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Solar Energy and Protection of Monuments
Emeringen - 2011-09-09 - D. Davydov
The Higher Administrative Court of Baden-Wuerttemberg allowed the appeal of a parish assembly against the foregone judgment of the Administrative Court of Sigmaringen, according to which the claimants had been not allowed to place solar cells on the roof of a protected historic barn. The Higher Administrative Court decided that due to the aims of the climate protection the negative impact of the solar cells on the outward appearence of both the listed barn and the nearby historic church could be tolerated.

The International Graduate School of Heritage Studies at Cottbus University
Cottbus - 2010-03-26 - D. Davydov
The International Graduate School of Heritage Studies at Cottbus University offers an interdisciplinary PhD program in the broad field of the humanities. It is aimed at a national as well as international audience. The International Graduate School consists of highly qualified and committed colleagues from all faculties of the BTU and other institutions. It seeks a cooperative partnership with the Graduate School \"Cultural and technical values of historic buildings\" in the faculty two in the form of joint summer schools and research colloquiums. The principal objective of the PhD program is the completion of a dissertation and its defense. The International Graduate School program is designed so that the qualification can be achieved in the intended time frame taking into consideration the innovative research topic, the development and application of appropriate methods, and the related elective and mandatory courses. Moreover, the PhD program establishes a structure for working on the dissertation that provides an orientation for both German and international PhD students with their institutionally and culturally heterogeneous learning experiences.

Pesch Manor fells victim of excavations
Erkelenz - 2010-03-16 - D. Davydov
According to the Garzweiler-Plan on brown coal production, the RWE Power Company is going to devastate and to demolish the Pesch-Village (town of Erkelenz in Northern Rhine – Westfalia). Among the historic buildings, which otherwise would be protected by the state, the Pesch Manor has already fallen victim to the planned excavation – a moated castle from the 15th – 17th centuries, whose historical and cultural value had been noticed by Paul Clemen, the first conservator of the Rhenish Province. During the demolition of the Pesch Manor which had taken place in the first weeks of March, the scientific officers from the Rhenish Authority for Preservation of Monuments took the opportunity to document the different building phases of the historic manor house which became evident by and by. Most interesting fact was the medieval half-timber-construction which appeared under the 16th-century-fassade at the corner of the two wings. After the Pesch Manor will be completely destroyed the archeologists will continue the researches by exploring the basement and the moats.

New version of the Gazprom-Tower is still illegal
St. Petersburg - 2009-02-13 - D. Davydov
The department of public prosecution which had been requested to examine the the new bulding-development ans land-use regulations of St. Petersburg decided that the revised project of the Gazprom-Skyscraper (just 100 meters high) is still illegal.

St. Petersburg's new landfill will be probably based on bones
St. Petersburg - 2009-01-10 - D. Davydov
Against the background of the city’s increasing waste problem the administration of St. Petersburg plans a new landfill in the range of the Siniavino Hills (Kirovsky district of the Leningrad area). In 1941 - 1944 this territory was a scene of bloody combats between the Soviet Troops (54th, 8th, 2nd Armies), which defended Leningrad, and the German Armed Forces. During the Third Offensive of Siniavino (August – October 1942) the soviet troops lost more than 113 thousands soldiers; during the “Iskra” Operation (January 1943) more than 100 thousands soviet soldiers were killed in action. The administration of St. Petersburg alleges that the 115 hectares large parcel where the waste dump will soon arise does not hold any historical monuments or military gravesites. The private search parties who make excavations in this area demonstrate the exact opposite.

Bonn's Metropol-Cinema must be removed from the monument list
Bonn - 2008-08-30 - D. Davydov
The Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine – Westphalia (Munster) allowed the appeal of the cinema's owner against the foregone judgment of the Administrative Court of Cologne. According to the current decision, the Metropol-Cinema – one of Germany's last remained cinemas of the interwar epoch – had lost its value as a historical and cultural monument due to the different building measures which had been taken in the time after 1987. Particularly the Great Hall – the monument's "marrow" – had been damaged and replaced by a reconstruction. Thus the judges confirmed the claimant's argument that a reconstruction can't be considered as a part of a protected monument because it is just a copy of something authentic. According to that, it doesn't make any difference, if the reconstruction has been executed according to the guidelines of the specialists or not, if it is "true-to-detail" copy of the lost original or just it's free interpretation. Besides that the Court took offence at the lift which had been constructed in order to grant access for the handicapped people. The judges meant the lift would destroy the authentic atmosphere. The only element of the cinema which remains a protected monument is the façade, although its siding has also been renewed. Incomprehension about the current decision prevails not only among the action group "Save the Metropol!" but also among the representatives of the monument protection authorities whose arguments were predominantly ignored by the Court. They had referred to the argument that the government is forced by law to make concessions to the owner and to consider his financial situation. Thus it is sometimes not possible to ask the owner for the preservation of original elements if this involves unacceptably high costs. That's why sometimes a reconstruction of a part of the historic monument is inevitable.

Legal Dispute on the Castle of Salem: Appraisal Report Requested
Salem - 2008-08-21 - K. Asmuss
The legal controversy concerning the still unclear future of the Castle of Salem is advanced. Günther Oettinger, the prime ministre of Baden-Württemberg promulgated, that the House of Baden recently promoted the discussion by permitting an appraisal report in order to estimate the Castle's value. The report is expected in four to six weeks. (Süddeutsche Zeitung Nr. 193 v. 20.08.2008, S. 9)

Incomprehensible Decision
Dresden - 2008-07-08 - D. Davydov
On Friday, Juli 4, the World Heritage Committee declared, that the world heritage site "Dresden Elbe Valley" will stay on UNESCO World Heritage List. It said that in the event that the construction of the bridge was not stopped and damage reversed, the property would be deleted from the World Heritage List in 2009. Meanwhile the property remains on the Danger List. The statement of the WHC demonstrates the slight hope that the building of a four-lane bridge across the valley will be stopped and work undertaken to reverse damage caused to the integrity of the landscape of the German site. Dresden's currently elected mayoress, Helma Orosz, called the Committee's decision "incomprehensible". Nobody would believe that the city is going to deconstruct the half-finished bridge. One is bound to endorse Mrs. Orosz. In view of the uncompromisingly position of Dresden's municipality and the government of the Free State of Saxony the present decision of the World Heritage Committee is in fact incomprehensible. The consequent measure would be to remove the Dresden Elbe Valley from the list, as it has been decided last year.

St. Petersburg's Governor names persons in charge
St. Petersburg - 2008-06-19 - D. Davydov
In course of a conference of the City Council for Protection of the Cultural Heritage the Governor of St. Petersburg, Valentina Matvienko, confessed some grave urbanistic mistakes such as construction of the tower blocks "Montblanc" and "Finansist". The increasing interest of St. Petersburg's administration in the protection of the historic cityscape might be associated with the list of nearly 100 recently demolished monuments which has been newly published by the citizen's initiative "Save St. Petersburg". At the same time, the Governor charged not only the administration and the investors with the detected violations of the planning law. She also placed the responsibility for that on the architecturally interested public.

The Administrative Court of Bavaria stops the hotel building
Munich - 2008-05-28 - D. Davydov
The Administrative Court of Bavaria – the Free State’s highest level of administrative jurisdiction – qualified the development plan as invalid which scheduled a hotel-construction at the historic Market Place of Berchtesgaden. The planned building would have a deep impact on the age-long evolved structure of the historic town-center which is divided into small sections. Thus the Court confirmed the claimant’s title to protection of a traditional area.

Expropriation-Case in Moscow: a District Court makes history
Moscow - 2008-05-08 - D. Davydov
In Moscow the district court of the Tagansky District allowed a claim of the Moscow Committee for Heritage Protection, which had demanded an expropriation of a historical mansion ruined by its owner. The monument which dates back to the eighteenth century had been purchased in 2005. In July 2006 the owner had began a non sanctioned “reconstruction” of the mansion which resulted in a complete change of the protected outward appearance. According to the federal law number 73 “On the Objects of the Cultural Heritage (Historical and Cultural Monuments) of the peoples of the Russian Federation” an owner of a historical or cultural monument can lose his property by a court decision if he does not treat the monument under the legal requirements. Although the law was enacted in 2002 the present case is the first one in Moscow. In the meantime the experts suppose that there are hundreds of historical monuments in Moscow being rebuilt, enlarged or demolished without an allowance.

Krefeld's 20th-Century-Heritage Is Going to Apply for the Registration in the UNESCO's World Heritage List.
Krefeld - 2008-04-15 - D. Davydov
The municipality of the city of Krefeld (Lower Rhine) considers applying for the registration of some prominent monuments of the 20th-century-architecture in the World-Heritage-List. The administration's approach concerns the four works of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, situated in Krefeld: the "Verseidag" industrial complex (a silk factory) and the 3 mansions, built in the beginning of the 1930th for the local Industrialists. The both better known mansions - "Haus Lange" and "Haus Esters" - actually house modern art collections. In spite of the regional significance of the monuments, it looks set to become a stony way for Krefeld's municipality which now has to demonstrate a universal outstanding value of the monuments. A compromise could be to nominate the German works of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe together with his works in other countries (like the USA and the Czech Republic).

New turn in the Rink Case
St. Petersburg - 2008-03-04 - D. Davydov
In the Rink Case the City Court of St. Petersburg now allowed the appeal of the federal and the local authorities for protection and preservation of monuments against the foregone judgment of the Kujbyshev District Court. According to the appellate judges, the rink does not impair the historical ensemble of the Palace Square and, thus, the claimant's constitutional right for the access to the cultural heritage is not violated. The lawsuit's major difficulty is the legal status of the Palace Square and the Alexander Column, which was completely enclosed by the rink. The federal and local authorities brought forward the argument that the Square is actually not listed as a historical and cultural monument and reasoned that there would be no necessity to protect it. Besides that the documents concerning the legal status of the Alexander Column as a monument and including the legal requirements on its environment date back to the soviet times so that their binding character is rather disputable. However the claimants will not abandon the lawsuit. They are going to appeal against the Court's decision to the Federal Court and to the European Court for Human Rights.

Rhine-Bridge compromises the Loreley's world cultural heritage status
St. Goarshausen - 2008-02-08 - K. Asmuss
In order to strengthen its economy and employment situation, the governing Mayor of St. Goarshausen plans a bridge over the Rhine. As the town bewails a movement of labour as well as of inhabitants, St. Goarshausen hopes to participate in the other riverside’s increasing prosperity. As the project envisages the area on the eve of the Loreley’s rock, it endangers the region’s status as World Heritage Site “Upper Middle Rhine”. Thus, experts of ICOMOS already alert the loss of this title. With regard to the rejection of alternative, but more expensive plans - consisting in a tunnel option or in building the bridge outside of the Loreley’s site - Prof. Petzet, president of ICOMOS, advises urgently to reject any plan of crossing the river in the region. In the meantime the UNESCO announced the visit of experts during the month of February.
Source: ZEIT

District Court decides to remove skating rink from the Palace Square
Russia - 2008-02-05 - D. Davydov
The District Court of the Kuibyshev District (St. Petersburg) allowed the claim of a group of public representatives against the skating ring, which had been constructed at the Palace Square - exactly vis-à-vis the Winter Palace. The claimants, among them some members of the action group "Save St. Petersburg", had brought forward the argument that the rink would damage the historical ensemble of the Square and would thus curtail their constitutional right of access to the cultural goods (Art. 44 of the Russian Constitution). According to the court's decision, the rink has to be removed now. St. Petersburg's local authority for protection and preservation of monuments as well as the federal service for preservation of the cultural heritage do not accept the court's decision and both intend to appeal to the City Court or, if necessary, to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.

The winemaker-town of Unkel takes loss of the historical vineyard
Germany - 2008-02-04 - D. Davydov
The town of Unkel which belongs to the Middle Rhine winegrowing area is noted for having preserved its medieval structure. Some of Unkel's traditional buildings are however in danger to be demolished in spite of their legal status as cultural monuments. In detail, the manor house "Vogtshaus" which dates back to the 16th century will be gutted, and the nearby former vineyard "Bachem-Haus" will lose ground. The loss of the authentic structure is actually connected with the intended extension of the traditional hotel "Rheinhotel Schulz" which the local municipality considers as a stroke of luck, while it regards the endangered monuments as to ruinous to be saved. In the face of the resistance which some local historians still offer the town mayor refers to the district administration which has allowed the hotel's construction and the demolition of the monuments.

Federal Government regards the WHC to be legally binding
Germany - 2008-01-16 - D. Davydov
While the debatable construction of the Elbe-bridge in Dresden is already in progress, the federal government has now put out a legal opinion concerning the UNESCO World Heritage Convention and its impact on the German law. The federal government regards the WHC as a treaty which is legally binding not only for the Federal Republic itself, but also for the other governmental levels, like the federal states and the municipal administrations. Thus, the opinion comes to the same conclusion as the Administrative Court of Dresden which has formerly forbidden the bridge’s construction. Meanwhile, Wolfgang Tiefensee, the federal minister of building, once again appealed to the Saxon government. He called for a hesitation of the construction work and a resumption of a dialogue with UNESCO.

Saxon justice clears the way for the Elbe Bridge
Russia - 2007-11-14 - D. Davydov
The Higher Administrative Court of Saxony confirmed its former position on the project of the Elbe Bridge according to that the project does not violate the law. The court’s recent decision set aside the foregone judgment of the Administrative Court of Dresden which had suspended the bridge construction. Thus, the doubts of those nature conservation associations were finally refuted which had worried that the bridge might destroy the rare bat’s habitat. According to the recent judgment, a simple speed limit will suffice in order to protect bats against the traffic. Although the court’s judgment is just an interim one and the Bridge-case is to be heard in 2008, the discussible project could be then advanced to such an extent that the impact on the unique river landscape would be irreversible.

Legal Dispute on the Castle of Salem: Prince of Baden threatens selling
Germany - 2007-11-01 - K. Asmuss
The legal dispute on the Castle of Salem has reached a new stage: While the ownerships structures remain unclear, Prince Bernhard of Baden alerts the adventure’s ruin till the end of the year. Groaning under a mountain of debt of about € 30 millions, all attempts to transform the castle’s status in a donation have been disappointed. Albeit the experts’ expertise on the controversial issue of the object’s ownership, Prince Bernhard now expressed his intention to sell the estate to foreign interested parties. From the scientific point of legal monument protection, scepticism has been raised: According to Dieter Planck, president of the state’s administration of monumental protection, an essential renovation is unavoidable, so that not only the purchase price has to be performed, but also costly obligations, imposed by the administration of cultural protection. Having in mind the financial burden of the sustentation of already 250 castles, Oettinger, the prime minister of Baden-Württemberg, aspires a solution, which narrows the state’s engagement of the Castle of Salem. Notwithstanding all disaccording of ownership and legal claims, the parties shouldn’t lose of sight the obligation to protect the estate for the future; thus, the best solution for the Castle’s welfare has to be found.
Source: F.A.Z. 23.10.2007

Russian Supreme Court frustrates the skyscraper construction
Russia - 2007-10-26 - D. Davydov
The Russian Supreme Court allowed an appeal against the decision of Saint Petersburg city court, according to which the governmental financing agenda "Concerning the construction of an administrative business centre in Saint Petersburg" would conform to the legal requirements. In detail, the Supreme Court confirmed that the government had neglected to establish certain indispensable procedures such as a public hearing and an environmental impact assessment while enacting the financing agenda. The agenda's aim was to subsidize a controversial project of the Gazprom headquarter: a 320-meter skyscraper. Thus the position of those public associations was proved to be correct, who had challenged the skyscraper project. However, the aspects of heritage protection – especially the question of the impact the skyscraper might have on the historical skyline of Saint Petersburg – were not taken into consideration.

Administrative Court of Cologne: The Metropol-Cinema in Bonn stays a listed monument
Germany - 2007-10-13 - D. Davydov
The Administrative Court dismissed the claim of the new owner of the Metropol-Cinema in Bonn - one of the last remained cinemas of the interwar epoch in Germany. The claimant had planned a conversion of the building and therefore he had requested its removal from the list of the protected monuments. He had brought forward the argument that the cinema had lost its value as a historical monument because of the previous reconstruction. As apposed to that, the Court decided that the reconstruction, which had been performed according to the guidelines of the local authorities for protection and preservation of monuments, did not destroy the historically valuable interior of the cinema, but approximated its appearance to the original building of 1928. Thus, the Metropol-Cinema stays a listed monument.

Fair solution under the Washington Declaration
Germany - 2007-09-25 - K. Asmuss
On September 24, the city Hanover handed over one of the most important landscape paintings of the German expressionist Lovis Corinth to inheriting the outstanding art historian Curt Glaser. Thus, the opus "Römische Campagna", dating from 1914, is restituted according to the requirements of the Washington Declaration. Curt Glaser, although being baptized evangelic, has been removed from his office as ther Berlin Art Library's Director and was forced to emigrate in 1933 under the regime of the NS. In order to finance his and his wife's escape, he had to let auctioneerd his art collection, including Corinth's "Römische Campagna". The city Hanover acquired the painting, whose value today amounts approximatly € 440.000, 1949 from the lawyer Conrad Doebbeke, whose art collection, since it has been attributed having facilitated jewish emigration, in this context turned out to require urgently a closer appraisal.
Source: Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2007-09-25

Zaire: M'banza Kongo is today the capital of Angola's culture
Angola - 2007-09-19 - K. Asmuss
Due to the beginning of the international round table concerning M'banza Kongo, the attention of the cultural world focuses from today on the capital of the province of Zaire, having in mind the event's importance and impact. On the initiative of the Ministry of Culture, 30 experts both national and international take part in the challenge of sighting and judging the contributions, made for the recognition of M'banza Kongo as cultural heritage by the UNESCO. Valorising the historical and cultural heritage of the city, it is also within the meeting's intention, to turn the region into a touristy place and collect contributions for the enrichment of the history of the formation of the Kingdom of Kongo.

Chief Archeologist of the Federal State Rhineland-Palatinate: The number of illegal excavations increases
Germany - 2007-09-10 - D. Davydov
According to a statement of Gerd Rupprecht, the head of the archeological department of the regional authority for heritage protection, the illegal excavations in Rhineland-Palatinate are on the rise. He supposed that some hundred illegal excavations take place in the Federal State yearly. In spite of the enormous damage to the invaluable historical heritage, a criminal procedure is initiated rarely. In fact, there is no reasonable chance to capture the delinquents.
Source: dpa-infocom

Administrative court eventually prevents the start of construction
Germany - 2007-08-09 - D. Davydov
After all else had failed, the Administrative Court of Dresden provisionally interdicted the planned start of the construction works on the Waldschloesschen Bridge. The court allowed an application of the three different nature conservation associations, according to that the intended project might destroy the habitat of some rare animals, amongst others an almost vanished bat variety. Thus, the universal cultural landscape of Dresden Elbe Valley could be finally saved thanks to the considerations, which are in no way concerned with the issue of cultural heritage protection.

Gazprom tower put to test
Russia - 2007-07-18 - D. Davydov
UNESCO has asked Russia to withhold permission for the planned Gazprom Headquarter in St. Petersburg until it has assessed the impact on the historic skyline of the former imperial metropolis. The official request was issued by the World Heritage Committee, a body empowered to monitor sites included in World Heritage list. A suspension of the permit procedure is necessary in order to evaluate project documents accurately and to prove, whether the outstanding universal value of heritage has been fully assessed. Gazprom wants to build a 320-meter skyscraper in the neglected industrial area of Okhta, straight vis-a-vis the 18th-century Smolny-Cathedral. Apart from the damage the tower could cause on the historical silhouette, construction works might destroy the unique archeological traces left by the Swedish precursors of St. Petersburg, the erstwhile settlements Landscrona and Nyenskans nearby the estuary of the Okhta River.
Source: Reuters

Higher Administrative Court of Saxony votes against a compromise
Germany - 2007-07-18 - D. Davydov
The Higher Administrative Court of the Free State of Saxony definitively frustrated the quest for a compromise solution of the Bridge conflict. According to the recent judgment, the municipality of Dresden has to start the construction works immediately.
Source: SZ 18.07.2007

World Heritage Committee keeps Dresden on UNESCO World Heritage List - for the present
Germany - 2007-06-26 - D. Davydov
The World Heritage Committee, meeting in Christchurch, decided not to remove Dresden Elbe Valley from the World Heritage List. Until an acceptable solution (bridge or tunnel) that respects the outstanding universal value of the cultural landscape has been found, the site will be kept on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The alternative project has to be submitted until Oct. 1.
Source: dpa

Decision of the Federal Constitutional Court concerning the "Elbe Valley"
Germany - 2007-05-29 - D. Davydov
The Federal Constitutional Court dismissed the appeal against the judgment of the Higher Administrative Court of Saxony. According to the recent resolution, the pressure which the Saxon gouvernment exerts on the municipality of Dresden in order to enforce the bridge construction does not violate the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court of Saxony sanctions the bridge construction
Germany - 2007-05-03 - D. Davydov
The Constitutional Court of the Free State of Saxony dismissed the appeal against the judgment of the Higher Administrative Court of Saxony, according to which the controversial construction of the Waldschloesschen-Bridge has to be executed. Thus, the universal cultural landscape of Dresden Elbe Valley could be soon removed from World Heritage List.

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