UNESCO World Heritage Year in Lithuania

Date

2020 04 08

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The year of 2020 was declared the UNESCO World Heritage Year in Lithuania by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania. The aim is to emphasize the importance of the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage for our country and mark its contribution in pursuit of culture of peace and solidarity in global policy. Namely because of this international document four Lithuanian cultural heritage properties – Vilnius Historic Centre, Curonian Spit, Kernave Archaeological Site and Struve Geodetic Arc – were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The celebration of this year will hopefully raise awareness of society about the exceptional universal value of these sites and importance of their legal protection as well as preservation for future generations. On this occasion we have an opportunity to reevaluate the unique Lithuanian cultural heritage of world significance that we have, to learn the history of these properties, widen the opportunities for their access, sustainable use, cultural knowledge,  inclusion and  participation.  

The celebration of the UNESCO World Heritage Year in Lithuania is related to important anniversaries. In 2019, Vilnius Historic Centre commemorated its 25th anniversary, Kernave Archaeological Site – the 15th. This year Curonian Spit is celebrating the 20th and Struve Geodetic Arc the 15th anniversaries of their inscription on the World Heritage List.

Certainly, this marks great achievement of the state in this matter – due to the work of highly professional heritage experts, persuasive Lithuanian diplomacy and international cooperation, it is already a quarter of century ago, in 1994, the first Lithuanian property was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, which enlists many objects that are important for entire humanity and are of exceptional universal cultural and natural value. Currently, the UNESCO World Heritage List has 1121 properties on 167 territories of State Parties.  It is a great honour and responsibility for every country to have cultural or natural objects or sites of global importance that signify exceptional cultural and historical experience of humanity, its important development, and are a part of a country‘s identity. We are proud that one more nomination – Kaunas Modernism Architecture – is undergoing preparation procedures currently in Lithuania.

On 18th of March, 2020, an opening ceremony of the UNESCO World Heritage Year in Lithuania was planned and the programme for the year with all its events and initiatives had to be announced. A welcome speech from Mechtild Rössler‘s, the Director‘s of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, should have been a surprise of the evening. Now it could be found: here

Despite the ongoing situation, the initiatives for the celebration of the year are being carried on. The Secretariat of the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture,  has prepared a unified programme for promoting the UNESCO World Heritage Year in Lithuania, accompanied by special logo which communicates its concept and the theme, as well as other visual material produced in cooperation with the design agency FOLK. The logo‘s concept idea and its visual expression marks four Lithuanian cultural heritage properties inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Their geographical localisation is signified by dots having three colours of the national flag, and the shape of Lithuania is represented as symbolically turning into the circle of the Earth. The logo and other related information can be found here. By the end of April the promotional campain of the UNESCO World Heritage Year in Lithuania will be complemented with a video clip, print ready and other materials.

The Secretariat of the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO also takes an active part in other projects dedicated to the celebration of this year. In cooperation with the Vilnius Academy of Arts it organizes an interactive exhibition „Lithuanian values on UNESCO‘s lists and registers“ with education programme for young people and schoolchildren. Visitors of the exhibition will learn more about all Lithuanian properties associated with the name of UNESCO, and the exhibits will have mobile applications. The exhibition will be displayed at the gallery of the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO, on Šv. Jono st. 11, Vilnius.

Follow the news: here

More on the World heritage in Lithuania can be found: here