conservation, research and presentation of the monument fund.

The provision of financial contributions and support are also an important part of the sum of activities of the Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture. By virtue of a decision based on administrative proceedings, municipalities and regions and the Ministry of Culture may provide financial contributions for the preservation and restoration of cultural monuments to the latter’s owners pursuant to Section 16 of Act No. 20/1987 Coll. A contribution by the Ministry of Culture may only be provided if special public interest in the preservation and restoration of the cultural monument is concerned. The Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture declares and carries out so-called monument programmes in accordance with the aforementioned interest:

  • Emergency Programme
  • Recovery Programme for Urban Monument Reserves and Urban Monument Zones,
  • Architectural Heritage Rescue Programme,
  • Programme of Care for Rural Monument Reserves, Rural Monument Zones and Landscape Monument Zones,
  • Restoration Programme for Movable Cultural Monuments.

 

The aforementioned programmes have been established generally so as to ensure that the provided financial contributions are simultaneously a tool for achieving as many long-term objectives as possible in the State’s care of cultural monuments, and they therefore employ the multiple-source funding principle in the restoration of cultural monuments alongside the consolidation of funds from the State budget on the one hand and funds from the owners of cultural monuments, towns and municipalities and other domestic and foreign public and private entities on the other hand.

 

The Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture also implements additional three programmes every year. These programmes have a different nature than those intended for support of the restoration of cultural monuments:

  • Programme of Support of Rescue Archaeological Surveying,
  • Programme of Research and Scientific Evaluation of Cultural Values of the Environment and Monument Fund Identification, Protection, Preservation and Presentation, and
  • Support of Civic Associations in the Monument Care Programme.