More Than 40 Years of Being on UNESCO’s List for Dubrovnik

Lauren Simmonds

As Morski writes on the 26th of October, 2019, Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković recalled that on October the 26th, 1979, forty years ago, Dubrovnik was officially included on UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage List at the third session of the World Heritage Committee held in Egypt.

”Over the past four decades, Dubrovnik has faced two major disasters – the 1979 earthquake and the brutal 1991 Serbian-Montenegrin aggression. From both these tragedies, the city, like the mythical Phoenix, rose up and was reborn in some way. The tragedy of the war in particular has left numerous scars and still memorable wounds. Due to this aggression, Dubrovnik also ended up on the UNESCO List of Endangered World Heritage in December 1991 and remained on it until 1998.

To commemorate the fortieth anniversary, we also organised the “Dubrovnik, a Scarred City” exhibition, which was staged at the United Nations (UN) Centre in New York, then in Washington, and from October the 1st in Lazareti, it is about war casualties and the city’s rapid and impressive reconstruction.

The exhibition is a testimony to the suffering of the City of Dubrovnik during the Homeland War, and that war also brought with it two precedents. The first is that for the first time in its history, UNESCO sent envoys to the area affected by the war, while the verdicts for the commanders of attacks on the city before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia were the first convictions for crimes against cultural heritage. These are things that we as Christians can forgive, but which we must by no means forget.

Likewise, the City of Dubrovnik’s experience in restoring and treating its heritage in situations of natural disasters and warfare makes us a convenient location where various experts and scholars from around the world can be trained, share experiences and create a framework in which to operate in similar situations,” stated Mayor Mato Franković before thanking everyone who helped in any way in the listing of the city on two UNESCO lists, and in the restoration and presentation of the city as a part of UNESCO’s protected cultural heritage.

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