CULTURAL HERITAGE POLICY
Cultural monuments and historic sites represent part of the historic, spiritual and material heritage of the Slovak Republic, a source of identity, education, historical consciousness and patriotism of its citizens. They are a means of tolerance, civic cohesion and understanding between ethnic and religious groups. Historic buildings, cultural landscapes or archaeological sites are not only valuable cultural assets but also an important element of economic development. Conservation of cultural heritage and its appropriate use contributes to improving the quality of life, increases employment, and acts as an important development factor of the regions and municipalities in Slovakia. Protection of cultural heritage is a public interest guaranteed by the Constitution of the Slovak Republic (Art. 44, paragraph 2, of the Constitution of the Slovak Republic).
National policy concerning the architectural, archaeological and landscape heritage is guided by the following strategic documents:
- Culture Development Strategy for 2014 – 2020;
- Strategy for the Protection of National Cultural Monuments and Historic Sites for 2017 – 2022;
- Action plan to the Strategy fot he Protection of Monuments and Sites for 2018 - 2020;
The key priority is the systematic preservation of the authenticity and integrity of national cultural monuments and heritage sites with emphasis on preventing physical deterioration, incorporating heritage protection requirements into spatial planning, promoting civic activities and supporting sustainable regional and local development interconnected with cultural heritage. Another priority line concerns the improvement of access to heritage by means of modern technology and the process of digitisation of cultural content and cultural objects.
The protection and use of heritage in its authentic environment depends on both, the public interest and the responsibility of owners. Owners of national cultural monuments have a legal obligation to ensure maintenance of their heritage property. The Ministry of Culture provides financial subsidies for the preservation of monuments through its programme, Lets Renew Our House, and owners of monuments are also entitled to free consultations with professionals from the Monuments Board and its regional offices. The Slovak Republic has established a multi-resource funding system in culture and provides direct support to heritage protection and promotion activities through the Ministry of Culture’s subsidy programme, “Lets Renew Our House” (up to 95% of eligible costs).
Slovakia builds awareness by incorporating heritage values in education into school curriculums and seeks to broaden visibility by deepening its international integration and active participation in numerous international heritage initiatives. Nowadays, heritage protection and promotion increasingly involve voluntary and spontaneous activities by civic initiatives and non-governmental organizations.
The institutional basis of heritage protection in the Slovak Republic is provided by the specialised public administration co-ordinated by the Ministry of Culture as a central government body responsible for heritage. It defines the approach to heritage protection, sets priority directions, co-ordinates implementation on lower public administration levels and establishes the conditions for the system of subsidies and multi-resource funding. It shares responsibilities with the Ministry of Environment in the field of landscape heritage protection.
The Act on Protection of Monuments and Monument Sites adopted in 2002 transformed the former Heritage Institute focusing on research and consultancy services into the Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic, which is a specialized public administration body with key powers in the field of heritage protection. This has meant a significant step forward in the establishment of effective heritage protection and, at the same time, the balance between owners’ rights and the public interest in heritage preservation.
Legal protection introduced by this act recognizes protection of objects classified as national cultural monuments (including buildings, archaeological sites and movable objects), and the protection of historic sites or landscapes classified as either protection reserves (higher concentration of heritage values) or protection zones (lower concentration of heritage values).
Heritage protection methodology is the responsibility of the Monuments Board, which apart from being a public administration body, has also the status of a scientific research institution accredited by the Ministry of Education.
The development of methodology and the professional training of heritage experts are based on co-operation with the Slovak Academy of Sciences (especially the Archaeological Institute and the Institute of Construction and Architecture, and the Art History Institute) and various colleges (Faculty of Architecture, Construction Faculty of the Slovak Technical University in Bratislava, Faculty of Philosophy of the Comenius University in Bratislava, the Trnava University in Trnava, Fine Arts College in Bratislava, Construction Faculty of the Transport University in Žilina), as well as with other partners, such as the Municipal Institute of Monuments Protection in Bratislava and a non-governmental educational organisation called Academia Istropolitana Nova.
Besides the government authorities, the current legislation assigns obligations also to regional and local self-government bodies which perform certain public administration tasks – they are responsible for issuing building permits. Some municipalities have created positions for heritage marketing and administration, which is a positive asset sustaining adequate use and protection of their heritage resources. However, many smaller municipalities are still struggling to acquire sufficient staff for the cultural heritage field which prevent them from deriving potential benefits of heritage in local development and employment policies (e.g. heritage oriented tourism, traditional crafts, skilled maintenance works, etc.).
Heritage protection is governed by the Act on Protection of Monuments and Monument Sites adopted in 2002.
RATIFIED INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS
Council of Europe:
- European Cultural Convention (Paris, 1954) - ratified: 15 May 1990
- Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe (Granada, 1985) - signed: 10 October 2000; ratified: 7 March 2001
- European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (Revised) (Valletta, 1992) - signed: 30 June 1993; ratified: 31 October 2000
- European Landscape Convention (Florence, 2000) - signed: 30 May 2005; ratified: 9 August 2005
- Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (Faro, 2005) - signed: 23 May 2012; ratified: 16 August 2013
- Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict with Regulations for the Execution of the Convention (The Hague, 1954) - notification of succession: 31 March 1993
- Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (The Hague, 1999) - ratified: 11 February 2004
- Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (Paris, 1970) - notification of succession: 31 March 1993
- Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (Paris, 1972) - notification of succession: 15 November 1990
- Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (Paris, 2001) - ratified: 11 March 2009
- Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (Paris, 2003) - ratified: 24 March 2006
- Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (Paris, 2005) - ratified: 18 December 2006
- UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects (Rome, 1995) - ratified: 16 June 2003