People, Travel

Montenegro’s UNESCO Site May Lose Global Status

Kotor in Montenegro could be de-listed by UNESCO due to excessive development.Kotor in Montenegro could be de-listed by UNESCO due to excessive development.

Excessive real-estate development is jeopardizing Montenegro’s landmark historical site of Kotor, with the United Nations heritage protection agency threatening to strip it of its World Heritage List.

Kotor, a medieval town with Venetian and Austro-Hungarian palaces and fortifications, is situated in Adriatic’s picturesque Boka Kotorska Bay. It has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, Skift reported.

UNESCO has been warning Kotor since early 2000s that excessive real-estate construction, uncontrolled tourism with the docking of large cruiser ships in Kotor’s small port were endangering its Old Town area.

In July 2016, UNESCO stepped up the pressure and gave Montenegro until mid-March to remedy the problem if it wants Kotor to remain on World Heritage List.

In February, the Montenegro government ordered a temporary construction ban in Kotor due to go into effect in April, apparently acting just in time to avoid triggering the procedure to remove the city from the list. But just before the ban came into effect on April 5, it allowed the construction of some large tourist complexes inside the town. The issue is now mired in a dispute among the local government, which is run by the parliamentary opposition, the national government and the previous town assembly, Reuters reported.

Sandra Kapetanovic, an architect with a local center for sustainable planning, said concerns over the real-estate boom are more than a decade old.

 “UNESCO’S committee for world legacy has been warning since 2003 about negative consequences of this excessive urbanization,” she said. Olivera, a resident of the nearby town of Dobrota, said that new houses are ruining the area.

“These newly-built houses, they’re like some skyscrapers with slabs on top, as tombs,” she said.


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