Action Plan by UNESCO
Action Plan by UNESCO

By its very prosperity, hand in hand with that of Venice, Dubrovnik's streets and squares were furnished with fine buildings including churches, convents and palaces. The city's urban landscape arid its exceptional beauty - in this it may be compared to the site itself and its breathtaking dialogue with the sea - warranted its inclusion on the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger when the Old City of Dubrovnik came under threat in 1991.

Unswerving in its mission, UNESCO acted forthwith to ensure that the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict was respected. Furthermore, it emphasized its support by its presence and, more particularly, by lending assistance to the local and national authorities in the emergency programrne that was lannched to preserve the city.

Acting in collaboration with the national and local institutions responsible for the rehabilitation of Dubrovnik, UNESCO drew up a plan to protect the heritage of the Old City which was mutilated in 1991 and 1992.

Today, UNESCO calls on the nations of the world for aid so that they may accomplish the morrtentous task of restoring the Old City of Dubrovnik to the unspoilt state in which it was handed down by its builders and artists.

Dubrovnik is a historic city whose architectural and urban splendour bear changes in style carried out by a trading and cultural society between the sixth and the nineteenth centuries.


Plan of action

The city's monumental character is enhanced by the presence of countless works of art, principally in churches and museums, but also out of doors. Its religious treasures, manuscripts, archives, books from all over the globe and pictural heritage all attest to the activities of the Mediterranean world that have been carried on down the centuries in a cosmopolitan environment. Such cultural wealth places Dubrovnik today among the world's major cultural and tourist centres.

These observations on the old city of Dubrovnik bring to the fore the whole question of its survival and, accordingly, if its true nature and spirit are to be preserved, of making a number of choices in the matter of protection and restoration today, including:

organization of the historic townscape;
types of construction;
building materials.
Dubrovnik, which was classified as a world heritage site in 1979 and had ever come under fire, was inscribed in December 1991 on the List of World Heritage in Danger as a direct result of the armed conflict which broke out in Croatia in July 1991.

Situated in a highly seismic area, the walled city of Dubrovnik was damaged by an earthquake in 1979, and more recently has suffered repeated shelling assaults.

A detailed inventory made inside the walls of Dubrovnik shows two principal types of destruction:

structural, i.e. involving building systems;
external, i.e. involving materials, architectonic components
and building ornaments.
Damage to public, private or religious buildings, sculptures or architectural components, public pla.ces and ramparts has been caused by mortar shells and shrapnel fired indiscriminately, while incendiary shells have destroyed seven palaces and two houses.

The programme to restore damaged cultural property is a vast operation for Croa.tia which cannot be carried out without the collaboration of the international community.

The Croatian institutions involved in carrying out restoration work will work with UNESCO to identify potential donors and work out the different types of contributions.

The plan of action should meet the following objectives:

Identify, protect, preserve and present cultural property damaged by the shelling in 1991 and 1992 within the limits of the city as defined by its inscription on the World Heritage List;
Develop by means of proper professional training the human resources of agencies and organizations involved at local, municipal, national and regional levels;
Identify, develop and promote the restoration projects and a strategy for the preservation and presentation of the old city;
Ensure that the various operations necessary for the protection of cultural property be carried out in the best possible conditions and according to restoration principles and methods so as to preserve the exceptional u.nity of the urban fabric;
0Ensure the participation of the national and international communities in the various operations;
Communicate project needs to decision-makers and public opinion in order to obtain broad-based participation from the national and international communities in the form of financial contributions, services and materials.