The monument fund, whose historical, artistic, aesthetic/emotional, utilitarian and numerous other values are inherently irreplaceable, obviously constitutes one of the most important elements of the national cultural wealth/national cultural treasure of the Czech Republic. The quality of care for it corresponds to the culture and general level of learning and education in society and whether the protection of public interests is taken into account sufficiently.
It is a well-known fact that the conservation of the monument fund has great economic significance in the context of tourist trade development and the development of municipalities not only at present, but in particular for the future; it is demonstrably one of the elements of social life that may significantly support economic growth of the country without adverse impacts on the environment and landscape features.
The system of State monument care in the Czech Republic, as provided for in Act No. 20/1987 Coll., on State monument care, encompasses a sum of numerous mutually interlinked specialised methodological, organisational, economic and regulatory legal measures whose effectiveness depends to a certain degree on how successfully broader favourable preconditions are preventively created for the position of the sector in the existing conditions of overall social development and for understanding the meaning and goals of monument care by the public.
Substantive Competence of the Monument Care Department
The Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture is a central management workplace in the system of State monument care in the Czech Republic and it fulfils the prevalent part of the professional tasks set out by Act No. 20/1987 Coll. for the Ministry of Culture as the central governmental body for cultural monuments.
In particular, it declares assets and sets of assets as cultural monuments and nullifies the declaration of an asset as a cultural monument; draws up draft Government Regulations on the declaration of a cultural monument as a national cultural monument, Government Regulations on the declaration of an area as a monument reserve, decrees of the Ministry of Culture on the declaration of an area as a monument zone and, furthermore, proposals for granting prior consent of the Government to the export of a national cultural monument abroad; grants permission to carry out the restoration of cultural monuments that are works of art or arts and crafts, permission to perform archaeological surveys, as well as prior consent to the relocation of a real estate cultural monument and prior consent to the export of a cultural monument abroad; and provides financial contributions for the restoration of cultural monuments within specifically oriented programmes if there is special public interest in their preservation.
Furthermore decides on regular and extraordinary remedies filed with respect to the decisions of the regional authorities and the Municipal Council of the Capital City of Prague where decisions in monument care matters are concerned; manages the National Memorial Institute – an organisation founded by the Ministry of Culture – draws up draft strategies of monument care development including draft follow-up implementation documents, as well as the relevant draft legal enactment, draft strategies for acts providing for the protection of cultural monuments and monument care or proposals for the approval of agreements on the transfer of cultural monuments in State ownership; and determines the organisational units of the State to which cultural monuments in State ownership shall be handed over.
Last but not least, the Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture methodologically manages lower-level administrative authorities, in particular regional authorities and the Municipal Authority of the Capital City of Prague, in the exercise of State monument care.
The Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture is divided into 3 divisions:
- Division of Cultural Monument Protection,
- Division of Renewal of Cultural Monuments and Monument Areas, and
- Legal Division.
Standing Advisory Units
The Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture relies in its activities on the professional assistance of standing advisory units – commissions comprising prominent experts from the sector. The Scientific Council for State Monument Care, founded pursuant to Section 28 (2) (e) of Act No. 20/1987 Coll., is the supreme advisory body of the Ministry of Culture in matters of monument care. Otherwise, where specialised professional and expert activities are concerned, the Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture uses, in particular, the professional assistance provided to it on a permanent basis by the professional organisation of State monument care and its individual regional sites within the fulfilment of its tasks.
On Common Administrative and other Professional Activities
The Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture deals with large numbers of various levels of complexity and, as a rule, of considerable importance for the effectiveness of the system of monument care in the Czech Republic as a whole within the common official (administrative) agenda.
Very extensive specialised methodological, in particular legal, assistance is provided on a permanent basis by the Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture on its own initiative, for example as part of the training provided by the Department or at the request of administrative authorities, organisations of State monument care, owners of the individual elements of the monument fund and other parties, with the aim of providing for maximum faultless exercise of State monument care in the Czech Republic in accordance with Act No. 20/1987 Coll.
The Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture has long paid considerable attention to education in its activities.
The provision of financial contributions and support are also an important part of the sum of activities of the Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture. By virtue of a decision based on administrative proceedings, municipalities and regions and the Ministry of Culture may provide financial contributions for the preservation and restoration of cultural monuments to the latter’s owners pursuant to Section 16 of Act No. 20/1987 Coll. A contribution by the Ministry of Culture may only be provided if special public interest in the preservation and restoration of the cultural monument is concerned. The Monument Care Department of the Ministry of Culture declares and carries out so-called monument programmes in accordance with the aforementioned interest:
- Emergency programme
- Programme for the regeneration of the city conservations areas and zones
- Programme for the salvation of the architectural heritage
- Programme for the care of the village conservation areas and zones and landscape conservation areas
- Support of the restoration of cultural monuments through municipalities with extended powers
- Programme for the restoration of movable cultural heritage
- Support for World Heritage Sites
The aforementioned programmes have been established generally so as to ensure that the provided financial contributions are simultaneously a tool for achieving as many long-term objectives as possible in the State’s care of cultural monuments, and they therefore employ the multiple-source funding principle in the restoration of cultural monuments alongside the consolidation of funds from the State budget on the one hand and funds from the owners of cultural monuments, towns and municipalities and other domestic and foreign public and private entities on the other hand.