Montenegro’s endangered heritage

The ancient city walls of Ulcinj, Montenegro
Ulcinj's Old Town. Image: Mjuzikxhankej (Wikimedia), CC BY-SA 3.0.

Montenegro’s heritage sites are formally protected by their UNESCO status, but are in reality often left vulnerable.

There are incredibly old heritage sites in Montenegro. Parts of the Old Town of Ulcinj, for example, date back 2,500 years. These buildings have held out for a long time, but are in constant danger of falling apart, despite their formal protected status.

Problems and solutions

Last year, a part of Ulcinj’s ancient city walls fell into the Adriatic sea during a storm. However, local archaeologists saw that real estate investors had done much more harm to the area than the storm could have done on its own. Construction on heritage sites is constantly damaging them, according to experts throughout Montenegro.

“Institutions […] are formally in favor of preserving World Heritage status, but continue to encourage construction and the implementation of catastrophic plans that directly threaten the landscape,”

Conservation architect Aleksandra Kapetanovic, Expeditio in Balkan Insight

Officially, owners of land with monuments have to protect them. If they don’t, they can be fined between €500 and €12.000. However, it appears nobody has ever gotten fined, despite obvious damages to monuments. Therefore, activists are calling for stricter sanctions. Hopefully, they’ll be able to get Montenegro’s heritage protection system up and running again.

Source: Balkan Insight

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