Mercoledì, 29 Novembre 2023

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Kaunas 2022, modernist architecture on the World Heritage List

By Press release Giovedì, 21 Settembre 2023

Around 6000 buildings: this is the number of modernist objects in Kaunas city and its district surviving to this day. From luxurious concrete villas, temples and public buildings, schools and cultural institutions, to small wooden houses. 

Each and every one of them is interesting in their unique stories, discoveries, ability to be open for creative and community-based initiatives.

At the 45th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting in Riyadh (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), it was decided to inscribe Kaunas modernist architecture on the World Heritage List, after endorsement by the States Parties seated on the World Heritage Committee and taking into consideration the recommendations of experts.

“The members of the Committee assessed Kaunas modernist architecture as a significant contribution in the context of modernist heritage. The well-prepared, thorough nomination file demonstrated the distinctiveness of Kaunas modernism, presenting the conceptual narrative of an Architecture of Optimism. The contribution of Kaunas modernist architecture to the larger history of modernism is undeniable. Kaunas modernist architecture helps us understand the concept of modernism in a broader environment – its social, cultural and economic nature, composition and organisation,” says Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys.

According to the Minister of Culture, it is not only a great honour, but at the same time a great responsibility, too, ensuring the long-term preservation of the World Heritage List property, not only for Lithuania, but for the entire world. The World Heritage Committee recognised Lithuania’s efforts and foundational work, in cooperation with international experts. This result is also an excellent example of cooperation among Lithuania’s institutions in the preparation, presentation and defence of the nomination file. This time-consuming process required the active participation of the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO, Kaunas City Municipality and experts from Lithuanian and foreign academic and research institutions.

Taking into consideration the recommendations of experts, Lithuania will clarify certain technical aspects of the nomination file. The World Heritage Committee mandated that a report on implementation of the recommendations be submitted by the end of 2025. The first task is to prepare a management plan for Kaunas Naujamiestis (New Town). The Department of Cultural Heritage and Kaunas City Municipality will play an especially important role in this process.