24.10.2011 - UNESCO Office in Venice

Simultaneous Photo Exhibition on Stećaks - Mediaeval Tombstones in 4 countries

Stećaks - Public domain

An opening of a regional photo exhibition of stećaks was held on 21 October 2011 simultaneously in, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia. The exhibition, organized on the occasion of the UN Day celebrations, was launched in all four countries on the same day in order to familiarize the wider public in the region with this important cultural heritage asset. Stecak medieval tombstones represent an important part of the cultural and historical heritage of these countries.

The outstanding value and European dimension of the stećak as a tombstone and as a specific medieval funerary art is framed by its triple cultural and historical roots: Western European, Byzantine and Southern Slav. These stone slabs, usually grouped in a graveyard called Nekropola, feature remarkable decorative motifs, many of which remain enigmatic to this day.

Some 60,000 of the 70,000 recorded medieval tombstones (stećaks) at about 3,300 sites are in Bosnia and Herzegovina, about 4,400 individual toomstones in Croatia, about 3,500 in Montenegro and about 4,100 in Serbia. They fall into two main groups: recumbent and upright or standing stone monoliths.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia are participating together in a joint nomination of Stećaks to the World Heritage List. The idea of a Transnational Nomination was born within the overall scope of the project “Cultural Heritage – a Bridge towards a Shared Future“, implemented by the UNESCO Venice Office – UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe. A Letter of intention on the joint nomination was signed in Sarajevo in 2010 by the Ministers of Culture of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia and the joint submission for tentative List was officially submitted to the World Heritage Centre on 15 April 2011.

World Heritage Link: Stećaks - Mediaeval Tombstones

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