Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys: “Cultural heritage creates immense added value”


2020 12 21


Today the Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys attended the remote conference dedicated to the end of the UNESCO World Heritage Year in Lithuania. The conference was organised in order to discuss the most important work and results of the year as well as the priorities and possibilities of the protection of UNESCO World Heritage in Lithuania, and to draw focus to the significance of the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage to our country.

It is precisely because of this document that four values of Lithuania’s culture were recorded in the UNESCO World Heritage List: the Vilnius Historic Centre, the Kernavė Archaeological Site, the Curonian Spit, and the Struve Geodetic Arc.

The biggest highlight of the year was the draft nomination file of Kaunas modernist architecture, which met the administrative application requirements and paved the way for the submission of the final application draft to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee and international experts.

Simonas Kairys expressed his delight about the fact that there have been many discussions about the modernist architecture of Kaunas this year, and he himself contributed to the origins of this project. According to the Minister of Culture, the path towards the UNESCO World Heritage status both presents certain problems and suggests possible solutions.

“The UNESCO World Heritage status is not only a great honour for a country but also a great responsibility. It attests to the exceptional cultural and historical experience and development of the humanity; it is a part of our identity. This year gave us the opportunity to re-assess the unique, globally significant cultural heritage that we have and to create the conditions to get better acquainted with it and protect it. This was an additional incentive to be proud of our country and its values and to share them with the entire world. In addition to the component of protection, UNESCO also has another one: it is practically the strongest mark of tourist attraction. Thus, cultural heritage is related not just to restrictions, it creates immense added value”, the Minister Simonas Kairys said.

The Seimas declared 2020 the Year of UNESCO World Heritage in Lithuania. Its marking was associated with important dates. In 2019, the Vilnius Historic Centre celebrated the 25th anniversary of its recording in the UNESCO World Heritage List, while the Kernavė Archaeological Site marked the 15th anniversary; this year the Curonian Spit marked the 20th   anniversary of its recording in the list, and the Struve Geodetic Arc marked the 15th anniversary.